Grattan Institute

Grattan Institute


Everything you need to know about Australian public policy in just 20 minutes.

Grattan Institute is dedicated to developing high quality public policy for Australia’s future. Our podcasts cover a range of public policy topics focusing on the main issues facing Australia.

Our podcasts concentrate on budget policy, economic growth, energy, health, institutional reform, household finances, school education, transport and cities.

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264 episodes

Hydrogen: a golden ticket to net zero?

From cars to homes to industry, hydrogen has been hyped as an all-encompassing solution to meeting Australia’s emissions targets. But is it the golden ticket to a net-zero future? With the National Hydrogen Strategy under review, it’s time to get truly strategic with hydrogen. Listen to energy experts Alison Reeve and Richard Yan discuss their new report, *Hydrogen: hype, hope, or hard work?*. Read the report: Donate to Grattan:

Dec 03
How to close the vaccination gap

Each year, vaccines save thousands of lives. But in the wake of the pandemic, Australians are sick of hearing about vaccination. Amidst the misinformation on the internet and fatigue from government messaging, many of us have become complacent. New Grattan research shows that millions of older Australians at high risk of serious illness are missing out on essential vaccines, and certain groups of people are more likely to miss out than others. Listen to Peter Breadon, Health Program Director, and Ingrid Burfurd, Senior Associate, discuss their new report with host Kat Clay. Read the report:

Nov 26
How to fix local roads

It's no secret that Australian roads are in a state of disrepair, but it's a lesser known fact that three quarters of our roads are managed by local councils. Many councils are struggling to look after our roads, because they don't have the revenue, the capacity, or the expertise. In this podcast, Natasha Bradshaw, Marion Terrill, and Dominic Jones discuss their latest report, Potholes and Pitfalls, which investigates why local roads are in a state of disrepair and provides a roadmap to fix them. Read the report: Donate to Grattan:

Nov 12
Tax Reform In Australia: An Impossible Dream? Danielle Wood's Freebairn Lecture

Is tax reform in Australia an impossible dream? Danielle Wood addresses this question in her Freebairn Lecture, given in honour of Professor John Freebairn AO. In this special podcast presentation, she argues that tax reform is essential to rebuild the budget, improve equity, and break down the age segregation in the current tax system. Audio courtesy of the University of Melbourne Faculty of the Business and Economics. Read the full text of the speech:

Nov 05
How reducing Australia’s salt intake could save lives - and money

Salt is sneaking into Australian diets, worsening our health outcomes from salt-related diseases. And while Australia has a target to reduce salt intake by 30 per cent by 2030, our food policies lag behind other countries. But are our diets just a matter of personal responsibility? Or does the government have a greater role to play in reducing salt in our diets? Listen to Peter Breadon, Health Program Director, Lachlan Fox, Associate discuss Grattan’s latest report, Sneaky salt: How Australia can shake its salt habit. Hosted by Kat Clay. Read the report:

Oct 30
Why Claudia Goldin’s Nobel win isn’t just about women in economics

This month, Claudia Goldin made history for being the third woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences. As much as this is an outcome to be celebrated as a milestone for women in economics, as an economist, Goldin has shifted the world’s understanding of women’s labour market outcomes. Her influential research examines the reasons for the gender pay gap, and the educational, medical, and cultural progressions which prevent – or enable – women to work. The recent introduction of paid parental leave changes to the House of Representatives is just one way to increase women’s workforce participation in Australia. But are there more ways for Australia to improve economic outcomes for women? This podcast examines Goldin’s research, and what it means for Australia – and especially, Australian women. Helpful links Announcement of Claudia Goldin's Nobel win Career and Family by Claudia Goldin: Greedy jobs, labour market institutions, and the gender pay gap by Kristen Sobeck: Children and the Gender Earnings Gap: Evidence for Australia by Elif Bahar, Natasha Bradshaw, Nathan Deutscher and Maxine Montaigne On the Origins of Gender Roles: Women and the Plough

Oct 23
Reforming international student visa pathways after graduation

Australia faces stiff competition to attract the best students to study and stay in Australia. But a growing cohort of international students are being left behind on temporary visas, struggling to pursue their chosen careers. Grattan's latest report, Graduates in limbo: International student visa pathways after graduation, shows how government can fix visa pathways to give talented graduates a chance to shine, without offering false hope to students. Associate Tyler Reysenbach, is joined by Program Director Brendan Coates and Deputy Program Director Trent Wiltshire, to talk about what the federal government can do to reform the graduate visa system. Read the report:

