Monday, April 13, 2015

Mark Triffitt on the decline of the Welfare lobby's influence in Australia

From The Age article by Mark Triffitt
"Frankly, it  was hard to tell from the agenda – replete with terms such as "efficiency", "low compliance costs" and "a tax system that supports growth, investment and productivity" – if it reflected the sentiments of the welfare lobby, or a merchant banker.
The forum pointed to the real reason for the decline in the welfare lobby's policy clout in recent years – one which has occurred under governments of both political persuasions. This is the lobby's ceding of vital ground in policy debates from the outset. This, in turn, has been the result of a near obsession with partnerships and consensus.
Usually, this is done by employing "marketised" language to talk about social policy, and allowing  the policy agendas to be framed on someone else's terms – usually government and big business. Perhaps this obsession has occurred because, in recent years, governments and big business have become clearer in their expectations that welfare groups which receive government or business support will not bite the hand that feeds them. 
The welfare lobby is now adamant it won't seek consensus if there is none to be had on tax reform. But the potential trap remains this: The government and big business understand in the wake of last year's budget, they are poor garners of the trust needed to gain community support for their reform agendas. They now know they must try to align  themselves with groups that the community is more likely to trust if they are to get their way on budget and tax reform."
He also says "If a rise in the GST rate becomes inevitable to pay for corporate tax cuts, it should demand the rise is tied directly to making sure major corporations pay their fair share of tax."
But More Australians support hike in GST "It appears constant talk from Canberra of the need for a balanced budget has had an effect, with some voters saying they had not previously wanted the GST to rise but they now think it should be done."

No comments: