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Time for a Sequel to Jim Chalmer’s Monthly Essay: Capitalism after the Crises?

By Denis Bright

In February 2023, Treasurer Jim Chalmers made a welcome and bipartisan commitment to the transition to a more humane form of Australian capitalism. For almost a decade after 2013, three LNP Prime Ministers from that era had tinkered with variations of neoliberalism until the COVID-19 crisis changed the mainstream agenda in Australian politics.

With recovery from the COVID-19 crisis underway, Treasurer Jim Chalmers promised new initiatives after 2022. The commitment is shared by every mainland state and territory which have chosen Labor Governments. Tasmania with its state minority liberal government is hardly a bastion of neoliberalism. Tasmania’s share of revenue from Grants, including GST revenue and Australian Government Payments for Specific Purposes, equates to 66.7 per cent of total general government sector revenue in 2023-24 of $8.422 billion (Tasmanian Budget Paper 2023-24).

The federal LNP is still in dissent from these limited national reform programmes. In Queensland, there is a new round of letterboxed cards through Australia Post to restore the old neoliberal priorities with a commitment to Phase Three tax cuts and the usual round of legalized tax avoidance strategies for investors. Seeking long-term national government, the economic reform programme of the Albanese government is very cautious in the context of these well-funded campaigns to restore old conservative values.

Future short-term increases in Australian government spending are currently well below the inflation rate but will increase in the future as the local and global economies show down at the end of the forward estimates. This will still allow for some attention to these key infrastructure, community development and environmental priorities covered in the Australian budget papers.

In a still very conservative Australian political environment, the federal LNP will resist every reform initiative taken by the Albanese Government, including commitments to more affordable public housing. Peter Dutton indeed holds the government responsible for interest rate increases by the RBA. This ignores the fact that interest rates have been rising across the global economy. In Britain and the US, interest rate increases protect key global currencies to attract capital flows to financial markets while justifying vendettas on non-military government spending. Slender Republican Party control of the US House of Representatives has forced the Biden administration to abandon most of its reform agenda to enable the debt ceiling to be raised with bipartisan support.

In Australia, the federal LNP insists on delivering Phase 3 tax concessions to middle- and upper-income Australians as noted by Paul Karp of The Guardian (16 May 2023):

The cost of stage-three income tax cuts has climbed to $313bn over a decade, with the benefits flowing disproportionately to high-income earners and men, according to new data.

New Parliamentary Budget Office costings, conducted for the Greens, has predicted a blowout in the cost of implementation. It has been released as the Albanese government insists it has no plans to revisit the controversial tax cuts.

The cost of stage three has risen from $254bn in October due to lower unemployment, higher incomes and inclusion of an additional year in 2033-34. The PBO found that the tax cuts will cost $20.4bn in their first year, 2024-25, rising every year to $42.9 bn in 2033-34.

Only a major global economic and investment downturn prior to the 2024 Australian budget would change the resolve of the Albanese government on this issue.

Addressing the infrastructure and community development deficiencies in Australia requires some alternative economic thinking covered in the Australian Treasurer’s Monthly article in February 2023. The retraining effects of interest rate increases through monetary policies from the RBA tends to affect small businesses which are more dependent on banks for new investment. The latest private sector capital investment data shows the strength of current business expansion which might foreshadow further RBA interest rate hikes (ABS 1 June 2023):

Private New Capital Expenditure-March Quarter 2023 Key statistics

  • Total new capital expenditure rose by 2.4%
  • Buildings and structures rose by 1.3%
  • Equipment, plant and machinery rose by 3.7%
  • Estimate 2 for 2023-24 is $137.6b. This is 6.4% higher than Estimate 1 for 2023-24

Larger firms, including multinational companies, are less dependent on RBA monetary policies as they have their own sources of finance which includes the diversion of revenue back into new investment as a tax minimization option. A recent article from the European Economic Association shows the trendlines in this type of major business investment in the global economy.

Australia clearly needs a more diversified and stronger financial sector to compete with the major financial hubs of global finance and tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Ireland to attract more ethical capital investment. The nuts and bolts needed for these changes requires investigation by responsible and competent financial planners.

