I appeared on a panel about a month ago at the Progressive Australia conference in Sydney, organised by the Chifley Research Centre. Although this wasn’t a stand-alone presentation (I was speaking in response to a keynote speech by Patrick Diamond), I thought my slides might be of interest.
After reaching an all-time high of 65.8% in November 2010, the proportion of people aged 15+ who are either in work or actively looking for work has declined sharply, hitting 64.8% in October this year. An important question for policy makers is this: is the participation rate declining because people are being discouraged from looking for work, or is it declining as a natural consequence of the ageing of the population?
Peter Martin has an interesting piece regarding the Commission of Audit in today’s Fairfax papers. He looks back at the 1996 Commission of Audit to draw some lessons for the current Commission. He notes that the 1996 Commission recommended scaling back tax expenditures to businesses and high-income households, reducing politicians’ entitlements, and changing the model of school funding.
This was the front page of our national broadsheet the day after the ALP Government announced a plan to increase the tax on the super contributions of the 128 000 Australians earning over $300 000:
There are two alternative proposals to increase the tax on superannuation contributions.
- The first proposal would raise the tax on superannuation contributions paid by the 128 000 highest-income Australians by 15 percentage points.
- The second would increase the tax on super contributions paid by the 3.6 million lowest-paid workers by 15 percentage points.
Which of these proposals would you describe as ‘class war’?