The preoccupation with money and consumption comes at an increasing cost. Many Australians consider that money-hunger conflicts with their deeper values and preferences and results in a society that is too materialistic. There is evidence that many people are deciding to accept lower incomes and consumption levels in order to have more balance in their lives, a phenomenon known as downshifting. This report is the first systematic study of downshifting in Australia.
Analyses the current levels of spending on greenhouse programs by the Australian Government with a view to relating this spending to the task of meeting the Kyoto Protocol target; comparing the levels of spending in Australia with that of other developed countries; discussing the role of spending on renewable energy technology and drawing conclusions on how spending can best help Australia meet the more demanding targets that are likely to be faced beyond 2012.
North Korea since there withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been labelled a ‘rogue State.’ While the US has continued a policy of containment South Korea wants to reopen ties to North Korea through the ‘’Sunshine’’ policy. This piece recommends Australia follows the South Korean example and reengages with, not excludes, North Korea.
A recent Newspoll survey, commissioned by the Institute, reveals that 62 per cent of Australians believe that they cannot afford to buy everything they really need. Taking into consideration the fact that Australia is one of the richest countries in the world and that Australians today have income three times higher than in 1950, it is remarkable that such a high proportion feel that their incomes are inadequate.
Duty free stores in Australia have tax exempt status, on goods such as tobacco and alcohol, goods which the government places high taxes on to create a disincentive. The Australian government also loses over $100 million per annum through duty free stores, disproportionately to the wealthiest 20% who can afford to travel overseas. This piece recommends the abolition and restriction of duty free stores.
High-income earners over $50,000 for individuals and $100, 000 for families pay a Medicare Levy Surcharge of 1 %( $500 and $1000 respectively). High-income earners can be exempted from the surcharge if they have private insurance, insurance companies exploit this and provide policies with annual costs under the respective $500 and $1000. The insurance policies do not stop high-income earners from using public health care, only from paying the surcharge.
The world's scientists have warned that the nations of the world will need to shift to a low-carbon future in order to avoid dangerous changes to the global climate. Even the Federal Environment Minister admits that Australia will need to cut greenhouse gas emission by 60 per cent or more. This report is ground breaking and shows how such a target could be met.