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The ‘Lucky’ Country

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/10/2020 - 4:01pm in

Today, Australians are world champions in private debt, the country presides over a massive housing affordability crisis, and inequality rages. What went wrong down under? Host Ross Ashcroft met up with Financial Strategist, Tony Locantro and Real Estate commentator, Asher Spira in search of some answers.

The post The ‘Lucky’ Country appeared first on Renegade Inc.

The ‘Lucky’ Country

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 16/10/2020 - 4:01pm in

Today, Australians are world champions in private debt, the country presides over a massive housing affordability crisis, and inequality rages. What went wrong down under? Host Ross Ashcroft met up with Financial Strategist, Tony Locantro and Real Estate commentator, Asher Spira in search of some answers.

The post The ‘Lucky’ Country appeared first on Renegade Inc.

Christensen Tells Berejiklian To Join Him In Manilla For Some Ping Pong And Chill

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 15/10/2020 - 8:15am in

The Government’s Minister for Manilla George Christensen has reached out to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and invited her to join him for some much needed R&R in the Philippines with some ping pong and chill.

‘’I know what it’s like to be under the pump over your personal life,’’ said the Minister for Manila. ‘’So Gladys, pack the bags and join me in Manila.’’

“Nothing relaxes me more than watching my favourite ping pong team. Especially when there’s a happy ending.’’

When asked how he would be able to travel to the Philippines given the Government’s current travel ban, the Minister for Manila said: ‘’If Abbott can get to London and Pell to Rome, then surely old Georgey boy can head home to Manila.’’

”Besides, I’m pretty sure that ScoMo would rather have me in Manila than in Canberra on Facebook.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to Rebel sport and stock up on some ping pong balls.”

Mark Williamson


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The Budget: How About Wildlife?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 1:39pm in

The Federal Budget has generated a lot of comments. It is certainly based on an unprecedented fiscal expansion; but there are fiscal expansions and then there are fiscal expansions. Annabel Crabb put it this way: "It recognises the people it wants to help, and screw the rest." She's right.

After that, the few who won biggly and the many who were left out in the cold made their voices heard. In the cacophony resulting, even Morrison's gas-fueled technology roadmap, designed to make Australia forever dependent on fossil fuels, was forgotten. You see, whether by accident or by design, it was announced before the budget, almost as if to make it sure people would be too worried about their own livelihoods to care about climate change.

And yet, as terrible as all that is, there is yet another piece of bad news people have overlooked:

Federal Budget condemns our wildlife to extinction By Sue Arnold | 8 October 2020, 11:00am | 5 comments | 370 David Littleproud, Sussan Ley and Keith Pitt have once again done little to help save our environment (Screenshots via YouTube)

The 2020 Federal Budget has focused on economic interests and forsaken rebuilding our devastated environment, writes Sue Arnold.

THE COMPLETE FAILURE of the Morrison/Frydenberg Budget to address the catastrophic state of Australia’s environment is well demonstrated by the user guide in the budget paper for agriculture, water and environment portfolio (page 9).

Not one mention of biodiversity.

Three ministers share the agriculture, water and environment portfolio. David Littleproud, deputy leader of the National Party, is responsible for agriculture, drought and emergency management. Sussan Ley is Minister for the Environment and Keith Pitt, Queensland National Party MP, is responsible for resources, water and Northern Australia.

The Commonwealth portfolio responsibilities include the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) and numerous entities which are in conflict with any environmental focus. 

 The National Party has control of primary environmental resources at the national level and in the NSW Government.

Environment is the enemy of Right-wing governments

Environment is the enemy of Right-wing governments

The biggest cause of environmental destruction in our country is the Right-wing ideology shared by conservative politicians and media groups.

This Budget paper should fill every concerned Australian with alarm. Not only is the overview paper an exercise in spin, as evidenced in the list of outcomes, but funding for urgent environmental priorities is ignored.

In fact, the outcomes are focused on economic interests. At a time when scientists have estimated 3 billion animals were lost in the bushfires, logging is out of control in NSW and Victoria, the EPBC Act is about to be further weakened unless the amendments are blocked in the Senate, the Budget paper should be a clarion call for action.

