2014 ESSA Q&A recap in tweets

ESSA’s flagship Q&A event once again took place at the architecturally brilliant Deakin Edge, Federation Square and featured some of Australia’s leading economic minds.

The first topic for discussion was university fee deregulation, which Craig Emerson labelled “a budget measure dressed up as a reform”. And with a topic like this it wasn’t long until the discussion got heated. Particularly noteworthy was the debate between Leith van Onselen and Judith Sloan on the ratio of public to private benefits from university education. Some members of the audience even seemed concerned that civil discussion would give way to pugilism:

The discussion briefly ventured away from the topic of university fee deregulation, but questioners soon directed the panel back to it:

After a lengthy and insightful discussion on fee deregulation and economic liberalism in general the panel turned their attention to the issue of youth unemployment, which as pointed out by Joey Moloney has been rising:

In terms of solutions, Patricia Karvelas supported a proper mutual obligations policy:

The discussion then turned to penalty rates with Leith providing an anecdote about his time as an employee of Target and most of the panel besides Craig Emerson openly in favour of the removal of Sunday penalty rates:

Also in discussions on unemployment, NAB Chief Economist Alan Oster, brought up the issue of hysteresis in unemployment. This seemed to delight certain members of the audience given the lack of prominence hysteresis gets in many mainstream macroeconomics textbooks:

Overall, it was a terrific evening full of passionate, interesting and insightful debate and discussion. The #essaqanda hash-tag certainly stimulated discussion, with the panellists themselves even re-tweeting and favouriting tweets by students in the audience. The only downside is that now we have to wait another year until the next ESSA Q&A event.