In responding to the release of the recent Productivity Commission (PC) draft report into paid parental leave, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated: 'This Australian Government believes the time has come to bite the bullet on this and we intend to do so'. He did not however commit to addressing the issue before the 2009 Federal Budget. Despite these comments, in recent months the Rudd Government has begun to suggest that the arrival of the global financial crisis could delay the introduction of a paid parental leave scheme. The argument for delay is based on the slowing rate of economic growth and declining government revenue, which ostensibly make paid parental leave less affordable.
Government and Accountability
Australia could introduce a paid parental leave scheme that pays for itself, creates nearly 9,000 new jobs and boosts the economy. The flow-on effect of paid parental leave on women's participation in the labour market is likely to generate additional GDP of at least $2.5 billion and additional Government revenue of $625 million. This means that the additional Government revenue from more women working will more than pay for the scheme when it matures.
Senator Fielding and the alcopops debacle.
The wisdom of tax cuts.
Freedom of information becomes freer?
Superannuation is the most concessionally-taxed investment in Australia with contributions, fund earnings and payouts all receiving concessional treatment. According to Treasury, the effective marginal tax rate on superannuation savings is highly negative. This paper discusses how superannuation could be reformed to make it more equitable.
The CPRS in its current form is deeply flawed. If the government wants to see the legislation passed, it is going to have to amend its proposal. In order to take advantage of every additional emissions reduction and allow every concerned citizen to make a direct contribution, the government needs to convert its 'cap and trade' scheme to a 'cap and slice' scheme, whereby the number of pollution permits are reduced each year directly in line with the amount of pollution saved by voluntary action.
It is often said that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. But it seems that in the case of Minister Wong's version of emissions trading, the so called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS), there is nothing more pitiful than an idea whose time never actually came. The targets are not based on science, 90 per cent of the permits needed by the biggest polluters are being given away and the price is capped rather than set by the market.
The CPRS is looking more and more like a hotted up second hand car. It sounded good in the advertisement, had all the fancy bits added on and looked really shiny and ready to go. Unfortunately the closer you look at it, the less reliable it gets. It might not be as fancy, but an old fashioned carbon levy would be a much more reliable way of getting from A to B, especially in these troubled economic times.
Does the market have all the answers?
Index of wellbeing.
K Rudd bank.
Newstart and the fiscal stimulus package.
The announcement of a $42 billion stimulus package, which provides thousands of dollars to families earning up to $200,000 and almost nothing to the long-term unemployed, is evidence that the Rudd Government like the Howard Government before it is distinguishing between 'worthy' and 'unworthy' recipients of government assistance.
The arguments for a higher Newstart Allowance or unemployment benefit include the fact that the unemployed have a low propensity to import and to save and are geographically distributed across the country. There is the added virtue of helping to address an increasing problem of horizontal equity, the notion that those in a similar financial position should be treated equally. The different indexation regimes applying to pensions (indexed to wages) and allowances (indexed to prices) increasingly create distortions in the welfare safety net. The single rate of the NSA is now $11,682 per annum compared with the pension rate of $14,615, and the couple rate is $21,070 compared with $24,414.