Our besieged wildlife is in desperate need of habitat protection, stronger laws to protect their future survival and a national focus on recovery.

Last month, the Morrison Government rammed the EPBC Act amendment through the House of Representatives, further weakening the legislation described in the Budget paper as:

In 2020–21 we are at a pivotal point in our national environmental protection efforts. Planning is underway to deliver a reform program that revitalises the legislative and policy framework for environment protection. This will ensure ongoing ecologically sustainable development that is both streamlined for businesses and effectively protects the environment.

One has to ask, how do these guys sleep at night?

According to the paper:

Our environment has begun the long journey towards recovery from the Black Summer bushfires. The early positive signs are encouraging, but the recovery of native wildlife and their habitats will require significant effort and long-term planning. We have supported the commitment of funds for the recovery of our biodiversity and ecosystems. We are also working across government to provide support to affected farmers, fishers and foresters, along with rural, regional and urban communities. We are committed to the sustained effort that will be needed to support bushfire- affected areas.

The Coalition, koalas and coal

The Coalition, koalas and coal

Is Barilaro, Berejiklian or Morrison to blame for the annihilation of Australia’s favourite furry marsupial, the cuddly koala?

Exactly where has the environment begun ‘the long journey towards recovery’? And what ‘early positive signs are encouraging’?  

Funds for the recovery of biodiversity and ecosystems consist of promises and meagre allocations of dollars. 

Let’s not forget that Morrison is the same man who was quoted by The Guardian a year ago after his address to the U.N. responding to a speech by Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg:

“I want children growing up in Australia to feel positive about their future and I think it is important we give them that confidence that they will not only have a wonderful country and pristine environment to live in, that they will also have an economy to live in as well.”

According to reports of Morrison’s speech, his focus was confined to ocean management, plastics, waste management and illegal fishing.

In October 2019, 240 conservation scientists signed an open letter warning Morrison that:

‘Australia is amid an extinction crisis. We are documenting the rapid decline in the overall numbers of species and the overall diversity of wildlife across the land, rivers and seas of our country.

Australia’s native species are disappearing at an alarming rate.’

Without doubt, the plight of koalas is a major concern for the public. Given the millions of dollars donated by Australians and overseas celebs, organisations and concerned citizens, the Budget fails to recognise the koalas’ plight.

The 'gas-led recovery' isn't economically or environmentally prudent

The 'gas-led recovery' isn't economically or environmentally prudent

If Scott Morrison ever went back to his old job of promoting tourism and needed to ramp up the travel industry, he would put his money on blimps.

Yet in November 2019, Minister Ley’s office advised the following commitments were made at the Brisbane koala round table:

We have committed $3 million for the protection of koala habitat in South East Queensland and Northern NSW from the Environment Restoration Fund.

Thursday’s meeting was an important chance to identify and prioritise actions resulting from the bushfires.

The workshop considered the ongoing impact of fires and identified priority actions:

  • assessing the needs of wildlife carers and animal hospitals on the immediate front line with state and federal governments reaching out to provide and coordinate further assistance,  identifying suitable release sites for rehabilitated koalas. Governments are already providing funding support;
  • a rapid mapping of the impact on known koala habitat and, importantly, to identify areas where healthy Koala populations remain;
  • identifying the importance of remaining koala habitat and populations as significant environmental assets and developing management strategies for their protection;
  • identifying corridor strategies to link habitat areas along Northern NSW and Southern Queensland;
  • management of koala habitat should address a range of threats including fragmentation, degradation of habitat and the impacts of fire;
  • management could include establishing fire breaks and undertaking controlled burns when safe to do so to reduce the risk of destructive fires. In addition working with rural fire services so they are aware of important koala habitat and can help protect it when they have capacity, recognising that protection of people and property is their priority; and
  • longer term funding can support regeneration of degraded habitat to increase the area available for koalas and improve connectivity between these areas.

IA has not been able to identify any actions taken to prioritise or much less acted upon as a result of the Brisbane koala round table. Earlier this year, $6.9 million was approved for 19 projects by the Federal Government. None of the grants was focused on koalas.

