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Politics with Michelle Grattan
30 minutes | 3 days ago
two views on increasing the super contribution
The increase in the compulsory superannuation contribution, legislated to rise next July from 9.5% to 10%, is being fiercely debated following the release of the retirement income report. In this podcast we hear the views of Brendan Coates, Director of the Household Finances Program at the Grattan Institute and Greg Combet, former Labor minister, and chair of Industry Super Australia. Coates, who opposes the July and later scheduled rises, says ultimately the money comes out of the worker's pay because employers will increase wages more slowly. Coates argues the present superannuation arrangements are adequate for most retirees who own their homes, and will be in the future. Although he says retirees potentially face financial stress if renting, Coates wouldn't favour letting people dip willy nilly into their super for a deposit on their first home. But "if the rate of compulsory super goes to 12% as legislated, I think the right answer is not ... to let them take out their super for housing, it's to let them take out anything above 9.5% each year" for any purpose. Combet flatly opposes the use of super accounts for housing. "If we are concerned about housing affordability and trying to lift the level of home ownership in the country, you don't go and cannibalise another part of the retirement income system, the superannuation system. "You address the issues of housing supply. You address the issues of housing affordability, and you can take some specific public policy measures for helping first home buyers." In response to the criticism that higher contributions will diminish wage growth, Combet says: "Let's go back to the 90's. Paul Keating promised to get to a 12% super guarantee. John Howard froze it... No compensating pay rises that are discernible anywhere."
24 minutes | 10 days ago
Defence expert Allan Behm on the background to the Brereton report
The findings of the inquiry by Justice Paul Brereton into the misconduct – including allegations of murder of non-combatants and mistreatment of prisoners – by Australian special forces in Afghanistan are released on Thursday. Scott Morrison last week warned the findings will be "difficult and hard news" for Australians. The leadership of the Australian Defence Force will drive a program of reform in the wake of findings that put a deep blemish on what the ADF and most Australians see as the nation's proud military tradition. Allan Behm, from The Australia Institute, an expert on defence and security issues and a former senior public servant and ministerial adviser, joined the podcast on the eve of the release to discuss the background to the report. "I think it is going to be quite shocking for many of us. And I think...we will feel a sense of shame." "It will get many people to think about issues of moral hazard. It will certainly get people to think about what kind of administrative and organisational arrangements within the Australian Defence Force permitted this to happen." "I think it will cause a lot of Australians to think quite deeply about the moral peril that we expose young soldiers to in warfare. If reports are true "that prisoners were shot dead, that noncombatants were simply 'wasted', to use the language of warfare, as collateral damage in pursuit of military objectives, many, many ADF people will be very perturbed by that." Asked about the culture of these soldiers, Behm described the special forces as "elites". "Elites can be highly problematic," he says. In the wake of the report, there will be the question of whether special forces are needed. If they are to be retained, "the second thing will then be to decide whether we need to have the special forces quarantined, separate from the rest of our forces...or whether the special forces should be more clearly part of our standing army." Having the special forces work across a wider base within the military could "militate against the formation of uncontrollable elites or rogue elements". "And there's history to be dealt with. "I mean, we have a regiment which is highly decorated and highly recognised. At the same time, it is this regiment and this function, which ... has brought this shame upon us. "And that will require a lot of evaluation."
22 minutes | 17 days ago
Joel Fitzgibbon on Labor climate policy and leadership
Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon this week quit the frontbench, ensuring he'll become even more vocal in his campaign to have Labor's climate policy move to the centre and the party give greater attention to the working class part of its constituency. Fitzgibbon – who was shadow minister for resources – and climate spokesman Mark Butler have been at loggerheads, and in this podcast Fitzgibbon makes it clear he believes Butler should be moved when Albanese has an expected pre-Christmas reshuffle. "I think a refresh in that area would be good ... I think someone without his history, someone who doesn't bring baggage, if you like, to the conversation might be better placed to prosecute Labor's case in the broader electorate." Fitzgibbon was active in Labor's 2013 leadership change back to Kevin Rudd. He says he supports Albanese's leadership. But asked whether, if it became clear next year Labor was heading to a likely really bad defeat, he would be willing to push for a change, he says: "I think senior people in the party have a responsibility to ensure that the party doesn't go over the proverbial cliff. "And none of us are as big or bigger than the party itself. "The party has to be the key interest and its capacity to win government, because millions of people are relying upon us to be a government from time to time. And we owe it to them to be electable." Sounds like a warning.
