Economics and finance, Government and governance, Social policy, Arts, culture & society | East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, The Pacific, The World, Australia, Asia

1 March 2019

On Policy Forum Pod this week, we take a look at whether every billionaire is a policy failure, what the immense wealth of some tells us about income inequality, the role of philanthropy, and governments’ duty in ensuring fairness in society.

From Davos to Capitol Hill, there’s been a lot of talk recently about the mega-rich and whether they are paying their fair share in society. But are high taxes the best way to address the disparity between billionaires and the rest of society? Our panel this week – Robert Breunig, Ida Kubiszewski, and Sharon Bessell – take a look at the roles and responsibilities of government and billionaires, tax systems and tax havens, and the impact of income inequality on both society and individuals. Listen here:

You’ll also hear from our presenters Bob Cotton, Julia Ahrens, and Martyn Pearce, who have a look at election campaigning in Australia, Royal Commissions, and the survey this week that revealed the high level of violence against school principals. They also discuss some of the comments, questions, and suggestions you have left us online.

This week’s panel consists of:

Robert Breunig is a Professor at Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, and is also the director of the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute. He conducts research in three main areas: economics of the household; empirical industrial organisation; and statistical and econometric theory.

Ida Kubiszewski is a Senior Lecturer at Crawford School. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Research Professor and Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, Portland State University. She is the managing editor of magazine/journal hybrid Solutions and the managing editor and a co-editor-in-chief of the academic journal Reviews in Ecological Economics. She is also a co-founder and former managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Earth.

Sharon Bessell is the Director of the Children’s Policy Centre at Crawford School, and Editor of Policy Forum’s Poverty: In Focus section.

Our presenters for this week’s podcast are:

Bob Cotton is a Visiting Fellow at Crawford School. He has a strong interest in public policy issues, including Australia’s engagement in the Asia Pacific Region. He is a mentor at the National Security College.

Julia Ahrens is a Communications and Engagement Coordinator at Crawford School and a presenter for Policy Forum Pod. She is also an Associate Researcher at the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels.

Martyn Pearce is a presenter for Policy Forum Pod and the Editor of Policy Forum.

Show notes | The following were referred to in this episode:

Australia’s upcoming federal election

Timeline of George Pell’s offences

Final report from Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Kenneth Hayne’s banking royal commission report

Survey revealing abuse against principal’s

Background paper from royal commission into aged care

2,754 billionaires as of 2017

Oxfam’s report released in January 2019

Panama and paradise papers on tax avoidance

Rutger Bregman’s comments at Davos

Dan Riffle’s calling billionaires a “policy failure”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demands a top marginal tax rate of 70 per cent

Oxfam report revealing that eight of the wealthiest men are as wealthy as the world’s poorest 50 per cent

The Spirit Level, book by Kate Wilkinson and Richard Pickett

Statistics on global income inequality

Roger Wilkins on income inequality in Australia

Economic growth and poverty reduction in Mekong River Delta

Tax Justice Network’s estimates $500 billion in tax avoidance every year

Australian tax deductions

History of Australia’s tax system

Air pollution in China

UK’s welfare state collapsing

UK’s universal credit scheme

PISA scores dropping in Australia

Warren Buffet on stronger estate taxes

Crawford School’s Introduction to the economics of tax policy

Executive Education at Crawford School

Podcast: The policy and politics of refugees and asylum seekers

Policy Forum Pod is available on iTunesSpotifyStitcher, Subscribe on Android or wherever you get your podcasts. We’d love to hear your feedback for this podcast series! Send in your questions, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to You can also Tweet us @APPSPolicyForum or join us on the Facebook group.

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