Economics @ breakfast? Deakin forum tackles the state of economic policy debate in Australia

21 November 2011

(Invitation only)

If you are glued to breakfast reports on the Euro-Crisis, while inwardly lamenting the state of economic policy debate in Australia or pondering on questions such as - "Have we moved from a part-communist world, part Keynesian, world of heavy regulation, to a market-driven capitalist world doomed to wild swings and political abuse of sound economic principles?" then Deakin University's inaugural Deakin Policy Forum (DPF) on Friday 2 December may have the answer.

Convenor of the Forum and the University's new Research Professor of Public Policy, Professor Michael Porter, said current economic policy debate was dominated by Ministerial grabs and set piece talks, rather than open and research–backed discussion and independent perspectives.

"Our forum, which is part of the University's Alfred Deakin Research Institute, and the sequence of discussions which will follow plans to change that," he said.

"We are seeking the engagement of the media, academia and interested parties in assessing and responding to one of the most unusual political, economic, and international settings in many decades.

"We want to fill what we see as gaps in the policy debate – build a new bridge in the market for policy ideas."

Professor Porter said for this forum leading international economists and columnists in The Australian, Professors Judith Sloan and Henry Ergas, will be the keynote speakers on the day but there will also be an open discussion involving an invited list of known policy commentators and experts.

"This should ensure that the event will be lively, constructive, and relevant. Who knows, we might even get an answer!" he said.

Professor Porter said Professor Sloan is arguably the leading economist in the area of Australian labour market and related economic arrangements that recently caused havoc re Qantas.

"Judith brings a wealth of experience extending well beyond the labour markets into social, union and political issues that arguably lie at the heart of the current policy failures," he said.

"Similarly Henry Ergas has for decades stirred the pot on competition policy, and on European policies that currently are raising havoc.

"Henry, a former research head at The OECD, addresses general failures of policy performance to live up to the possibilities that we know can deliver sustained prosperity in this resource rich and 'lucky' country."

Professor Porter, whose earlier think tanks advised on the restructure of state enterprises as well as domestic international financial and tax reforms, will add these perspectives on to the agenda.

"It promises to be the first in a series of hard-hitting releases of economic energy on the key topics of the day."

The invitation-only forum will be held at Deakin University's Melbourne City Centre, Level 3, 550 Bourke St, Melbourne, starting at 7.30am.

Further information

The Forum will generally target subjects at the centre of the political, economic, and social debates within Australia but also tackle areas of policy failure and emerging concerns and opportunities. It will be a real facility for exchange and evaluation of ideas in public policy.

Other indicative issues include:

•Health, aged care and hospital policies – including alternative financing structures
•Refugees and migration
•Europe and the Euro – common currency and uncommon economies
•Water reforms and trading; Australia as a food bowl for Asia
•China shocks and opportunities
•US financial policies, the GFCs, the US dollar and derivatives regulation
•Climate policy and carbon tax issues
•Uranium exports – leasing and nuclear power

News facts
  • Forum aims to fill gaps in the policy debate
  • Forum seeks engagement of the media, academia and the broad community in assessing and responding to one of the most unusual political, economic, and international settings in many decades
  • Professors Judith Sloan and Henry Ergas will be the keynote speakers on the day

Media contact

Professor Michael Porter
Research Professor of Public Policy
0414 452 930

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21st November 2011