Would we downsize the Berlin Wall?

October 16, 2014

From James Paterson

ABC managing director Mark Scott besmirched the good name of the Institute of Public Affairs this week. He accused the IPA of being a ‘downsize the ABC‘ protagonist in a speech at the University of Melbourne on Monday night.

Downsize? Huh? We don’t want to ‘downsize’ the ABC – we want the government to stop funding it entirely. (See here, here, here and here.)

On Sunday the federal government released their review of the National Curriculum, first promised by then Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne in this speech to the IPA in 2011. This media release from the IPA’s Hannah Pandel on Sunday afternoon explains why this should be the beginning of the end of the biased and substandard curriculum. On Monday IPA members received this detailed analysis on the key findings of the review in a special edition of Horizons.

If you listen to ACOSS, poverty in Australia is getting much worse. But we’ve got good news – new research released on Tuesday by the IPA’s Dr Mikayla Novak and Dom Talimanidis shows the opposite is true. Australians are today richer, healthier and even taller than ever before. In fact, the only threat to Australia’s increasing prosperity is to follow the advice of the welfare lobby to increase the size of government. The only areas of Australians’ lives that are stagnating or going backwards are in industries dominated or heavily regulated by government:

Click here to see the 20 other fascinating charts in the IPA’s new report, Things are getting better all the time.

And in more good news, West Australians again look set to enjoy performances of the opera Carmen, after the state government intervened to overrule the taxpayer-funded Nanny State lobbyist, Healthway.

Earlier this month the IPA, in conjunction with the Menzies Research Centre, hosted an important event to discuss the threats to our ultimate freedom, freedom of speech. John Roskam and Nick Cater were joined by visiting philosopher Frank Furedi. Watch Frank’s excellent 10-minute speech on why free speech is our most fundamental freedom:

This 3-minute video features Frank’s most interesting answer during the panel discussion, about what free speech was like under communism. You can watch the entire 48-minute panel here.

You might have heard that this year’s Nobel Prize winner in economics, Jean Tirole, likes big government (The New York Times certainly thinks so). It’s not that simple, as David Henderson argued on EconLib on Tuesday and Tirole said himself after his win.

On Thursday 6 November the IPA is coming to Sydney to discuss ‘Liberty in the Digital Age’ with Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson. Join us at the Menzies Hotel from 5.00pm to learn how government plans for surveillance and regulation online threaten our freedoms. For more information and to RSVP click here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Live the good life, in Australia’s 13th biggest mistake

October 9, 2014

From Peter Gregory

On Monday the IPA was shortlisted for the international Reason Foundation Video Prize to be awarded in New York in November. If the IPA’s video, ‘Canberra’s power grab deserves to fail‘, doesn’t win, I hope this one from EconPop about the economics of Ghostbusters does:

The other videos shortlisted were:

Of course, Reason are no slouches themselves when it comes to making videos, as this hilarious one about the ‘People’s Climate March’ we featured in Hey two weeks ago shows.

The West Australian Opera, sponsored by government agency Healthway, won’t be staging a season of Carmen next year because it contains scenes where the characters smoke. The IPA’s Chris Berg attacked ($) this censorship in The Australian today. Here’s what you’ll never see if you’re Western Australian.

For all you need to know about the situation in Hong Kong, watch this 3 minute Wall Street Journal video from Monday with Mary Kissel and Bill McGurn from the New York Post. Here is a Wall Street Journal profile from last week on Joshua Wong, the 17 year-old student leading the fight for democracy. And here are 21 photos from the protests.

This New York Times headline on Monday says it all – ‘Want an Easy Life? Try Canberra, Australia‘. It seems Canberra came first in an OECD report on the best places in the world to live. Equally prestigious, Canberra came 13th on the IPA’s list of ‘Australia’s 13 biggest mistakes‘ in the IPA Review in 2006.

For your long piece this week – a fascinating 6601 word article from Slate last month on the CIA agent who spent 20 years in a Chinese prison to become America’s longest serving prisoner of war.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

  

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Fairfax engages in facts-avoidance

October 2, 2014

From James Paterson

Family First Senator (and IPA member) Bob Day’s bill to restore freedom of speech by amending section 18C was debated in the Senate in Canberra this morning. Watch the IPA’s new video on why Senator Day’s bill deserves support. You might be surprised who agrees with us!:

Read and share our new Factsheet which explains how Senator Day’s bill will help prevent cases like Andrew Bolt’s from occurring in the future. And this is the media release the IPA’s Simon Breheny issued this morning on why those who value free speech should support this bill.

