Editor's Picks

In this week's essential reading guide Kohler maps the road back from a decade of fiscal incompetence, Gawenda confronts a historic turning point for Australia, Bartholomeusz digs into ANZ Bank's results and Gottliebsen interprets a swelling of middle class discontent.

Ten years to break the budget, ten years to fix it
Alan Kohler
The budget has been marred by a decade of fiscal incompetence. Cleaning up the mess should be Tony Abbott's first point of order -- and the deficit levy is a step in the right direction.

A historic tax increase signals Australia’s new direction
Michael Gawenda
Joe Hockey's 'temporary levy' may well become permanent as it opens the door to full debate on economic inequality and its political consequences.

Yes, super is too expensive - so ban the skim
Alan Kohler
As the Grattan Institute points out, the super system is an inefficient and inequitable mess. But there’s a fees fix that’s easier than the think tank’s solution.

ANZ lights a fire in Asia
Stephen Bartholomeusz
The bank's result strongly vindicates Mike Smith’s pursuit of diversification in Asia -- though its continual reduction of bad debt charges may be drawing near its close.

Politicians should heed the might of the ravaged middle class
Robert Gottliebsen
The hollowing out of the middle class is accelerating, but politicians can glean opportunities by responding to voter discontent.

The PEP talk that gave Spotless a clean turnaround
Stephen Bartholomeusz
PEP's Bruce Dixon spent nearly two years analysing Spotless and - judging by its IPO prospectus numbers - it's paid off. It is doubtful so much change could be effected as quickly and ruthlessly while publicly listed.

Why Direct Action is still a dud  - part 1
Tristan Edis
Greg Hunt's mum is apparently keen on carrots not sticks, but the problem with his Emission Reduction Fund White Paper is that he hasn't got enough carrots and he's abandoned the sticks.

China’s dragon is breathing smoke, not fire
Peter Cai
Stockland doesn't have a great deal of room to manoeuvre on its rebuffed Australand bid, and its 19.9 per cent stake is a double-edged sword. But Mark Steinert has a few advantages up his sleeve.

The truth behind Hockey’s magic number
Rob Burgess
Hockey’s planned budget cuts are predicated on a level of spending to GDP that his own side of politics has rarely hit.

Most read
Great savings governments will reject
Alan Kohler
The audit commission’s clear picture of Australia’s hopeless fiscal mess, public-sector inefficiencies and state-federal duplications will in most cases be ignored.

Most Commented
Abbott's mother of all fiscal mistakes

Callam Pickering
The Coalition's extravagant paid parental leave scheme will do little to boost female participation in the workforce and is difficult to justify given claims of a budget emergency.