Don’t roll your eyes at me

November 29, 2012

From James Paterson

Last week we told you about the latest threat to free speech in Australia: the Gillard government’s anti-discrimination law ‘reforms’. IPA Legal Rights Project Director Simon Breheny had this must read article in The Australian on Friday explaining why the laws are so dangerous.

But never mind free speech, you may not even have free use of your eyeballs in the office – rolling your eyes and having one-on-one meetings with your staff might also get you sued!

This week hasn’t been a great one for freedom in the UK.

In just a few hours Prime Minister David Cameron will announce his response to the Leveson Inquiry, which is believed to have recommended unprecedented government regulation of the media. Conservative backbenchers are very worried about what their government will do – read their letter supporting press freedom. The editor of The Spectator says he’s prepared to go to jail rather than comply with a new regulator. Here’s what the IPA’s Chris Berg thinks of the inquiry.

And then there’s this. Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council this week took three children from their foster parents because the parents were members of the UK Independence Party. In this great piece on Spiked, Brendan O’Neill explains how Britain got to this point.

It was Thanksgiving last week in the United States. ReasonTV explains why we should be grateful for private property rights. This Chinese couple obviously agrees.

And lastly, because I know none of you would want to miss out, please mark in your diaries that next year is the International Year of Quinoa. The IPA is still figuring out how we will celebrate this momentous occasion, but when we do we will let you know. In the meantime enjoy this humourous piece from the IPA’s Tim Wilson on the stupidity of symbolic days and years.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

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Don’t call me the A-word

November 22, 2012

From James Paterson

This week the Attorney General Nicola Roxon unveiled new draft anti-discrimination laws. They are terrible for two reasons: they overturn the onus of proof, and they restrict free speech. In this short videothe IPA’s Simon Breheny explains the changes:

If you don’t want us to end up like Britain (where it is now racist to call someone “Australian”) or India (where their press council chairman said they “must crush freedom of press”) or America (where they now have “free speech zones” on some university campuses) then please consider joining the IPA or donating to our ongoing Freedom of Speech Fighting Fund.

This has to be a first: a health and safety message that isn’t completely crap, from Metro Trains. Mumbrella explains how it got 14 million views in one week. Personally I put it down to the privatisation of Victoria’s train network.

Here’s the video you’ve always wanted to send your anti-capitalist friend. It’s by the great team at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and it is based on Leonard Read’s famous essay, ‘I, Pencil’.

If that doesn’t work, send them this great rant by Judge Judy on entitlements. It’s terrific.

You’ve no doubt always wondered which Bond villain plots would actually work in real life. Wonder no longer. And this could be out of a Bond movie: the secret service destroys all traces of the President’s DNA to prevent foreign spy agencies from collecting his biological data.

As we approach Christmas you must be wondering what to buy the free-marketeer in your life. If they’re not already an IPA member you should buy them a gift membership. If they are, then try this great list of the best books in liberalism published in 2012, compiled by the IPA’s Julie Novak.

If you’re in Melbourne on Monday you might like to attend this event with the author of Little Green Lies, Jeff Bennett, hosted by Connor Court.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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What’s this fiscal cliff thing?

November 15, 2012

From John Roskam

What’s the ‘fiscal cliff’ you say?

This from the The Age last week is an excellent short explanation. And Real Clear Policy explains its legislative and technical components. And here’s ‘The Absolute Moron’s Guide to the Fiscal Cliff’ (their words – not mine) from New York Magazine from Monday. I can guess which article you’ll read first.

Next time someone quotes to you the Congressional Budget Office as a ‘non-partisan’ source (like in this article in The Australian) tell them the CBO thinks higher taxes and bigger government are good – as The Cato Institute explains.

In my column in The Australian Financial Review last Friday I wrote what I thought of the American election.

…on a lighter note – on Sunday in England a 19 year-old who got drunk and posted a picture on Facebook of him burning a Remembrance Day poppy was arrested. Last week in Hey we told you that in the UK three people a day are being arrested for what they post on Facebook and Twitter.

The Gillard government has backed down on its internet filter. Now all we have to worry about is the Iranian government deciding what Australians can see on the web – as the IPA’s Simon Breheny explains on FreedomWatch.

Encounter magazine was a bastion of liberalism in the West during the Cold War. You can now read every edition and writers like Isaiah Berlin, CS Lewis, Raymond Aron, Hugh Trevor-Roper, and Arthur Koestler free and online here. All the details are in this month’s edition of the IPA’s Horizons.

Peter Coleman has a wonderful history of Encounter and its milieu in his 1989 book The Liberal Conspiracy. Here’s the Los Angeles Times review of it.

You’ll be starting to think about books to buy yourself for Christmas. Don’t buy Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new autobiography – The Spectator’s review of it a fortnight ago is hilarious.

Do buy the final volume of William Manchester’s biography of Churchill which has just come out – this is its fascinating story from the New York Times.

With Stephen Spielberg’s new movie Lincoln out soon – the trailer is here – and Rolling Stone’s review is here – you could get yourself the book it’s based on which was reviewed in the IPA Review back in 2009.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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The BBC won’t let ET phone home

November 8, 2012

From James Paterson

Obviously crime has been eradicated entirely in the UK. That’s the only way to explain three people being arrested every day for posts on Facebook and Twitter. Some have even been jailed for as long as three months!

But then again the UK is a weird place: the BBC won’t even let the Brits listen to aliens from outer space because it might violate health and safety regulations.

Our 75 (now 100) radical ideas for Tony Abbott attracted some criticism. But nothing could prepare us for this stinging editorial in The Guardian, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Australia.

Everyone knows Greece is in serious trouble, as explained in this excellent piece last week by Nick Cohen in the other Guardian (I can see how you’d get mixed up). But would you believe America’s debt per person is actually much worse?

Some Hey readers might be disappointed by the election results from America yesterday. But not James Delingpole – he offers 10 reasons to be happy about an Obama win! So how did Obama do it? Time magazine has an interesting back story on the Democrats’ data-crunching machine. Personally I think it came down to the National Dance for Obama Day.

During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, retailer Wal-Mart famously came to New Orleans’ rescue long before the US federal government. What could possibly beat that story of free enterprise efficiency over government bureaucracy, you ask? How about Victoria’s Secret saving the day during Hurricane Sandy? I promise it’s true.

If you’re looking for something lighter to read, try this wonderful essay by Simon Schama on James Bond’s 50th anniversary from Newsweek.

Finally, if you’re in Sydney next week you can see the IPA’s Tim Wilson and Peter Costello debate Bob Katter and Alan Jones on foreign investment. Tickets to this Spectator Australia debate can be purchased here.

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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