public policy

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How do we put a price on Olympic Success?

Just admit it: watching a gold medalist, tears streaming down their cheeks, standing on the podium to the sound of “Advance Australia Fair” elicits a feeling of pride in most Australians.

Yet how, might we ask, does one put a price on gold medal glory? What trade offs do we face by allocating millions to our few sporting champions? And what are the opportunity costs involved in subsidising an athlete’s preparation for an event held once every four years?

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Another bird flu – H7N9 and its potential economic effects

Learning of China’s recent cases of ‘bird flu H7N9’ immediately triggers chilling memories of the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003. Originating in southern China, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) infected over 8000 people internationally with an estimated fatality rate of 9.6%. Economically, the outbreak had wide-reaching effects, ranging from an understandable plummet in tourism to the near-desertion of cities’ transport systems, restaurants and stores (pharmacies excepted). With the death toll of H7N9 reaching the twenties at the time of this article’s publication, there are renewed fears of another SARS-type outbreak in China’s densely populated cities.

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Saul Eslake, and the duty of economists to improve public policy debate

Saul Eslake and Associate Professor Neville Norman
Saul Eslake and Associate Professor Neville Norman

What do career advice, public policy and Eddie McGuire have in common? The answer is that they were part of the vast array of fascinating topics covered by Saul Eslake, Chief Economist of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in ESSA’s inaugural Neville Norman Lecture, held on the 16 April at The University of Melbourne.

In his conversation with Associate Professor Norman, Mr Eslake talked about how Economics has helped shape his career, dispensing pearls of wisdom throughout the presentation.

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The Intern Experience – Public Policy Reform, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll

Whilst the reputation for the intern experience is one of fetching coffees for superiors and photocopying a litany of documents, the experience I was fortunate to have at the Grattan Institute over Summer 2012/13 will be one to remain with me for years to come.

Founded in 2008 with financial endowments from the Federal and State governments, BHP Billiton and in kind support from the University of Melbourne, the Grattan Institute has sought to carve out a role as one of Australia’s most significant think tanks, specifically focused on public policy. Since founding, it has released a variety of influential reports on key policy issues with its most notable work released last year concerning the significant reforms that could unleash a new wave of economic growth in Australia.

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Fat Tax: Will it go Belly Up?

In recent years there have been a number of high profile calls for government intervention in the form of taxes or bans to discourage unhealthy diets. These range from Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed soda ban in New York City to Hungary’s Hamburger tax. The Australian Medical Association has even weighed in on the debate and voiced support for similar measures in Australia.

This issue can raise various emotive and ideological arguments pertaining to government and individual rights. However, this article will analyse the proposition of a ‘fat tax’ from an economic perspective.

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What Governments Do, Don’t Do, and Can’t Do

Where the action takes place

When you consider what ‘government policy’ really means, most tend to think of actions made by government on production, distribution, consumption and identity issues, and rightly so. Public policy mainly concerns both the formulation of goals across these many areas of life and implementing ways of achieving these goals (Australian Public Policy, Fenna). 

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‘Black hole’ in the system threatens good public policy, Moran Says: Deakin Policy Forum 2012

By Joan Wu, ESSA Events Director 2012

Terry Moran, former Labour secretaryDuring a speech at the Deakin Policy Forum this week, Terry Moran called for more accountability and transparency in our troubled system of government. Moran, former secretary to Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, was quick to emphasise that it is not the quality of civil service, which is exemplary, but rather the nature of parliamentary democracy in the current system that is to blame.

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