Santa Warning edition

December 17, 2009

Here’s the IPA’s rough guide to what’s happened to the Australian economy in the last twelve months. Yes – the economy ‘grew’ by half a percent – but only because of government spending! (As the Treasury Department itself admits.)

Kevin Rudd wants to censor the internet. That’s bad for lots of reasons. Including, according to calculations by the IPA’s Chris Berg, there’s more than 24 billion web pages which could be blocked ‘by accident’. (The web filter trials accidentally blocked at least 2.44% of web pages and there’s more than 1 trillion web pages in the world.)

You can read the overnight report from Copenhagen by the IPA’s Tim Wilson here. The whole thing is turning into a circus – Penny Wong gets jeered and Hugo Chavez gets cheered. It’s a bigger circus than the Olympics – Beijing had 11,000 athletes. In Copenhagen there’s 45,000 NGO activists alone! Tim found this great BBC interview from yesterday. (It’s 4 minutes – and it’s really surprising coming from the BBC!)

If you’ve ever studied economics, chances are you used Paul Samuelson’s textbook. And all the graphs and equations you learned are because of him. He died on the weekend. Steve Kates in Quadrant and Peter Boettke assess his enormous (and controversial) legacy.

And who’d have guessed? Rich people are happier, as Andrew Leigh wrote in the Australian Financial Review on Tuesday.

Over the holidays after you’ve watched DVDs of The West Wing, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, (even Entourage) read this article from Prospect which explains why Americans make the best TV drama – and why the BBC (and for that matter the ABC) don’t.

Have a safe Christmas. And if you have children don’t expose them to Santa Claus – according to new research from the British Medical Journal you could make your children fat.

This is what IPA staff have been writing about this week: In Friday’s Australian Financial Review I wrote about the impact of a climate change election. In the Herald Sun on Saturday, Alan Moran imagined a month without new government programs and in the Sydney Morning Herald, Chris Berg wrote about our big dumb government. In the Sunday Age, Chris also argued the Victorian government is trampling human rights. And in ABC’s The Drum last Friday, Alan Moran found Climategate’s Australian connection.

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Kevin’s Eleven in Copenhagen

December 10, 2009

The IPA’s man in Copenhagen – Tim Wilson – tells me he keeps bumping into Australian bureaucrats. Maybe that’s because the official Australian delegation is 114 people – here’s the list.

By comparison, the Americans have sent 195 people and the British 71. Tim counted Kevin Rudd is taking to Copenhagen:

No wonder he needs a ‘Transport Liaison Officer’, an ‘Accommodation Liaison Officer’, and a ‘Passport / Baggage Liaison Officer’. And 7 media advisors!

Here’s Tim’s latest video blog direct from Copenhagen he sent overnight. And on Tuesday the Wall Street Journal editorial covered Copenhagen and Climategate. And this piece from Bloomberg last week is why I’m cynical about merchant bankers trading ‘carbon credits’.

Everyone’s talking about nuclear power. Here’s a quick summary in the Washington Post from a few weeks ago. This is what the IPA said in 2005 about the politics of nuclear power.

Jeremy Clarkson always provokes a reaction – here’s an interesting (and hostile) profile from last month’s Prospect Magazine.

And from the Nanny State files:

The Claremont Review of Books from California is some of my favourite reading. Here’s their Christmas Reading Guide – it’s a great list.

This is what IPA staff have been writing about this week: In The Age on Tuesday, Julie Novak looked at the dire fiscal record of the Victorian Government. In Online Opinion last Wednesday, Richard Allsop asked politicians to stop picking on pokies.

And have you missed some Liberty Sessions? Here’s the videos of the talks on John Locke, and Karl Popper. And all the videos from the IPA’s Climate Change conference are now on our website – you can see the presentations by Terry McCrann, Richard Tol, Christopher Monckton, Alan Oxley, Brian Fisher, and Alan Moran.

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You call that a meat axe?

December 3, 2009

Remember how Kevin Rudd said before the 2007 election he was going to take a ‘meat axe‘ to the Canberra public service? Data released last week shows he hasn’t.

No wonder Treasury secretary Ken Henry said on Monday that big government was here to stay.

These two stories have been pretty much ignored by the media. You know what else has been ignored by the Australian media? Climategate! Here’s the latest from this week’s Economist magazine, Monday’s New York Times, and yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. And the academic at the centre of the scandal has just stood down – here’s yesterday’s The Times. Here’s Jon Stewart laughing about it.

In America Climategate has got twenty-five times the publicity it’s got in Australia. It’s even got three times as much publicity in NEW ZEALAND!!!

How do I know? Because this morning I did a google search of ‘Climategate’ by country and I divided the number of mentions I got by each country’s population. Try it for yourself. (Go to the Google search page. Click ‘Advanced Search’, click region, and choose a country to search.)

Two weeks ago I told you about everything that’s wrong with Britain. This is from the latest City Journal about how the US is going down the same path.

I’m starting to get asked about what new books would make good Christmas presents. Here’s some ideas: D-Day: The Battle for Normandy, William Charles Wentworth: Australia’s Greatest Native Son, The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400-1000, and Gordon Barton: Australia’s maverick entrepreneur.

This is what IPA staff have been writing about this week: Chris Berg argued in the Sunday Age that government should leave the arts alone. Alan Moran said in Saturday’s Herald Sun it is time Rudd reined in spending. While, on Friday, I wrote in the Australian Financial Review that an ETS will change everything, and Julie Novak explained in The Punch the perils of a fat tax.

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