17 minutes | a month ago
economist Danielle Wood on Australia’s ‘blokey’ budge
In his budget reply, Anthony Albanese said women have suffered most during the pandemic, but were reduced to a footnote in the budget. He promised a Labor government would undertake a generous reshaping of the childcare subsidy to enable more women to join the workforce or to work more hours. This week, Michelle Grattan talks to Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood who, in writing for the Australian Financial Review, described the budget as “blokey”: “We look at those areas that have received direct support - construction… the energy sector, defence, manufacturing, all of those areas where the government has put direct money into a particular sector - they tend to be male dominated sectors. "And actually often they’re not the ones that have taken the hardest hit in this recession. "The sectors that have been hit really hard: hospitality, tourism, the arts, recreation, administrative services tend to be actually slightly more female dominated… we really don’t see any direct assistance for those sectors in the budget. ” When asked about the budget generally Wood, the president of the Economic Society of Australia, is concerned all the eggs have been put into the “private sector basket”. “If it doesn’t pay off, then we may see unemployment sticking around for a long time to come.” In the Grattan institute’s report, co-authored by Wood, and titled Cheaper Childcare, Wood endorsed reform in a similar vein to Albanese’s proposal. “Our numbers suggest that for every dollar that you spend reforming the subsidy…you return more than two dollars in additional GDP,” she says. “The Labor reforms… you’re probably talking, if its $2 billion a year… something in the vicinity of $5 billion return each year for GDP.”
29 minutes | 2 months ago
a budget for a pandemic
With the budget’s expected eye-watering debt and deficit numbers, the question remains whether the huge spending will be enough to fight the coronavirus slump. Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann and Shadow Minister Katy Gallagher joined the podcast to discuss the budget’s entrails. The government has faced criticism for benchmarking the much vaunted tax cuts against 2017-18, making them appear larger. Cormann said 2017-18 is the appropriate benchmark, and wouldn’t be drawn on giving further detail. “The costing has been done on the basis that we’ve published it.” Gallagher declared the budget expressed Scott Morrison’s choice to leave some people without support. In particular, the decision to leave those on JobSeeker hanging was described by Gallagher as “frankly, just plain mean.”
30 minutes | 2 months ago
Chris Richardson on what Tuesday’s budget will and should do
On Tuesday, the 2020 budget will be brought down. It will show a huge deficit for this financial year and massive government spending, aimed at promoting economic recovery and reducing unemployment. In the wake of COVID, the Coalition’s usual preoccupation with “debt and deficit” has become very yesterday. On this week’s Politics podcast, we speaks with Chris Richardson, partner at Deloitte Access Economics. Deloitte’s Economics Budget Monitor, released this week, favoured bringing forward the tax cuts as one measure to stimulate the economy and expected the deficit to be holding up better than earlier thought. Like economists in a recent survey Richardson says the budget should prioritise a permanent boost to JobSeeker and fund more social housing: “The least noticed thing about this crisis is how geographically specific it is,” he says. “The job losses in Australia have been far and away the biggest where unemployment rates, suburb by suburb, town by town, out in the bush, were already the highest. … The areas that were struggling are now struggling a lot more. The areas that weren’t struggling haven’t been that hard hit.” “And one real advantage of boosting unemployment benefits. It’s probably the single most targeted regional spend you can do in Australia at a time when that is needed most.” And on social housing: “Think of what this virus has done all around the world. It’s found the weakest link in every nation. "It’s travelled through the political system, the political divide in the US, it’s travelled through the migrant workers, construction workers in Singapore. "In Australia, it showed up or could have shown up through our very low unemployment benefit… And social housing. You saw those towers locked down, as the virus got away on us in Melbourne. And again, both social housing and unemployment benefits. That’s money that would be spent. It makes it good stimulus.”
