5 March 2018

Beware what you wish for Sydney

Two decades ago, then NSW premier Bob Carr famously declared that Sydney was “full”. But more people came anyway. House prices rose. Now, opposition to development is rising again. Unless today’s generation of politicians stares down the NIMBYs, Sydney will repeat the mistakes of the past, and housing affordability will get worse.

4 March 2018

From world’s most liveable city to Australia’s most expensive city?

When it comes to making housing affordable, Melbourne has always done it better than Sydney. Sydney’s geography may be spectacular, but it’s bad for building housing. Ocean to the east, mountains to the west, and the Ku-ring-gai national park to the north limit Sydney’s urban sprawl. Whereas Melbourne can build more – and cheaper – housing on abundant greenfield land closer to the city.

12 January 2018

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to housing affordability

The debate over negative gearing illustrates a broader problem ignored by many affordable housing advocates. While negative gearing and a number of other housing tax reforms are definitely worth pursuing, they alone won’t solve our housing affordability crisis.

16 November 2017

Same-sex marriage results crush the idea that Australian voters crave conservatism

Australians have overwhelmingly voted “yes” for same-sex marriage. This means politicians will have to give up relying on the myth that a cultural backlash against the progressive agenda is driving voters to minor parties.

10 October 2017

The implications of ageing for economics and politics

Conventional wisdom tells us that the global population is ageing, governments won’t be able to afford future pension and health care costs, people won’t have enough for their retirement, and governments should encourage people to save more. But in this presentation, Grattan CEO John Daley shows that, at least for Australia, the conventional wisdom is wrong.

26 June 2017

Malcolm Turnbull be warned: the young are coming

The UK election shows that young people can once again be a force in politics. After years of being dismissed as apathetic and disengaged (and treated accordingly), young voters turned out in big numbers. Their very strong split towards Labour played a pivotal role in the surprisingly poor showing of Theresa May’s Conservative government.

16 June 2017

The rise of protest politics – a comment on David Marr’s Quarterly Essay

David Marr’s Quarterly Essay, The White Queen, captures the highlights of Pauline Hanson’s career well, but the focus on Hanson overlooks a much bigger picture – political discontent in Australia’s regions is not new. The challenge to established political parties and the threat of minor parties is a broader issue that will likely continue – whether the One Nation Party implodes again or not.

3 May 2016

Infographic: the size of Australia’s government

These eight charts show where Australia’s federal government spends money, and how this compares to other OECD countries.

16 May 2015

Budget analysis: Future taxpayers will pay the price

This budget is all about the short term. Meanwhile the real work of structural budget repair has been put off for at least another year, which just defers (and increases) the ultimate burden to be met by future taxpayers.

18 August 2014

New rules needed to make election promises more transparent

The Parliamentary Budget Office has done a good job providing public costings of political promises since it was established in 2012. But to be most effective, it needs to be able to release costings earlier in election campaigns.