Outcome l in the Budget paper details the forecast performance results in 2019-2020. 

The outcome is defined as:

Conserve, protect and sustainably manage Australia’s biodiversity, ecosystems, environment and heritage through research, information management, supporting natural resource management, establishing and managing Commonwealth protected areas, and reducing and regulating the use of pollutants and hazardous substances, and coordination of climate change adaptation strategy and climate change science activities.

Government eager to reintroduce harmful environmental legislation

Government eager to reintroduce harmful environmental legislation

A bill putting environmental decisions in the hands of state governments known for their destructive behaviour is under consideration.

The objective:

‘ improve the extent, condition and connectivity of Australia’s unique biodiversity and natural resources, including the Great Barrier Reef, through protection of habitats and mitigation of threats to threatened species and ecological communities.’

Under Performance information/criteria the following is stated:

Australia’s biodiversity including priority threatened species, ecological communities, cetaceans and migratory species, and significant heritage places are conserved and protected via targeted investments and collaborative partnerships.

Targets: Program objectives are delivered under the National Landcare Program and other key programs, including improving your local parks and environment program and the Australian heritage Grants Program. 

Outcome? Achieved. 

It’s extremely difficult to understand how the National Landcare Program has any influence on cetaceans.

In the same way that President Trump has downplayed COVID-19, even as he’s now infected, PM Morrison is following the U.S. President’s playbook.

Instead of 210,000 human lives lost, the Australian leader is condemning our wildlife to extinction. The Budget is a national disgrace.

Sue Arnold is an IA columnist and freelance investigative journalist. You can follow Sue on Twitter @koalacrisis.

Related Articles

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License  
---------- This article appeared originally in Independent Australia.

The Federal Budget: seeking ‘return to normal’ or radical reform?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 6:00am in


Blog, Australia

The budget delivered this week by the Federal government aims to get the economy ‘back to normal’. Is this the right goal? What if the old ‘normal’ was deeply flawed, as its political economic critics have long argued?

When the pandemic first hit, the Morrison government talked about its determination to ‘snap back’ as soon as possible. Facing a deep and prolonged recession, we know that was never going to be the case. Yet the rhetoric about ‘return to normal’ remains pervasive. This may be emotionally reassuring but, from a political economic perspective, the goal is both unachievable and inappropriate. Even before the pandemic, the ‘normal’ situation in Australia was economically insecure, socially inequitable and ecologically unsustainable.

What we really need now is a government aiming for a recovery process that takes us towards a more secure, fair and sustainable society. That would require radical reform that is currently conspicuously lacking. If the latest budget policies are the best the government can do – and it has had to jettison its long-standing ‘debt and deficits’ fetish to even get this far – it falls woefully short of what is needed.

It’s not even clear that the recently announced budget is likely to get things ‘back to normal’ anyway. Cutting income tax in a way that mostly benefits people on high incomes probably won’t boost consumer spending much. At a time of such uncertainty, the propensity to save is very strong. So the tax cuts, as well as increasing inequality, are unlikely to generate much economic stimulus. Rather, as Ross Gittins argued in the Sydney Morning Herald, the tax cuts are really aimed at restoring some electoral popularity (at least among the Coalition’s political base) rather than economic recovery.

The very generous business investment allowances announced in the budget and the business tax cuts (from writing down past business losses) are also unlikely to produce a jobs surge. Policies like these are a form of discredited ‘trickle-down economics’, based on the claim that enriching the wealthier segments of society will lead to other people eventually gaining some benefit. The rhetoric is all about encouraging firms to create more jobs, but the reality is that the give-aways have not been made conditional on the businesses actually hiring additional workers. Jobs could actually decline in the medium-term if investment allowances to businesses, particularly big corporations, encourage them to use less-labour intensive forms of technology for their production processes.

Meanwhile, the planned withdrawal of the JobKeeper scheme and the failure to commit to maintain JobSeeker payment above the old NewStart level leaves huge numbers of people facing the prospect of poverty. If this is the ‘new normal’ it has a terribly old-fashioned ring – leave the wellbeing of low and middle-income people to the vagaries of market forces, while providing the relatively wealthy with corporate welfare.

