Welfare Dependency; Climate Change; Royal Commission on Union Corruption

The Melbourne Institute survey of Household, Income and Labour (HILDA), released today, is important because it focuses particularly on changes over time and has potential policy implications. Thus, the welcome reduction in the use of welfare from 41.3 to 34.7 per cent of households is being used by some as indicating that welfare policy is already on the right track. But, given that it also shows average incomes in real terms increased by nearly 25 per cent even between 2001 and 2011, it confirms that policy action is needed to further reduce reliance.

In reality, the level of average incomes has reached a point where a much higher proportion of the population is now able to manage without requiring government assistance. This in turn should mean a significantly lower level of taxation.

The Abbott government talks about reducing taxation levels after the next election. But it should be implementing a tough budget now instead of the existing one. This actually provides for a significant increase in the taxation level by 2017-18.

Climate change policies continue to feature, with an expert analysis prepared for ACCI and the BCA showing existing policies on renewables are adding significantly to costs and an article indicating significant support for reducing such policies (they should be scrapped); Labor postulating a (further) change in its policy; and President Obama apparently relying on his ability to see the moon as justifying his belief that the debate over climate change is over!

As to the Royal Cn on union corruption, the first class journo at The Australian covering this (Hedley Thomas) has drawn attention to a new document apparently obtained by The Australian from the Victorian police through the Victorian Supreme Court. This seemingly adds to the mounting weight of evidence reducing, if not eliminating, the credibility of statements made by Gillard.