Continuing her series of original posts on Australia's employment services system, Dr Simone Casey (@SimoneCasey) explores the implications of outsourced decision-making in social security through the lens of the ParentsNext program. Dr Casey is an affiliate of the RMIT Future Social Services Institute (@FutureSocialAU).
Newstart is in the spotlight with a number of politicians calling for an increase to the support payment. UNSW Canberra Research Fellow Dr Sue Olney explains how Newstart works, how it compares to benefits in other countries and why she believes it needs to be increased.
Is wealth inequality threatening Australia’s egalitarian dream?
RMIT University’s Salvatore Ferraro provides a preview of his and Monica Jurin’s presentation at this year’s Australian Conference of Economists in this article originally published in The Conversation.
Problems with making financial decisions are often presented as individual issues, but Dr Jeremiah Brown (@JeremiahTBrown) of the Brotherhood of St Laurence argues they are often better understood as instance of structural failure. He illustrates with an example of an aged pensioner trying to change energy providers.
The concept of the ‘middle class squeeze’ has been around for more than a decade, with the term dating back to November 2006, when US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi used it to provide context to the domestic agenda of the U.S. Democratic Party. This issue has yet to subside, with a recent report from the OECD noting that middle incomes have grown less than the average in many OECD countries, and in some they have not grown at all. The Mandarin’s David Donaldson explains how this trend affects Australia’s middle class, and outlines OECD’s recommendations for how governments can act to support this shrinking group.
Effective climate change action needs a lot of money. However, in the Pacific it is not just about delivering dollars. Kirsty Anantharajah gives us three key problems with global climate financing approaches, and offers three possible pathways out.
The release of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry earlier this month has not had the intended effect of allaying mistrust in the financial services sector in Australia. Despite the enormity of the report, nearly 1,000 pages with 24 entities and companies referred to civil and criminal proceedings, there is a consensus that the major financial corporations involved in the misconduct remain unscathed. In today’s post, Dr. Jonathon Louth examines the silences in this report, especially as it impacts the lives of Indigenous peoples living in rural and remote Australia. Based on his recent research with Indigenous Australians in the Northern Territory, he recommends expanding community and cultural literacies in the financial sector as one of the counter measures to tackle systematic dispossession and marginalisation of vulnerable populations. This piece was originally published in The Conversation on 6 February 2019
A new research report from the Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) - The Renter's Journey - follows the common and differing rental experiences of the rental market of four key segments (young singles, women over 55, low income families, and migrant families) and makes recommendations to policymakers for change. The report will be launched in Melbourne on 25 February 2019.
In this post, Ben Spies-Butcher explores the potential role of a levy on superannuation to fund aged care. How might this solution address key issues in aged care funding, such as generational equity and gender equity? The original post is from The Conversation.
Unpaid work, part-time and interrupted work, and the gender pay gap are only some of the reasons women are poor in retirement. A lot of the time the reasons are far more complex.
Professor Peter Whiteford examines the Productivity Commission research paper Rising inequality? A stocktake of the evidence released last week and cautions us not to believe the media spin that all Australians are better off. To tackle inequality, he argues, we need both policies that generate economic growth and policies that ensure it’s well spread. This piece was originally published in The Conversation on 31 August 2018.
In this article, Dr. Shelley Bielefeld, Professor Eva Cox, and the Accountable Income Management Network Secretariat critique the Mindaroo Foundation’s report on the Cashless Debit Card (CDC). They cite the ‘cherry picking’ of results to support claims of success, a lack of attention to human rights, and security issues, among other points. Ultimately, they argue that the benefits of the CDC for communities are “negligible to negative” and that the proposed expansion of the trial would further marginalise those purported to benefit from the CDC.
Women face specific challenges when it comes to managing money. They tend to spend more time out of the paid workforce to care for others and this impacts on their ability to generate wealth. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) is aiming to address this issue by normalising conversations about money. Check out these interviews where ASIC’s Laura Higgins chats with five influential and inspirational Australian women about their experiences with money.
This week has seen a significant milestone in the fight against modern slavery as the Modern Slavery Bill was introduced into the Australian parliament. When passed, the law will require companies with an annual turnover of more than $100 million to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and on the actions to address these. Fiona McGaughey (University of Western Australia) and Justine Nolan (UNSW) explain more.
While there is little consensus about the “future of work”, one thing is certain – young people are at the coalface. Young workers experience insufficient opportunities for work experience, a mismatch between work and education, a lack of career management skills and scant entry-level jobs, according to a report from the Foundation for Young Australians. In this post, Shirley Jackson from the University of Melbourne, says we need to stop fixating on increasing the supply of talented young people, and start addressing the lack of demand.
