Is the Productivity Commission neoliberal? Of course, many might say. Many on the Left, that is -- "an advisory body that facilitates the development of neoliberal policy"; "part of a neoliberal agenda to push costs from society — by taxing the rich — onto individuals, which discriminates against women and the low-paid"; "providing advice that from a neoliberal mindset is rational, but may be politically inconvenient"; "the commission, in my view, is far too dominated by economists. Worse still, these economists are predominantly advocates of neoliberal economics."
Not so, according to Peter Harris, outgoing chair of the commission, professing not to know what the term actually means, noting that there were a wide range of economic views within the commission and that, for an allegedly neoliberal body, it was odd that it had produced the crucial report that led to the establishment of the National Disability Insurance Scheme or the study being presented by Harris and his fellow commissioner Jonathan Coppel yesterday, on changing inequality in Australia (take-out: it has worsened, but not by much, and not by much lately).