We know the formal economy is important, and so we track it with various indicators, including the GDP. But the whole reason for having the formal economy is so that we can have happy and flourishing households. We need to measure that too.

There are various ways that the formal economy impacts life at home. Work can cause stress; lack of work can cause stress. Advertising and marketing can cause people to overspend, or spend wisely. Sports can provide bad male role models, or good ones. These, and many other impacts, can increase or decrease household well-being. All can be regulated, or influenced by the government budget.

I'd like to see the government, through the ABS, commission a consortium of universities to design, compile, analyse and then regularly report on the way in which government policies and actions affect these channels of influence to make households (segmented by their many varieties) better or worse off, against a well-founded framework for wellbeing.

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