28 minutes | 2 months ago
New Zealand’s Helen Clark on the pandemic inquiry and avoiding election ‘cat fights
On October 17, New Zealanders will head to the polls to vote in a general election and also on referendum questions for the legalisation of cannabis and euthansia. In a head-to-head between two women, Labour’s Jacinda Ardern appears to be heading to a comfortable win against National Judith Collins, who only recently became her party’s leader. This week NZ’s three term ex-PM Helen Clark joins the podcast to discuss the World Health Organisation’s investigation into COVID preparedness and response, and the New Zealand political scene. Clark is a significant global player, a strong voice on the issues of climate change, gender equality, and women’s leadership, through her work with prominent bodies in the United Nations. Most recently, Clark was appointed co-chair of the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, which will present a report on how to effectively address health threats as they develop. In NZ, an election in the wake of a pandemic creates a unique range of issues for voters. Ardern hasn’t committed to opening the New Zealand border, while the National party believes the border must be opened for economic reasons, but under stringent conditions. Clark is doubtful the border should be opened soon, or will be. “I don’t think the border could be open for Christmas. "And I’m in the school of thought that says a vaccine as a silver bullet isn’t going to give us sufficient protection any time soon. The most optimistic forecasts … [are for] later next year. "Others – which might be more realistic – are saying later on 2022. Others are saying for years.” Will there be a trans Tasman bubble? “At the moment, we don’t see that either. "If Australia had firm borders at its state level, we could have had bubbles with New Zealand and Australian states. But that’s not the way the Australians have dealt with it. And that, of course, is absolutely their prerogative.” With the first election debate taking place this week, Clark looks back to the election when she ran against a female leader. “I recall that 1999 election when I went head-to-head with then prime minister Jenny Shipley. And to use a ghastly phrase, in a way there’s nothing that a lot of observers would like more than to see the two of you descend into some kind of ‘cat fight’ "Watching Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins last night, I think it’s also fair to say that they kept it well above that level. They are so different in style. They’re a generation apart. Jacinda, 40. Judith, 61. Very different style. But they didn’t descend into pettiness of the kind that you can see in such debates. So I think the women leaders feel a real onus not to get down into the gutter.”
17 minutes | 2 months ago
Politics with Michelle Grattan: Angus Taylor on the 'gas-fired' recovery
The Coalition is having yet another go at crafting an energy policy. Faced with the huge economic challenges presented by COVID, the government this week announced its "gas-fired recovery". But the policy is already under fire from both environmentalists and coal advocates, and the energy sector warns it could discourage investors. Part of the announcement was a threat – the government will build a gas generator in the Hunter Valley if the private sector fails to fill the gap in power supply that will be created by the closure of the Liddell coal-fired power plant. This dramatic form of intervention would seem very much against the Liberal grain. But Energy Minister Angus Taylor says: "Our focus is on good competitive markets. That's a Liberal Party philosophy. "Our belief is in the importance of affordable, reliable energy - we want the private sector to deliver it. That's their obligation to their customers, we believe. But if they don't, we will step in." Despite the focus on gas, Taylor said renewables would play their role in the future. "I've always been enormously enthusiastic about renewables, but I also see that what we need is a mix. "And when people talk about a single technology as the answer to all our problems, I am sceptical. "I'm not sceptical of balance and having a range of different technologies...a balance that includes hydro, solar and wind, gas, coal, batteries starting to play a role, particularly over the very short term, to help support, secure, the market."
