… actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them

August 26, 2010

There’ve been lots of explanations for the election result on Saturday. Here’s another one:

ALP Vote vs Public service employment

The IPA’s Julie Novak prepared it. Sure – there’s lots of reasons people vote the way they do – but maybe – just maybe – if you work for the government you’re more likely to vote Labor.

Today everyone’s talking about Tony Abbott’s policy costings. Just shows we need an independent Parliamentary Budget Office! I said it on Monday’s 7:30 Report, and here’s the IPA’s Tim Wilson on Lateline last night. Why shouldn’t we trust Treasury? All their mistakes! Read what the IPA thinks of Treasury’s failures here and here and here.

If you missed the ABC’s Four Corners program on Monday it’s here. It’s a free market perspective on the GFC! (How did it get to air??) Look out for Peter Schiff, the guy who predicted the GFC and who we told you about a few weeks ago.

If you’ve got an iPhone, you’re bored with Angry Birds, and you want to know more about climate change, have a look at the ‘Our Climate‘ app.

Here’s something moderately scary from America. In Philadelphia you need a business licence to blog. And here’s something really scary from America – via the National Review Online. This is from the editorial in Saturday’s New York Times – ‘But many of Mr DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them.‘ Think about it for a moment and what it means. Here’s the original editorial.

If you’re in the mood for some thoughtful reading consider Ken Minogue’s gracious 3500 word analysis of democracy and modern morality from The New Criterion. Everybody’s talking about it.

On Friday in The AFR, I said that we should be afraid of politicians’ visions. In Saturday’s Herald Sun, Alan Moran argued that housing was forgotten in the election. Julie Novak said that the mining sector was left in the lurch in The Courier Mail on Monday. And Chris Berg in The Drum has been writing about Julia Gillard and the evils of compulsory voting.

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Of course you’d rather be poor

August 19, 2010

You would have seen the media coverage about an open letter from 51 ‘economists’ claiming Labor’s stimulus saved Australia from recession.

Has anyone actually looked at the record of these people? The instigator of the letter was Professor Raja Junankar, author of ‘Marx’s economics‘.

Some of the other ‘research’ these ‘economists’ are responsible for includes:

And my favourite:

Yep – I’m glad these people work at taxpayer-funded universities rather than in the real world.

Maybe these economists would welcome the news that Australia is now up there with Venezuela when it comes to sovereign risk and tax rate uncertainty for mining projects. All thanks to Kevin Rudd’s resources tax. Here’s the report released last week by Canada’s Fraser Institute (go to page 18).

And would you be happier if you were poorer? The authors of an influential new book The Spirit Level think so. It’s no surprise the British Labour Party (and some misguided Tories) love it. In the latest IPA Review Julie Novak explains why they’re wrong. And Peter Saunders from the CIS has this on the dodgy statistics behind the book. Here’s a summary of the debate from The Guardian a few days ago.

If you missed the IPA’s Melbourne launch of 100 Great Books of Liberty last Wednesday, you can hear the highlights of the panel discussion with Michael Kroger, Sally Warhaft, and Peter van Onselen from Monday’s Counterpoint on Radio National. Buy the book here.

In The Sunday Age, Chris Berg argued that the Charter of Budget Honesty is useless, in The Drum on Tuesday he said government was stopping broadband. In The Washington Times yesterday, Tim Wilson said that green protectionism will hurt consumers. And on Tuesday, Tim was on SBS’ Insight saying Northern Australia should be a free trade zone.

The August IPA Review is out now. In it Tony Barry discusses the fraud of ‘hope politics‘, Sinclair Davidson explains the financial shambles of out last PM, and Brad Laver reviews Nothing to Envy – the story of North Korea’s totalitarian tragedy.

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I play gym

August 12, 2010

One big policy has escaped scrutiny this federal election. It’s the Greens’ policy on ‘non-competitive‘ sport – apparently they want us to play more of it. Imagine explaining you play ‘non-competitive’ sports to a friend:

Friend: What sports do you play?
You: I play gym and yoga.
Friend: They’re not really sports though.
You: Yes they are – they’re non-competitive sports.
Friend: A non-competitive sport is not a sport – dude. It’s just a thing you do.
You: Nuh-uh. I vote Green.

Yep. It’s bizarre. Here’s something just as bizarre – but no laughing matter. Boroondara Council in Melbourne will impose a fine of up to $1000 on residents who don’t display their house numbers. According to the mayor ‘it’s a fundamental right to be able to identify your own property’. Huh? (So why I can’t find it listed anywhere in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights?)

If you want some comic relief from local councils gouging more money out of taxpayers, read this from the Atlantic Wire a fortnight ago on whether Jedi Knights are Libertarian or Socialist. You’ll see a mention of this famous press release issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2001.

Here’s some serious stuff. On Monday Robert Gottliebsen in the Business Spectator gave a very good summary of why the government’s school building program ran billions of dollars over budget. And here’s the IPA report he referred to.

And if Paul Krugman really annoys you – read this demolition of him in the American Thinker from last week.

In The Drum yesterday, Richard Allsop said a ‘Big Australia’ is nothing to fear. In The Sunday Age, Chris Berg questioned if the Greens will ever grow up, on The Drum on Tuesday he looked at Labor’s internal war and on Friday suggested a speech for Tony Abbott. In the Bangkok Post on Monday and The Washington Times on Saturday Tim Wilson discussed Green protectionism. In the Herald Sun on Saturday and The Drum on Monday, Alan Moran wondered where all the climate change policies have gone. And in the AFR on Friday I said there actually are big policy differences this election.

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What next: a water pistol buyback?

August 5, 2010

Before we get to the rest of Hey: You’ve gotta see this great campaign ad from Bob Katter, a north Queensland MP. He’s even solid on property rights!

Today, Tony Abbott has announced his health plan – 1500 more hospital beds than Julia Gillard’s plan.

Sure. Great, I guess.

But what’s the point if all our doctors and nurses do is complete forms and wrangle with red tape?

It’s what the IPA’s Julie Novak, Tim Wilson and I found in this report we did with the Australian Centre for Health Research. Maybe Gillard and Abbott should cut red tape … then we can talk about more beds.

We’ve been telling you for ages Gillard and Rudd are wrong: the stimulus didn’t save Australia. But we’re not alone! Here’s The Daily Telegraph’s John Rolfe yesterday, and in The Australian last week Tony Makin agrees. There’s a wonderful essay in the latest City Journal on what all the books on the GFC teach us about what actually happened in the crisis – it’s here.

While we’re at it, this article from the January Cato Policy Report continues to be – I reckon – one of the most insightful pieces on the GFC. Not even the regulators understood their own regulations!

The IPA’s Tim Wilson has been everywhere – he has a new TV show, Snapshot, every Wednesday at 9:15am on ABC24. He was also on The Drum yesterday. And today he’s got a new paper looking at green protectionism.

From the Nanny State files: Andrew Bolt has a fantastic column on how the Nanny State is holding back Melbourne’s bike-share program. And in Queensland – you might have to get a license to keep your kids’ toy guns!

And the National Health and Medical Research Council thinks people should go unhealthy – for the planet! The Australian had the story last month. (Speaking of which: here’s a great sketch about rude vegetarians from the show Mitchell and Webb. Is eating cat good for Gaia?)

Here’s what IPA staff have been talking about this week: In The Australian today, Tom Switzer discovered that climate action isn’t going anywhere. In The Sunday Age, I said that Abbott and Gillard’s law and order policies were off the mark, and on The Drum on Tuesday that Wikileaks might be missing the point.

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