Most people agree that some rules are necessary for markets to work. But what rules do we really need? And how can we make sure they do not become too much of a burden on businesses and consumers?


Industrial Relations in Australia: a Handbrake on Prosperity
John Slater
09 July 2017 | OP157

Since the defeat of the Howard Government, industrial relations has come to be seen as the third rail of Australian politics. However, Australia faces a number of major demographic and technological challenges that require much more than piecemeal changes to penalty rates. In order to…

The Major Bank Levy: We’re all going to be hit
Michael Potter
19 June 2017 | RR29

The major bank levy was proposed in the 2017–18 Budget. The levy has numerous flaws including: The costs of the levy will likely be passed on as higher interest rates for mortgages and business loans, harming households and business investment which is very weak. The…

Reforming Social Housing: financing and tenant autonomy
Michael Potter
27 April 2017 | RR25

Around 400,000 Australians live in social housing, which includes public and community housing. This sector is ripe for reform, with many public housing dwellings failing adequacy standards, numerous tenants are dissatisfied and live in housing that is too small or too large for their needs.…

Youth Unemployment in Australia
Patrick Carvalho
22 November 2015 | Research Report 7

This report looks at quantifying the rising youth unemployment problem, understanding its causes and proposing policy solutions. Youth employment has progressively taken a hit after the Global Financial Crisis, practically doubling since mid-2008. At an average rate of 13.5% in the past 12 months, the…

The Case for a New Australian Settlement: Ruminations of an Inveterate Economist
Wolfgang Kasper
26 June 2015 | OP141

Australia needs a cultural counter-revolution that appeals to the traditional Australian spirit of self-reliance and can-do optimism – a new ‘Australian settlement’ which goes beyond mere economic policy. It should be underpinned by agreed basic understandings across political and social divides: (i) ours is a…

Media & Commentary

Australia's political winners and losers of a year of uncertainty
Simon Cowan
23 December 2017 | CANBERRA TIMES

As 2017 began with the resignation of a Cabinet Minister, you would have been forgiven for thinking that might have been a defining moment of the political year. Forgiven, but…

Free market basics need to be re-learnt
Robert Carling
22 September 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

The twentieth century taught us enough about the limits to government intervention that the Australian energy market debacle — a failure of intervention, not of markets — could not happen.…

Last thing the government should do is buy a power station
Robert Carling
09 September 2017 | Australian Financial Review

One of the most common debates in economics is when should government intervene in markets? Government itself – judging by its recent actions – clearly thinks the answer should be…

Media in a merge or fail moment
Simon Cowan
17 August 2017 | Australian Financial Review

While debate over politics continues to dominate headlines, the government is quietly manoeuvring on the media policy front, securing One Nation support for its comprehensive reforms. With backing from all…

Investors not to blame for rise in renters
Michael Potter
21 July 2017 | Ideas@TheCentre

The release of the latest Census figures has shown home ownership is down, and (unsurprisingly) investors are being blamed, particularly the negative gearing ‘tax concession’ for investors. Well not so…