29 minutes | 3 months ago
Chris Bowen on the recession, aged care and priorities for health policy
Had the 2019 election panned out differently, Chris Bowen would have been the treasurer coping with Australia's current economic crisis. Instead, as shadow health minister, he has been critical of aspects of the government's handling of the health issues, especially its failure to act earlier and more comprehensively to secure access to potential vaccines. With Labor homing in on aged care, which has seen the deaths of hundred of residents, Bowen in this podcast questionsd the performance of the regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. "I was frankly shocked by a number of things. "I was shocked by the fact the regulator was informed by St Basil's, [that] they had a positive case – and on the face of it, did nothing. I've seen no evidence that they actually did anything about it. Their defence is it was somebody else's job - we had no role to play. "I just don't think that cuts the mustard for a regulator. "I was surprised to learn that no-notice or very short notice inspections had [ by the regulator] ceased during the pandemic. "I think these are problematic decisions which the regulator is accountable for, and I do have deep concerns about [them]. "And as a parliamentarian, I am expressing the view that there have been shortcomings [by the regulator] and I've yet to see an adequate explanation for those."
22 minutes | 3 months ago
Former Greens leader Richard Di Natale on COVID, climate and his successor
In February, then Greens’ leader Richard Di Natale stepped down from the leadership after five years and announced he’d leave parliament to spend for more time with his family. On Tuesday, he delivered his valedictory speech to the senate – remotely – and on Wednesday, he formally resigned. In his speech Di Natale said “We’ve closed off the [parliament] building to the community, but we’re throwing the gates wide open to vested interests with deep pockets.” Asked if there should be tougher control on lobbying and what could be done to limit the power of “vested interests”, he says: “There’s a few things that need to happen. "The first thing is political donations. There are cancer on our democracy, and we need to immediately move to a system of public funding of election campaigns with basically the prohibition of all corporate donations.” “The second thing you have to do is … close that revolving door between lobbyists and MP’s… It’s remarkable that some MPs don’t even leave the parliament before they get on the payroll of some of these interest groups, whether it’s in the defence industry, the gambling industry, the alcohol industry, the mining industry.” “And finally, we need a national anti-corruption body.” Many would regard current leader Adam Bandt as more radical than his predecessor. Di Natale sees the difference as more cosmetic. “I think Adam and I shared a sort of political outlook on most things. We’re obviously different people. We might have different ways of communicating. And that’s to be expected. But the truth is, [in] terms of our policy direction, in terms of all the things we’ve been campaigning on, there’s very little of a difference between us or indeed any of our Greens colleagues.”
34 minutes | 3 months ago
Professor Barney Glover on the bleak years ahead for higher education
With the withdrawal of the international market, and the stresses of delivering education virtually, the university sector has been hit especially hard by COVID-19. The sector, which in the 2018-2019 financial year contributed $37.6 billion in export income to the Australian economy, is a shadow of its former self. Meanwhile the government last week released its controversial “JobReady Graduates” draft legislation, which aims to promote study in areas it believes will increase the employment prospects of graduates. A new fee structure will steer students towards STEM fields, IT, teaching, nursing and away from the humanities and law. Professor Barney Glover, former chair of Universities Australia, a peak body for the higher education sector, is Vice Chancellor of Western Sydney University. Among his many roles on advisory committees, he’s on the New South Wales International Education Advisory Board. While acknowledging the need for innovation and reform in how higher education is delivered, Professor Glover believes it will be a long road back to normality for the university sector, which has had such a high dependence on foreign students. “This is something that’s going to affect the sector for several years because the recovery – the economic recovery overseas, the capacity for students to study internationally, the amount of international mobility – all of that is going to be curtailed and constrained, which means universities are going to have to deal with a very different financial situation over the course of particularly 21, 22 and I suspect 23. "And it won’t be, we predict, until 2024 that we see recovery back towards 2019 levels.”
