CRAWFORD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, 13 NOVEMBER 2018
In 1958, psychologist David Weikart took up the job of being director of special education in Ypsilanti, Michigan. At that time, schools were segregated, and all the African-American students in the town attended one primary school - the Perry School. Weikart noticed that the school was run down. Instead of a playground, it had a field filled with thistles. Many of the African-American students ended up repeating grades, entering special education or leaving school early.
Yet when Weikart gave a presentation to school principals about these problems, users responded defensively. One sat with arms tightly folded; others stood by the window smoking; a few left the room. When he pressed them to act, they said there was nothing they could do. Black students were just born that way. So Weikart came up with an alternative solution: 'Because I couldn't change the schools . . . well, obviously you do it before school.'Read more
BAHASA, BUSINESS EXCHANGES AND MATCH-FIT LEADERSHIP: DEEPENING THE AUSTRALIA-INDONESIA RELATIONSHIP
KEYNOTE ADDRESS, AUSTRALIA-INDONESIA BUSINESS COUNCIL
SURFERS PARADISE, 13 NOVEMBER 2018
Selamat pagi. It’s good to be with you today.
When I was anak kecil, I lived in Indonesia for three years. My father Michael was at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, funded by the Australian Government to work on a special training program designed to improve social science research capacity throughout Indonesian Universities and Islamic Institutes. My mother Barbara was mostly looking after my brother and me, but was beginning the research into the Indonesian education system that would become her PhD thesis, and her studies of traditional Acehnese textiles that would become her book Tangan-Tangan Trampil / The Hands of Time.
It was a pretty extraordinary experience for a child to have. I attended the local Acehnese school, where lessons were conducted in Indonesian. We spent most of the day singing nation-building songs (with a burgeoning local independence movement, the Suharto Government was keen to remind people in Aceh that they were Indonesian first and Acehnese second). Then we played in the muddy playground. As my mother recalls it, the sole white kid in the class was the only one whose white shirt had turned brown by the end of the day.Read more
LIONEL MURPHY LECTURE
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY, 31 OCTOBER 2018
Australia has a competition problem: there is not enough of it. Our industries are concentrated. Our markets show signs of weak competition.
The way Australia’s experts think about competition is partly to blame. Although it has been less influential in Australia than in the United States, the Chicago School’s views on competition have shaped our laws, policies and enforcement practices. The Chicago School views market concentration as a virtue more than a vice. Barriers to entry are surmountable, market power tends to be temporary, most mergers are good, vertical restraints and predatory pricing are either benign or efficient.
These views run counter to those of Lionel Murphy. Murphy saw market concentration as a problem. He saw strong competition laws as necessary to protect the competitive process, protect consumers and support the creation of new businesses. He found the Chicago School’s arguments unconvincing. The growing body of research and experience shows Murphy’s concerns were well-founded. The Chicago School’s faith in the ability of markets to self-correct and deliver competitive outcomes was misplaced.
There is a strong progressive case for repositioning how we think about competition. Focusing more on the competitive process, the structure of markets and the incentives those structures create for firms will play an important role in reducing inequality.Read more
FEDERATION CHAMBER, 24 OCTOBER 2018
National apologies are a point for a country to look at its past through the harsh eye of the present, and to own up to the wrongdoings of current or past generations. We think of the moment when Britain apologised for the killing of protesters on Bloody Sunday, when the United States apologised for its internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, when the Papacy apologised for the persecution of Galileo, when Japan apologised for its treatment of comfort women and, of course, when Australia apologised for the treatment of the stolen generations.
These are not a moment in which the hurt goes away and in which all the harm is suddenly absolved by dint of an apology, but they are crucial moments for a nation to own up to its past and to say, 'We did the wrong thing and we will endeavour to do better in the future.' That's what this House is doing with this apology today to the victims of childhood sexual abuse by institutions.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 17 OCTOBER 2018
I move the second reading amendment circulated in my name:
That all the words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:
"whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:
(1) notes that the Coalition Government has had six Ministers responsible for charities over the last five years; and
(2) expresses its disapproval of the appointment of prominent anti-charity advocate Gary Johns as chair of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission”.
Labor will be supporting this bill in the House. Schedule 1 of the bill makes a number of technical refinements to the income tax law so that the new tax system for managed investment trusts operates as intended. Following recommendations made by the Board of Taxation in its report on the review of tax arrangements applying to managed investment trusts in 2016, the new tax system for attributed, managed investment trusts was enacted. Labor supported that legislation. The new tax system was designed to increase certainty, provide flexibility, reduce compliance costs for managed investment trusts and improve the competitiveness of Australia's fund management industry.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 16 OCTOBER 2018
Fifty years ago today, a young Australian did two extraordinary things. At the Mexico City Olympics, Peter Norman won silver in the 200 metres with a time of 20.06 seconds. In the half century since, no Australian has run faster. It is still our national record. But the best was yet to come. As he walked out to the medal ceremony with Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the two African American runners told him they planned to bow their heads and put their fists in the air in support of human rights.
