Census findings to reveal the big questions confronting modern Australia - Op Ed, The New Daily


The New Daily, June 28 2022

In the early years after European settlement, it wasn’t called a ‘Census’, it was called a ‘muster’. At a particular point in time, all the settlers in a community were gathered together in the same location to be counted. Over the years, the process became more formalised, and in 1881, the first simultaneous Census of all Australian colonies was conducted.

It wasn’t until 1911 that the first national Census took place. Field officers travelled by horse, cart and bicycle to collect the forms. All the tabulation was done by hand.

Fast forward eleven decades, and the Census has become a mostly online affair. A generation ago, Census Day was moved from 30 June to the second Tuesday in August, partly to avoid the school holidays. But 10 August 2021 found many Australians under COVID lockdown.

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It's time to make Census of all your answers - Op Ed, The Daily Tele


The Daily Telegraph, June 27 2022

The world’s first census took place in 3800 BCE. The Babylonians counted the number of people, animals, and stocks of valuable foodstuffs, such as butter, honey and wool.

Almost 6000 years later, Australians are about to learn the results of our latest census. Taken in August 2021, at a time when much of the country was in lockdown, the Census provides a snapshot of how the country has changed.

This year, we’ll get a count of the total population, and find out which areas are growing and shrinking. The results will affect Commonwealth grants to states and territories. Census population figures help decide where federal electorates need to be created and abolished.

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Slice off havens to fund more services Australians rely on - Op Ed, The Canberra Times


The Canberra Times, 7 May 2022

Measured by revenue, Walmart is the world's biggest company. Yet a few years ago, financial sleuths discovered that it had $76 billion in assets sitting in more than a dozen tax havens.

The kicker: Walmart had zero stores in those tax havens.

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Scott Morrison’s inertia on Covid vaccines cost Australia dearly - Op Ed, The Australian


The Australian, 6 May 2022

Australians aim high. Whether it’s the quality of our beaches, the speed of our Olympic swimmers, or the talent of our novelists, we like to think that we can be the best of the world. And we often succeed.

Yet a year ago, Australia was doing the very opposite. Of all the advanced countries in the 38-member Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Australia had the lowest rate of full vaccination. This wasn’t a temporary thing. From 12 May 2021 to 26 July 2021, Australia ranked last in the OECD, underperforming countries with significantly lower levels of economic development, such as Mexico, Turkey and Portugal.

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Government should support charities, not silence them - Op Ed, The Australian


The Australian, 18 April 2022

In the late nineteenth century, Alfred Nobel got to read his own obituary. His brother Ludvig had died, and a French newspaper mistakenly published an obituary that had been prepared for Alfred. Nobel might have hoped that it would laud the fact that he had invented dynamite. Instead, it proclaimed ‘the merchant of death is dead’. Nobel, who didn't have a wife or children, suddenly had a preview as to how history was going to remember him. But he had time to change that. In his will, he set up the Nobel Prizes, giving nine tenths of his wealth to establish what are now the most prestigious prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace and economics.

Giving is a great legacy to provide to others. Giving during our lifetimes can also be a source of pleasure. A cross-national survey found that people who donated to charities tend to be happier than others who didn't. Another study found that people who had supported a charity had significantly better blood pressure readings.

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Honey, I shrank the groceries - Op Ed, The New Daily


The New Daily, 2 April 2022

Freddo Frogs were reduced from 15g to 12g – but the price stayed the same. New varieties of Tim Tams mostly have nine biscuits in a pack, not the 11 biscuits you’ll find in the original pack. Many brewers have shrunk the size of their beers down from 375ml to 330ml, while some winemakers are selling 700ml bottles rather than the usual 750ml.

Dubbed ‘shrinkflation’ by US economist Pippa Malmgren, the term refers to a cunning trick that manufacturers like to pull: Selling us less product for the same price. In recent times, Maltesers fun-size bags have dropped in weight from 144g to 132g. Smiths chips have shrunk from 200g to 170g. A tube of Pringles has downsized from 165g to 134g.

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Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny - Book Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, 29 March 2022

The first time I met Bob Hawke in person, he shook my hand and looked directly into my eyes. It felt like the two of us were in a bubble, cordoned off from the rest of the world. Hawke was 70 years old, and eight years out of the prime ministership, but he still had his famous animal magnetism. The only other time I’ve experienced this magic trick was when I shook hands with Bill Clinton.

Troy Bramston’s new biography of Bob Hawke captures the energy and achievements of Australia’s longest-serving Labor prime minister. Raised by parents who often told friends that their son would be prime minister, Hawke made his reputation by winning substantial wage rises for workers. It earned him the admiration of the union movement and the epithet “Mr Inflation” from the conservatives.

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Pro-growth and business - Op Ed, The Australian


The Australian, 1 April 2022

Labor’s credentials on social justice are well known. Ours is, after all, the party that was founded by workers in 1891, and whose achievements include the pension, Medicare and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

But Labor’s economic credentials are also an important part of our story. Trade liberalisation, floating the dollar, and competition reform are enduring achievements of my side of politics. We know that you can’t have a strong labour market without strong companies. Unlike left-wing extremists who criticise economic growth, we’re passionate pro-growth progressives.

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US lesson in why workers need a boost in real wages - Op Ed, The Australian


The Australian, 16 March 2022

They call them “deaths of despair”. In the US, deaths from drug overdoses, suicide and alcoholic liver disease have been rising in the past decade. Well before the pandemic, American life expectancy was going backwards.

There are many causes of this American malaise, but a big one is the fact the economy simply hasn’t been delivering for working people. In the past 50 years, real wages for the typical American man have barely risen. Real incomes for the poorest households have gone backwards.

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Australia's laws must change to contain Putin's dirty money - Op Ed, The Canberra Times


The Canberra Times, 12 March 2022

As advanced democracies tighten sanctions on Vladimir Putin, regulators are looking more closely at how the Russian President made his money. Some sources suggest that he may have $100 billion – others as much as $200 billion. That would put Putin’s wealth higher than the combined annual output of South Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory.

One thing that we can be sure about is that Putin uses tax havens. In 2016, the leak of the Panama Papers revealed a complex web of transactions that Putin and his associates used to hide their assets, including helicopters, planes, a superyacht and a palace on the Black Sea. Tax havens like Panama helped conceal the true owners of these assets.

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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.