NEWSFLASH! In October I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as its economics editor.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

Below are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC in recent decades. It's a record for me as much as you.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

We'd be high tax, were it not for the amount of it we pay ourselves

Not better than other countries, not worse. But different

So big is Australia’s middle-class welfare system it turns Australia from a high tax to a low tax nation when government payments and tax benefits are taken into account.

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report released Wednesday in identifies Australia as the third highest taxing of the OECD’s 34 members in terms of the rate facing a one-earner married couple with two children.

In 2010 the rate facing such a couple on the average wage was 20.4 per cent. Only Finland and Denmark charged more at 22 and 23.6 per cent.

But when cash benefits were taken into account the rate facing the Australian couple fell to 6.6 per cent, the tenth lowest in the OECD.

The rate has slid from 17.4 per cent to 6.6 per over the past decade as tax rates have slipped and benefits become more generous...

The benefits identified by the OECD include Australia’s Dependent Spouse Rebate, Baby Bonus, Education Tax Refund, Family Tax Benefit A and B, Parenting Payment, Large Family Supplement, Private Health Insurance Rebate, Low Income Tax Offset, Mature Age Worker Tax Offset, Superannuation Tax Rebate, Newstart, and Pharmaceutical Allowance.

Published in today's SMH and Age



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