When Carlos revealed their plans he said, 'I expected to see fear in Norman's eyes, but instead I saw love.' Peter Norman told the two athletes, 'I'll stand with you.' He borrowed an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge and pinned it on his chest. The famous photograph shows Peter Norman standing silently alongside the two athletes giving the Black Power salute. When he returned to Australia, Peter Norman should have been treated as a hero for racial equality, but he wasn't. He wasn't highlighted in the 2000 Sydney Olympics' opening ceremony. When he died in 2006, Smith and Carlos were among his pallbearers.Read more
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 16 OCTOBER 2018
In DC Comics in the 1960s there was a fictional place called htraE which was the home of Bizarro World, a place in which everything was backwards. It feels like we are in Bizarro World today, as we look at a government behaving like an opposition and an opposition behaving like a government.
Over the course of the last five years Labor have been stable under the excellent leadership of Bill Shorten, the member for Maribyrnong, and we have been producing a suite of important economic policies that will take us to the next election as the most policy-focussed opposition in a generation.Read more
FEDERATION CHAMBER, 15 OCTOBER 2018
When Senator Cormann addressed the APSwide Canberra conference last week he laid out his plans to invigorate the Australian Public Service. Like any propagandist, he tried to take control of the situation by taking charge of the words that defined it, but he forgot that Canberrans can read between the lines.
Fairfax Media got the picture, with the headline 'Cuts are good for you, Cormann tells public servants'.
Canberrans are entitled to wonder why Senator Cormann thinks so differently to them when it comes to cuts. After all, cuts hurt, don't they?Read more
FEDERATION CHAMBER, 15 OCTOBER 2018
As a high schooler of the 1980s, I remember repeated taunts about anyone who seemed to be the slightest bit gay or lesbian. The idea of being homosexual was thought of as abhorrent and was used to attack students and teachers alike. It is a mark of how far we've come today that both sides of politics are now united in the view that exemptions allowing religious schools to discriminate against children on the basis of their sexuality should be removed.
I'm enough of a believer in Burkean representative democracy that I don't need polls to tell me what to do, but I still can't help noticing today's Fairfax-Ipsos survey showing that three-quarters of voters oppose laws allowing religious schools to select students and teachers based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or relationship status. That majority also holds among Coalition supporters, Labor voters, Greens voters and One Nation voters.
It is a significant shift for the Prime Minister, who just a few days ago, after the Ruddock review was handed down, was stating that it is existing law and that the coalition was not proposing to change those arrangements.Read more
THE EQUITY-EFFICIENCY TAKEOFF
MELBOURNE INSTITUTE 2018 ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL OUTLOOK CONFERENCE, MELBOURNE
THURSDAY, 11 OCTOBER 2018
I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation on whose lands we meet today and pay my respects to their elders past and present. My thanks to organisers Abigail Payne and Paul Whittaker and their hardworking teams. I also recognize our distinguished session chair David Ribar, my sparring partner Kelly O'Dwyer - she and I go back to our early time in Parliament where we had a double header on Sky News and got to know each other so well that I think we could probably have done each other's speeches if need be - and to thank the many friendly and familiar faces in this room. The Outlook Conference really is a true national institution, bringing together the social sector, the media, economic policy makers, business, the community sector and more. It is to policy wonks what fairy bread is to preschoolers.
I've certainly been attending the Outlook Conference since I was an Australian National University professor and have continued to be back since entering Parliament in 2010, including since becoming Shadow Assistant Treasurer in 2013. Chris Bowen told you this morning that he is the nation's longest serving Shadow Treasurer. I've got this funny coincidence for you: it turns out I'm also the nation's longest serving Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Like Chris, I've enjoyed the role but I could do with a change next year.
We haven't spent the last five years throwing bombs. We've spent this period in Opposition crafting the most comprehensive economic policy that any opposition in a generation has taken to an election. Voters are sick of the insults, they're sick of the hyper partisanship. Whether I go to Townsville or Darwin, whether it's Launceston or Nowra, people want solutions, not slogans. You don't need to be a former Liberal Treasurer to see the failure of the current government to develop an economic narrative. You don't even need to be a former Liberal Treasurer to see it as a bit weird to promise tax changes in 2026. A time when, as Kelly O'Dwyer's former boss puts it, the Coalition are not going to be in government.Read more