Even the new subsidy to businesses hiring younger workers could have adverse effects for job security. The emphasis will be on jobs for only 20 hours per week. There is no longer term commitment. Older workers may become more likely to lose their jobs and will certainly find it harder to get any new employment. Overall, it’s a case of winners and losers, with little or no net benefit.

Of course, no-one really knows with certainty what the actual effects of the newly announced policies will be. The budget’s underlying economic and public health assumptions are highly questionable, particularly so in these fundamentally uncertain times. So the Treasurer’s spurious claims about policies creating particular numbers of jobs or future levels of government debt and deficits are all, at best, a stab in the dark. Or, as journalist Laura Tingle put it in the Australian Financial Review, a ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ exercise.

The one thing we can be sure about is that the budget is a sadly missed opportunity for a comprehensive public-sector led recovery. A more certain ‘bang for the buck’, as well as much greater social benefit, would come from funding major programs of social housing, publicly-provided affordable child care, public provision of aged care facilities, perhaps high speed rail linking Australia’s eastern cities too. Most importantly, the government should be funding and organising a planned transition to a zero-emissions economy. None of these things has got a guernsey.

The case for a Green New Deal that directly targets our economic, social and ecological priorities has never been greater nor more urgent. Embracing such a policy program would directly link job creation to restructuring the economy for ecological sustainability. Australia could become a global leader rather than a conspicuous laggard in making this transition. Making it a ‘just transition’ would also require embracing policies for labour-reskilling and more egalitarian policies to reverse, not accelerate, the drift towards ever-increasing inequality in our society. Moreover, engagement with the interests and aspirations of First Nations peoples could further deepen the process of long-overdue social recognition and redistribution.

The government may have abandoned its long-standing ‘debt and deficits’ fetish – indeed, it has had to do so, driven by the current economic reality – but its budget for the year ahead shows that it is incapable of embracing what really needs to be done.

The post The Federal Budget: seeking ‘return to normal’ or radical reform? appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

Scotty From Marketing To Send Trump A Pete Evans Light Machine To Aid His Recovery

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/10/2020 - 11:03am in

Australian Prime Minister Scotty from marketing has called celebrity chef Pete Evans to order one of his special light machines to send to American President Donald Trump to help aid his recovery from the Corona Virus.

”I am sure most Australians, well at least those that tune into Sky News, all 75 of us, would join me in wishing President Trump a speedy recovery,” said Prime Minister Scotty. ”I have spared no expense in buying the President the best gift I could find and I will be sending it to him as soon as I can.”

”I want to assure the Australian public that while yes it did cost $15,000 to buy the light machine it won’t affect the budget as I took it from the ABC’s allocated funds.”

When asked why he would be sending the President a machine that has been discredited by the scientific community, the Prime Minister said: ”Pete Evans says it works scientists say it doesn’t, who are we going to believe?”

”Besides, what else could I get the President?”

”I was going to grab him some thoughts and prayers but Hillsong were charging too much for those.”

Mark Williamson


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Port Botany: Point and Counterpoint.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/09/2020 - 9:19pm in

The Point.

Peter van Duyn – formerly General Manager Container Terminals, Patrick Corporation (1989-2000) and currently maritime logistics expert, Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics at Deakin University – purports to explain what the dispute between the Maritime Union of Australia and Patrick Terminals is all about.

That is an admirable purpose, to be sure. And one can wholeheartedly agree with him that cool heads are required.

Unfortunately, having spent 20 years as a boss at Patrick – including the dramatic year 1998 he evidently remembers well – Van Duyn seems only able of seeing the world through boss’ eyes.

In his latest piece for The Conversation Australia, Van Duyn starts by claiming that the union “initially asked for a 6% annual pay increase”. Readers will surely feel that sounds exorbitant, yes? I myself would. Australia is going through a recession, after all. 

Certainly that’s how the Patrick management team feels and how Van Duyn may feel.

But that’s not the whole truth. That union demand is the price asked for the tightened working conditions management demanded. News junkies – like yours truly – may find the term quid pro quo useful here. That 6% increase was the quid pro quo the union asked.

