Castrating pigs: the perfect preparation for Washington

October 30, 2014

From James Paterson

Next Tuesday America goes to the polls for the mid-term elections. You know the Republicans are looking good when The Washington Post says controlling the Senate is no big deal. The most interesting thing about American elections is of course the ads – and this election has featured some classics:

If the result isn’t good for freedom next week, we can blame ‘The 5 most Anti-Libertarian TV Shows Ever‘ compiled in this video by our friends at Reason.

If it turns out ok then we can thank Ayn Rand. This is a terrific essay from The Claremont Review of Books by the American Enterprise Institute’s Charles Murray on why Rand has had such an enduring impact on politics in America.

On Tuesday the Abbott government announced it was increasing the petrol tax without parliamentary approval. As the IPA’s Dr Mikayla Novak said in this press release, the tax increase is both undemocratic and unnecessary. On Tuesday night Mikayla appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 to explain why parliament must consent to tax increases:


This is a terrific speech by Tim Montgomerie of The Times on how UKIP would never have been a problem for the Tories if David Cameron had followed John Howard’s advice.

The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History is an important new book by Boris Johnson on how Winston Churchill’s leadership changed the course of history. This review in The Telegraph last week explains why it’s different from every other biography of Churchill. For a taste of the book read Johnson’s column in The Telegraph on how Churchill saved Britain from the Nazis.

What would Churchill do about Twitter trolls? Somehow I doubt he would jail them for two years as Britain now plans to. James Delingpole was scathing in Breitbart last week.

There’s a new date for the IPA’s ‘Liberty in the Digital Age’ event in Sydney – Thursday 11 December. We’re delighted to have LDP Senator David Leyonhjelm and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson join the IPA’s Chris Berg and Simon Breheny to discuss the threats posed by government to our online freedoms. RSVP here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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The Reagan faction in the Greens

October 23, 2014

From Peter Gregory

What do Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and Ronald Reagan have in common? They both agree ‘we should not trust government’. That’s what Ludlam actually said last Friday at the Privacy Workshop about the government’s national security legislation. Pity the Greens don’t take the same approach to freedom of speech… or food… or drinking… or business.

On Monday it will be 50 years since Ronald Reagan delivered his iconic speech ‘A time for choosing‘.

Here’s the 4 minute version and here is a fascinating piece in Breitbart last Monday on the legacy of the speech. This is what Reagan himself thought about the speech. And this is a great piece about the speech from the LA Times on the centenary of Reagan’s birth in 2011.

According to the ABC, global temperatures have not risen since 1998. Yep, they really said it. Of course, as Nick Cater and Andrew Bolt pointed out this week, IPA Emeritus Fellow Bob Carter has been saying this for almost a decade. Back in 2010 the IPA’s Executive Director John Roskam said the same thing on Q&A. And you can imagine the reaction!

In August 2012 we told Tony Abbott to be more like Gough Whitlam in this IPA Review piece. Yesterday the IPA’s Chris Berg gave the government his ‘7 point plan‘ in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Chris also had this piece in The Drum on Tuesday about how the World Health Organisation was too busy with the nanny state to worry about Ebola. And this is an excellent piece in City Journal on Monday on how the focus of public health in the US has changed from preventing infectious diseases to stopping people from smoking and drinking fizzy drinks.

Dan Hannan has been busy. He was attacked for supporting Ukip by Peter Oborne in The Telegraph last Thursday. And then had this brilliant take-down of the outgoing European commission president José Manuel Barroso in The Daily Mail on Tuesday.   

If you’ve got a spare few days next month, the ATO is hosting tax specialists from all over Asia at a talkfest that will cost over half a million dollars. Presumably the ATO will be telling public servants from around the region how they too can have one of the highest personal tax rates in the world.

Ex-Greenpeace President and author of Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout Dr Patrick Moore is touring Australia in late October and early November. Here he is on Tuesday on Sky News’ Richo + Jones debating the Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute. Click here for all Patrick’s event details.

And the Menzies Research Centre is holding an event in Melbourne next Thursday called ‘Squeezing us dry: The cost of unions’. Click here to book.  

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

  

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

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