Alan Kohler unravels the Federal Budget

Melbourne secondary school students learned about the fine points of the 2015-2016 Federal Budget from one of Australia’s leading finance gurus and Victoria University College of Business Adjunct Professor Alan Kohler.

Kohler is founder and Editor in Chief of the Eureka Report and co-founder of the Business Spectator. He illustrated his hour-long presentation at City Flinders Campus with bar and line graphs – as he does when presenting his ABC TV news segment, That’s Business.

“Looking at this graph you can see there are a lot more deficits than surpluses; as a result the Government debt has increased,” said Kohler. “Eleven years of debt in a row – that’s not good.”

The 160 students from both private and public schools, including St Kevin’s College, and McKinnon and St Peters Secondary Colleges, listened intently as the financial journalist of more than four decades explained his take on the budget.

“Consumer confidence crashed leading up to last year’s budget because the Government were talking about a ‘budget emergency’, and consumer and business confidence hasn’t really recovered since. They had to calm people down with this budget to restore confidence.”

Kohler explained why budgets have become political documents; that the Reserve Bank doesn’t actually set interest rates; that because of retiring baby boomers it is going to be very difficult to get the budget back into surplus; why the value of the Australian dollar is the main thing affecting employment; and why shares in JB HiFi and Harvey Norman went up immediately after the budget was released.

One student asked Kohler how long would it take to achieve a surplus budget following the Government’s recent promise of forcing multinationals to pay their fair share of tax.

“The Government says they are going to 'crack down' on the multinationals,” laughed Kohler. “But in the budget papers there is no money coming from this because they know it’s not going to work.”

The lecture was organised by Victoria University's College of Business and the Victoria Commercial Teachers Association.

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