Hamilton and Denniss present an interesting argument about Australian society: We're addicted to consumption. They claim we're more affluent than ever, and the "Aussie battler" image is a myth.
They don't say there aren't poor people in Australia; it's just that we've raised the bar considerably on what we consider "necessities" for life. In other words, it's not only the rich who are getting richer, it's also the poor and middle class getting richer but still claiming to be poor. The problem, they say, is not being consumers; it's being addicted to being consumers.
They organise their argument well into three sections: Describing the problem, outlining some of its (ill) effects; and then proposing solutions. In the first two sections, they present a wealth of statistics and data to support their position. However, the third section - where they propose solutions - is curiously weak, and they offer very little facts or research to support their recommendations.
In fact, they often betray a clear left-wing bias in their proposed solutions, rather than basing them on solid research. This even spills over into mind reading, with ridiculous statements like, "Although not willing to say so, neoliberals believe ...".
In other areas, they are just plain wrong. For instance, in the area of Internet censorship, where I do have some technical knowledge and experience, they say:
"When presented with polling showing that 93 per cent of parents of teenagers want governments to take responsibility for the problem and require Internet service providers to filter content, both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party respond that parents should take responsibility for their children's conduct. The financial interest of the Internet industry is put before the emotional health of Australia's young people."
This conclusion is shamelessly stated without any supporting evidence whatsoever, and without even a basic knowledge of the facts. Australia is one of the few countries in the world that does censor the Internet, and has been doing so since legislation to that effect was passed in 1999. However, technical experts know it's impossible for this to be an effective solution, and parental control is required. The fact that polling shows "93 per cent of parents of teenagers want governments to take responsibility" is neither here nor there - it simply indicates they don't understand what that entails.
You could argue that this is nit-picking, but for authors who present in-depth arguments for the first two-thirds of their book, their proposed solutions lack that same depth, and come across as weak and shallow.
Does that taint the book as a whole? Not necessarily, but I'd suggest you read it with a skeptical mind.