Follow The Money

40 Episodes
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By: The Australia Institute

The Australia Institute's Follow the Money podcast explains Australia's big economic issues in plain English. We bust myths, dissect politics, interpret econobabble and help you sound really smart at your next dinner party, with host Ebony Bennett.

What costs Australians almost $20,000 every minute?
#134
Last Tuesday at 11:33 PM

In today's episode we take a look at how much Australia spends subsidising the oil, coal ang gas industry every year, with co-authors of a new Australia Institute report, Eliza Littleton and Alia Armistead. The numbers are mind-boggling.Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Eliza Littleton, research economist // @elizalittletonAlia Armistead, graduate researcher // @aliaarmisteadWebsite: australiainstitute.org.auProducer: Jennifer Macey //@jennifermaceyTheme music: Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum with additional music from Blue Dot Sessions


Under pressure
#133
04/22/2021

Tasmania is a unique place. Tassie’s coastal waters have high biodiversity and species found nowhere else, but its marine environment is in a state of decline and increasing pressure from climate change, fishing and aquaculture operations like intensive salmon farming, agricultural run-off. Only 1.1% of Tasmania’s marine waters are fully protected. In this episode, join Eloise Carr, director of the Australia Institute Tasmania as we unpack the role of salmon in the Tassie economy and why it needs a Parliamentary inquiry.Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Eloise Carr, dire...


Why we should pause approvals of new coal mines
#132
04/15/2021

Why are new coal mines like melting ice cream? In today's episode, Richard Denniss explains the economics of coal, why Malcolm Turnbull has been in trouble with the Liberals and the National party and why we need to pause approvals of new coal mines. Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Richard Denniss, chief economist, The Australia Institute // @RDNS_TAIProducer: Jennifer Macey //@jennifermaceyTheme music: Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum with additional music from Blue Dot Sessions


The security of the national electricity grid
#131
03/30/2021

For the national electricity grid to function securely it needs control systems that keep frequency and voltage within safe limits. Historically this service has mainly been provided by coal, gas and hydro power stations. But could we get the same security from renewables and batteries? In this episode we’re doing a deep dive into making sure the lights stay on with the Australia Institute’s energy lead, Dan Cass.
Host: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Dan Cass // @danjcassThe Australia Institute // @theausinstituteWebsite:australiainstitute.org.auProd...


What women want
#130
03/23/2021

When it comes to addressing the systemic issues which are impacting Australian women’s everyday lives, it often feels like the problems are big and impossible to tackle. In today's episode, Australia Institute research economist Eliza Littleton outlines 8 practical things that Prime Minister Scott Morrison could do right now to remove barriers to women's equality and to put some actions behind his rhetoric.
Host: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Eliza Littleton, research economist // @elizalittletonThe Australia Institute // @theausinstituteWebsite:australiainstitute.org.auProducer: Jennifer Macey //@jennifermacey...


Electric Dreams
#129
03/20/2021


Australia has no policy to incentivise electric vehicle uptake, are we destined to become a dumping ground for gas guzzlers? This week we talk to Richie Merzian and Audrey Quicke about what how Australia can electrify its transport sector, quick smart.Host: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Richie Merzian, director Climate & Energy program // @richiemerzianAudrey Quicke, climate researcherThe Australia Institute // @theausinstituteWebsite:australiainstitute.org.aufuturework.org.auProducer: Jennifer Macey //@jennifermaceyTheme Music: Pulse and Thrum; additional music by Blue Dot Sessions


The gender pay gulf
#128
03/10/2021

A year on from the recession, how are Australian women faring economically? Pretty poorly actually. This week we speak to Alison Pennington, senior economist from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute about how women have disproportionately lost their jobs, returned to crappier jobs and why the gender pay gap actually widened over the last year, despite what you may have heard otherwise.Host: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Alison Pennington, senior economist at the Australia Institute // @ak_penningtonThe Australia Institute // @theausinstituteCentre for Future Work // @cntrfutureworkWebsite:<...


The crisis in aged care and why we need to talk about revenue
#127
03/04/2021

The findings of the Aged Care Royal Commission are shocking but not surprising. Among the recommendations is the call for an effective 1% increase in the Medicare levy, or a new Medicare-style Aged Care levy which could be applied progressively based on income, to create the revenue required to fund an aged care system with dignity at its centre. This week we talk to senior economist Matt Grudnoff about where all the revenue has gone, why privatising keeps failing and why the Parliament should sieze this opportunity to change the conversation on tax. This was recorded on Tuesday, 2 March 2021 and things...


