Excessive inequality does have solutions


Graph: Income growth of the top and 5th decileEconomic inequality in Australia is going from bad to worse, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Bright minds were working to find smart solutions today, at a Roundtable discussion at Parliament House in Canberra hosted by Australia21, The Australia Institute and former Treasurer, Hon Wayne Swan MP.

A new report from The Australia Institute, released as part of the Inequality Roundtable, shows inequality is getting worse in Australia with the income share of the top 10% growing at the expense of everyone else.

Analysis of data from the Australian Tax Office, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the OECD shows the share of income going to the top-end of income earners is growing at the expense of middle and low income earners.

“Measures of inequality show that over the long run, inequality is getting worse,” said Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at The Australia Institute.

“The economic data shows that the public has good reason to be concerned about inequality.

“Over the past 20 years only the top 10% of taxpayers are seeing their share of income rise.

“Unless economic conditions change dramatically, inequality will continue to be a problem. And unless there is policy action, inequality is likely to worsen.”

The Roundtable, co-chaired by Wayne Swan and Australia21 Director Em Prof Bob Douglas, brought together more than 30 leading thinkers, including eminent economists, policy advisers, academics, social scientists and union representatives.

Australia21 Inequality Roundtable June 2018
“The Roundtable focused particularly on what changes are now needed to address the problem of inequality. We hope and expect politicians everywhere will pay serious attention to the report that will result from these expert discussions,” said Professor Douglas.

Matt Grudnoff agreed the issue must be addressed.

“The government and policy makers should be working to reduce inequality. Unfortunately, the government is doing the opposite. It is proposing income tax cuts that undermine the progressive nature of our income tax system.”

“Inequality in Australia is getting worse faster than other developed countries. Our ranking among OECD countries has fallen. Australia used to be below average for inequality, now we’re above average and rising still.

“At a time when the government should be focused on reducing inequality it is instead handing out a large income tax cut that will make inequality worse.”



Read the full report here:



Roundtable Participants: 

Hannah Aulby The Australia Institute, Paul Barratt Australia21, Cameron Clyne Chifley Research Centre, Geoff Davies geophysicist & economics writer, Emma Dawson Per Capita, Richard Denniss The Australia Institute, Senator Richard Di Natale The Australian Greens, Bob Douglas Australia21, Ian Dunlop Australia21, Sharon Friel ANU School of Regulation & Global Governance, Cassandra Goldie Australian Council of Social Services, Matt Grudnoff The Australia Institute, Nicholas Gruen Lateral Economics, Brian Howe Melbourne University & former Deputy PM, Renate Howe historian, Christopher Hoy ANU PhD student, Stephen Koukoulas Market Economics, Craig Latham Office of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Andrew Leigh Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Lauren Levin Financial Counselling Australia, Dee Madigan Campaign Edge, David Morawetz Australia21 & The Australia Institute, Ann Porcino RPR Consulting, David Richardson The Australia Institute, Millie Rooney A24, Robyn Seth Purdie Uniting Care Australia, Paul Smyth Melbourne University, Jonathan Tjandra YoungA21, Roger Wilkins Melbourne Institute, Joe Zabar Catholic Social Services Australia, and representatives of the ACTU.

Government MPs were also invited to attend.




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