Oct 08
Assessing the Disability Royal Commission report

After four years, 32 public hearings, 8,000 submissions, and almost 10,000 people sharing their experience, the Disability Royal Commission has handed its final report to Government. Throughout the investigation, the commission has heard horror stories of abuse, neglect, coercion, unscrupulous NDIS providers, and severe underpayment of workers with disability. With over two-hundred recommendations, the federal government has an enormous task ahead of them to improve outcomes for people with disability. This podcast looks at some of those recommendations, and where governments should start. The report release coincides with the launch of Grattan’s disability program, graciously supported by the Summer Foundation. To discuss the report, host Kat Clay is joined by the members of Grattan’s new disability team, Sam Bennett, Program Director, and Hannah Orban, Associate. For more information, visit:

Oct 01
Using government data to improve people’s lives

Our governments know a lot about us. They hold data on how much we earn, how much tax we pay, our health records, business earnings, even whether we have a fishing license. As we saw during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic, data on the spread of the virus and the pace of the vaccine rollout was vital for keeping us safe and holding our governments to account. Government data is also essential for informed public policy debates, and it’s invaluable for researchers and others who advocate for better public policy. But a lot of government data in Australia is locked up behind closed doors. And when governments do make data available, it is often published in ways that are difficult to understand and unwieldy for researchers to use. In this special Grattan Podcast, Grattan data specialist Tyler Reysenbach is joined by Adam Sparks, a Senior Research Scientist with Western Australia's Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and Matt Cowgill, Senior Economist at SEEK, to talk about how our governments could get better at data, and how things could be improved in ways that would improve public policy and, ultimately, the lives of all Australians.

Sep 17
Has National Cabinet just solved the housing crisis?

Last year, the federal government struck a Housing Accord with the states. Together, they committed to build 1 million new, well-located homes across Australia over the next five years. But sky-rocketing rents have turned up the heat on governments to do much more. Last month, National Cabinet responded. The new target is 1.2 million homes over five years, with the federal government offering financial rewards to whichever states do the most to get us towards the new target. And the Prime Minister and the Premiers also promised a better deal for renters. Will it be enough? In this special Grattan Podcast, our housing experts Brendan Coates and Joey Moloney unpack the National Cabinet package, explain why it’s important, and identify the next challenges for policy-makers as they struggle to make housing more affordable for more Australians.

Sep 10
How to create a better Australia for Generation Next

Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood delivered the annual Giblin Lecture in Hobart last week. A partnership between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian branch of the Economic Society of Australia, the lecture is named for the eminent Australian economist, Lyndhurst Falkiner Giblin. Danielle used the occasion to issue this plea: “Let’s drop the petty generational warfare, and work together to ensure that the Australia we leave to our children is better than the one we inherited.” And she set herself this tough task: “I want to explore the issues that young people tell us are keeping them up at night, and let them know why this has happened but also what we might as a nation do about it.” In this special edition of the Grattan Podcast, we present a recording of Danielle delivering the lecture, complete with slides.

Sep 08
Decoding the 2023 NAPLAN results

The 2023 NAPLAN school test results released this week show that 1 in 3 Australian students are not on track with their learning. The results also reveal deep inequities in Australian schools, with more than half of disadvantaged students performing below expectations. In this special Grattan Podcast, our NAPLAN specialists Anika Stobart and Nick Parkinson discuss why Australia is performing so poorly, and what governments should do to turn this around so all students have the literacy and numeracy skills they need to have their best chance in life.

Aug 27
Is the “world’s worst electric vehicle policy” really so bad?

Dubbed by some as the “world’s worst electric vehicle policy”, Victoria introduced a per-kilometre charge on electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids in 2021. EV drivers were so riled up about the charge that they headed to the High Court to fight it. We’re now awaiting the High Court’s decision, which will determine whether state governments have the constitutional authority to impose the tax. But is it really such a bad policy? And, more broadly, why is Australia so far behind other countries in making the switch from high-polluting petrol and diesel vehicles to EVs? In this latest Grattan Podcast, our transport experts Marion Terrill and Natasha Bradshaw discuss the implications of the High Court case for revenue-raising, electric vehicle take-up, and the future of road-user charging.

Aug 14
What's the YIMBY movement and how can it help housing policy?

