Three really bad things happened in Canberra this week

June 28, 2012

From James Paterson

Turns out Greens voters don’t hate the mining industry as much as you might have thought:

That’s from our Galaxy poll released this week that also shows 69% of Australians think the mining industry is more responsible for our strong economy than the Gillard government.

Three really bad things happened in Canberra this week:

When parliaments are passing 7,000 pages of legislation every year, there’s bound to be a lot of dumb laws. Here’s our favourite recent example, sent in by a Hey reader: in New South Wales it is a criminal offence to release more than 20 balloons at once!

This story from Canada is simply amazing. It’s a tale of how difficult it is to reform government, and it features phrases like ‘a Sub-Committee for Initial Triage’.

Just when you thought the EU couldn’t be lampooned any more, comes this declaration: if you get sick on holiday, your employer must give you another one. While you’re scratching your head at that, watch this bizarre EU-funded ad designed to encourage women to study science – I promise it is not a hoax.

Here’s some fascinating long reading. What the war on drugs is doing to Mexico, from the July edition of The New Yorker, and Reason magazine on how the libertarian legal movement might just bring down Obamacare. And this is pretty cool – artefacts from the Roman Empire were just found in a 5th century Japanese tomb.

If you’d like to support the IPA with a donation to our End of Financial Year Appeal, you can do so here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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And what about those media companies the government owns?

June 21, 2012

From John Roskam

The government says when wealthy people buy media companies there are ‘very big implications for our democracy‘. So what are the implications for democracy when the government runs its own media companies?

The IPA crunched the numbers.

Talking about freedom of speech – this blog by a British 9 year old school girl about what she had for lunch got 3 million hits. Until it got banned by the government.

This recap of Eurozone geography from the Adam Smith Institute in the UK last week is hilarious. Niall Ferguson’s Reith Lecture this week is not so. He’s got a great line – ‘If the young knew what was good for them they’d join the Tea Party.’

Or they could move to Poland – this is from last month’s Der Spiegel on a EU country that isn’t a basket case.

The historian, Antony Beevor who the IPA brought to Australia a few years ago isn’t too optimistic about Europe either. This is from the UK Telegraph, and a few weeks ago The Economist reviewed his new book on the Second World War.

Last week The Daily counted the number of Americans killed in Chicago compared to Afghanistan.

The IPA’s Tim Wilson is in Rio with 50,000 other people who are also saving the planet. He reported from Rio on Lateline on Tuesday night and in The Australian Financial Review today.

No wonder Tim’s got top billing at the Intelligence Squared debate ‘Foreign Aid is a Waste of Money’ in Melbourne 4 July. Details here and we’ve got free tickets to give away – if you want one email pgregory@ipa.org.au.

Before you buy the new Hilary Mantel book read these 3000 words from this month’s Standpoint on how she’s wrong about Thomas Cromwell.

There are still some tickets available for The Real Story of Climate Change and the IPCC with Donna Laframboise. Book for Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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What do bus drivers, antique dealers and oil lobbyists have in common?

June 14, 2012

From James Paterson

Barack Obama promised Americans five million new green jobs. You might be surprised what qualifies: a bus driver, an antique dealer, and an…oil lobbyist.

This is hot off the presses: a government school in Melbourne, Mount Martha Primary School, has banned students hugging. And high fives. And tiggy. Actually…all physical contact. I promise I’m not making this up, it’s in The Age!

Last week everyone wanted to know about Michael Bloomberg’s crazy Nanny State ideas. Now Boris Johnson has gone and broken our hearts – I don’t know if we can ever link to him again! At least he doesn’t want to ban a life-saving innovation. (The Economist has this definitive response to the Nanny State philosophy.)

From the ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ files – Sweden rotates its national Twitter account between ordinary citizens, with very unfortunate results.

Everyone is talking about this shocking poll showing young Australians aren’t totally convinced democracy is a good thing. John Roskam said in the Financial Review on Friday that these are exactly the outcomes our education system was designed to produce. And Chris Berg explains why we shouldn’t be surprised in the Sunday Age.

They’re also talking about this report from the Institute of Economic Affairs in London this week. It shows British charities are increasingly funded by government and that they spend that money lobbying for bigger government. Sadly, Australia is not immune either. And Tim Wilson’s new report on Australia’s aid expenditure released this week shows we don’t confine left-wing campaigning on taxpayer dollars to our own borders. (Watch me try to convince Peter Singer and Tim Costello free markets are better than aid for solving poverty on Sunrise recently.)

The cover story in last week’s The New Republic by Deidre McCloskey is a great long read on the creepy idea of Happiness economics.

The first stop on the IPA’s Freedom of Speech Tour 2012 is Tasmania. Book to hear John Roskam and Chris Berg speak in Hobart on 24 July and Launceston on 25 July.

And tickets are selling fast to The Real Story of Climate Change and the IPCC with Donna Laframboise. Book for Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

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The best anti-Nanny state ad ever…

June 7, 2012

From James Paterson

Michael Bloomberg has done it again: I reckon this is the dumbest Nanny State proposal ever. For once, even the left isn’t sure it’s a good idea! (But we should be grateful it gave us the best anti-Nanny State ad too, on a full page of the New York Times this week). It’s even dumber than this from the UK this week during the Queen’s Jubilee.

And are we so stupid that we don’t realise novelty globes should not be used for navigation? The 2012 Wacky Warning Labels Contest suggests the answer is…definitely.

But here’s some good news. The US government has confirmed there is no such thing as zombies. Phew! (It’s up there with this congressional declaration that pizza is not a vegetable.)

The video everyone is talking about this week is this hard-hitting 12 minute documentary defending free speech, by a young Melbourne film maker. Watch it – you will not be disappointed. Oh, and it turns out Bob Brown is not a fan of Chris Berg’s book! We sent every MP, plus judges and journalists a copy last week with this letter. (It sounds like Barack Obama might enjoy it though – his State Department is concerned by the Andrew Bolt case.)

Canadian investigative journalist and author of this great exposé on the IPCC, Donna Laframboise, is touring Australia in July with the IPA. Donna was on The Bolt Report last October. Book here to see her in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Australia lost a great champion for freedom this week with the passing of Neville Kennard. Jennifer Marohasy has written this lovely eulogy. And here’s Nev writing for the IPA Review in September 2008 on flat taxes in the Caucasus.

These are two great opportunities for young people: the Conservative Leadership Foundation has launched its 2012 essay competition with excellent prizes. And the Centre for Independent Studies is welcoming applications for their very informative Liberty and Society conference for students.

If you’re in Melbourne and considering going to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Napoleon exhibition then this fascinating article by IPA board member Michael Kroger in The Age on Wednesday will whet your appetite.

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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