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ANU EXPERTS: 2017/18 Federal Budget

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison will unveil the second Turnbull Government budget on 9 May.

The Australian National University (ANU) has experts available to speak about the budget and its implications for Australia.

They can be contacted directly, or through the media hotline on 02 6125 7979.


Professor Rory Medcalf
Head of National Security College
Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 02 6125 7507  
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Security, defence and foreign policy

“A key national security angle to watch for is how faithfully the Government adheres to its promise of a pathway to spending two per cent of GDP on Defence. This is a commitment from last year’s defence White Paper but Government will need to substantially increase defence spending each year to live up to this undertaking. Amid current global uncertainty it will be important for Australia to sustain or increase its spending on intelligence capabilities.”

Associate Professor Stephan Frühling
ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre
T: +61 2 6125 5987
M: +61 431 866 920
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Australian defence policy, nuclear weapons and missile defence, NATO

“In the 2016 Defence White Paper, the Turnbull Government set out a very detailed multi-year spending plan for the Defence budget. With an ambitious national shipbuilding program and a range of approvals of capability projects arising from the White Paper in the pipeline, Defence can little afford slippage from that growth trajectory.”


Professor Bruce Chapman
Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 02 6125 4050
M: 0424 589 728
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Higher education funding


Professor John Hewson
Chair, Tax and Transfer Policy Institute
Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
T: 0412 261 463
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Australian politics, economics
“While Budgets have become very political documents they can still have very significant economic and social impacts. This budget is very important being delivered at a time of almost unprecedented uncertainty and unpredictability, carrying very significant risks for our economy.

“Globally, policy authorities have very limited capacity to respond to shocks, with no historical experience on which to draw. Risks are both economic and geo-political at a time where we have a flat economy, slowing, and facing a host of structural challenges.

“It is no time to ‘assume’ budget repair as has been done since the GFC. Budget numbers will be scrutinised for both substance and a deliverable path to surplus.”

Emeritus Professor Bob Gregory
ANU Research School of Economics
T: 02 612 52192
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Economics, unemployment, wage inequality, international comparison of wages and employment, welfare reform and the labour market

“You can’t do tax reform one at a time, because every time you do them one at a time you rule them out. If you look at the GST, that got ruled out. If you say you want to do something about mining taxes, the mining sector rolls you.

“They need to do a big tax summit, where all the taxes are on the table, and move forward that way. Unless that happens, we’ll just muddle on in the way I’ve described, with budget’s projections showing personal income taxes rising to Costello-era levels.”

Professor Warwick J. McKibbin, AO
Director, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis
Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 02 6125 0301
M: 0419 230 760
E: [email protected]
Expertise: The global economy, monetary policy, fiscal policy, climate change policy, trade policy, global demographic change, Asian economies

“Is Australia prepared for a major foreign shock?”

Professor Miranda Stewart
Director, ANU Tax and Transfer Policy Institute
Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 02 6125 5713
M: 0423 175 883  
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Tax law, tax policy, budget law

Emily Millane
Research Fellow and PhD Candidate
Crawford School of Public Policy
M: 0402 417 467
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Economics, taxation

“The 2016 Budget made some modest inroads towards reducing superannuation tax expenditure, by placing reduced caps on super concessions and limiting total contributions to $1.6 million. Given the political fallout from this, we are unlikely to see any further changes to superannuation taxation in 2017.

“There may be relief from after-tax contributions caps and the lifetime limit, however it doesn’t look like there will be relief from the pension assets test, which would have greater benefit for low income earners. It also appears unlikely that the Budget will provide certainty on the treatment of deferred annuities under the pension means test.”


Associate Professor Selwyn Cornish
Research School of Economics
ANU College of Business & Economics
T: 02 6125 3390
E: [email protected]
Expertise: International economics, economic history, macroeconomics


Prof Andrew Blakers
Director of the ANU Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems
T: 02 6125 5905
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Sustainable energy

“The 2017/18 Federal Budget needs a clear path for Australia's energy future for the 2020s, and to support Mr Turnbull's ‘Mission Innovation’ initiative pledge at the Paris Climate conference to double clean research and development funding over the next five years. It should also include an end to fossil fuel subsidies including diesel fuel rebate.”


