the back issue

Two sides of a growth

With all the talk of wage stagnation, you’d be forgiven for thinking Australia lives in struggle town. Yet, incomes have increased so rapidly that today’s full-time median wage would put you in the top quartile 20 years ago! Real growth While growth slowed down over...

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For whom the slots toll

Australians love to poke a pokie. Or so it seems judging by the $12 billion spent every year down the slots. This figure (which accounts for just over 50% of all gambling losses in Australia) is also a significant proportion of Australians’ entertainment budget,...

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Casting geo-blinkers off compassion

Chances are you’re a geographist and you don’t even know it. Suppose you care about people experiencing homelessness. You come across a local organisation (let’s call them “House the white homeless”) providing wonderful support, but they are actively excluding...

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Donating à la carte

Decisions are hard. Especially when the outcomes are important, the options are numerous, and relevant information is hard to find. For many everyday decisions (where to eat, what clothes to wear, what to do tonight), I have a pretty good idea of what I can do, what...

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They don’t make rates like they used to

Australian mortgage affordability has not changed in over 20 years. This statement needs a pinch of caveats and a blanket of context, but when all is said and done housing costs have been surprisingly steady. I didn’t want to write about housing affordability so soon...

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Is it time to check our (housing) privilege?

1. The Australian real estate market is off the charts. International comparisons recently published by The Economist confirmed Australia and New Zealand’s housing costs outpaced Europe and North America over the past few decades. Fortunately for most of us, there are...

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Two-speed houses driving inequality across the city

If you’re looking for a house which appreciates as much as you appreciate it, then you can do worse than the most expensive suburb you can afford. Why? Because it seems that the speed at which a house’s value increase is related to the value of the area it’s in....

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What if Joe and Jessie asked you for money

As you leave the office on a miserably cold night, you walk past two people asking for money on the street. If you are the giving kind, this appears like a charitable situation.   You have enough cash in your pocket, but who do you help? Do you give money to one...

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How bad is bad – rating cancers

Around 125,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer sometime this year. That’s just over 5 new cases per 1,000 Australians. Chances are, someone I know knows some one being diagnosed this year, and they’ll tell me about it. Cancer is never good news. But they're...

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Walking away from the altar

Almost a quarter of a million people will get married in Australia this year, and only a quarter of those will choose a religious minister to conduct their wedding. Religion, it seems, has an ever decreasing role in Australian weddings. Roughly speaking, Australians...

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Is a breast worth 15 lungs

Lung cancer is by far the biggest killing cancer in Australia. In 2014 it claimed the life of over 8,200 people. That’s almost as many as the next three cancers combined (prostate 3 102 + breast 2 844 + pancreas 2 547 = 8 493). In popstats format, that’s one...

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Pyramids of life and death

Pyramid of Deaths in Australia, by sex and age, 2014   To put it in context: Death Pyramid on the popular Population Pyramid, Australia...

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Helping all – UK’s distribution of public funding

Redistribution of funds through tax can happen in one of two main ways: you collect more from the rich than the poor and give everyone an equal share, or you collect the same amount from everyone and distribute more to those in most need.   But how much is the UK...

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UK auto disqualified after poor lifting

In the aftermath of Brexit, the pointy finger of blame has fallen squarely on the rise of conservative patriotism, racism and the stench of economic stagnation among the working poor. But when analysing the economic situation of UK's households over the last few...

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The death of dying

Life is getting longer. Life expectancy in Australia grew from 50 years in the late 1800s, to 70 in the 1960s, to 82 or so today. And we’re nowhere near finished.  But while many are aware of this, not many appreciate the magnitude of this achievement, nor its...

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More charity at home, less in Parliament House

While Australians are increasing their personal donations, as a country they’ve been giving less and less to foreign aid. Is this suggesting a misalignment of sentiments between the community and its leadership? Is there a growing desire to support those closest to...

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Australian philanthropy improving, yet miles behind

Australians are donating more money than ever.  Based on ATO data, tax deductible donations have increased from as $58 million in 1979 to a $2.6 billion in 2014[1].  This equates to an almost 4-fold increase in donations as a percentage of income. That been said,...

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What India doesn’t have fills the world

There are more people living without safe drinking water at home in India than the entire population of Europe… about 100 million more. There are some fundamental things a home needs: clean drinking water, hygienic toilet, bathing facilities, a kitchen and...

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Rental struggles

Australian renters spend 23% more of their budget on rent than mortgagors on loan repayments. Following from a recent post, this further shows that renting stings more than home-loans, and Australian Governments need to focus more on rental affordability than on those...

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