This event is part of the ANU/The Canberra Times Meet the Author series.

Date & time: Wednesday 3 April 2024, 6pm-7pm

Location: Cinema, Cultural Centre Kambri (ANU Builiding 153)

Paul Tilley will be in conversation, moderated by Miranda Stewart, with Ken Henry on Paul’s new book Mixed Fortunes. A History of Tax Reform in Australia. Australia’s history is sprinkled with attempts at tax reform – some successful, some not. Mixed Fortunes explores these efforts at substantive change in our tax system.

Paul Tilley takes us from the establishment of the Australian Constitution at Federation in 1901 and the 1942 unification of income tax, through the seminal Asprey review in 1975 that set up the major tax reforms of the 1980s and 1990s, and up to the lack of tax reform, at both the Commonwealth and state levels, this century. Mixed Fortunes examines the roles of foundational reviews, which establish the case for reform, and determinative reviews, which implement reform. It assesses both the political economy issues of policymaking and the quality of the tax reforms that have been achieved in Australia. The key questions it addresses include: What makes a reform exercise work – or not? How do we assess the quality of Australia’s tax reforms? And what lessons can be drawn from these experiences to help shape future tax reform exercises.

Paul Tilley was an economic policy adviser to governments for 30 years, working mainly in Treasury but also the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasurer’s Office, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University’s Tax and Transfer Policy Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School. Prior to writing Mixed Fortunes: A History of Tax Reform in Australia, he published Changing Fortunes: A History of the Australian Treasury.

Dr Ken Henry AC is the Chair of the Australian Government’s Nature Finance Council, the Australian Climate and Biodiversity Foundation and Wildlife Recovery Australia and he is a non-executive director of the Digital Finance CRC and Accounting for Nature Ltd. Ken is an economist and former public servant, serving as the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury from 2001 to 2011. Ken has been influential in Australian and international economics for much of his career. He has worked alongside both Labor and Liberal governments and represented Australia at numerous international and intergovernmental economic forums. He was also the Chair of National Australia Bank from 2015 to 2019. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and of the Australian Institute for International Affairs.

Miranda Stewart is a Treasury Visiting Fellow in Revenue Group. Miranda is Professor of Law at the University of Melbourne Law School and is a Fellow at the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. Miranda was the inaugural Director of the Institute from 2014 to 2017. Miranda has more than 25 years research, practical and leadership experience in tax law and policy in academia, government and the private sector. Her most recent book was Tax and Government in the 21st Century (2022).

The vote of thanks will be given by Dr. Andrew Leigh, the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, Treasury and Employment, and Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT.

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.

Click here for further information and registration.

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