31 minutes | 4 months ago
Jim Chalmers on tax cuts, inequality, and the Queensland election
The second wave of the pandemic in Victoria has pushed the post-COVID economic recovery further beyond the horizon. Among the challenges for the federal opposition are dealing itself into the debate and formulating alternative economic policies before the next election. With speculation the budget may bring forward the next tranche of the legislated tax cuts, Labor is leaving the way open to give its support. “We’ve said for some time that that’s something that the Government should consider. We’d have an open mind to that if they came to us with a proposal. They don’t yet have a specific proposal. We’ve had some smoke signals about it for some time now…” Jim Chalmers, Shadow Treasurer, tells The Conversation. “If they came to us and said that they wanted to bring forward stage two of the legislated tax cuts, then we’d engage with them in a pretty constructive way. We’ve said that for some time.” A high danger is Australia may come out the COVID recession as a more unequal society. Charmers says: “My big fear is that it will accelerate some of those trends that we were already worried about; inequality, but also social immobility. "We are worried about a lost generation of workers, a discarded generation of people, who become disconnected from work and from society during this recession, who find it very hard to make their way back. "When people ask what keeps us awake at night, really it’s the idea that this spike in unemployment turns into long-term unemployment, which becomes long-term disadvantage, which cascades through the generations and concentrates in areas like the one that I represent. That’s our big fear.” At the moment, Chalmers is working in Brisbane, assisting with the campaigning for the October Queensland election, which he believes will be “extraordinarily tight” “There’ll be different sub-elections around the place. Townsville will be a challenge for us. There’s some opportunities for us on the Gold Coast. It’ll be a real mixed bag. The big thing that we need to avoid is one of those minority governments. In this recession and into the recovery, we want to have a stable government like the one that Annastacia Palaszczuk is providing.”
27 minutes | 4 months ago
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells on aged care – what needs to be done differently
The Royal Commission into Aged-Care Quality and Safety delivered it’s interim report in October 2019. Titled ‘Neglect’, it provided a scathing insight into the aged care industry - finding it centred around transactions not care. It minimised the voices of people receiving care, lacked transparency, and was staffed by an under-appreciated and under-pressure workforce. The outbreak of coronavirus, and the second-wave of infections in Melbourne, has raised fresh questions. The virus has infected residents and staff en masse, leaving aged-care residents major victims of the pandemic. Read more: View from The Hill: There's no case for keeping secret any aged care facility's COVID details NSW Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells was the shadow minister for ageing for four years, during Tony Abbott’s time as opposition leader. She has made a detailed submission to the Royal Commission, critical of the government’s attempts to reform the troubled sector. The Royal Commission is holding hearings next week to take evidence on the affects of the COVID virus. Among the questions Fierranvanti-Wells would like asked of the industry are “How could you have avoided the situation that you were facing? "What is it about the system that has led to you being in this difficult situation? "What was in place to assist you in the event of a pandemic? "Where have you found that the intersection between health and ageing has fallen over? "Where could you have performed a better response if you’d had better medical services available in your aged care facility? "And what workforce was required to have been available to you in your aged care facility to meet the potential of a pandemic?” Concetta Fierravanti-Wells submission to the commission can be read here.
29 minutes | 4 months ago
Patricia Sparrow on the need for aged care reform
Those in aged care have been some of the hardest hit by the coronavirus second wave in Victoria. Even before the crisis, there were calls for reform of the sector, which is currently being examined by a royal commission. Issues with staffing and delivery of care have only become worse as many workers are required to isolate, with mass transmission occurring in the homes. Patricia Sparrow is CEO of Aged & Community Services Australia, a peak body which represents not-for-profit members providing residential care for some 450,000 people throughout the country. One of the many issues with the aged care sector, Sparrow says, is a failure to define the role and purpose of aged care. "They used to be called nursing homes and that's what people thought they were. But in recent times ... there's been a move to them being more home-like and less emphasis on [the] clinical. So I think one of the critical things we need to do is actually to determine what is it that aged care is providing." "We need to decide then as a community how we fund it so that it can deliver the quality of care that the community expects and that we as providers want to provide." The royal commission produced a scathing interim report, and Sparrow is hopeful its final findings will bring about the real reform the industry needs. "We do need a system that's wellness-based. We need a system that supports people at home, that provides the very best in terms of health-care needs. And that does require us to look at the interface with the health system. "There's no doubt that we need a fundamental reform and there's no doubt that providers are doing the very best they can now, with the resourcing and the restraints around what it is that we can do."
