Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedNot offered in 2015


Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.


The primary function of taxation - to raise revenue to finance the operation of the state - gives rise to many issues which speak to the nature of our economic, social and political system. Although these issues are common across modern liberal democracies, this subject focuses on the way these issues are treated in contemporary Australia. Key issues include:

  1. the role of taxation in the market economy;
  2. who should and does bear the burden of taxation in Australia?
  3. what bases should be taxed - income, consumption, wealth/resources?
  4. what is the role of taxation in achieving outcomes beyond revenue raising including the role of taxation in the redistribution of resources and the use of tax expenditures to achieve various social, economic and political outcomes?
  5. what is the link between the Australian tax and transfer system or, more specifically, the link between taxation and spending in the modern Australian welfare state?
  6. what is the political influence of individuals and groups in shaping tax policy and legal outcomes in Australia?
  7. how does the constitutional and institutional configuration of the Australian state influence tax laws?

The subject covers a wide variety of disciplines relevant to the analysis of tax laws including economics, politics and philosophy. It refines skills of policy analysis to critically engage with current trends in Australian tax law and policy.


Upon completion of this unit, students should:

  1. investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to tax policy in Australia from a range of policy and disciplinary perspectives including law, economics, politics and philosophy so as to:

a. critically evaluate the role of taxation in the modern Australian state and within a market economy including the manner in which key norms and values such as equity, efficiency and justice influence the tax policy debate;

b. critically assess the impact of key tax policy choices relating to the tax mix (ie the combination of taxes), tax base (what should be taxed), tax rates and taxpaying units (ie who should be taxed);

  1. apply knowledge and understanding of recent developments in Australian tax policy with creativity and initiative to new situations in the practical administration of Australian tax laws. Refine skills of policy analysis to interpret, synthesise and critically evaluate legislative provisions and case law from a broader policy perspective;
  2. conduct research in tax policy based on knowledge of appropriate research principle and methods; and
  3. use cognitive, technical, creative and collaborative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to Australian tax law and policy in both oral and written form.


Class participation: 10%
One research assignment (3,250 words): 40%
One take-home examination (3,750 words): 50%

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements).