Will the Budget solve our two speed economy?

May 15, 2012

Paul Bastian welcomes the tax on mining profits and the Government’s continued commitment to manufacturing.

It’s no secret that the mining boom has pushed the dollar sky high and caused problems for manufacturers. But Paul Bastian believes the Government is right to be investing in the future and promoting maths and science.

He tells 3Q that innovation in manufacturing is the key to the future and it must be protected at all costs.

TRENDS: Budget 2012 – what would Walter White do?

May 14, 2012

Wayne Swan delivered last week’s Budget from intensive care. Labor’s vital statistics are waning badly. The prognosis looks terminal.

With limited time ahead of him, it’s time for Swan to confront this burning question: what would Walter White do?

Swan might do well to follow the lead of Walter White, the cancer ridden science teacher in US TV series Breaking Bad who uses his limited time to look after his family’s financial future – by becoming a five-star methamphetamine cook.

The latest Essential Report suggests Swan would do well to cook up some winning policies.

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Has the Reserve Bank got it right?

May 8, 2012

Michael O’Connor questions why the national bank took so long to cut rates.

Our economy has had 20 years of growth thanks to our resources boom. But the casualty has been other sectors of the economy, including manufacturing. The CFMEU’s national secretary Michael O’Connor tells 3Q the Reserve Bank waited too long to cut rates and should be cutting more. And he’s not alone in his criticism.

According to him, the Reserve Bank has forgotten its obligation under its Act to maintain full employment in our two-speed economy. And he says mining companies should be more accountable in their engagement with local industry by ensuring access to the huge market for mining services and infrastructure.

Why should Australia increase foreign aid?

May 8, 2012

With Treasurer Wayne Swan reaching deep to produce his promised Budget surplus, foreign aid has become one of the victims.

The Government’s long standing promise to increase aid will happen but it will be delayed for another year. Currently Australia allocates just 0.35 per cent of National Gross Income — or 35c for every $100. The change means that by 2015-16, it will increase to 50c in every dollar. It’s still a long way from the top global donor, Norway, which gives $1.10 out of every $100 of its national income to the world’s poor.

Tim O’Connor from UNICEF tells 3Q Australia rates poorly compared with the rest of the world, ranking 13th out of 23 OECD nations. The delay in increasing funding has been criticised by aid groups and according to UNICEF it will cost lives.

How will the NDIS work?

May 8, 2012

John Della Bosca says funding the NDIS will be less costly than the future expense of disability.

THE Prime Minister’s announcement to fund a National Disability Insurance Scheme has been warmly welcomed – especially by Every Australian Counts who organised the national rallies and has lobbied long and hard.

Its campaign director, John Della Bosca, tells 3Q that people with a disability have been mistreated for years. The plan to institute a Medicare-style scheme a year earlier than recommended by the Productivity Commission is the first step in correcting the inequity.

Read the key points from the inquiry.

He urges all states and territories to sign on to the NDIS.

TRENDS: Who loves a nanny state?

May 7, 2012

Peter Lewis talks us through our love for a nanny state — as long as it doesn’t overstep the mark

The metaphorical nannies are out to control us; to mollycoddle and corrupt us; to intervene and suppress the free spirit in those of us who just want to puff on a ciggie or punt on a pokie or jump off a cliff because the other kids are doing it.

But while collectively we denounce a controlling nanny state, EMC polling shows that most of us actually like a designated grown up. Peter Lewis talks us through the details on 3Q.


Can we make our kids smarter?

May 1, 2012

Pam Cahir talks about the biggest improvements to early childhood education in 25 years.

More Australian babies and toddlers are in childcare than ever before. And they’re there when their brains are laying down the pathways vital for later learning, intelligence and social capability.

Pam Cahir, the CEO from Early Childhood Australia, tells 3Q how new national reforms are ensuring childcare centres provide a nurturing environment that will ultimately have a long-term beneficial effect on the society of the future.

Critics of the Government’s plan say the changes will cost up to $27 a day more in childcare. But Pam Cahir says they are exaggerating the price increases, which she estimates to be closer to $5 a day.

The ECA believes the small price increase is warranted to ensure the long-term goals of the reform agenda are met.

Are we dumbing down our universities?

May 1, 2012

Matt McGowan explains why opening up university places is admirable but will fail unless it is matched with better funding.

This year almost 90 per cent of school leavers who applied to go to university got a place. That’s because the government removed the caps on university enrolments to create more opportunities for those from lower socio-economic groups.

But Matt McGowan from the National Tertiary Education Union tells 3Q that academics are already suffering with the swelling numbers of foreign fee paying students. With this new influx – which brings in much less funding capital – the pressures on the system will be magnified.

He talks about the NTEU’s campaign Invest in Universities calling for a fix to the problem.