Papers and other publications

Damn lies and statistics: The demonisation of the alcohol industry

Damn lies and statistics: The demonisation of the alcohol industry

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Anti-alcohol campaigners have wildly exaggerated the cost of social damage caused by alcohol to justify punitive taxes and stricter regulation. In fact, the widely circulated claim that alcohol costs the community $36 billion a year appears to have no basis in fact. Such wowsernomics, which are subjective rather than scientific, are no foundation on which to base good public policy. 

In an independent review of the industry (commissioned by the MRC), Cadence Economics has found that claims such as the enormous financial cost to the community are based on rubbery economics and questionable evidence. The review has revealed the temperance lobby has all but ignored the social, economic and health benefits of moderate drinking.

Amongst the review findings are that the alcohol industry contributes an estimated $15.6 billion to the economy (including $2.2 billion in exports), $6.5 billion in taxes and direct or indirect employment for 126,000 Australians.

Constructing a Better Future: Restoring order and competition in the building industry

Constructing a Better Future: Restoring order and competition in the building industry

A productive and efficient construction will be critical to developing new industries, securing foreign investment and economic growth.

Yet productivity in the building industry is poor. Excessive wages and disruptive working practices typically increase the cost of construction by 20 to 35 per cent and, in some cases, even more. Better value for money in construction will help businesses expand, create new jobs and export opportunities.

The report examines a number of major government funded projects, included the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games site, the Majura Parkway project in the ACT and Victoria’s desalination plant. It finds that pattern bargaining agreements struck between contractors and unions are inflating the cost of projects and leading to inefficient work practices.

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OUT SOON: Going, Going, Gonski: Why money won't fix our schools

OUT SOON: Going, Going, Gonski: Why money won't fix our schools

Public schools can – and must – do better. But reducing the argument simply to a question of money has delayed the opportunity to examine other ways of lifting educational achievement.

The report calls for a truce in the sterile debate at the size of funding for schools and calls for the implementation of reform that will improve the quality of spending – and the quality of young lives. 

PUBLICATION AVAILABLE SOON

OUT SOON: Oceans of Opportunity: How labour mobility can help Australia and its neighbours

OUT SOON: Oceans of Opportunity: How labour mobility can help Australia and its neighbours

The report examines ways of freeing up the Pacific labour market in a way that would be of great benefit to Australia and our Pacific neighbours.

PUBLICATION AVAILABLE SOON

Gender and Politics Report 2015

Gender and Politics Report 2015

DOWNLOAD THE MRC GENDER AND POLITICS REPORT 2015

The MRC Gender and Politics Report finds that women are outnumbered by men in both major parties in every parliament in the country. While the Liberal Party achieved early success in increasing the number of women candidates, there has been little progress in correcting the gender imbalance for the last two decades.

In a forward to the report, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the paper demonstrates that the Liberal Party must increase the involvement of women in its organisation and parliamentary ranks.

The report rejects the rigid, top-down quota system adopted by the Labor Party. It calls for Liberal Party divisions to set realistic, incremental targets for female representatives to encourage change from the grass roots up.

The report, co-authored by Nicolle Flint and Nick Cater, was released in Adelaide to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Liberal Party’s Federal Women’s Committee Conference. 

Nicolle Flint is the Chairman of the Rural and Regional Council, Liberal Party of Australia (SA Division). 

Nick Cater is Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre. 

RELATED SPEECHES: 

Sir Robert Menzies - read the original 'WOMEN FOR CANBERRA' speech Sir Robert Menzies made in 1943 below. 

Prime Minister Tony Abbott - read the PM's Federal Women's Committee Conference speech made on 15 August 2015 endorsing the Menzies Research Centre report below. 

Senator Linda Reynolds - read Senator Reynolds' speech at the Federal Women's Committee forum on 16 August 2015 below. 

The Performance of State Labor Governments

The Performance of State Labor Governments published in 2013 analyses the performance of recent state Labor governments drawing upon publicly available data from independent, objective sources.

In this comparison, clear patterns emerge.

Across Australia, state Labor governments have consistently:

  • spent more than they earned
  • imposed higher taxes and charges
  • increased state debt and other liabilities, such as unfunded superannuation
  • increased the number of state public sector employees, especially those in backroom administration, much faster than populations have grown
  • spent revenue windfalls rather than saved them
  • failed to build the infrastructure their citizens and businesses need; and
  • failed to achieve significantly improved health and education outcomes despite spending much more money in these areas.

Coalition governments at both state and federal level have a long history of cleaning up a mess Labor governments have left behind.

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The source documents used in the analysis can be viewed and downloaded here.

State of the Nation: aspects of Australian public policy

State of the Nation: aspects of Australian public policy (edited by Don Markwell, Rachael Thompson, and Julian Leeser), Connor Court, 2013. In this volume, 15 distinguished Australians who are non-partisan experts and senior practitioners in their fields critique policies and performance under the Rudd/Gillard governments since 2007.

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