Grattan Institute’s work on housing policy keeps coming back to one basic idea: Australia needs more housing in the areas where people want to live and work. So why hasn’t Australia built enough homes to keep prices under control? Because of the land-use planning regulations that dictate what gets built where. Those planning regulations have a status-quo bias. They give too much say to people who oppose development or change – the so-called ‘NIMBYs’, or ‘Not-in-my-backyard’. Enter the ‘YIMBY’ movement: enthusiastic young people who say ‘Yes-in-my-backyard’. In this special Grattan podcast on Australia’s housing crisis, our Senior Associate, Joey Moloney, and guests Jono O’Brien and Melissa Neighbour from the YIMBY movement discuss this grass-roots movement that aims to revolutionise the housing debate and make it easier for young Australians to get a roof over their heads.

Aug 07
Why is childcare so expensive?

Early education and care are hugely important. It’s where children are first exposed to the education system, in a period that’s crucial for their brain development. It's also important for the economy – particularly for supporting women back into the workforce. So why is it so expensive, even with government subsidies? Listen to Grattan CEO Danielle Wood, in conversation with Grattan Fellow Iris Chan, on how to make childcare cheaper.

Jul 30
What the NAPLAN changes mean for parents and teachers

This year, the NAPLAN report card will look very different. For the first time, parents will be told whether their child has met the new “proficient” benchmark for their level, in reading, writing, numeracy, and grammar. With four proficiency categories, all with new terminology, what does this mean for parents and teachers? Grattan Institute Associates Nick Parkinson and Dominic Jones discuss the new-look NAPLAN.

Jul 24
Why the Commonwealth should stay in its lane on infrastructure funding

The Commonwealth Government has called for a 90 day snap review into the Infrastructure Investment Program (IIP). Where the original intention of the IIP was to fund projects of national significance, the program has since ‘drifted away’ from its original ambitions. But should the Commonwealth Government be involved in infrastructure funding at all? Our previous research has shown that federal funding of state and local infrastructure projects can often be used as an exercise in pork-barrelling. Roundabouts and carparks aren’t exactly the Sydney Opera House. Marion Terrill, Transport and Cities Program Director, and Natasha Bradshaw, Associate, discuss how federal infrastructure spending should be best used, with host Kat Clay.

Jul 16
Are rate rises the only way to stop inflation?

The RBA has held off on raising the cash rate - for now. This comes as a sigh of relief to home owners, who have slogged through 12 rate rises since May 2022. But with warnings of further rate rises, many people are questioning whether they’re the only way to stop inflation. Listen to Trent Wiltshire, Deputy Program Director of Economic Policy, and Joey Moloney, Senior Associate, discuss how to stop inflation with host Kat Clay. For more information, visit:

Jul 09
Is it time to ban junk food advertising for children?

Independent MP and former GP Sophie Scamps has introduced a bill into federal parliament that would restrict junk food advertisements aimed at children. This isn’t the first time a ban on junk food advertising has been floated. But there are more reasons than ever to make it happen. Listen to Peter Breadon, Health Program Director, in conversation with host Kat Clay, to discuss the bill, and what governments should do to decrease childhood obesity. Donate to Grattan:

Jun 25
Getting off gas: the case for all-electric homes in Australia

Many Australians use gas for cooking, heating, and hot showers. But Australia won't hit its net zero emissions target by 2050 unless it gets off gas. To do this, we need to move our homes to efficient electric appliances. Listen to the authors of Grattan's latest report, Getting off gas, discuss why, how, and who should pay for this change. Featuring Tony Wood, Energy and Climate Change Program Director, Alison Reeve, Deputy Program Director, and Esther Suckling, Associate. Read the report:

Jun 18
What's the best policy to cut car emissions?

Australia’s vehicle regulation regime is so far out of step with other countries that vehicle manufacturers freely admit this country is a dumping ground for higher-emitting old models. According to Volkswagen, Australia is an ‘automotive third world’ and a ‘dumping ground for older and less-efficient vehicles’. In Australia, cars, utes, and SUVs contribute about 11% of our annual CO2 emissions. Which is why addressing car emissions is a key part of getting Australia to net-zero by 2050. Encouraging drivers to transition to electric vehicles is an obvious part of the solution, but a patchwork of policies currently regulates car emissions. Listen to Marion Terrill, Transport and Cities Program Director, Natasha Bradshaw, Associate, and host Kat Clay discuss why an emissions ceiling is the best option to reduce vehicle emissions.