The Facebook News Blackout and the News Media Bargaining Code
#126
02/23/2021

When Facebook banned Australian news and information from its platform -- as well as the pages of many charities, community groups and government departments -- in an attempt to avoid regulation, it may have been the first time many Australians had heard of the news media bargaining code. So in this week's episode we unpack what the code is, what it does, why it's neccesary and what happens next with Director of the Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology, Peter Lewis. This was recorded on Tuesday 23 February 2021 and things may have changed since recording.
Host: Ebony Bennett...


The use and abuse of economic modelling
#125
02/17/2021

In its efforts to avoid regulation, Google commissioned economic modelling showing that Google providing tens of billions of dollars in benefits to Australia - but the figures quickly fell apart on closer inspection from the Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology. In this episode, chief economist Richard Denniss talks us through some of the assumptions in Google's modelling, how other industries have used and abused this tool and why Google hates the news media bargaining code. The Australia Institute // @theausinstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Richard Denniss, Chief Economist...


The rise of right wing extremism
#124
02/10/2021

The rise of right-wing extremism is happening all around us, yet it does not dominate Australia’s national security discourse in the way “Islamic extremism” did in the years after 9/11.The Australia Institute spoke to counter-terrorism expert Dr Anne Aly MP, to help us unpack the nature of the problem and if we're doing enough to combat it. This was recorded live on Wednesday 10 February 2021, as part of the Australia Institute's webinar series.The Australia Institute // @theausinstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Dr Anne Aly MPRichard Denniss, Chief Economist The Australia Institute // @RDNS_T...


Summer special: Friends, Allies and Enemies with Karen Middleton & Jonathan Pearlman
#123
01/29/2021

In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, host Ebony Bennett talks to Karen Middleton, Jonathan Pearlman and Allan Behm about the tenth issue of Australian Foreign Affairs which examines the alliances, blocs and rivalries emerging across the Asia-Pacific as nations adjust to the changing balance of power. Friends, Allies and Enemies considers Australia’s diplomatic options as loyalties shift in an increasingly turbulent region.The full webinar is available on the Australia Institute’s YouTube channel here, recorded live on Nov 13, 2020.Host: Ebo...


Summer special: How Childcare Reforms Could Help Power the Economic Recovery with Jay Weatherill and Kate Carnell
#122
01/27/2021

In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, host Ebony Bennett talks to Jay Weatherill, Kate Carnell and Richard Denniss about how an affordable, accessible early learning system could help power Australia's economic recovery.The full webinar is available on the Australia Institute’s YouTube channel here.Host: Ebony Bennett // @ebony_bennettGuests:Jay Weatherill, CEO of Thrive by Five, Minderoo Foundation // @JayWeatherillKate Carnell, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman // @KateCarnellAusRichard Denniss, chief economist, The Australia Institute // @RDNS_TAIPr...


Summer special: The crisis in Aged Care with Ged Kearney
#121
01/25/2021

In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, host Ebony Bennett talks to Ged Kearney MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Skills and the Shadow Assistant Minister for Aged Care, Beris Campbell, Board member of Homeshare and Ruth Kestermann, CEO of Holdsworth Community Sydney for a discussion on Australia's critical but badly neglected aged care sector and how we can help older Australians to age well, preferably at home.The full webinar is available on the Australia Institute’s YouTube channel here.Host: Ebon...


Summer special: What we learned about Australia from Wikileaks with Jennifer Robinson and Peter Cronau
#120
01/22/2021

In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, Ebony Bennett talks to barrister and member of Julian Assange’s legal team Jennifer Robinson, as well as investigative journalist Peter Cronau about what Wikileaks revealed about Australia and the new book A Secret Australia, from Monash University Publishing, edited by Felicity Ruby and Peter Cronau.The full webinar is available on the Australia Institute’s YouTube channel here.Host: Ebony Bennett // @ebony_bennettGuests:Jennifer Robinson // @suigenerisjenPeter Cronau, investigate journalist, co-editor of the...


