Crikey

Fairness agenda takes a back seat at tax forum

This was the tax forum where the fairness agenda was lost, at least from the government side. This was shown by Wayne Swan’s apparent dismissal of the possibility of funding any welfare payment increases by cuts to the excessive tax concession to the rich

Social and gender equity way down on the tax forum agenda

There will be many men assembling tomorrow in Canberra to discuss the tax system they think we need. There are some women, almost half of the community contingent, but well below in all other categories except the ALP contingent, making maybe 50 out of 187 attendees. The gender imbalance reflects male domination in most top jobs in business and the other organisations that have most of the seats at the forum.

More women in cabinet, but social issues slip agenda

The Julia Gillard’s “focus and firepower to pursue the government’s priorities” do not offer much hope of a political agenda that focuses more on social rather than economic goals. The priorities she has stated clearly are economic growth and jobs. A useful indicator of the way she sees priorities can be gendered reallocated portfolios.

If Labor’s serious about fairness, it should reconsider welfare policies

One of the most obvious inconsistencies in the budget was the government’s claims for an egalitarian redistribution approach while proposing $60 per week income cut for 100,000 sole parents.

Welfare: does buying votes really work?

Will the Labor brand receive a major boost from this budget? This is doubtful as its main claim is based on its expanded cash grants.

Govt should do its own IM when looking for budget cuts

It is budget day, so how will the new Holy Cow surplus drive the political agenda? There will be cuts, but the PM assured us last week that “it will be a Labor budget, driven by Labor values and that means we will be protecting front-line services and looking after those Australians who need our support the most”.

As gap between rich and poor widens, how well-off are we?

The government is crowing about the cut in interest rates, claiming that it shows that its economic policies are paying off. It spruiks the cuts as taking care of the needs of its pet target group, “working families” who are complaining about financial stress. The opposition is making its own noises about cost-of-living pressures in the hope of scaring potential voters to rust on to its parties.

Older workers need some new-age thinking

Why is there discrimination against older workers? The Toyota employees just dismissed might be dismayed to find that unemployment benefit recipients over 45 are seen as too old by far too many bosses.

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Abbott’s nanny state could expose kids to lesser levels of care

Asking for government funding for nannies may expose children to lesser levels of care as well as assisting more affluent women to exploit many less powerful ones. Rather than expanding this type of payment, government should fix the supply and other problems in its child care services that make access hard.

How to continue bad indigenous policy-making

There was little coverage in the general media of the Senate Community Affairs Committee’s report on the Stronger Futures legislation package, tabled on March 14. This is not surprising on one level, as most indigenous policy issues tend to be seen as too hard, unless they lend themselves to shock horror disaster coverage.

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