Jun 04
How to stop the exploitation of migrant workers in Australia

The serious problem of migrant worker exploitation shot to prominence in 2015, when a joint Fairfax Media and Four Corners report uncovered widespread underpayment of 7-Eleven employees. Recent governments have taken some steps to reduce exploitation, such as increasing maximum penalties for firms that knowingly underpay their workers and making improvements to the small claims process. But these changes don’t go far enough, and progress has stalled since the pandemic. Our new report, Short-changed: How to stop the exploitation of migrant workers in Australia, provides solutions to stamp out the exploitation of migrant workers. Trent Wiltshire, Deputy Program Director, discusses the report with co-authors Brendan Coates, Program Director, and Tyler Reysenbach, Associate. Read the report:

May 24
Why housing was the biggest missed opportunity in the federal Budget

Housing is in crisis. Rents are surging. Interest rates continue to go up, with fears of another rate rise on the horizon. The 2023 federal Budget went some way to address the rising cost of living. But despite the increase to Rent Assistance, these policies don’t go far enough to address the long-term lack of housing supply. Host Kat Clay is joined by Brendan Coates, Economic Policy Program Director, and Joey Moloney, Senior Associate, to discuss why housing was the biggest missed opportunity in the federal Budget. Read Grattan's previous work on the Social Housing Future Fund: Donate to Grattan:

May 21
Back in black? Breaking down Budget 2023

This year, the Budget is officially back in black. On Tuesday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers announced an expected budget surplus, the first in 15 years. The budget included measures to address the cost of living, provide more support to vulnerable Australians, and healthcare reforms. Watch Iris Chan, Fellow, discuss the federal Budget with Grattan's CEO, Danielle Wood. Donate to Grattan: Read the Back in Black report:

May 12
How to fix Australia's 'failed' migration system

The federal government recently released their Review of the Migration System. The review has revealed a broken system in dire need of reform. To quote the report, “Australia now has a migration program that fails to attract the most highly skilled migrants and fails to enable business to efficiently access workers.” But how to fix it? Discussing the report and their policy recommendations are Brendan Coates, Economic Policy Program Director, Tyler Reysenbach, Associate, with host Kat Clay. Donate to Grattan: Read the Review of the Migration System:

May 05
Does the National Electric Vehicle Strategy go the distance?

Last week, the federal government released their long awaited National Electric Vehicle Strategy. At the heart of the policy is a fuel efficiency standard, which sets a limit for carbon emissions from vehicles, to incentivise the sale of electric vehicles. Listen to Marion Terrill, Transport and Cities Program Director, Lachie Fox, Associate, and host Kat Clay, discuss this new strategy, and whether it goes far enough. National Electric Vehicle Strategy: The Grattan Car Plan: The Grattan Truck Plan:

Apr 23
How to repair the federal budget

The Australian Government is on track for more than 25 years of budget deficits. It’s a record that points to major structural issues with the budget. Tough decisions on spending and tax reform will be needed to avoid pushing the cost of today’s spending onto future generations. Grattan’s latest report offers a ‘menu of options’ to repair the budget. Host Kat Clay discusses these recommendations with report authors Danielle Wood, Kate Griffiths, and Iris Chan. Read the report:

Apr 11
How to make superannuation fairer

Less tax is paid on super savings than other forms of income. But if we want a fair and sustainable superannuation system, reform to super tax breaks is essential. On a recent podcast Grattan addressed the question of super tax breaks for balances with over $3 million. But reforming super is a much broader task, that if successful, will result in a fairer system which could repair the budget by billions. Brendan Coates, Economic Policy Program Director, and Joey Moloney, Senior Associate, discuss their new report with host Kat Clay.

Apr 02
Australia's productivity predicament: analysing the 5-year Productivity Inquiry report

Every five years the Productivity Commission releases an inquiry into Australia’s productivity, with their latest five-year report released just last week. In it, they outline the case for advancing prosperity through building an adaptable workforce and creating a more dynamic economy, just to name a few. But Australia is facing a number of productivity challenges in the face of an uncertain world, which may hamper our economic growth in the years to come. Listen to host Kat Clay, in conversation with Grattan’s CEO, Danielle Wood, on why productivity matters. Read the report:

Mar 26
What the increased default market offer means for electricity prices

In the past year, Australians have been navigating the rising cost of living, including increased electricity and gas bills. One tool which gives us an insight into electricity prices for the next financial year is the default market offer (DMO), a draft of which has recently been released by the Australian Energy Regulator. The DMO suggests electricity prices will rise by an average of 20 per cent in the coming year. In this podcast, Tony Wood, Energy and Climate Program Director, and Alison Reeve, Energy and Climate Deputy Program Director, discuss what the DMO means for electricity prices and consumers, in a conversation facilitated by Esther Suckling, Associate.

Mar 19