Prof Ken Baldwin
Director Energy Change Institute & Deputy Director Research
Research School of Physics & Engineering
E: [email protected]
T: 02 6125 4702
Expertise: Energy policy, science policy

Dr Paul J Burke
Arndt-Corden Department of Economics
Crawford School of Public Policy
T: 02 6125 6566
M: 0421 083 933
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Climate change economics and policy, environmental economics

“Ideally Australia’s budget settings would help pave the way for a transition to a low-carbon economy. The current approach involves providing subsidies from an Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). This approach is much less effective than our former approach of carbon pricing. The ERF is also nearly out of money. It will be interesting to see if the ERF is topped up in this budget.”

Associate Professor Matthew Hole
Research School of Physics & Engineering
T: 02 6125 7606
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Physics, mathematics, electrical engineering

"To date, the Australian government has demonstrated little interest in the need for sustainable energy research and development, and poorly recognised contribution of the University sector to energy research.  A key opportunity is embracing international consortia attempting to find clean energy solutions, such as the ITER fusion energy project. Let's hope the budget offers greater investment for our future than a taxpayer bail out for an unsustainable coal mine."



Professor Simon Rice, OAM
Director of Law Reform and Social Justice
ANU College of Law
T: 02 6125 7845
M: 0408 088 024
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Human rights law

"The recently announced reinstated and additional funds for community legal services has to be funded from somewhere. We will have to examine the detail of the budget to see whether the funds are new money, or come from a rearrangement of funding for public legal services or from a loss of services in another area. This will be a test of the government's commitment to the long-term social and economic benefits of ensuring access to legal advice and assistance."

Professor Tom Faunce
ANU College of Law & Medical School
T: 02 6125 3563
E: [email protected]

“In this 2017 federal budget we are hoping to see an elimination of the Abbott’s governments cuts to university funding, enhanced measures to recoup tax from corporate multinationals operating in Australia, investments in renewable energy and an increase in the renewable energy target, an elimination of the Medicare payments freeze and elimination of the F1-F2 split in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.”



Professor Stephen Howes
Director, Development Policy Centre
Crawford School of Public Policy
E: [email protected]
T: 02 6125 7553
M: 0400 167 936
Expertise: Foreign aid, international development

“What’s interesting is that this is the first Federal Budget since the coalition came to power in which foreign aid is not expected to be cut, that’s what I’ll be looking for.”


Professor Simon Foote
Director, John Curtin School of Medical Research
T: 02 6125 2589
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Science policy, medical research

“Health expenditure should be directed to evidence-based services. Evidence should be based on scientific evidence and any new programs introduced should be accompanied by a period of assessment so that efficacy can be assessed.

“Successive governments have spent very large amounts of taxpayers money on programs that are not evidence based and which have no chance of success.

“Research funding into health and medical sciences should be based on peer-review. The politicisation of health research spending is a waste of funding and is likely to result in less than perfect outcomes. This is especially pertinent for the MRFF.

“Innovation is the development of new ideas that will benefit the health and wellbeing of Australians. The time scales for innovative research to come to the clinic is measured in decades. We are now benefiting from research that was done 20-30 years ago. Much of this research started as blue-sky research and gradually researchers found applications that now benefit Australians. We cannot turn our backs on innovative, basic research as this is the powerhouse of applied programs into the future.”

Associate Professor David Caldicott
Clinical Senior Lecturer, Emergency Medicine
T: 02 6201 6810
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Drugs and alcohol, medical research

“Australia has never been under more public health duress from illicit drugs, and Big Alcohol. There are now more illicit drugs available to young Australians - including the truly deadly carfentanil- than in any other time in history. There will therefore never be a better time to address the grotesque disparity in federal expenditure between health and law enforcement to address these issues.

