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How super hurts the poor and middle income earners

26 March 2015 | Brian Toohey

Suited coin snatchers graphicAlthough the age pension will cost about $49 billion in 2017-18, it is means tested. In contrast, superannuation concessions are heavily biased in favour of high income earners. Both sides of politics pander to the wealthy and the cosseted finance sector, which want certainty that nothing will stand in the way of their super bonanza.

Stepping on to mandatory data retention's slippery slope

24 March 2015 | Fatima Measham

Malcolm Turnbull introduces Bill in Federal ParliamentMandatory data retention was a bad idea when it was originally floated during a Gillard Government inquiry. It is a worse idea now, and is set to become law for political reasons, not because it has been properly scrutinised. There are important questions that we should be asking, and we should not let ourselves be put off from doing this if we don’t know the difference between data and metadata (there is none).

Remote 'lifestyle choices' need careful consideration

12 March 2015 | Myrna Tonkinson

Balgo WAThe PM's cavalier use of the term 'lifestyle choice' is totally inappropriate when referring to the people who will be affected by the proposed closures of remote Aboriginal communities. Undeniably it is expensive to sustain remote living, and effective schooling and health services are unfeasible. But we must avoid arbitrary decision-making, and implicit disparagement of people in remote communities.

Q&A fails smart women

10 March 2015 | Moira Rayner

Annabel Crabb chaired it all really well, but the next day I realised that not only our Foreign Minister, but not one panelist, got one question about their extraordinary achievements. Bishop was managing partner of a big law firm. She has unique experiences and must have views on the world’s problems and their impact on Australia. But nobody asked.

Joe Hockey's crystal ball

05 March 2015 | David James

The 2015 Intergenerational Report is reminiscent of a comment by that great 20th century philosopher and baseball player Yogi Berra: 'It’s tough to make predictions – especially about the future.' Many economic commentators have pointed out, rightly enough, that Treasury cannot even get its one year predictions right. Nevertheless, it is worth looking at how the 40 year forecasts are constructed to see the kind of thinking involved.

Images that empower women

05 March 2015 | Catherine Marshall

Image from Getty Images LeanIn CollectionStudies confirm that sexualised images of slim young women used in advertising and popular culture lead to body dissatisfaction, psychological impairment and eating disorders. A new initiative from the non-profit LeanIn.org is fighting this entrenched culture through a partnership with Getty Images. It has created a photo library depicting females in many sizes, cultures and styles of appearance, but all strong and determined and in-charge.


State elections the biggest opinion poll of all

03 March 2015 | John Warhurst

Mike Baird Election Campaign BadgeThe Victorian state election that ushered out the Napthine Coalition government last November was a wake-up call for the Federal government. The amazing Queensland state defeat for Campbell Newman in late January brought on on the Spill against Tony Abbott. But the NSW election at the end of this month is an ambiguous marker.

Don't keep calm and carry on

23 February 2015 | Tony Kevin

'Panic' signOn Monday, Tony Abbott made his finest speech as prime minister. Yet it was also scare-mongering, heavy handed and intimidatory. It reminded members of the Muslim Community that the Australian Government has the power to control and punish them. It may be a vote winner for a while, but for long term effect it’s worth contrasting it with the British Government’s successful calming messaging during the 1969-97 terror campaign.


What Tony Abbott owes working mothers

05 February 2015 | Catherine Marshall

Working MotherThe rewards of parenthood are immeasurable. But the price that women pay when they become mothers is unjust. This includes lost opportunities, gender wage gaps, and sparse superannuation savings. They really need an efficient and fair maternity leave scheme to support them as they transition from worker to working mother. Tony Abbott's 'signature' policy is now gone, and the 'replacement' families package has a big gap to fill.

Palaszczuk shows Abbott how it's done

02 February 2015 | Moira Rayner

Annastacia PalaszczukQueensland’s new premier is a plain-spoken, modest woman with a ‘foreign’ name. She was triumphant after the self-confident three year reign of Campbell Newman. Tony Abbott also did his bit for the Queensland result, as a man of power who characteristically overreaches and is yet to learn the lesson that the right to rule has to be earned, every day, from the people. 


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