Van Duyn traces the start of the dispute to the quid. He only mentions the quo, the 50 pages of change in working conditions … in passing, towards the end of his article. And then, disappointingly, he gives it no second thought. 

It’s called enterprise bargaining for a reason: quid pro quo.

Nor he gives a second thought to the fact – he also mentions – that Patrick management has lied about medical supplies shortages.

The Counterpoint.


The Maritime Union of Australia will today use a conciliation hearing of the Fair Work Commission to formally offer a peace deal to Patrick that could deliver an immediate end to all industrial action at the company’s container terminals.

The union proposal would see the company’s existing workplace agreement extended for 12 months, maintaining the status quo with existing terms and conditions, while providing a reasonable 2.5 per cent pay rise to wharfies.

By extending the existing agreement for a year, it would prevent any form of protected industrial action from occurring, providing certainty for Patrick, workers, and the Australian community.

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said that while the union rejected Patrick’s outlandish and baseless delay claims, it was acting to address the concerns of the broader Australian community.

The full media release.

Reducing gender inequality and boosting the economy: fiscal policy after COVID-19

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 30/09/2020 - 6:00am in


Blog, Australia, policy


The economic impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis have increased gender inequalities in the Australian labour market. With women over-represented in lower-paid, insecure and casual jobs, and shouldering the majority of unpaid domestic and care labour prior to the pandemic, the crisis has rapidly widened the gap between men and women’s economic security.1 The prolonged economic downturn is expected to deepen this pattern further. Economic stimulus policies that prioritise gender equality will be essential to building a recovery that is inclusive and maximises jobs, productivity and human capital formation.

Labour force survey data covering the immediate impact of the crisis show that women’s employment has been hardest hit, contracting by 7.4 per cent between February and May 2020 compared with 5.6 per cent for men, equating to 457,000 jobs lost by women.2 The female participation rate has also fallen sharply – down 3.5 per cent compared to 2.7 per cent for men. The withdrawal of so many women from the labour market reflects not only the severity of the economic contraction, but also the intensification of women’s domestic workload during the COVID crisis and complex household calculations about women’s labour supply. Current policy settings on the cost of early child- hood education and care (ECEC) are likely to further constrain women’s re-engagement in the labour market during the economic downturn.

Sustained unemployment and withdrawal of women from the Australian labour market will cost the Australian economy billions of dollars in lost productivity and growth, compromising women’s long-term economic security.3 The good news is that governments can use fiscal stimulus as a powerful policy tool to boost women’s employment while also strengthening economic growth.4 The remainder of this paper will highlight two areas of fiscal policy that can deliver a strong, gender-inclusive recovery.

Stimulus investment in social infrastructure

Traditionally, economic stimulus has been focused on large-scale physical infrastructure projects that disproportionately employ men and leave women largely excluded from the immediate benefits of stimulus measures. However, a growing body of literature is pointing to the economic benefits of ‘gender-responsive fiscal measures’.5 New research on the employment gains of investment in social infrastructure, such as education, health and care services, show there are more employment-intensive and gender equitable forms of macro-economic stimulus available to governments during periods of economic crisis.6

A study of seven OECD countries shows that public investment equal to one per cent of GDP in labour intensive care industries generates more total employment, including indirect and induced employment, than investment in construction – especially for women, and almost as much employment for men.7 The economic simulation for the Australian economy shows that:

  • The boost to direct employment from a one per cent GDP investment in care industries is almost five times greater than the direct employment generated in construction;
  • The impact of one per cent GDP investment in care industries on the overall rate of employment (direct, indirect and induced)8 would be twice that of investment in the construction sector;
  • Women stand to gain two-thirds of the new jobs created under the care sector scenario but only one-third of jobs generated if the investment was in construction;
  • Investment in care reduces the gender pay gap whereas investment in the construction sector widens the existing gender employment gap in favour of men.