In Queensland, Ankita Panjratan of Hawker Britton has co-ordinated a team of business analysts to offer advice of the best priorities for the delivery of new infrastructure for forthcoming events such as the 2032 SEQ Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2032. Nationally, government relations strategists could work on fine-tuning capital investment flows from the private sector in the Future Fund and various state/territory investment funds to by-pass dependence on government funding and distortions to superannuation investment which might downgrade retirement incomes for members.

There are very few models of well-funded public investment and sovereign wealth funds. The Norwegian Pension Fund uses royalties from its energy sector for new ethical capital investment. The Dubai Investment Fund (DIF) is more adventurous and is open to private sector investment but in a far less than democratic political environment.

The Dubai Investment Fund (DIF), an asset management company headquartered in Dubai, is broadening its international presence by entering the markets of three additional nations. New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and Cyprus… The investment fund will establish a foothold in these countries for the first time by setting up offices in a move to reach out to more companies and gain more market access.

The endeavours of real estate, tourism, banking, and artificial intelligence will be the primary focuses of the Czech Republic and Cyprus offices. New projects in environmental, social, and governance issues, as well as green energy and healthcare, will be the primary focus of the office in New Zealand.

The company plans to make investments in solar power plants and revolutionary biomedical initiatives in New Zealand. These innovative biomedical initiatives will investigate a number of methods for merging artificial intelligence with contemporary medical developments.

Using the vast resources available to the Australian Government through its access to Treasury and Financial Departments as well as independent assessments by progressive think-tanks and financial consultants, the Albanese Government can surely work on a sequel to the Treasurer’s Monthly article from February 2023 to ensure that our own deviations into alternative economics are financially responsibly and suited to Australian challenges.

In NSW, the Generations Fund was seeded by capital investment from the LNP’s state privatization agendas. This included the sale of the NSW Government’s financial interest in the WestConnex Motorway to Sydney Transport Partners (STP) as summarized by NSW Treasury:

The NSW Government on 20 September 2021 announced the sale of its remaining 49 per cent interest in WestConnex to Sydney Transport Partners (STP) for a total of $11.1 billion in gross proceeds. The Government has now received $20.4 billion in gross proceeds from the sale of the motorway project after STP purchased 51 per cent of the project in 2018.

Net proceeds from the 49 per cent interest sale have been deposited in the NSW Generations Fund (NGF) – the State’s sovereign wealth fund – before being used to retire an equivalent amount of debt over the next two years.

WestConnex is Australia’s largest toll road project and when complete will enable motorists to travel over 50 kilometres from Penrith to the city without hitting a single traffic light. The estimated construction cost to complete WestConnex is $16.8 billion with the final section due to open in late 2023.

This sale is part of the Government’s prudent, long-term strategy to bolster the State’s finances, while also supporting the NSW economy by investing in job creating projects that will drive the COVID economic recovery.

The NSW Liberal Government had literally run out of assets to privatise in the future and planned more public borrowings to expand its Generations Fund. The AFR through Samantha Hutchinson’s article (19 June 2023) shows that the incoming Minns Government has intervened to halt these financial adventures under a rising interest rate regimes.

Meanwhile, the forthcoming revenue losses from the delivery of Phase Three Tax Concessions and the financial burdens of AUKUS defence deals with multinational defence providers in Britain and the USA do not auger well for the plight of homeless people who sleep out in shacks, tents and motor vehicles in every major Australian city.

Such Hooverville settlements were a feature of the US Depression era in the 1930s when the Republican Party turned its back on the poor and marginalized sectors of the American Dream.

Journalist Dorothy Day (1897-1980) publicized the extent of poverty and alienation in a land of plenty before public opinion by the excesses of Cold War militarism. Several You Tube documentaries are available to cover Dorothy Day’s commitments including Dorothy Day: A Rebel in Paradise.



Jim Chalmer’s is to be commended for his efforts to promote a more humane social market as an alternative to mainstream global capitalism through the Monthy article from February 2023. Let’s hear more of the follow-up sequels before the ideal is lost to short-term political opportunism to achieve that prized long-term national Labor government.


Denis Bright (pictured) is a financial member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis is committed to consensus-building in these difficult times. Your feedback from readers advances the cause of citizens’ journalism. Full names are not required when making comments. However, a valid email must be submitted if you decide to hit the Replies Button.


