Sweden eschewed lockdowns. It’s too early to be certain it was wrong

Per Bengtsson/ShutterstockSweden has become something of a cautionary tale for what happens when you attempt to tackle coronavirus without lockdowns. In The Conversation last week The Grattan Institute’s Stephen Duckett and Will Mackey said its freer approach caused almost as much economic damage as a lockdown would have, and many more deaths. It’s a theme taken up in the New York Times and in an upcoming book. Sweden’s...

What Victoria’s abattoir rules mean for the supply and price of meat

With Victoria’s declaration of a state of disaster and imposition of Stage 4 restrictions, many Melburnians have returned to panic buying. Supermarket shelves across the city have been stripped of canned goods, fresh vegetables and meat. The meat buying, at least, makes some sense. After aged care homes, meat-processing facilities have been a major contributor to Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak. Hundreds of coronavirus cases have been linked to about...

Our states are crying poor. They wouldn’t if they charged for rezoning like the ACT

Google MapsThroughout Australia, when land is rezoned from industrial to high-rise residential, a charge is levied to help fund the required infrastructure. In NSW it is called an infrastructure contribution. The NSW government is reviewing it in order to cut “red tape” and “fix the uncertainty”. They are words that ought to set off alarm bells. Queensland tells us how it is likely to play out. A decade...

Australia won’t recover unless Victoria does too. The federal government must step up

The announcement of stage 4 restrictions in Victoria marks a new, and depressing, stage in Australia’s response to COVID-19. The new measures will close non-essential retailers and most child-care centres across Melbourne, and impose stringent controls on industries such as meatworks and construction. The Victorian government estimates the measures will stop a further 250,000 workers from travelling to work. Read more: Melbourne non-essential retailers closed, as Morrison unveils...

Victoria’s child-care shutdown is a hard blow for working mothers

ShutterstockHow do you occupy a child for long enough to get any work done? This will be the question confronting more than 150,000 Melbourne families for at least the next six weeks. The Stage 4 restrictions announced by the Victorian government to contain the city’s COVID-19 outbreak include closing all child-care centres for the first time in the pandemic. Read more: State of disaster called as Melbourne moves...

Creative destruction: the COVID-19 economic crisis is accelerating the demise of fossil fuels

ShutterstockCreative destruction “is the essential fact about capitalism”, wrote the great Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942. New technologies and processes continuously revolutionise the economic structure from within, “incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”. Change happens more quickly and creatively during times of economic disruption. Innovations meeting material and cultural needs accelerate. Structures preventing new, more efficient technologies weaken. As the old economy collapses,...

If you’re thinking of leaving a violent partner, you need a financial plan. This toolkit can help

ShutterstockThe COVID-19 pandemic has driven a surge of calls to domestic violence support services, as survivors of violence spend more time at home with their abusers due to lockdowns and other restrictions. Many feel they can’t leave — or that they must return to abusers — because they lack financial security or are unsure about where to turn for financial assistance. Domestic violence may include physical violence, but...

Post-COVID, there’ll be less of a reason to cut company tax than before

ShutterstockThey’re at it again, pushing lower company tax as a way to resuscitate the economy. The arguments were well ventilated at the time the government pushed for company tax cuts, failed to get support in the Senate, and then abandoned them in favour of personal income tax cuts in the leadup to the last election, declaring “we’re not coming back to the company tax cuts”. The new argument...

Forget a capital gains tax – what New Zealand needs is a tax on inherited wealth

www.shutterstock.comThe world’s wealthiest people will transfer US$15.4 trillion in assets to their heirs in the next decade, according to a recent report. Published by specialist data analysts Wealth-X, the report focused on the richest 0.1% (those with net assets worth over US$5 million), but it’s a similar story for the more modestly wealthy baby boomers. With New Zealand’s average national house price now over $700,000, the heirs of...
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