“Globally, there is growing recognition that a dollar invested in a health-based approach towards drugs travels much further than the same dollar spent on interdiction. Countries like Portugal that embraced this approach over a decade ago are now reaping the benefits- the Prime Minister that oversaw this transition is now the Secretary General of the UN.

“Failure to invest in this direction - now- could have public health implications for Australia over the next two decades that are rivalled only by ignoring the public health implications of climate change.

“The scientific expertise is very clear- whether our elected officials have the moxie to take up the challenge will determine the nature of their future legacies.”

Professor Hal Kendig
Centre for Research on Ageing Health & Wellbeing
ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research
T: 02 6125 5625
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Population health

Professor Stephen Robson
ANU Medical School
T: 02 62823033
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Health

Associate Professor Martyn Kirk
National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health
ANU College of Medicine Biology & Environment
T: 02 6125 5609
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Health, medicine


Henry Sherrell  
Research Officer
ANU Development Policy Centre
T: 02 6125 6411
M: 0423 315 250
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Immigration policy

“Immigration has become a major point of public debate. Since the last election, it is clear the Turnbull government is concerned about public perception and immigration policy. The Budget, particularly whether the number of permanent residency visas is reduced, will shed light on where to next for the public debate.”


Dr Andrew Hughes
Research School of Management
College of Business & Economics
M: 0413 130 129
E: [email protected]
Twitter: @marketingandrew
Expertise: Political marketing and communications

Emeritus Professor John Warhurst
School of Politics & International Relations
Research School of Social Sciences
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
T: 02 6125 3882
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Australian federal politics

Dr Jill Sheppard
Australian Centre for Applied Social Research Methods
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: (02) 6125 7898
M: 0407 052 927
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Australian federal politics


Associate Professor Ben Phillips
Centre for Social Research & Methods
M: 0403929395
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Demography & population, Public policy, Economics, Employment, Social, Statistics

Mr Matthew Taylor
Research Fellow
Centre for Social Research & Methods
T: 02 6125 9215
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Parental leave

Professor Michael Platow
Social psychologist
ANU Research School of Psychology
E: [email protected]
T: 02 6125 8457
Expertise: Education, immigration, social policy, science


Professor Lisa Kewley
Director, ARC Centre for Excellence in All-Sky Astrophysics in 3D
ARC Laureate Fellow
Research School for Astronomy & Astrophysics
T: 02 6125 8028
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Astronomy, astrophysics

“The government's National Innovation and Science Agenda was released over a year ago.  If Australia wants to be internationally competitive in an increasingly technological world, the government needs to deliver on this agenda.  

“Continued funding cuts to universities and increased fees for science degrees shrink the STEM workforce.  In this budget, the government needs to fund innovative technology and infrastructure, and to help cultivate a larger STEM workforce.”

Dr Gaétan Burgio
Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease
The John Curtin School of Medical Research.
T: 02 612 59428
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Health, medical research, science

“It would be interesting to see if the government is committed to his promises towards, Science, Technology and Innovation through its innovation agenda. A substantial investment towards medical research in Australia is expected. This will lead to better health outcomes to Australians.

“As promised from the government, strong investment in developing the STEM sector would ensure creation of jobs and fuel innovation. A continuity in the infrastructure investment would be crucial for the country to maintain its research capability and ensure Australia's international competitiveness.

“We will see if the promises for incentives for entrepreneurship and collaboration public-private sector as part of the innovation agenda will hold.”


Emeritus Professor Sasha Grishin AM
ANU School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
M: 0450 529956
E: [email protected]
Expertise: Australian art

“Successive federal government budgets have in various ways cut funding in real terms to the Australia Council, such as the Catalyst Fund.  Will this budget restore funding to the Australia Council?

“In the past couple of budgets there have been particularly savage cuts to the national cultural institutions such as the National Library of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, National Museum – will these cuts in the form of the so-called ‘efficiency dividends’ be continued in this budget.  

“So far they have resulted in severe staffing cuts and have affected functions, including Trove at the National Library.

“Will there be any bricks and mortar commitments to cultural institutions, for example, extensions to the National Gallery.”

For media assistance call the ANU media hotline 02 6125 7979.


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