Summer special: Climate of the Nation with Matt Kean
#119
01/20/2021

In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program director at the Australia Institute speakers with Matt Kean, NSW Minister for Energy and the Environment to launch the Australia Institute’s Climate of the Nation 2020 report, the longest continuous survey of community attitudes towards climate change in Australia.The full webinar is available on the Australia Institute’s YouTube channel here, this was recorded live on Oct 28, 2020.Host: Noah Schultz Byard // @noah_sbyardGuests:The Hon Ma...


Summer special: The End of Certainty with Katharine Murphy
#118
01/18/2021

In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, Ben Oquist talks to The Guardian’s chief political correspondent Katharine Murphy about her Quarterly Essay: The End of Uncertainty and what the pandemic revealed about Australia, and about Scott Morrison and his government.The full webinar is available on the Australia Institute’s YouTube channel here, this was recorded live on Sep 23, 2020.Host: Ebony Bennett // @ebony_bennettGuests:Katharine Murphy, political editor, The Guardian // @murpharooBen Oquist, executive director, The Australia Institute // @benoqu...


Summer special: The High Road with Laura Tingle
#117
01/14/2021

In our summer special series, we bring you some of our favourite guests from the Australia Institute’s webinar series in 2020. In this episode, Ben Oquist talks to ABC 730’s chief political correspondent Laura Tingle about her new Quarterly Essay: The High Road – what we can learn from New Zealand. Hosted by Alex Sloan.The full webinar is available on the Australia Institute’s YouTube channel here.Host: Alex Sloan // @sloaniealexGuests:Laura Tingle, chief political correspondent, ABC 730 // @latingleBen Oquist, executive director, The Australia Institute // @benoquistProducer: Jennifer Macey // @jennifermaceyTheme music is by Jonathan McFeat f...


An unprecedented year: reflecting on 2020 with Richard Denniss
#115
12/09/2020

Let's face it, 2020 has been a bit of a nightmare. This week, in our final episode of the year, Ebony Bennett and Richard Denniss revisit some of the Australia Institute's predictions back in March 2020 and reflect on the way Australia's economy and politics have changed this year in response to the pandemic. Mild language warning.Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest:Richard Denniss, chief economist, The Australia Institute // @RDNS_TAIProducer: Jennifer MaceyTheme music is by Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum


Why tax electric vehicles but not heavy trucks? Politics
#114
11/25/2020

The SA and VIC governments have announced a new electric vehicle tax - in other words, a great big new tax on clean air. In today's episode we explain why this EV tax is terrible idea and unpack some of the arguments for and against it.
Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests:Tim Washington, Chair EV Council // @EVTimOzRichard Denniss, chief economist, The Australia Institute // @RDNS_TAIRichie Merzian, director, Climate & Energy Program // @RichieMerzianAudrey Quicke, researcher, Climate & Energy Program Producer: Jennifer MaceyTheme music is by Jonathan McFeat...


The myth of Australia's gas supply shortage
#113
11/17/2020

The 'gas-fired recovery' is supposed to help Australia's manufacturing industry by freeing up new supply. But the Australia Institute's research shows the days of cheap gas are over.www.tai.org.auHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests:Mark Ogge, Principal Advisor // @MarkOggeProducer: Jennifer Macey Theme music is by Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum


The US Election result and what it means for Australia
#112
11/12/2020

In this episode we unpack what a Biden Administration means for climate and foreign policy in Australia, with Richie Merzian and Allan Behm. Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Richie Merzian, director Climate & Energy Program // @richiemerzianAllan Behm, director International & Security Affairs program // @mirandaprorsusProducer: Jennifer MaceyTheme music is by Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum


Digital Giants, Market Power and Media Diversity
#111
10/27/2020

Australia's news media is one of the most highly concentrated in the world. Since 2019, more than 157 newsrooms have closed in Australia and many local, community and rural newspapers have ceased printing or gone digital only. It was in this climate that in 2018 the federal government tasked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to undertake a digital platforms inquiry to measure the impact of the major digital platforms Google and Facebook on Australian news businesses. The ACCC recommended a mandatory media bargaining code for digital platforms to ensure that Australian news organisations are paid for original journalistic content which is shared...


