The winner of the 2019 federal election should defy the national mood of reform fatigue and stare down vested interests to pursue a targeted policy agenda to improve the lives of Australians, according to a new book from the Grattan Institute.
The Commonwealth Orange Book rates Australia’s performance against similar countries and proposes policy reforms to schools and universities, hospitals and housing, roads and railways, cities and regions, budgets and taxes, retirement incomes and climate change.
It includes Grattan Institute’s new ‘International Scorecard’, which shows Australians live longer than most other people, and public debt is relatively low. But our electricity supply is more polluting, less reliable and more expensive than in comparable countries; we lag behind other developed economies on school results; and housing costs and homelessness are relatively high.
The challenge for the next Commonwealth Government is to revive Australia’s proud tradition of enlightened public policy. The next government needs to choose to do less, but deliver more. We can continue to be the lucky country, but we must make our own luck.
Drawing on 10 years of Grattan research and reports, the Orange Book finds Australians’ living standards have stagnated, the pace of economic reform has slowed, people are increasingly anxious about their financial prospects – and our political system is not dealing well with these challenges.