In The Financial Review on Friday IPA Executive Director John Roskam slammed the hypocrites who only support free speech for those they agree with.

You’ll love this terrific 9-minute speech in the Senate yesterday by Liberal Democrats Senator (and IPA member) David Leyonhjelm on why we should all be grateful to smokers. Watch at least until 6.05 to see probably the only time South Park has been quoted (with approval) in the Australian Senate.

If you read The Sydney Morning Herald or The Age this week you might be forgiven for thinking we have a systematic corporate tax-avoidance scandal in Australia. After reading this comprehensive demolition by Terry McCrann in the Herald Sun on Wednesday you’ll change your mind. If you’re still in doubt read this from the IPA’s Sinclair Davidson on Catallaxy Files on Tuesday.

IPA member and University of New South Wales Professor Peter Swan explained in The Conversation last week that Australians have a surprisingly high degree of tolerance for income inequality. And this speech, delivered at the Hoover Institution last week by Professor John Cochrane of the University of Chicago, is an excellent explanation of why it should never be the role of government to tackle inequality.

The IPA, in conjunction with the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, is delighted to host the Australian launch of the 2014 Economic Freedom of the World Index in Perth on Thursday 30 October. The author of the index, Resident Fellow of Canada’s Fraser Institute, Fred McMahon, will join us for an important discussion about the benefits of economic freedom. For more details and to RSVP, click here.

The IPA’s Chris Berg will be speaking at The Privacy Workshop in Melbourne on Friday 17 October on the threat posed to our online freedoms and privacy by government. Further details are available here.

Tickets are now sold out for Monday’s discussion on the threats to freedom of speech with Frank Furedi, Nick Cater and John Roskam. Videos from the night will be available in next week’s Hey.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Institute of Public Affairs | Level 2 | 410 Collins Street | Melbourne | Victoria | 3000 | Australia

 

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Has Leonardo DiCaprio read Magna Carta?

September 25, 2014

From Peter Gregory

The IPA’s favourite head of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, thinks Magna Carta is important for protecting the rights of asylum seekers. The IPA’s favourite ABC Media Watch presenter, Jonathan Holmes, thinks Magna Carta is important for protecting the rights of suspected terrorists. Even a 27-year-old drunk driver in the UK cited Magna Carta when pulled over by police.

But research from the IPA’s Stephanie Forrest and Carla Schodde shows that, in keeping with their commitment to preparing young people for the future, Australian universities don’t teach it.

Now here’s a government program I could support! In his excellent speech in the Senate on Tuesday, David Leyonhjelm proposed an Other People’s Money Addicts Anonymous program for politicians.

Speaking of other people’s money, this report from last Friday is about an Australian public servant who took stress leave because she couldn’t find organic coffee with soy milk near her workplace (she should’ve gone with the Magna Carta defence).

If you thought climate change was over - it’s not. Hundreds of thousands of people attended the ‘People’s Climate March‘ in New York on Sunday. Reason TV interviewed some of the protesters in this short video. Go on, you know you want to. My favourite is the lady with flowers on her hat.

Roger Franklin attended the Melbourne version of the event and had this highly amusing piece in Quadrant. And Mark Steyn’s latest run-in from last week with ‘self-conferred Nobel laureate’ Michael Mann is just plain hilarious.

If you want something serious on climate change, this is a fascinating piece from the former undersecretary for science in Obama’s Energy Department in The Wall Street Journal last Friday.

You’ll have heard that Leonardo DiCaprio was appointed a UN Messenger of Peace - it was only a matter of time. I know Hey readers keep track of which celebrities get given which pointless UN titles, so test your skill with this Guardian quiz (I got 2 out of 9).

Dan Hannan in The Telegraph thanked God for Scotland’s ‘no’ vote. Whilst Theodore Dalrymple in The City Journal on Tuesday worried about the cost of victory and Fraser Nelson and James Forsyth in The Spectator wondered how David Cameron got the ‘no’ campaign so wrong.

This is an excellent new resource for Australian freedom-lovers – the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance’s Australian Liberty Calendar. It is a comprehensive database of all the pro-liberty events happening nationwide.

Contained in the calendar is the IPA’s upcoming event on Monday 6 October featuring Professor Frank Furedi in conversation with Nick Cater and John Roskam about ‘The Ultimate Freedom? Current and emerging threats to freedom of speech’. Details and registration here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

  

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Institute of Public Affairs | Level 2 | 410 Collins Street | Melbourne | Victoria | 3000 | Australia

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