ACADEMIA AS AN INFLUENCER OF TAX POLICY AND TAX ADMINISTRATION
By Michael D’Ascenzo
Michael D’Ascenzo’s article on Academia as an Influencer of Tax Policy and Tax Administration is the first article in this edition. D’Ascenzo looks at how academia can influence tax policy and administration. He rightly in our view recognises that that influence has not been as great as it might or could have been. In examining the obstacles in the way of tax academics being involved in the tax policy and tax administration debates and outcomes, Michael remains optimistic that there is real potential for closer relationships between tax academics and policy makers and administrators. This will benefit not only the academics and tax academy but policy makers and administrators, and ultimately society as well.
This paper considers how academia can influence tax policy and administration, highlighting examples where this has occurred. However, overall it concludes that the impact of academia does not appear on its face to have been as substantial as one might have thought. This paper explores the hurdles and conundrums that may have limited the impact of tax researchers on tax policy and administration. The paper nevertheless is optimistic about the potential for a closer engagement of tax researchers with tax policy advisers and the tax administration, and for corresponding benefits in the impact of that engagement. In terms of methodology, this paper is enhanced by the Delphi-type interviews on the topic with a number of relevant stakeholders.
WHY THE AUSTRALASIAN TRADITION OF LABOUR DEFENCE IS A BARRIER TO A UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME
By Jonathan Barrett
The principle of work protection or labour defence has traditionally informed welfare policy in Australasia. By promoting full employment and ensuring employees earn a living wage, government could foster economic security for the unionised workingman and his family. Nordic-style social insurance schemes, which were designed to shelter citizens from market uncertainties, were, in the main, unnecessary. In this patriarchal set up, protected and adequately paid workers could support their families, but could also afford to pay income tax and thereby contribute to the support of superannuated workers. Despite the dominance of neoliberalism, vestiges of labour defence, which privileges the status of employment over a broader conception of inclusive citizenship, continue to inform welfare. Responses to global mega trends, including technologically induced job retrenchment, may require a change in cultural attitudes to work and welfare. This article, which has a specific jurisdictional focus on New Zealand but has wider relevance, argues the tradition of labour defence presents a barrier to inclusive, citizenship-based welfare. In particular, cultural attitudes may militate against a universal basic income, which many believe will become a necessity in the face of potential mass retrenchment caused by robotics.
MAY BE A ‘BIT PLAYER’ NOW, BUT IN THE LONGER TERM A ‘GAME CHANGER’ FOR TAX
By Steven Stern
The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, has announced that the tax system is one of the key levers the government has to promote economic activity, and that tax is at the centre of the whole productivity agenda. This article draws attention to the major ramifications of technological developments in the monetary field for the capacity of governments to control the economic agenda, including tax. is the definition of ‘money’ is changing, and it might not be prudent for governments and their advisers to assume that levers to control the composition of tax which existed in the twentieth century will continue to be available in the coming decades of the twenty first century.