When government does comedy

March 28, 2013

From John Roskam

A few days ago we got some good news via our friends at Per Capita, the progressive think tank.

Thanks to the Gillard government half of all Australians now think they pay too much tax – a third think they pay the right amount – and only 1% think they pay too little.

And the best bit? The age group with the highest proportion who think they pay too much tax? It’s 25 to 34 year olds. 63% of them think they pay too much tax. Maybe there’s hope for the country after all…

When the government does comedy – you get this. An execrable training video from the IRS in America. It’s 5.22 minutes long. I defy you to watch more than 2 minutes of it before turning it off. CBS News uncovered it after an FOI request – here’s the story from a few days ago.

This extraordinary piece on how people are too dumb to make their own decisions appeared in Sunday’s New York Times. Reason magazine has this response.

This will make you cry – a $5000 fine for a guy in Sydney who decorated his shop for Australia Day.

If you haven’t heard of Bitcoin you soon will – Cyprus has made sure of that. This explains what Bitcoin is – and this explains why naturally the US government wants to shut it down.

Who’d have thought cheaper milk gets people to buy more? Incredible! Tell me more about this economicsy stuff…

Over Easter you’ll enjoy this 3000 word extract in the latest Vanity Fair on Roger Ailes the boss of Fox News. It contains the line about how Rupert Murdoch realised there was a niche audience for a conservative news network – yeah ‘half the country’ as Charles Krauthammer said.

And if you know who David Miliband is, and care that he resigned, you’ll enjoy this from Peter Oborne in yesterday’s UK Telegraph.

A few places are still available for our Tom Palmer events in Perth, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane (He will be speaking at the IPA sponsored-Australian Libertarian Society Conference in Sydney). This video interview with Tom about his incredible life will whet your appetite.

If you’re in Melbourne, come along to The Australian Adam Smith Club’s 30th Anniversary dinner.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

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A pretty good week for freedom

March 21, 2013

From James Paterson

It’s not often you can say it, but this has been a pretty good week for freedom.

First, the Gillard (?) government dumped their anti-discrimination laws, which would have seriously restricted free speech. Here is our media release welcoming the announcement. This was the email we sent federal MPs the day after the legislation was released last year. And in this new video I explain why it is so important they were defeated:

Secondly, this afternoon the Gillard government also announced their media “reforms” would be dropped. To understand how bad they would have been, read our 1 page factsheet. On Monday on Sky News I explained why the independents should block the laws, and last week also on Sky Tim Wilson slammed Conroy for his disregard for free speech.

But it’s not all good news! Yesterday the NSW government fundamentally undermined the right to silence. Here’s our media release condemning their move. And over in the UK “Conservative” Prime Minister David Cameron just shackled the media with terrible new laws. You’ll want to read what Mark Steyn and Boris Johnson have to say about it. And it won’t just affect newspapers, as Nick Cohen points out.

Question: what does it take to generate a press release from Penny Wong, three separate tweets from the Prime Minister’s press office, a “council of war” from a major union and an attack in question time from Wayne Swan? Answer: this list produced by the IPA’s Alan Moran.

You’ve probably heard about the fiscal crisis engulfing Cyprus this week – here is the best explanation of exactly what’s happening. And this explains why it’s a really bad idea for governments to steal money from their citizens’ bank accounts, if that wasn’t already obvious.

The IPA is delighted to be hosting Tom Palmer from the Cato Institute and Atlas in Australia next month. Book now to hear Tom speak about the end of the welfare state in Perth on 3 April, Canberra on 9 April, Melbourne on 10 April and Brisbane on 11 April. If you’re in Sydney, you can hear Tom speak at the Libertarian Society conference on 6 and 7 April, co-sponsored by the IPA.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

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The right to laugh at morons under threat

March 14, 2013

From James Paterson

Stephen Conroy has finally got around to announcing his plans to punish the media – and he wants it passed in just one week! (This is what Conroy said about rushing media changes through parliament…in 2006). Here’s the media release we issued as soon as the plan was announced and this is what I had to say about it in The Australian yesterday. The IPA’s Chris Berg recorded this special video to explain the changes:

But I have to take my hat off to The Daily Telegraph for their spectacular front page yesterday. And if Conroy didn’t like that, he’ll really hate their ‘apology‘ today.

At last some good news on free speech – it is no longer racist or illegal to call someone ‘Australian‘. (We told you about this amazing case in November last year). Unfortunately loud laughter is illegal though, and punishable by jail.

Poor Michael Bloomberg had a big setback on his plan to ban large soft drinks this week. But he won’t let small inconveniences like court orders discourage him – next on the list: loud headphones.

If you read one thing this week make it this: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s speech to a dinner for journalists in Washington DC on Saturday. It’s easily the funniest thing I have ever read from a politician.

There’s just one day left to take advantage of our special offer to join the IPA. Sign up before midnight Friday night to get your bonus free book. Visit http://join.ipa.org.au/special-offer/ and use the code “membership”.

2013 marks 70 years of fighting for freedom at the Institute of Public Affairs. To celebrate we will be holding our 70th Anniversary Dinner in Melbourne on Thursday 4th April, with special guest Rupert Murdoch. For more information please contact Sarah Duncan on 03 9600 4744 or [email protected].

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

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Don’t point that pastry at me

March 7, 2013

From James Paterson

This week the IPA released a major new report by Chris Berg, which shows the government spends $80 million every year lobbying…itself. It comes as no surprise what they lobby for: bigger government. Watch this short video from Chris explaining his findings:

The IPA bids farewell to the impressive Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal who visited Australia as our guest this week. You can watch Mary’s excellent speech to the National Press Club on Tuesday here. And you can always catch Mary in action at Opinion Journal Live.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday (I wouldn’t dare call him a dictator, because Sean Penn would send me to jail if I did). Oliver Stone is sad. So is Jimmy Carter, who says Chavez leaves “positive legacies“. But no one is as sad as this guy writing in The Independent. If you want the unvarnished story of Chavez’s 14 years in office try Human Rights Watch. Or this stinging editorial from a Venezuelan newspaper. Or Christopher Hitchens’ classic insight into Chavez’s mental health from Slate in 2010.

This week the UN declared that cutting welfare programs undermines human rights. As the IPA’s Simon Breheny points out on FreedomWatch, since when did we have a human right to other people’s money? Then again, the UN this week also elected a Syrian government official as their representative on decolonisation. Maybe they were drunk when they voted.

Previously we’ve told you about the school who asked a deaf boy to change his name because of their weapons policy, and the student arrested for drawing in his notebook. I think they’ve been eclipsed. It involves a pastry “gun” and a 7 year old.

Now this is seriously cool. Historians have accidently unearthed a 500 year old arrest warrant for Niccolò Machiavelli.

This week’s long read is from the March edition of The New Yorker, on Amity Shlaes’ new book on perhaps America’s most free market president, Calvin Coolidge.

Finally, there’s just one more week to take advantage of our special offer to join the IPA. Visit http://join.ipa.org.au/special-offer/ and use the code “membership”.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

Click here to view Hey on the web | Click here to forward this email to a friend | Click here to unsubscribe

Institute of Public Affairs | Level 2 | 410 Collins Street | Melbourne | Victoria | 3000 | Australia

 

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