Mr Bean loves free speech

October 25, 2012

From James Paterson

Looks like Occupy Canberra has a lot of work to do with the bureaucratic 1%:

That chart is from an important new report on how to really downsize the public service by IPA Research Fellow Julie Novak, released this week.

This video, of Mr Bean star Rowan Atkinson defending the right to offend, is the must-click Hey link of the year. Why don’t Australian celebrities stand up for free speech? The IPA’s Simon Breheny explains why the UK’s ‘Section 5′ is their Section 18C.

The latest edition of the IPA Review is out next week. Sadly, we learnt last week that communications minister Stephen Conroy is not a fan (but obviously an avid reader). Here’s a sneak preview of the front cover. And here is a great article from the last edition – Peter Gregory on how private schools are transforming the developing world.

A few months ago we told you it was lucky that Tim Flannery wasn’t Dutch. Well, it’s even luckier he isn’t Italian, given this court case. Europe sure is a strange place, as this insane EU poster (discovered by Dan Hannan) demonstrates.

I’d never have picked Mitt Romney as a comedian, but his speech at the Al Smith dinner last week in New York was genuinely very funny. Barack Obama’s was pretty good too. And here’s something you won’t see reported on CNN: Republicans are better informed than Democrats.

Finally, the current edition of New York magazine has a fascinating long read on the Ayn Rand-devotee who turned around AIG after the bailout.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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A generation to recover…from this?

October 18, 2012

From John Roskam

It will take ‘a generation to recover‘ from Gillard government budget cuts to the public service according to its union.

The IPA’s Julie Novak shows what a reduction from 261,637 last year to 258,563 this year looks like. You can see all the details here – thank goodness the ABC does not lose a single job!

It will take those balaclava-wearing, molotov cocktail-throwing Europeans a generation to stop laughing after the EU got the Nobel Peace Prize. For reaction there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from: Boris Johnson and Dan Hannan in The Telegraph, and Andrew Roberts in Bloomberg.

This is how the New Yorker reported the reaction from the UK Independence Party – don’t read it if you’re Belgian or a bank clerk.

Children around the world would have cheered had France got the Nobel Prize for this bright idea – reported in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. But the bright ideas don’t stop at France. In America surveillance cameras now watch other surveillance cameras.

The WSJ has this good and understandable explanation of the work of Alvin Roth and Lloyd Shapley who won the Nobel Prize for economics this week. For an explanation you can’t understand without a PhD in mathematics read this in Marginal Revolution.

If you’re in the mood for more economic theory there’s this from The Washington Post last month on how currencies operate in online games. 

Bert Kelly was one of the most influential Australian politicians of the twentieth century. He was an MP for 20 years and a minister for 2 years. On Thursday, 25 October the IPA is hosting the launch of his biography The Modest Member – The Life and Times of Bert Kelly from Connor Court Publishing. Book here to attend. To find out more about Bert Kelly and his achievements go to the Bert Kelly Research Centre.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Your Prius is killing the planet

October 11, 2012

From James Paterson

Nanny Staters usually go after easy targets, like smokers or drinkers. So you know they’re really losing the plot when they target old ladies selling jam and tourists eating ice creams.

But I guess that isn’t as bad as charging kids for the privilege of playing outside, as Glen Eira Council in Victoria is doing.

If you’re feeling smug about driving a Prius, then it’s about time you read this academic study. It’s been a bad week for the green movement – even Al Gore has abandoned his investments in renewable energy!

The American Enterprise Institute has been running a great contest for the best free enterprise video. Here’s their winner. This was our favourite, and this is the cleverest. This article in the Wall Street Journal last week would have made a great topic for a video: How Capitalism Can Save Art.

At the IPA we worry a lot about America – particularly when sitting presidents facing an unprecedented debt crisis put out campaign ads like this. (If you watch that, you must read Mark Steyn’s response). But this graph in this recent Economist article shows exactly why America will bounce back long before Europe does. Soon even Cuba might be a better place to do business than the EU! (Looks like they’re following China’s lead, 30 years later).

This is an amazing long read. It’s from Vanity Fair’s November edition. It’s about an Australian who found his long-lost family using Google Earth. Really.

This month Connor Court Publishing is releasing a new biography on Bert Kelly, perhaps the most important Australian parliamentarian of the 20th century. If you’re in Adelaide you can attend the launch on Tuesday 16th October, or join us in Melbourne on Thursday 25th October.

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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PM’s department reads Roskam’s columns

October 4, 2012

From James Paterson

In his column for the Australian Financial Review last week, John Roskam attacked secret deals between the government and business. In a stunning coincidence, that afternoon the IPA finally received a months-old freedom of information request from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. You can read the document – Julia Gillard’s letter to media executives proposing to restrict free speech – exclusively on FreedomWatch.

If you’re a regular Hey reader then you already know that free market economic reform has lifted 660 million Chinese out of poverty. But you might not have heard about a small group of peasants who signed a secret document that started it all.

You’d have to wonder what Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm would have to say about that. Hobsbawm passed away this week and The Guardian is gushing. The Telegraph mentions a small matter they glossed over.

The best thing about US elections would have to be the ads. Experts are calling this brutal new ad from Republican Congressman Allen West one of the most effective ever. This (profanity-laden) pro-Obama ad featuring Samuel L. Jackson has Democrats excited too. Here’s the back story on the political action committee that put it together.

Last week we told you America has cheap beer. But which way do Corona drinkers vote? As a Sam Adams drinker I’m very pleased with this graph. Turns out you can also pick the way people will vote based on their names. No prizes for guessing which party people named Gwendolyn prefer.

The ice cream truck is fast becoming a thing of the past in Britain, partly thanks to the Nanny State. But at least the Poms aren’t requiring dogs to wear seatbelts, like New Jersey, or banning children from wearing sporting jerseys with “gang numbers” like one Colorado public school.

Two great reads this week – Dan Hannan in The Daily Mail on why the left hates Margaret Thatcher, and a fascinating long look at what life is like living under a fatwa, by Salman Rushdie in last month’s New Yorker.

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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