28 minutes | 4 months ago
Geoff Kitney on a life in journalism and the contemporary media landscape
Geoff Kitney fell into a career in journalism, and rose from reporting the local footy in Western Australia to covering many of federal politics's biggest stories and serving as a foreign correspondent based in Berlin and London. Arriving at parliament house in 1975, Kitney reported on the dramatic Dismissal. Later, the relative decorum of the Canberra press gallery contrasted with the danger and adventure of war reporting. During the Kosovo war, he was sent to Belgrade, travelling there in a bus with a crowd of Serbians. "It was very, very strange bus trip because we'd passed houses with MiG fighters parked in the driveways ... [Slobodan Milošević] was trying to stop NATO destroying his airforce. So he put the MiG fighters next to people's houses so that they wouldn't hit them, which meant that he couldn't use them, but at least he still had them." In Kitney's new book, Beyond the Newsroom, based around his decades of reporting and analysis, he also has some sharp observations about what's happened to the media. "Advertising started shifting to social media. Newspaper budgets got tighter and tighter. Staff started being cut. We've now had years of redundancies." "We had specialist reporters covering all sorts of issues, digging down, getting out into the bureaucracy ... finding what's really going on. Now ...there aren't enough people to do that." "And the pressure, for Twitter for example, is to be noticed. And it seems to me that people think the best way to get noticed, and probably this is true, is to have strong opinions that people react to. And so opinion becomes more important than actual information."
53 minutes | 4 months ago
After the crisis: what lessons can be drawn from the management of COVID-19 for the recovery process?
In this fourth episode of the Conversation-Democracy 2025 Podcast on “Political Trust in Times of Covid-19”, Michelle Grattan and Mark Evans explore the lessons that can be drawn from the management of Covid-19 for the recovery process with the ABC’s Norman Swan and Mark Kenny from the Australian Studies Institute at the Australian National University. The discussion draws on the very latest findings from a comparative survey conducted by Democracy 2025 and Trustgov in May and June in Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States on political trust and democracy in times of Coronavirus. The survey investigates whether public attitudes towards democratic institutions and practices have changed during the pandemic. We also asked questions on compliance and resilience issues and whether the way we do democracy in Australia might change post Covid-19. We observe that Australia can be considered a global leader in its response to the pandemic and assess whether the highest levels of public trust in federal government seen for a decade can hold in the recovery period. You can find the first of three reports on the findings at [Democracy 2025](https://www.democracy2025.gov.au/).
28 minutes | 4 months ago
Jane Halton on the risk of 'vaccine nationalism'
Jane Halton, who formerly headed the federal health and finance departments, is chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness. CEPI, founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is at the forefront of the international search for a COVID-19 vaccine. She is also a member of the Morrison government's National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, which liaises with business and advises government on how to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. Currently she's undertaking a nationwide review of the hotel quarantine system. Halton, who when in the public service took part in a government pandemic rehearsal, says Australia was relatively ready. But she says that inevitably, when there's a review in the wake of COVID-19, there'll be a lot to learn from this experience. "Just like we've learnt from H1N1...just like we've learned from SARS. "But in the short term, the systems stood up capacity really quickly, which is great." On the reality of vaccine being developed, while it might not be soon, Halton is relatively optimistic. "Look, there are lots of experts who are both optimistic and pessimistic." "The experts that I work with, they are probably what I would describe as moderately optimistic. Now, they sort of have to be because they're working on this and they are spending huge hours every day, every week in this race. And so they have to think that there's the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But there's a pretty significant number of scientists who do think it's possible."