What can we learn from the ACT election?
#110
10/21/2020

The ACT is the home of progressive politics in Australia, leading the nation on climate policy, tax reform and truth in political advertising (among other things). In this episode we explore the broader implications of the ACT election results - which saw a swing to the Greens, a swing against the Liberals and the Labor government re-elected for an historic sixth term, along with why leaders like NZ PM Jacinda Ardern might pursue cooperative government, rather than majority government.Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuest: Ben Oquist, executive director of...


The Most Secretive Budget Ever
#109
10/13/2020

In this episode we explain what 'not for publication' (or 'nfp') means and why it appears so often in the Budget papers, with Australia Institute research director Rod Campbell.www.tai.org.auHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests:Rod Campbell // @R_o_d_CProducer: Jennifer MaceyTheme music is by Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum


What you need to know about the federal budget
#108
10/07/2020

The federal budget forked out billions in spending -- mostly on business tax write-offs and income tax cuts for high income earners -- but it was poorly targeted if the intention is to create jobs and lower the unemployment rate. In his episode economists Matt Grudnoff and Alison Pennington unpack what you need to know about debt and deficit, income tax cuts, JobMaker, JobBuilder, JobKeeper, manufacturing, infrastructure and how women and young people will miss out. avoidance and why it's damaging to the community with our chief economist Richard Denniss.The Australia Institute // @theAUSInstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy...


Tax avoidance and why we can't have nice things
#107
10/01/2020

President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax the year he was elected and in many years paid absolutely no income tax at all - and he's not the only millionaire to avoid paying tax altogether. So this week we're talking tax avoidance and why it's damaging to the community with our chief economist Richard Denniss. The Australia Institute // @theAUSInstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Richard Dennis, chief economist at the Australia Institute // @RDNS_TAIProducer: Jennifer MaceyTheme music: Pulse and Thrum


Weapons of gas destruction
#1
09/23/2020

Gas is promoted as a transitional fuel, but in this episode we explore just how polluting gas really is with Richie Merzian and Tom Swann from the Australia Institute's Climate & Energy program. The Australia Institute // @theAUSInstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Director at the Australia Institute // @RichieMerzianTom Swann, senior researcher at the Australia Institute // @tom_swannProducer: Jennifer MaceyTheme music: Pulse and Thrum


Why bringing income tax cuts forward is a bad idea during Australia's first recession in 30 years
#106
09/15/2020

The government has indicated it might bring forward income tax cuts in next month's budget, but as our senior economist Matt Grudnoff explains in this episode, income tax cuts for high income earners won't be effective at stimuluating the economic. The Australia Institute // @theausinstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Matt Grudnoff, senior economist at the Australia Institute // @MattGrudnoffProducer: Jennifer MaceyTheme music: Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum.


A Plan for Planet A
#105
09/10/2020

Fight for Planet A is the newest TV series from Craig Reucassel, a three-part documentary exploring the challenges of climate change, where our energy comes from, the health effects of transport and the carbon footprint of what we eat. It offers practical solutions for people to implement at home but as Craig points out, action on climate change by householders is not enough. Governments and big corporate giants also have to do their bit. But the picture looks grim. Australia is among the world's top 20 polluters and when you factor in emissions from coal and gas exports that are shipped...


East Timor, Oil and Secret Prosecutions
#104
09/08/2020

For over eighty years, Australia and East Timor have been joined together, mostly in conflict and struggle. The latest conflict is playing out in a secret court case and involves Australian lawyer Bernard Collaery and a former ASIS officer turned whistleblower Witness K. Both have been accused of communicating protected intelligence information after disclosing an Australian bugging operation carried out in the government offices of Timor Leste in 2004. After an ACT Supreme Court ruling, significant parts of the trial against Collaery will be held in secret, which legal experts warn as the "gravest threats to freedom of expression". New Australia...


Effective diplomacy and getting Australia's relationship with China back on track
#103
09/02/2020

Australia's relationship with China has been turbulent of late, so this week we speak to Allan Behm, head of the Australia Institute's International and Security Affairs Program about what we really want out of our relationship with China and how we can get it back on track. Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Allan Behm, head of the Australia Institute's International and Security Affairs Program // @MirandaprorsusProducer: Jennifer Macey Theme music is by Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum


Electrifying our Roads - Norway's Way
#102
08/27/2020

There are so many reasons for Australia to transition to electric vehicles, but despite warnings that Australia could be left behind without stronger policy direction regarding EVs, little progress has been made. In contrast, Norway is a world leader in EV policy.Recorded live on 20 August as part of the Australia Institute's Economics of a Pandemic webinar series.The Australia Institute // @theAUSInstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, Deputy Director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Christina Bu, Head of Norway's EV association // @ChristinaBu_Giles Parkinson, Founder/Editor of @Renew_Economy & @TheDriven_io // @GilesParkinsonRichie Merzian, Climate &...


