Tennis courts are too big anyway

May 26, 2011

From John Roskam | Thursday, 26 May 2011

This is a classic. It’s from today’s Australian by Gary Johns – a former Keating government minister who was with us at the IPA.

Brisbane’s Nundah State School tore up its tennis court to make way for a new building which was part of the Rudd government’s ‘stimulus package’. But because of the new building there was no space for a replacement court that was full size. So the government built one 80% as big as a full court. Which is about as useful as Portsmouth’s ‘Olympic size’ swimming pool for the London Olympics – which isn’t really Olympic size.

Fair Trade coffee makes you feel good – but this new study from the University of Hohenheim says, “Certified producers are more often found below the absolute poverty line than conventional producers.”

In 2006, the IPA’s Tim Wilson said, “The ‘Fair Trade’ campaign will undermine the economic prosperity of developing countries.” (Read this 2008 study from Tim Wilson and Professor Sinclair Davidson for the full story.) 

This is a great article from yesterday’s Spiked on just how bad Australia’s Nanny State is.

And talking of banning things…meat is next…followed by marmite (ah – Denmark’s already done it.) This is an amusing piece from Tuesday’s Guardian about all the things the Brits could ban in retaliation – like Lego, cool furniture, and biscuits in round tins. 

And McKinnon council in Melbourne has banned residents from putting unwashed food tins in rubbish bins.

If you, like everyone at the IPA, are starting to warm up for the 2012 US Presidential election here’s a good take on the potential Republicans – from yesterday’s The New York Times no less…

Don’t forget some big IPA events happening soon. Andrew Bolt, Paul Howes, Michael Kroger, David Kemp, and Professor Jim Allan are speaking on ‘Freedom of Speech in Australia’ in Melbourne on 20 June – book here. Then on 24 June is The Genius of Western Civilisation symposium – book here. And then in July - the really big one. Václav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic is visiting Australia. Details and bookings for the Perth and Sydney events here and here - with details to come for Canberra, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

Here’s some of what the IPA said this week:

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Who’d you rather trust – the internet or the government?

May 19, 2011

From John Roskam | Thursday, 19 May 2011

If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right? Apparently not – according to Bill Clinton. The other day he floated the idea of a government agency – but an independent one! – to correct all that misinformation out there. Yes. He did. Really. Lucky no-one thought of it when he was President.

(You saw our homage to George Orwell in last week’s Hey, didn’t you?)

Talking of misinformation on the internet – this story broke overnight. Did General Motors (1/3 owned by American taxpayers) help finance a propaganda movie celebrating 90 years of the Chinese Communist Party? Yes … No … Maybe …

Still confused by last week’s budget? Terry McCrann explained it all on Tuesday in the Herald Sun. Our graph puts the growth of government spending (is it spending or is it revenue?) into perspective.

People love telling me when I’m wrong. And I got this wrong. In my column in The Australian Financial Review in August 2009 I said government renewable energy targets would push up electricity prices by at least 3%. In fact I was out by a factor of two. Paul Kelly in The Australian yesterday pointed out that renewable energy schemes will push household electricity prices up by 6%. 

What is with the internet this week? This proposal to criminalise the hyperlink in Canada is bizarre. Here’s more from our friend Mark Steyn here.   

This is the one article on the IMF and Dominique Strauss-Kahn that you must read. It was in today’s Australian Financial Review by Harold James at Princeton. Oh – and he’s just resigned in case you hadn’t heard.

There’s two very special IPA functions coming up.

This has just been confirmed. On Monday, 20 June in Melbourne the IPA is holding an exclusive event In Defence of Freedom of Speech with special guest Andrew Bolt. Speakers include Paul Howes (yes – the trade union leader), Michael Kroger, Dr David Kemp, and Professor Jim Allan. And we’ve got a specially recorded personal message from Mark Steyn for the event too.

Mark it in your diary – it will start at 6pm. More details soon.

A few days later on Friday, 24 June we’ve got our The Genius of Western Civilisation symposium with British historian Andrew Roberts, and Peter Craven, John Hirst, Michael Duffy, Giles Auty, John Carroll, Sally Warhaft, Greg Melleuish, Ian Harper, and host of other great speakers. Book here.

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George Orwell’s Budget

May 12, 2011

From John Roskam | Thursday, 12 May 2011

Read this and think about it. It’s by Phil Coorey in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald.

“After promising a tough budget to ensure the return to a forecast surplus of $3.5 billion in 2012-13, Mr Swan unveiled $22 billion in savings over four years, of which about two-thirds was achieved by cutting spending.”

Huh? What other sorts of savings are there?

According to the Treasurer the flood tax is now officially a ‘saving’.  We’ve told you about this scam before (twice actually). Here it is from the government’s own budget papers.

(How do Treasury bureaucrats sleep at night? Following their logic all “taxes” are “savings”!)

Orwell would be proud. 

Here’s The Herald Sun, The AgeThe Canberra Times and The Brisbane Times all swallowing this doublespeak.

Here’s what the IPA has said on the budget:

On Tuesday night Christopher Hitchens won a US National Magazine Award for his articles about his cancer. Here is a wonderful 4,000 word piece by him from this month’s Vanity Fair on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

And I’m just finishing reading a new book The Churchills: In Love and War by Mary Lovell. I’ve really enjoyed it. Here are two reviews that very nicely capture the flavour of it – this from The Spectator and this from The Guardian.

Here’s some of what the IPA said this week:

P.S. And don’t forget to book your place at the most intellectually stimulating event of 2011 – The Genius of Western Civilisation symposium in Melbourne on 24 June with special guest the British historian, Andrew Roberts. Details and bookings here.

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Keynes v Hayek, Round Two – don’t miss it!

May 5, 2011

There was an election in Canada on Monday. Although you wouldn’t know it from the lack of coverage it received in the Australian media.  Maybe that’s because the party that won promised less regulation, no new taxes, and no ‘price on carbon’.  Compare the party platforms here.

The election was controversial.  These advertisements for the Conservatives – here and here – were attacked as being too ‘personal’. Here is a 2008 profile of the strange rise of Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff. Professor James Allen from the University of Queensland (and a refugee from Canada) had this good piece in today’s Australian about the lessons for Australia.

This is a brilliant and clever new video clip.  Keynes v Hayek – Round Two has already had 400,000 views worldwide. (It’s 9 minutes long, and Dan Hannan quality – listen to the words.)

We told you about Round One – in Hey on Jan 29, 2010. Round One has had over 2 million views.

Our link to George Monbiot’s Guardian article on March 24, 2011 advocating nuclear power provoked a huge response.  In the UK Spectator Rod Liddle has this to say about Monbiot.  Liddle starts the piece with a joke – that isn’t really a joke.

You would have seen Francis Fukuyama has a new book out on the origins of politics. This is an interesting profile from Newsweek a few weeks ago.

And are you excited? It’s World Intellectual Property Day!!! The IPA’s Tim Wilson and Jordan Shopov have a new report on IP protection in Australia.

Here’s some of what the IPA said this week:

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