Budget 2018: College academics have their say

16 May 2018

From national security to income tax, academics from ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP) have produced a significant body of expert analysis on Australia’s 2018 Budget.

Follow the links below to read their take on the Budget, public policy reform and Australia’s engagement with the region.

The cost of national security

Dr Andrew Carr, Senior Lecturer in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, argued for more debate about the $36 billion allocated to defence in the budget, and for less bipartisanship on defence and security issues more broadly.

Jacinta Carroll, Director of National Security Policy at the National Security College, said the budget sends “all the right signals” regarding Australia’s foreign policy and defence priorities.

Aid in the Pacific & the China factor

Matthew Dorman and Professor Stephen Howes asked “When will we stop cutting aid?” in their piece on the Devpolicy blog. Professor Howes also spoke to ABC about how “the China factor” has accelerated Australia’s efforts in the Pacific.

James Batley, Distinguished Policy Fellow at CAP’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, was surprised be the inclusion of money for a new Australian High Commission in Tuvalu.

Jacinta Carroll told The New York Times the new permanent diplomatic mission is “vital to a strong relationship”.

Politics & policy

Former Liberal Party leader and Honorary Professorial Fellow at the College’s Crawford School of Public Policy, John Hewson AM, told Fairfax the budget will be remembered for its “sins of omission”.

Professor Warwick McKibbin appeared in Xinhua, arguing this budget must focus on outlining a clear long-term vision that raises the standard of living for Australians over time.

Tax reform

Professor Robert Breunig, Director of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, wrote that income tax cuts alone are an irresponsible and piecemeal approach to reform. He also recorded an episode of the Crawford School of Public Policy Podcast on the Australian tax system, which he described as “overly complex, inadequate and…not very resilient”.

Professor Miranda Stewart, also from the ANU Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, said the government’s proposal for a flatter income tax structure would make the system the “least progressive” in Australia’s history, and that it fails to combine this structure with the broader reforms suggested in the 2010 Henry Review.

Social security and welfare

Professor Peter Whiteford from the College’s Crawford School of Public Policy wrote that claims of exploding welfare spending may be overblown, with spending as a percentage of GDP only increasing slightly.

Climate out in the cold

Dr Paul Burke, from the Arndt-Corden Deparment of Economics, said the budget saw a reduction in emissions-reduction spending and questioned the government’s commitment to climate change.

For ongoing analysis of the 2018 Budget and other key issues in Australia and throughout the region, connect with CAP on Facebook and Twitter.

Image credit: Mark Pegrum/Flickr

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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team