Other recent analysis reveals the employment and gender equality benefits of stimulus in labour intensive feminised sectors. Comparing a $1 million public investment in education, health and construction, Richardson and Denniss estimate the employment boost from stimulus in male-dominated construction to be minimal (only 1.2 jobs) compared to the female-dominated education (14.9) and health (10.2) sectors.9 Of the jobs created in education and health, the majority are estimated to go to women (10.6 and 7.9 respectively) with only 0.2 of the jobs in construction.10

Employment creation for men is also greater in education and health than in construction. This is not to suggest that stimulus should not be made in construction, only that government should take a more balanced approach to fiscal policy that reflects the contemporary structure of the economy, generates maximum employment outcomes per investment dollar and includes women.11

COVID recovery stimulus in the care, health and education sectors has additional economic benefits: it increases community wellbeing and human capital formation, boosting long term productivity; it frees those with caring responsibilities (mostly women) to engage in paid work by making care services more widely available; and the well-being impact of increased resourcing and jobs in health, education and care ameliorates broad patterns of socio-economic inequality and disadvantage that the pandemic crisis has exposed and increased.12

Subsidised early childhood education and care (ECEC)

Affordable and accessible high quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) is a critical piece of economic infrastructure in normal times, and even more so in the COVID recovery. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, acknowledged the sector’s ‘vital’ economic contribution as essential to ‘running Australia’ when he announced free ECEC as part of the child care relief package in April.13 But by early June, the government announced free ECEC would end, and introduced a transition package that reinstated the Child Care Subsidy (from 13 July 2020) under which many parents pay a gap fee.14 ECEC advocates, providers and researchers are concerned that the return to the previous system is not the most appropriate funding model for an economy with high rates of unemployment.15 Advocates are particularly concerned that if the out-of-pocket cost of ECEC for families facing unemployment or significant economic insecurity remains high, it will be women who forgo employment and retreat to the home to undertake child and other care duties that the pandemic has intensified.16 The slump in female workforce participation in April and May shows the crisis is already having a negative impact on women’s labour supply. The return of out-of-pocket fees for ECEC is likely to increase this trend, particularly given the high effective marginal tax rates that are a structural feature of the interaction between Australia’s ECEC system of subsidies and other family payments.17Results from initial surveys by the sector confirm this possibility and suggest the current structure of ECEC policy will not support a dynamic and gender inclusive economic recovery.18

Public subsidies for ECEC that provide universal access for all Australian children would deliver a triple-win for the Australian economy. First, they would support women’s labour force participation in the recovery period, generating billions of dollars in national wealth and boosting GDP.19 Second, the upswing in demand for ECEC would generate additional jobs in the ECEC sector, the majority of which would be done by women.20 Third, universal access to ECEC will promote the education, well-being and life-chances of all children, especially those from vulnerable households.

The interests of children have been largely missing from the debate about ECEC that the pandemic has sparked. UNICEF reports the number of vulnerable children has increased on account of pandemic-induced unemployment and the impact of the lockdown on health and schooling.21 ECEC can help prevent the long-term impact of this disruption on children’s learning and development outcomes. Stimulus investment in ECEC will pay strong economic dividends and curb intergenerational inequality.22

The conditions of the COVID crisis call for a more systematic review of public funding for ECEC. The pandemic provides government with an opportunity to review and reconstruct public funding for ECEC to deliver long term participation and productivity benefits that will support the recovery and deliver prosperity into the future.23

These gender-responsive fiscal measures do not stand alone. They must be supported by two other essential inputs: women’s inclusion in leadership for recovery planning24 and gendered employment analyses of all recovery policy options, including the impact of fiscal policy on unpaid work. Unpaid work must be included as part of the policy landscape given its massive contribution to economic growth and productivity.25 Failure to do so will distort policy making.

The economic cost of a gender-blind approach to the government’s COVID recovery strategy will be very high in terms of Australia’s economic growth and prosperity. It will compromise the efficiency of our labour markets, constrain productivity, and limit wellbeing while increasing economic insecurity and reducing labour force participation for women. Current fiscal policy settings will discourage women’s labour force participation, but it is not too late to change tack. The economic downturn is expected to be long and deep, leaving government plenty of opportunities to implement gender-responsive fiscal measures: Australia’s prosperity and wellbeing depends upon them doing so.


