I am delighted and honoured to launch the Australia Institute Nordic Policy Centre at the Royal Embassy of Denmark in Canberra.
The Australia Institute is establishing the Nordic Policy Centre, in collaboration with Deakin University, to explore the policy lessons that Australia can learn from the Nordic nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Iceland.
Through research, stakeholder engagement, policy development, events, and public education, the Centre hopes to widen the Australian policy debate to include Nordic solutions to the big economic, social and environmental questions facing Australia.
The Ambassador of Denmark, Mr Tom Nørring, will today host a roundtable discussion of the Nordic Policy Centre's inaugural research report Skatt: Treasure and Tax in the Nordic Countries.
Written by Professor of Politics and Policy at Deakin University, Andrew Scott, the report explores how tax is part of the economic success of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.
As you know, The Australia Institute has been leading the national discussion about revenue. After decades of spending cuts, efficiency dividends, and budget emergencies it is time to confront the fact that many of Australia’s problems, both real and imagined, flow directly from the fact that we have chosen to be one of the lowest taxing countries in the developed world.
Tax is the price we pay to live in a civilised society, but in contemporary Australia we rarely ask how much civilisation we would like to buy, and what are the best new ways we could fund it.
From progressive traffic fines in Finland, to Norway's $1.1 trillion US sovereign Wealth Fund, to Denmark's 43% wind-generated power, to Sweden's 16 month paid parental leave scheme -- the Nordic countries demonstrate policy alternatives exist that can offer Australia a brighter future with greater revenue to fund quality services, a modern energy system that tackles climate change and and social policies that reduce inequality and promote social inclusion.
It is in this spirit we hope The Australia Institute's Nordic Policy Centre will help to expand Australia's economic debate and to find new and innovative policy inspiration that can make Australia a more just, sustainable and peaceful society.
The Australia Institute