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  1. Phil Pryor

    We have had mixed opinions about governments over time, here and elsewhere, but recent runs of conservatism in Australia and in NSW especially, are worth considering, perhaps for a uninated christening. The Abbott to Morrison menagerie of misfits and merdemunchers will keep us down and low for a generation of recovery. The O’Farrell to Perrotet plunderer’s paradisical predatory payout to patrons scheme was one to leave the old state reeling for generations, with disillusionment, debt, deviations from duty and a sullen feeling of despair. Even, a farcical rumour mill is revving slowly, with Barnaby Drinkon-Rootem apparently dreaming of a comeback over Little-to-be-proud-of and lurking in the wings is Keith Sewage-Pitt, a hangover (hah) from dinosaurial delusions. With tax scandals, cheating on credits, desperate deliberate ignorance by perpetuators of gas, coal and oil dreams of avarice, we still go further down by media maggotty muck, like dancing with the duds or violence using a leather pill. Merde! Merde! Och oy! Instead of the enlightenment we may have dreamed about, we have inflated egos, vanity, theft, supremacist rot and more LYING, from the top down.

  2. Stephengb

    chalmers (lower case intended) seems to be hiding his purely Neoliberal economic narrative in plain sight, as ideed does Albonese, Marles and Bowen.

    I saw nothing in the chalmers diatribe that suggests he is any less Neoliberal than Margret Thatcher.

    I would say that the very fact that so far the ALP have introduced reforms that have greatly benefited the top end of town, provided middle income welfare, but so far little or nothing for the poorest 3.3 million living below the poverty line – smells remarkably like a Neoliberal policy wonk to me.

    Then there is this rediculously inadequate housing fund which is a smoke and mirrors exercise in a Claytons housing policy.
    The Greens know its a sop so much so they have gone public rediculing the whole scheme.

    Albos credibility is failing along with that clown Philip Lowe, who is clear an incompetant writ large.

    I note that chalmers little flurry of tv apearances has significantly reduced, (for my part demonstrating that he is clearly out of his depth and in the pocket of the clown Philip Lowe), they make a wonderful comedy double act.

  3. Burleigh waters

    A well documented coverage of Australian political inertia. Thanks Denis for your research.

  4. Sasha

    Thanks Denis for the research on this topical issue.

  5. Leila

    An article about our future that is beyond getting re-elected!

  6. Clakka

    Pressures all round. The combination of olde school moronism in the snarky commentary from Dutton’s LNP and its cabal of greedy flunkies and RWNJ msm in this treacherous time of global inflation and economic / strategic insecurity makes reform a political nightmare for Labor. Everything and anything they do and don’t do will be criticised via loud-hailer, or whimpered about by the uncertain doubters.

    It is certainly a tragedy that the last decade of guileful enabling of greed enhancement for the already powerful, has left the younger generations in a parlous state, and will take much reform to reinvigorate them.

    Such as it is, politics in Oz rests on a knife edge. What to do? Barge into reform, timely or not, stimulate the loud-hailers, and lose government at the next election, or keep the powder dry and strategic, suffer the usual slings and arrows, and maintain power so the many further reforms can be rolled out?

    Yes, after the Labor National Conference in August, and what Lowe gets up to over the next few months, I would like to see another essay from Chalmers, and by the fourth quarter, what other actions and policies have been embedded.

    In the meantime, the ra ra (chase of young votes) of the Greens, whether accurate, with complexities properly considered or not, will keep me, among the many, amused:,vid:WW1BSd0RIrk

  7. Tessa_M

    The RBA needs to give more explanation of its rate hikes. I fear that there are more in the pipeline as overseas central banks are increasing interest rates.

  8. James Robo

    A well balanced article Denis with every point sourced to a reference.

  9. Naomi

    While the LP letterboxes its support for neoliberal values, many people in society are barely surviving. I could not imagine that homelessness could be so pervasive with people living in shacks, tents and cars.

  10. Maya

    In that spirit of The Deserted Village: Where Wealth accumulates and people sink to the bottom : Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774)

  11. Stella

    Thanks Denis for an interesting article.