24 minutes | 5 months ago
Christopher Pyne on being 'the ultimate insider'
Former Liberal Minister Christopher Pyne attracted critics for his political front. But he always had plenty of friends and networks, enabling him often to be a player, if not always a "fixer". After his election to the South Australian seat of Sturt at age 25, he went on to hold senior portfolios, notably education and defence, and to stride the parliamentary stage as Leader of the House of Representatives. In his memoir, The Insider, the former politician provides his take, humorous and candid, on a tumultuous 26 parliamentary years. In this podcast, Pyne talks about life after politics, and stories from the 'Canberra bubble'. "I don't miss politics at all - because I left happy, and I wanted to go. "So I'm not one of these politicians that was dragged kicking and screaming. I left when people wanted me to stay, which is a great rarity." Pyne is ultra candid about his ambition to be prime minister: "I think when you're 15, and you decided you want to be a member of the House of Representatives, you kind of think 'I'm going to dream big.' So of course I dreamt to be prime minister". Reality, it appears, didn't hit for quite a while. "I think that week when Malcolm [Turnbull] was deposed and nobody was suggesting that I should be running for leader, it dawned on me that the generation that was being elected, which was Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg, were a generation different to me."
34 minutes | 5 months ago
two leading economists on Australia’s post-COVID economy
With three months before JobSeeker is due to end and calls for billions of dollars in extra spending, there is a growing debate about how Australia’s post-coronavirus economy will actually look. While Scott Morrison has said Australia will need to lift economic growth by “more than one percentage point above trend” through to 2025, a 22-economist panel hosted by The Conversation forecast a bleaker result. Growth one percentage point above trend would average almost 4% per year. The Conversation’s economic panel forecast an annual growth averaging 2.4% over the next four years, much less than the long-term trend. In this podcast, Michelle Grattan discusses the economic pathway ahead with two economists featured on the panel: Professor of Economics at the UNSW Business School Richard Holden, and Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Australian National University Warwick McKibbin. McKibbin argues for a major change to the national cabinet. “I think it would be very useful if the leader of the opposition was on that cabinet, and perhaps even a couple of the key ministerial portfolios from the opposition side, so that you truly have… both sides of the political spectrum represented.” Making the body more inclusive, McKibbin says, would assist a bipartisan approach. “If you are going to go for the big bipartisan approach, which I think is fundamental to most of the problems we face, you have to do something like the national cabinet,” he said. “It worked very effectively during the worst parts of the virus, it is breaking down now it appears, because Australians seem to think things are okay now. But I think you’ll see it re-emerge very shortly.” Richard Holden warns an increase in taxation should not be contemplated to pay for some of the large spend the COVID crisis is requiring. “I don’t think there will be an increase in taxation under this government, and I definitely don’t think there should be under any government,” he says. “The coalition has made the debt and deficits mantra part of their political brand, and I understand that from a political perspective. And there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to balancing the budget over the economic cycle.” “But when you’re in one of the largest economic crises in a hundred years, it is not the time to be penny-pinching and focusing on economic management credentials as measured by the budget bottom line in the short term.”
36 minutes | 5 months ago
Politics with Michelle Grattan: The Battle for Eden-Monaro – interviews with Kristy McBain and Fiona Kotvojs
On July 4, the voters of Eden-Monaro will give their judgment on the performances of Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese. The seat is held by Labor on a margin of just under 1%. Labor is campaigning hard on JobKeeper ending in late September, while the Liberals are hoping the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis will outweigh Scott Morrison’s poor conduct during the bushfires. In this podcast, Michelle Grattan discusses the byelection campaign with the main candidates, Labor’s Kristy McBain and Liberal Fiona Kotvojs. McBain: “I think everybody’s sick of old politics … this idea that you govern for only the people that vote for you. When you’re elected, you’re elected to represent everybody, whether they agree with you or not. You should be hearing them out, and I want to make sure that people in Eden-Monaro have a strong fair voice in Canberra for them.” Kotvojs: “There [are] two key issues: one is about recovering after fires and after COVID, and the other is in terms of rebuilding our economy. So in terms of the first one, what we need to do is to look at getting more consistency and an integrated approach between the three levels of government… In terms of the rebuilding the economy, that’s all about jobs.”
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