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Tax Reform and Justice Program

Taxation and the government services it funds has had a profound and generally positive impact on society over the last century. Yet in the aftermath of the financial crisis and amid growing inequality and corporate power, the politics of taxation is as contested as ever. Questions such as how much revenue governments should raise and how this burden should be distributed continue to dominate political debate both in Australia and beyond.

Our research on the politics and political economy of taxation is designed to gather and collate data and develop policies and strategies which will improve the long-term efficiency, sustainability and fairness of tax systems both in Australia and beyond.

The ISC’s Tax Reform and Tax Justice program brings together some of Australia’s leading tax scholars with a range of professional and disciplinary backgrounds. We also have strong collaborations with international researchers and programs.

Our Research Group

Richard Eccleston is a political scientist and the founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change. He is a specialist in domestic, comparative and international political economy with an emphasis on taxation policy and public finance. Richard is the author of six books and more than 50 articles and chapters on various aspects of comparative politics and economic policy. His specific expertise is in the politics of public finance and taxation reform, having researched these topics around the world in recent years. His most recent book, The Dynamics of Global Economic Governance, explores the question of international tax cooperation in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis.

Hannah Murphy-Gregory is a lecturer in the Politics and International Relations program of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania. Her research focuses on the roles and impacts of NGO campaigns on contentious social, economic, and environmental issues.

Jason Ward is the principal analyst of the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability & Research (CICTAR) in Sydney and an adjunct senior researcher with the Institute for the Study of Social Change.

Fred Gale is an Associate Professor in Politics and International Relations, in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania. His research focuses on rethinking the discipline of political economy from a sustainability perspective and working through its implications for trade, investment, finance, labour and cultural practices.

Maria Yanotti is a Lecturer in Economics and Finance at Tasmanian School of Business and Economics (TSBE) at the University of Tasmania. She is an applied economist specialising in housing finance, banking, and household economics and finance.

Julia Verdouw is a research fellow in the Housing and Community Research Unit (HACRU) at the University of Tasmania. She brings a sociological lens to her work in housing research, which has focused on access to housing for marginalised groups including remote Indigenous tenants, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and social housing tenants. Her current work investigates pathways for tax reform toward increasing affordable housing access nationally.

Kathleen Flanagan is the Deputy Director of the Housing and Community Research Unit (HACRU). Her research is concerned with questioning the ‘taken-for-granted’ of contemporary housing policy and includes detailed analysis of policy history and discourse. She is interested in the ways in which housing, especially social housing and its tenants, is thought about and acted upon by policy-makers and in the different ways of thinking and acting that might be possible.

Ainsley Elbra is a researcher in the field of international political economy at the University of Sydney. Her work focuses on globalisation, private governance and business-state relations. She is currently co-leading the Institute for the Study of Social Change’s research project on multinational corporate tax avoidance, focusing on voluntary governance solutions and firms' responses to calls for greater tax transparency.

John Mikler is a researcher at the University of Sydney whose work focusses on the role of transnational economic actors, particularly multinational corporations, and the interaction between them and states, international organisations and civil society.

Rick Krever is a leading taxation law and policy expert based at the University of Western Australia. He has been closely involved in modern Australian tax reform initiatives for many years, including in his roles as a member of the Commonwealth Government's Taxation Law Improvement Project Consultative Committee and the Review of Business Taxation (Ralph Review). Professor Krever has been a professor-in-residence at both the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Treasury and has twice been seconded to the International Monetary Fund.

Neil Warren is a professor of taxation and researcher based at the School of Taxation and Business Law at the University of New South Wales. His academic interests are in public sector economics with a special focus on taxation policy and fiscal federalism. He is a respected consultant, having prepared numerous reports for state and federal Government agencies, chaired two state taxation reviews, provided expert opinion to government inquiries and parliamentary committees, and advice to political parties and welfare and industry groups.

Featured Research

Business, Civil Society and the 'New' Politics of Corporate Tax Justice: Paying a Fair Share? (PDF 55KB)

Oxford University Saïd Business School Research Fellow Alice Pirlot said this publication makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the interactions between states, corporations, NGOs and citizens in the public debate on the taxation of multinational corporations. The publication does so by providing a systematic analysis of the actors aiming to shape the idea of ‘corporate tax justice’. The publication was edited by Institute for the Study of Social Change Director Professor Richard Eccleston and University of Sydney researcher Dr Ainsley Elbra.

University of Tasmania social science researchers to tackle big global challenges

This project is examining the estimated $500 billion-a-year global problem of tax avoidance by the world’s biggest companies. The three-year study, awarded a $365,940 ARC grant, is led by researchers at the University of Tasmania including tax policy expert Professor Richard Eccleston, with support from researchers at Sydney and Monash universities.

More: Studies to dig deeper on tax and religion. The Mercury, 25 November 2017

Pathways to Property Tax Reform

Reforming state and local government property taxes can contribute to a fairer and more sustainable housing system as well as delivering additional economic and social dividends. This research by Richard Eccleston, Neil Warren, Julia Verdouw and Kathleen Flanagan proposed a nationally coordinated incremental strategy with clearly defined short, medium and long-term objectives, including administrative reforms; a simpler and fairer revenue neutral transfer duty; and replacing transfer duties with a broad-based recurrent property tax.

Tax Avoidance by For-Profit Aged Care Companies (PDF 15.6MB)

This report prepared by Jason Ward, adjunct senior researcher with the Institute for the Study of Social Change recommends that companies receiving millions of tax payer dollars via Australian government subsidies must be required by law to meet higher standards of transparency in financial reports and be publicly accountable.

Submission to the Senate Inquiry into tax avoidance in the aged-care sector

Institute for the Study of Social Change Professor Richard Eccleston and fellow researcher Lachlan Johnson prepared this submission to the Senate Economics References Committee Inquiry into tax avoidance in the aged-care sector.

TAS-ISC GRI Tax Reporting Submission (PDF 1.6MB)

March 2019 | Institute for the Study of Social Change researcher Lachlan Johnson prepared this submission to the Global Reporting Initiative on their framework to encourage Multinational Corporations to provide more information to investors about their tax practices. A small but important step towards creating a fairer and more sustainable international tax system.

Featured Articles

24 March 2017, The Conversation

This article co-authored by Dr Jason Ward exposes the tax practices of a multi-billion dollar construction firm in Australia.

11 June 2018, Michael West

Hannah Murphy-Gregory is a lecturer in the Politics and International Relations program of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania. Her research focuses on the roles and impacts of NGO campaigns on contentious social, economic, and environmental issues.

13 July 2018, University of Tasmania News

Jessica Irvine, a senior economics writer with Fairfax Media, described the tax reforms proposed by Institute for the Study of Social Change Director Richard Eccleston and others as “compulsory reading for all state and federal politicians.”

29 November 2017, Institute for the Study of Social Change Blog Post

This article includes more media coverage of the release of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) report on how to create a fairer housing system in Australia.

Featured Publications

Institute for the Study of Social Change

Contact

Institute for Study of Social Change
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 22
HOBART TAS 7001

E: ISC.Admin@utas.edu.au

Media enquiries

Tahnia Creedon
Engagement Manager
T: +61 3 6324 3927
E: Tahnia.Creedon@utas.edu.au

Location

Sandy Bay Campus
Social Sciences Building
Level 4, Room 418
View Campus Map (AX17 26)