  12. Arnd

    How many more times can this Labor/Labour/Sozialdemokraten “Third Way” stuff be re-heated and served to a credulous commentariat possessed of an attention span rivalling that of a goldfish suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s?

    Look up Godesberg Program, and Hartz IV; also compare Tony Blair’s “New Capitalism”. Remind yourself of Hawke and Keating’s neo-liberal economic reforms.Then ask yourself whether comrade Jim’s “value-based capitalism” really is such a novel, mould-breaking concept … – or whether it is not just a bit of retro cosplay, like bellbottom jeans and platform shoes, only less chalming!

    Not that Jim is old enough to remember any of those himself, despite holding a PhD – in “Paul Keating”.

  13. rubio@central coast

    Great comment Arnd. Denis’ article also demands alternatives to Jim Chalmer’s promises. On both AUKUS and economic policies, our Jim Chalmers is very Blairite. A new sequel to the Monthly article might retore the Treasurer’s credibility.

  14. Even Stephen

    Good news from ABC News with a moderation of the inflation rate in the March Quarter.

    These advances justify the need for more discussion of longer-term priorities for the Lucky Country.

    When will the mainstream media make its break with the old neoliberal agenda from years of LNP rule?

  15. Burleighwaters

    @philpryor nicely said mate!!!

  16. Burleighwaters

    Support for the Voice Referendum is a real test of long-term social and moral commitments in Australia as the only country which occupies an entire continent based on millenia of indigenous cultures. If opinion on this issue does not mobilise in support of this referendum, politics will be back to winning the next election strategies over the true values of progressive politics.

    Policy debate is so important across the Labor Movement which has been so fractured by opportunism from the right and left of the cross-bench when long-term change requires a majority government as achieved by John Curtin in even more difficult times.

    Commitment to the long-haul is vital in economic policies.

    I hope that the electorate remembers which crossbenchers opposed the housing package which will now be delayed until October.

  17. Denis Bright

    General AIM Network readers and students can conduct their own research to evaluate the benefits and limitations of investment and sovereign wealth funds for more proactive national and regional planning. These funds are a feature of most middle-sized economies and transitional economies in the Asia-Pacific Region.

    In the traditions of NADOC Week celebrations, critical discussions about the benefits and limitations of investment and sovereign wealth funds can involve all sides of Australian politics.

    It was the LNP which set up the Future Fund in 2006 which now has more than $162.3 billion in total assets under management. These assets support Commonwealth Superannuation Schemes, the Building Australia Fund, the Disability Care Australia Fund, the Medical Future Fund as well as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land and Sea Future Fund.

    In LNP traditions, seed capital in these funds was provided from both government revenue surpluses as well as the sale of Telstra and other government assets. Former LNP Treasurer Peter Costello is the Chair of the Future Fund.

    Some economies welcome varying degrees of private sector investment in the above-mentioned funds as noted by input from ChatGPT:

    United Arab Emirates: The UAE allows private sector capital investment into its government investment fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). ADIA manages a diverse global investment portfolio and actively seeks opportunities to collaborate with private sector investors.
    Singapore: Singapore’s government investment fund, GIC (formerly known as the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation), allows private sector capital investment. GIC manages Singapore’s foreign reserves and invests globally in various asset classes.
    Norway: Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, known as the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) or simply the Norwegian Oil Fund, permits private sector capital investment. The fund is managed by Norges Bank Investment Management and invests in international equities, fixed income, and real estate.
    Australia: The Australian government has established the Future Fund, which allows private sector capital investment. The Future Fund is designed to meet the long-term liabilities of the Australian government, including unfunded superannuation liabilities of public servants.
    New Zealand: New Zealand’s government investment fund, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZ Super Fund), allows private sector capital investment. The fund aims to help pre-fund the future cost of state pensions and invests globally across various asset classes.

    China as our chief trading partner is currently diversifying its vast investment and sovereign wealth funds.

    The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is known to be one of the largest sovereign wealth funds globally, managing a significant amount of assets. While detailed financial performance data may not be publicly available due to the fund’s confidentiality, ADIA is generally regarded as a successful and well-managed investment fund.

    Perhaps more readers can take up the challenges of researching the benefits of expanding these funds to develop a higher profile Australian financial sector which protects our soversignty in a globalized world that is anticipating a higher degree of economic instability which justifies some of the current government’s budgetary caution with an accumulated windfall of $19 billion in budgetary surpluses.