  1. Cooper, R. and S. Mosseri ‘Pandemic has impacted women most significantly’ June 5, 2020
  2. ABS labour force survey, Cat no. 6202.0 – Labour Force, Australia, May 2020.
  3. Gaps in gender equality pre-COVID have been estimated to cost the Australian economy approximately $225 Billion or 12% GDP, see McKinsey Global Institute, The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in Asia Pacific, April 2018.  More targeted estimates have found that if an additional 6 per cent of women entered the workforce, up to $25 billion would be added to GDP (Grattan Institute, 2012, Game-changers: Economic reform priorities for Australia); and the OECD estimates that closing the gender participation gap by 75 per cent could increase growth in Australian GDP per capita ( OECD, 2012, Closing the Gender Gap: Act Now).
  4. Fabrizio, S, A Fruttero, D Gurara, L Kolovich, V Malta, M M Tavares and N Tchelishvili, 2020, ‘Women in the Labor Force: The Role of Fiscal Policies’, IMF Staff Discussion Note No. 20/03.
  5. Ibid.
  6. See for example, Antonopoulos, R. and K Kijong, 2011. Public job-creation programs: The economic benefits of investing in social care? Case studies in South Africa and the United States, Working Paper, Levy Economics Institute, No. 671; Ilkkaracan, I., Kijong, K., and Kaya, T. 2015. The Impact of Public Investment in Social Care Services on Employment, Gender Equality and Poverty: The Turkish Case. İstanbul Technical University, Women’s Studies Center in Science, Engineering and Technology and Levy Bard Institute.
  7. de Henau, J and S. Himmelweit, 2020, ‘The gendered employment gains of investing in social vs. physical infrastructure: evidence from simulations across seven OECD countries’, IKD Working Paper No. 84 April 2020, The study includes Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the USA.
  8. Direct employment includes employment created in the industry in which investment takes place; indirect employment refers to those jobs created by new demand in that sector; and induced employment includes the employment effects of increased household income generated by the initial investment.
  9. Richardson, D. and R. Denniss, 2020, ‘Gender experiences during the COVID-19 lockdown, The Australia Institute, June 2020.
  10. These results only refer to the direct employment effects of additional spending on each industry and does not include the indirect or ‘second round’ employment effects that can be expected over time.
  11. The Productivity Commission recently acknowledged that failure to include sectors such as healthcare and social assistance, education and training, and public administration and safety from assessments of national economic performance “is increasingly problematic given their increasing significance.”(2019, p5)
  12. Noble, K., P. Hurley and S. Macklin, June 7, 2020, ‘Number of Australia’s vulnerable children is set to double as COVID-19 takes its toll’; Andrew Leigh ‘The poor bear the burden of the coronavirus downturn, but inequality is not inevitable in Australia’
  13. On 2 April 2020, the Australian Government announced the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. Prime Minister, Minister for Education, media release, April 2nd 2020; 9 News, April 2nd
  15. Early Childhood Australia, May 2020, Submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 and The Australian Work + Family Policy Roundtable, June 2020, Submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19; Georgia Dent, 19 June 2020 ‘Dan Tehan: Please note more research showing families cannot afford pre-COVID19 childcare fees’,; June 5 2020 ‘1 in 4 families will face higher out of pocket fees for childcare in July’
  16. Priestly, A., 9 June 2020, ‘As childcare fees are reintroduced in July women’s participation will pay the cost.’; The Parenthood, Media release 1 June 2020,;
  17. Stewart, M. August 2018, ‘Personal income tax cuts and the new Child Care Subsidy: Do they address high effective marginal tax rates on women’s work?’, TTPI – Policy Brief 1/2018,
  18. The Parenthood, Media release 1 June 2020, ibid; F. Hunter ‘Thousands of families could withdraw from childcare if fees reimposed’, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 29th
  19. McKinsey Global Institute, 2018, ibid.
  20. More than 90% of ECEC workers are female.
  21. Noble, K et al, 2020, ibid (footnote 8); UNICEF, April 3 2020, ‘Protecting the most vulnerable children from the impact of coronavirus: An agenda for action’,
  22. Analysis commissioned by the Front Project, and conducted by PwC, showed that every dollar invested in pre-school education returns $2 in national economic benefit to the country, US analysis finds access to high quality ECEC delivers an economic return as high as 13% per year, per child, over a lifetime, see and
  23. Wood, D., K. Griffiths and O. Emslie, April 27, 2020, ‘ Permanently raising the Child Care Subsidy is an economic opportunity too good to miss’
  24. United Nations, 9 April 2020, Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women,; Garikipati, S. and U. Kambhampati, June 3,2020, ‘Leading the Fight Against the Pandemic: Does Gender ‘Really’ Matter?’. Available at SSRN: or
  25. Elson D. 2004, ‘Social Policy and Macroeconomic Performance: Integrating ‘the Economic’ and ‘the Social’’. In: Mkandawire T. (eds) Social Policy in a Development Context. Social Policy in a Development Context. Palgrave Macmillan, London,