In this post, first published in the Conversation, Professor Peter Whiteford explains the effects of government benefits and taxes on household income, including the impact on income inequality.
What does the 2018-19 Budget mean for society? Is this budget creating the Australia we want? This piece summarises the Centre For Social Impact's response to last week's budget release. The Centre for Social Impact is a collaboration between the University of New South Wales Sydney, the University of Western Australia and Swinburne University of Technology, with the purpose to catalyse social change. According to the Centre's Chief Executive Officer, Professor Kristy Muir, the budget does not do enough to support the most disadvantaged or to address key social issues.
The Victorian Government's new policy aims to distribute more government money to social enterprises and marginalised groups, explains Stephen Easton. Repost from The Mandarin
The Cashless Debit Card Symposium was held at both the University of Melbourne and the Alfred Deakin Institute on Thursday, the 1st of February 2018. The Power to Persuade is running a series of blogs drawn from the presentations made on the day. In this piece, David Tennant of FamilyCare Shepparton and Policy Whisperer Susan Maury (@SusanMaury) of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand assess the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) as a tool for promoting financial inclusion, and find it comes up well short.
The Cashless Debit Card Symposium was held at both the University of Melbourne and the Alfred Deakin Institute on Thursday, the 1st of February 2018. The Power to Persuade is running a series of blogs drawn from the presentations made on the day. In this piece, Katherine Curchin from Australia National University uses a trauma-informed lens to assess the effectiveness of the Cashless Debit Card to address the social issues it was introduced to address.
Finance is changing our lives. Through mortgages and super we now have more debt, and more savings, then ever before. In this article Ben Spies-Butcher explores how financial ways of thinking are changing the way policy makers think and make policy, particularly in relation to HECS.
The Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) is an innovative collaboration that sees organisations across industry, government, not-for-profits and education coming together to improve financial inclusion and resilience across Australia. Here Vinita Godinho and Abigail Powell explain the importance of a program such as this and reveal findings from the evaluation of phase one of the FIAP program.
The ‘gender pay gap’ is a major contributor to conditions that enable and perpetuate domestic and family violence. That women on average earn much less than men increases their vulnerability to financial abuse, makes it difficult for them to leave violent relationships, and leaves them much worse off financially if they do leave. Recent research suggests that it’s the ‘child penalty’ more than anything else that is currently driving the pay gap. ANZSOG Research Fellow Sophie Yates (@MsSophieRae), who is completing a PhD on gender and domestic and family violence, reflects on the importance of changing our expectations about who will take care of children if we want to significantly reduce family violence.
In the new age of big data, firms are gathering comprehensive information about consumers - transaction and consumption data, browsing history, social network, or location data - that is increasingly tipping the scales in the firms' favour. In this post, Lauren Solomon, Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Policy Research Centre, reflects on the need to broaden our understanding of consumer data issues in Australia, beyond establishing a Consumer Data Right and the Review into Open Banking. This piece was originally published in The Mandarin.
Economist Nicholas Gruen looks at problems with various attempts to measure wellbeing and the struggle to get from noble principles to practical outcomes. This is a repost from the Mandarin of a part three of Nicholas Gruen’s essay series about the difficulty of translating policy into outcomes. Read part one, on wellbeing frameworks, and part two on commonsense hacks government could use to bolster Australians’ wellbeing.
The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) is gaining traction in Australia and around the globe. While a UBI has the potential to lift people and communities out of poverty, Michael Fletcher from the Aukland University of Technology warns us that it is not a panacea; government still needs to provide comprehensive services and tailored support. This policy analysis originally appeared on the New Zealand web site Briefing Papers, and can be viewed here.
Is inequality rising or falling? The answer, if recent public debate is anything to go by, may appear at first to depend on who you ask. Peter Whiteford Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University explores in this re-post from the Conversation.
Tanya Corrie of Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand facilitated the recent Good Conversation – Economic Frameworks and Women’s Human Rights. The panel discussion concerned gender equity and the limits of economics in examining public policy and welfare. This is an edited version of Tanya’s introduction to the event.
Collaboration remains the ‘go to’ or ‘gold-star’ strategy as governments, business and community look to connect people, break down silos, cross boundaries, build partnerships and generate collective impact. All of which leads to collaborative advantage. It is likely that this preference will continue well into the future. The allure of collaboration is seen as self-evident: by leveraging the synergies formed from working together, innovation is possible, new knowledge is built, and complex, intractable social and economic problems can be resolved. In addition to these social benefits are the expected cost savings to be had from working in more connected or integrated ways. Robyn Keast*, Michael Charles* and Piotr Modzelewski** discuss the cost of collaboration.