  18. Denis Bright

    Google Scholar is opening up to many journal articles which were once only accessible on university library sites. While government sectors go into debt because of their shallow revenue base, this recent article showed that the corporate sector has an investment base which is not as dependent on bank loans as households and small businesses:

    Kaufmann, Christoph. 2022. ‘Investment Funds, Monetary Policy, and the Global Financial Cycle’. Journal of the European Economic Association 2023 21(2) 593–636 Available at (E-mail:

    The data in this article cuts out at 2018 but readers easily move to the Financial Stability Board site which is updated regularly from Basel in Switzerland:

  19. Denis Bright

    There is a deepening layer of lobbying, government strategy and accountancy firms which are deeply involved in steering Austrlaian public policy.

    I mentioned the government strategy firm Hawker Britton in my article:

    These firms often receive government funding to steer public policy and invite input from the general public.

    PWc has been totally restructured for abusing its privileged position as an advisor to the ATO.

    Here are some resources which might assist students and readers:

    PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – PwC is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms globally and provides a range of professional services, including financial advisory, tax consulting, and audit services. They often provide economic analysis and insights on public policy matters in Australia. Reference: PwC Australia –
    Deloitte – Deloitte is another member of the “Big Four” accounting firms and offers services in audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory. They frequently provide analysis and recommendations on economic policy in Australia. Reference: Deloitte Australia –
    Ernst & Young (EY) – EY is a multinational professional services firm that provides services in assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory. They often offer economic insights and commentary on public economic policy in Australia. Reference: EY Australia –
    KPMG – KPMG is also part of the “Big Four” accounting firms and provides services in audit, tax, and advisory. They frequently provide economic analysis and policy recommendations on various economic matters in Australia. Reference: KPMG Australia –
    Grant Thornton – Grant Thornton is a global accounting and consulting organization that offers services in audit, tax, and advisory. They occasionally provide economic analysis and policy insights relevant to Australia. Reference: Grant Thornton Australia –
    Macquarie Group – Macquarie Group is a diversified financial services company and one of the largest investment banks in Australia. They often provide economic research, market analysis, and insights on public economic policy in the country. Reference: Macquarie Group –
    ANZ Bank – ANZ is one of the largest banks in Australia and provides a wide range of financial services. Their economists and research teams frequently comment on economic policy matters, including public economic policy. Reference: ANZ Australia –

    The RBA does offer some independent advice on just what is going on:

    Capital Flows, Investment and Productivity Jonathan Hambur and Dan Andrews between interest rate hikes but even this article is a bit dated:

    March 2023

  20. Burleigh Waters

    Thanks Denis for your coverage of the network of professionalized networks which are steering public opinion as well as offering advice to governments at all levels. Support for the Voice Referendum is vital to restore genuine indigenous and grassroots perspectives based on community concerns.

    The AUKUS deal was a swiftie imposed on the Labor Government from the shadows of Morrison era.

    The military industrial complexes have a good track record in imposing priorities on Australians with the support of senior officers and their intel services since the last days of the Frontier Wars in Australia.

  21. Stella

    Thanks Denis for an interesting and well-researched article.

  22. Denis Bright

    The RBA offered a second pause today on the interest rate increases but warned of future increases.

    This recent article from the FT in London offers one interpretation of global upward movements in interest rates from Central Banks.

    Big corporations are also able to access non-bank finance. There is a global practice developing of diverting the gains from legalized tax avoidance into new investment at the expense of smaller companies more reliant on bank loans. The LNP implies that all corporations are like Mom and Dad investors some of whom do quite well on the tax breaks being offered.

    Check out this article if it actually opens on your computer:

    Media companies are always adept at controlling your access to information after all FT is a Murdoch derivative company as is the Wall Street Journal.

  23. Pro-ASEAN

    New relationships with Indonesia are a step in the right direction and a good break from hardline AUKUS and QUADA agendas. No grassroots forum acorss the Broad Labor Movement want Austrlalia to become the New Israel of the Pacific after the recent antics in Gaza. Israel sneaks nuclear weapons onto its imported submarines while condeming adjacent countries for their militarism.

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