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Time for a New Consensus: A Guardian Live Event

Tom Bentley and Stephen Koukoulas

in conversation with Lenore Taylor


Australia has emerged from a spectacular resources boom without any clear approach to achieving growth beyond it. The assumptions underpinning the current consensus no longer fit the circumstances. As a result, the policy actions that the consensus allows are failing to achieve traction in the economy or to stimulate new sources of growth. Jonathan West and Tom Bentley argue that it is time to question those assumptions and renew the consensus about what matters, what works, and what is possible. 

In an in-depth and insightful analysis of the Australian political and economic landscape, West and Bentley investigate the growing sense of stagnation in Australia's approach to public policy and economic reform. They argue that the current sense of political inertia comes from the fact that the whole discussion is taking place within the parameters of a political consensus that was forged in the 1980s, and which has now passed its use-by date.

Where deregulation and privatisation were once seen as the answers to competing in a global market, that approach is now exhausted. They argue that the one-off, static idea of comparative advantage – the economic model that dominates the contemporary Australian economic mindset – needs to be replaced with a dynamic approach that not only builds on present strengths, but identifies potential alternative areas for advantage and anticipates where future strengths might lie. 

Join economists Tom Bentley and Stephen Koukoulas in conversation with Guardian Australia political editor Lenore Taylor as they discuss how and why Australia needs a new way to develop its competitive advantage in a globalised economy.

Presented by Griffith Review and Guardian Live

TICKETS: $10 (includes a glass of wine or soft drink)

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Tom Bentley
is a writer and policy adviser based in Melbourne. He currently works as an adviser to RMIT and Melbourne Universities and to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From 2007–13 he was senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to Julia Gillard. From 1999–2006 he was director of Demos, an independent think tank based in London.

Stephen Koukoulas is Managing Director of Market Economics, a firm he established in January 2012 in response to the need for independent and tailored macroeconomic analysis.  He has 30 years’ experience as an economist in government, banking, financial markets and policy formulation. Stephen was Senior Economic Advisor to the former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, worked in the Commonwealth Treasury and before that he was the global head of economic research and strategy for TD Securities in London. He spent five years at Citibank Australia, including as Chief Economist.