Originally published by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA)

The post Reducing gender inequality and boosting the economy: fiscal policy after COVID-19 appeared first on Progress in Political Economy (PPE).

MUA Press Release on Port Botany.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 29/09/2020 - 9:46pm in

In view of the hysterical misinformation Scott Morrison and Christian Porter have been peddling so as to justify their siding with management and against workers in the dispute between the Maritime Union of Australia and Patricks Terminals, I think I can do no better than to present the other side in this story:


False claims that limited, legally-protected industrial action at Patrick’s Port Botany container terminal is causing major shipping delays, including to medical supplies, are nothing more than an attempt to use community fear to force through attacks on workplace rights, according to the Maritime Union of Australia.

The union said that claims that 40 container ships were sitting off the NSW coast waiting to unload was an outright lie, with vessels due to berth at Patrick’s terminal in the coming days all still travelling towards Sydney. The Patrick terminal is currently unloading several vessels, with more due to arrive this week.

The only industrial action that has occurred at the Patrick container terminal in Port Botany has been a single 4 hour-stoppage about four weeks ago, along with bans on working excessive hours.

The full press release.


Morrison today seemed to threaten to send troops to quash the protected industrial action the MUA is taking. 

(A little background may be required here. In Australia, unlike virtually all civilised nations, the right to strike -- among other human rights, like freedom of speech -- is not formally recognized. In its lieu, what is left to workers is the highly qualified "protected industrial action". In a nutshell, during bargaining and only during bargaining a union is legally entitled to launch a protected industrial action. For more details, ACTU factsheet and Fair Work Ombudsman factsheet).

The CEO of Patricks Terminals, Michael Jovicic, interviewed this afternoon by the ABC's Jane Norman, also seemed to threaten wharfies. In his case, the weapon was scabs. 

Norman herself noticed that and asked Jovicic. That's when he apparently realised that threats, when one is trying to sound reasonable, do not look good and so decided to deny it. What he did not notice was that in the background viewers could see containers being moved and vehicles leaving the wharf, which shows that operations were not suspended.


The Fair Work Commission will intervene in the dispute. (Here, as well, a little background is required. Although similarly named, the Fair Work Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman are different organisations, with different functions.)

Lonely Magpie Just Wants A Hug

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 29/09/2020 - 11:21am in


Science, Australia

A sad Shire magpie who simply wants a friend is unable to comprehend why everyone he swoops down on to give a hug to runs away in terror.

“I’m so alone all day on top of this telegraph pole and all I want to do is make a little quality tactile time with another being,” said Miranda magpie Eddie Snapson. “But all I ever get is the cold shoulder and people waving sticks at me.”

Eddie’s social isolation has been compounded by his phobias of ice cream buckets, sunglasses and cable ties.

“I had a really bad experience as a young chick when a whole truckload of Neapolitan ice cream almost ran me down just outside the Raybans factory,” wailed the desperate and dateless Snapson. “I’ve been trying to overcome my shyness by approaching strangers and air kissing them but this only provokes them to wave their arms around.”

Eddie is hoping to have some luck making friends with the postman and that Persian cat that he’s been seeing lurking around the neighbourhood.

Peter Green

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