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Discussion paper

Silencing dissent: non-government organisations and Australian democracy

Non-government organisations are an essential component of a healthy and robust democracy. Recently, however, the legitimacy of NGOs and their contribution to democratic processes has been under attack, and there has been a serious deterioration in relations between the federal government and NGOs. Drawing on...

Citizenship, the Nationals and Adani's uncertain coal mine

The citizenship debacle engulfing the Nationals, and in turn the Coalition government, has as much to do with trust and integrity as it does with the constitution. Being consistent is important in business and in government.


The Western world is in the grip of a consumption binge that is unique in human history, argue Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss. Rates of stress, depression and obesity are up as we wrestle with the emptiness and endless disappointments of the consumer life. The...
Discussion paper

Zero-sum game? The human dimensions of emissions trading

The Rudd Government is at odds with a majority of Australians in prioritising the needs of business in its climate-change policy, according to this paper by The Australia Institute. In order to address climate change adequately, what is needed is an approach that incorporates the...

What a waste – an analysis of household expenditure on food

Australian households are throwing out more than $5 billion worth of food each year, more than Australians spend on digital equipment, and more than it costs to run the Australian Army. In addition to the direct financial costs of this waste, the environmental impact associated...

Something for nothing - unpaid overtime in Australia

The typical full-time employee in Australia works 70 minutes of unpaid overtime a day. This equates to 33 eight-hour days per year, or six and a half standard working weeks. Something for nothing - unpaid overtime in Australia examines the nature, extent and consequences of...

Woolly figures

An analysis of the Treasury's modelling of emissions from sheep and cattle. Agricultural emissions are a significant source of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions yet they will be excluded from the initial stage of the Rudd Government's proposed CPRS, with a view to incorporating them from...
Discussion paper

Reining it in: Executive pay in Australia

The final report from the Productivity Commission into executive remuneration does not recommend any far-reaching changes that will address the excessiveness of executive pay in Australia. However, various policy options are available to rein in executive pay, including: removing the tax concession on capital gains...
Briefing paper

Green jobs: what are they and do we need them?

What are green jobs? What policies can create green jobs? And is the term ‘green jobs’ meaningful in itself or is it just a politically attractive phrase? This paper seeks to answer these questions.