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Vested interests have hijacked policy debate, warns economist

Populist media and industry lobbyists are dominating policy debate in Australia and “drowning out” more informed, independent commentary, a leading economist has told a national social and economic forum in Melbourne.

Ross Garnaut, an economics professor at the Australian National University in Canberra, said there was now less emphasis on analysis and “respect for knowledge” in public policy discussions.

“The majority media and the business lobbies have drowned out the independent centre, with raucous assertion of opinions that are convenient to their private interests,” he told the annual Outlook conference at the University of Melbourne.

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