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12 June 2014


Advance Australia Fair? What to do about inequality in Australia


It's time to talk about inequality. Australia21's latest report - Advance Australia Fair? What to do about growing inequality in Australia - is a 'must read' for anyone who values the fair go and who cares about Australia's future.

Launched by John Hewson AM on 11 June at Parliament House, the report follows a multidisciplinary roundtable convened by Australia21 in January. Our partners were The Australia Institute and the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the ANU. The project was funded by the Reichstein Foundation, the Social Justice Fund and the ACT Government.

Download a free copy of this 70 page document
if you prefer a hard copy go to our website click on our NEW 'Shop' tab and purchase a copy for $20 including postage. 

John Hewson's speech delivered at the launch is well worth a look.

Report in a nutshell
Authors Bob Douglas, Sharon Friel, Richard Denniss and David Morawetz developed five key messages -
  • Inequality is one of the big issues of our time – it is growing rapidly across the globe, and in Australia it is growing more rapidly than anywhere else except the United States
  • It is central to the question of what kind of a society we want to live in.
  • Inequality is bad for everyone – who wants to live in a gated community?
  • Beyond a certain point, inequality is actually inimical to economic growth.
  •  Inequality is a policy choice – we can choose policies that reduce it, and we can choose policies that exacerbate it.
The report identifies 10 ways to 'Advance Australia Fair'.
  1. Promote a national conversation about inequality, its effects and ways of dealing with it
  2. Increase the fairness and adequacy of government revenue raising through taxation reforms
  3. Implement fairer funding reforms for schools
  4. Invest nationally in early childhood development, especially for disadvantaged groups
  5. Set all pensions and benefits no lower than the poverty line and index them to average wages
  6. Establish more job creation programs in priority areas
  7. Develop new models of employee management and cooperative ownership of business
  8. Implement the World Health Organisation recommendations on the social determinants of health
  9. Encourage an inquiry by the Productivity Commission into the impact of inequality on economic efficiency and growth
  10. Establish a national research program to monitor progress and test the impact of interventions aimed at reducing inequality.
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