Someone is now $10,625 richer

June 24, 2010

Who said no-one saw this coming? In March a punter bet $2,500 that Gillard would replace Rudd before the election – he’s just won $10,625! At the time Gillard’s people said the punter should have saved his money. Well – that’s their first mistake then.

And Kevin Rudd’s mistake? Thinking he could run Australia like he ran Queensland. This is what a fellow Queenslander wrote three years ago – before Rudd was even elected PM!

And Treasury secretary, Ken Henry will be a happy man. His extraordinary statement – that everyone should be quiet and agree with him – will get lost in the mayhem of Canberra. Well – the IPA won’t be quiet. I said that it’s time for him to quit. Here’s how the ABC’s Lateline and PM reported it. The CIS’s Oliver Hartwich agreed with me.

The IPA has upset the Chief Minister of the ACT! The IPA’s Tim Wilson said that if the ACT deregulated supermarkets, grocery prices would come down. The Chief Minister said this was “nothing but arrant, unadulterated nonsense” – because of course (as we all know) competition makes things more expensive – Riiight!

From the Nanny State files: In Japan, if you’re overweight – you’re breaking the law! And on Monday, Penny Wong refused to rule out forcing internet companies to keep records of every single website we visit! Here’s what the IPA’s Chris Berg had to say about it in ABC’s The Drum last week.

In The Australian today there’s this excellent piece by Professor Tony Makin on the failed policies of the International Monetary Fund. That’s the same IMF that thinks the resources tax is a good idea!

And if you’re looking for some non-Julia Gillard reading here’s some good stuff. Deepak Lal in the Cato Journal on what we now know about the GFC, this from the Hoover Institution’s Policy Review on the ideology of the Tea Party movement, and this from The Wall Street Journal on why Hollywood hates capitalism.

In The Drum on Tuesday, Chris Berg defended economic growth. In the Canberra Times yesterday, Alan Moran wrote that Ken Henry’s mistakes are adding up. And in the latest IPA Review, Ben Hourigan writes that science fiction loves freedom.

PS: Here’s something you can’t miss: The next Liberty Session! It’s on the works of Geoffrey Blainey, at the IPA in Melbourne, July 13 at 5:30pm. RSVP and see videos of previous Liberty Sessions here.

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ART – the non-alcoholic version

June 17, 2010

Everyone’s talking about how Nanny State activists got hold of Winston Churchill’s cigar.

(What next? Will Kevin Rudd’s internet filter shut down this website?) We thought we’d give the Nanny State activists a bit of help.

Next they’ll be on to Harry Potter. Oh – they already are! This is from The New York Times last year – does Hogwarts have a drinking problem?

As you start preparing your tax return think about the things you paid for a few months ago:

And who can forget… $250,000 so a highway in New South Wales can have its own website.

The great economic historian Angus Maddison died a few months ago. He compiled the monumental The World Economy: a millenial perspective. The OECD has this excellent website about it. His marvellous statistics collection (available free online) on population and GDP all the way from the Year 1 to 2008 is here (scroll down to ‘Historical Statistics’).

And why does this matter?  In 1892 Australia had the highest per capita GDP in the world.  What happened?  Tax and tariffs.

And from the Nanny State files: a council in the UK is fining dog owners for having leashes – that are too long! In the ABC’s The Drum on Tuesday, the IPA’s Chris Berg wrote about how Australia could be further down the Nanny State path than we realise. And on the 7:30 Report Chris said that the government wouldn’t be able to ban internet gambling, no matter how hard they tried.

The new IPA Review is out next week – with Slavoj Zizek on the cover. If you haven’t heard of him yet you will – he’s the next Noam Chomsky – Chris Berg explains.

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about this week: In The Australian Financial Review on Friday, I wrote that TV ads won’t help Rudd. In the Sunday Age, Chris Berg wrote about big government conservatism. In Monday’s Australian Alan Moran wrote that privatisation is good, and in Saturday’s Herald Sun he said electricity companies need competition. In The Australian Financial Review yesterday Sinclair Davidson explained Kevin Rudd’s economic policy shambles and on The Drum he said Treasury is giving bad advice.

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Government says: shish kebab NOT doner kebab for World Cup

June 10, 2010

If you think you can avoid the Nanny State and sit and watch the World Cup with a beer and chips – THINK AGAIN!!

There’s an official British government rulebook on what to eat and drink during the World Cup.

It’s not just the UK. Here in Australia public health bureaucrats want to shut down local sports clubs that sell heavy beer.

While on the beautiful game – this is great from Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair – in Canada, a children’s soccer league has introduced a new rule … a team winning by more than 5 goals forfeits the game!

On less serious subjects. Here and here are last Friday’s newspaper coverage of Treasury admitting they were WRONG – and the IPA’s Professor Sinclair Davidson was RIGHT – Treasury did use a dodgy graph to justify the stimulus package. (We broke this story in Hey… 3 weeks ago.)

Gina Rinehart launched a great new book by Ron Manners – Heroic Misadventures. You can watch her speech from the IPA website – and she talks about Friedrich Hayek! (How many business leaders in Australia have even heard of Hayek – let alone know what he said?) Here’s Ron on the ABC’s Counterpoint a week ago being interviewed about his book.

Incidentally Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is the top seller at! (That’s the influence of Glenn Beck – on Tuesday night on US TV Beck said Hayek gives a ‘Mike Tyson right hook to socialism’.)

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about this week: In Tuesday’s Courier Mail, Julie Novak said there is no such thing as the “two-speed economy” justification for the RSPT, and in today’s Australian Financial Review she says that the states need to live within their means. On the ABC’s The Drum on Tuesday, Chris Berg wrote about blockading Gaza.

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64 bureaucrats, 1 big mistake

June 3, 2010

Remember three weeks ago the IPA’s Professor Sinclair Davidson found the dodgy graph in the budget papers – Treasury ignored G20 countries which weren’t saved by big stimulus packages? Well: we were right!

Treasury put this press release out last night. And they tried again, with all the OECD countries this time.

Well when I say “all the OECD countries” I mean – MOST of the OECD countries. This time they excluded Iceland, Ireland, Hungary and Greece. You want to know why?

It’s because those four countries actually DECREASED government spending during the financial crisis. If you include them: the statistical significance disappears. Again!

But, according to Hansard, SIXTY-FOUR Treasury Officials attended Senate Estimates when Treasury Secretary Ken Henry appeared last Thursday! (You can see the list here, page 5) Including:

Treasury aren’t the only folks stuffing up: Tom Quirk, an IPA board member, took a look at what the CSIRO has been saying about climate change. Guess what – they’ve been ignoring data too! Here’s what Terry McCrann said about it in The Weekend Australian.

It’s not all bad in Iceland. The ‘Best’ party – yep that’s their real name – just won a Reykjavik council election. The party was founded by a comedian. You HAVE to watch their campaign video. (And here’s another really funny campaign video – ‘Vote for Sandwich’. While we’re at it, this one from Alabama is pretty good too.)

Here’s a new paper by the IPA’s Julie Novak spelling out exactly why the super profits mining tax is so bad. And in Friday’s Australian Financial Review, John Roskam wondered why Kevin Rudd was so eager to hurt the mining industry.

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about this week: In the Sunday Age, I wrote that Facebook was the least of our privacy concerns, and on ABC’s The Drum on Tuesday I looked at asylum seeker policy. And in the Herald Sun on Saturday, Alan Moran said Kevin Rudd’s economics don’t add up.

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