How Neoliberalism is Spreading Covid-19
#101
08/26/2020

In this episode we talk to Dr Richard Denniss about the role of neoliberalism in spreading Covid-19 and how decades of privatisations, outsourcing and cuts to government spending have left Australia vulnerable during this pandemic. The Australia Institute // @theAUSInstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Richard Dennis, chief economist at the Australia Institute // @RDNS_TAIProducer: Jennifer Macey, with additional editing by Grace Crivellaro, Holly Forrest and Lucy LuoTheme music: Pulse and Thrum


Our 100th episode
#100
08/21/2020

In this, our 100th episode of Follow the Money, we celebrate with a special look back at some of our special guests, some of our favourite highlights, worst jokes and some of the interesting topics we've covered in the past 99 episodes. Our heartfelt thanks to all our listeners - we're looking forward to the next 100 episodes!The Australia Institute // @theAUSInstituteHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Richard Dennis, chief economist at the Australia Institute // @RDNS_TAIProducer: Jennifer Macey, with additional editing by Grace Crivellaro, Holly Forrest and...


The View From ICU
#99
08/21/2020

One of the main goals of public health around the world has been to prevent the number of severe cases from overwhelming the hospitals and the health system. We know that severe cases of Covid require intensive care and respirators, but as a novel virus with no vaccine or treatments, clinicians are learning on the job how best to treat it.
We are joined by three experienced ICU clinicians who are part of the COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium Study -- the first study of its kind in the world.Professor John Fraser, Director of the Critical Care Research Group...


Backfire part 2: why a "gas fired recovery" would increase emissions and energy costs and squander Australia's COVID-19 recovery spending
#98
08/18/2020

In this second of our two-part episode on gas, we explore the flaws in the cost benefit analysis of the Santos' Narrabri gas project in NSW and why it doesn't stack up economically, environmentally or to create jobs, with Rod Campbell, research director at the Australia Institute.www.tai.org.auHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests:Rod Campbell // @R_o_d_CProducer: Jennifer Macey with help from Holly ForrestTheme music is by Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum


Why TAFE is critical to economic recovery
#97
08/17/2020

The Morrison government has said it will increase investment in skills and training if the states and territories sign up to an overhaul of the Vocational Education and Training sector. ACTU President Michele O'Neil, Correna Haythorpe, federal president of the AEU and Alison Pennington, senior economist at the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute on why the TAFE system has been in turmoil for some time, the role it plays in the economy and how we can fix it. Part of the Australia Institute's Economics of a Pandemic webinar series.The Australia Institute // @theAUSInstituteHost: Ebony...


United in a Global Crisis with UN Chief Economist Elliott Harris
#96
08/12/2020

In this episode UN chief economist Elliott Harris talks about why it's risky to withdraw fiscal stimulus too soon and why a clean green recovery makes sense for the long term, in conversation with Richie Merzian, director of the Australia Institute's Climate & Energy Program. Part of the Australia Institute's Economics of a Pandemic webinar series.Host: Ebony Bennett, deputy director at the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests: Richie Merzian // @RichieMerzianElliott Harris Producer: Jennifer Macey,Theme music: Pulse and Thrum


Backfire part 1: why a "gas fired recovery" would increase emissions and energy costs and squander Australia's COVID-19 recovery spending
#95
08/12/2020

In this first of a two-part episode on gas, we explore why subsidising the gas industry is a poor option for economic recovery and explore the issues related to Santos' Narrabri gas project in NSW with Mark Ogge, Principal Advisor at the Australia Institute.www.tai.org.auHost: Ebony Bennett, deputy director of the Australia Institute // @ebony_bennettGuests:Mark Ogge // @MarkOggeProducer: Jennifer Macey with help from Grace Crivellaro and Holly ForrestTheme music is by Jonathan McFeat from Pulse and Thrum