Maybe we should have an election every year

February 27, 2014

From James Paterson

Thank goodness for election years. Chris Berg’s count of pages of federal legislation passed each year, released today, shows 2013 was the best year for freedom in a decade. In this video, Chris explains why it matters.

Regulation has perverse outcomes. At least sometimes the results are amusing, like the impact of Swedish tax law on Abba’s costumes.

The results of high minimum wages are less amusing, and they certainly apply to Australia, as this excellent article by Ben O’Neill explains.

You’ll be shocked to learn that ABC Managing Director Mark Scott is not a fan of recommendation number 50 on our list of radical ideas for Tony Abbott.

Here’s another idea: is it really the role of the federal government to provide “inner city living without the huge price tag”? That’s a real quote from a real person receiving a real federal government handout. If Joe Hockey wants to end the age of entitlement, he should start with the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

This is one for the scrapbooks – possibly the most embarrassing newspaper apology ever (scroll to the bottom). I almost feel sorry for The Guardian and Clive Hamilton.

This map is at least one reason to be optimistic about the revolution in Ukraine – the Lenin statues are coming down.

Actor and director Harold Ramis passed away on Monday. He was the man behind Groundhog Day(covered in Hey earlier this month) and Ghostbusters – regarded by some as the most libertarian Hollywood movie ever.

Bolt, Steyn, Delingpole, Lindzen, Carter, Plimer, Laframboise, Lawson, Nova, Watts and Marohasy are just some of the world’s best writers on climate change contributing to a new IPA book Climate Change: The Facts 2014 edited by the IPA’s Dr Alan Moran. To find out more and to donate to have your name on the back cover, visit: http://thefacts2014.ipa.org.au/.

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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Be careful what you wish for…from the government

February 20, 2014

From Peter Gregory

The IPA publishes lots of research, but maybe we should just take photos like this before and after shot. After Clare Lally spent two years campaigning for better access to their UK council home for her wheelchair-bound daughter, this was West Dunbartonshire Council’s solution. A 10-level, 60 metre slalom course (click on the link for more pictures):  


(Actually, from time to time, the IPA does take photos of government stupidity.)

But our research is still very important! Today we published A Taxing Approach to Choice, Aaron Lane’s new report on the perverse outcomes of nanny state behavioural taxes. Here is Aaron’s fantastic op-ed in The Australian today and here is his media release. (And click here to find out how you can help to scrap the failed Alcopop Tax.)

Do you believe in miracles? The USA beat Russia at ice hockey at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Saturday. But that was nothing compared to the Miracle on Ice according to this fantastic piece by Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post yesterday. The 1980 American victory over the Soviets made Americans believe they could win the Cold War (although Simon Shuster in Time thinks they shouldget over it) – watch the frenetic final minute of the game here.

(And then to bring yourself back down to earth, read about the guy who complained that Australian taxpayers were only giving his daughter $38,000 to travel the world, snowboard and live her dream.)

This terrible story from Germany was broken by The Daily Mail last August. Here is the update as of last month. The Wunderlich family have had their children removed from them, not because they wanted to homeschool them (homeschooling is illegal in Germany) but because they wanted to leave the country to exercise their freedom to homeschool elsewhere.

And this is a great piece by James Delingpole from last week’s Spectator about Mark Steyn’s predicament. (Pssst…there might be some very exciting news about Mark very soon.)

If you’re a young (or even not so young) freedom fighter, you must enrol in this 10 week course from the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance: Foundations of Liberty and Free Market Economics. Featuring two of Australia’s leading economists, the IPA’s Professors Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts, applications close Friday 7 March.

Bookings are now open for the IPA’s 2014 Western Civilisation Symposium on Friday 9 May in Melbourne with Roger Scruton, John Howard and a host of other great speakers. And to see Roger in Sydney on Wednesday 14 May, click here, to see him in Brisbane on Thursday 15 May, click 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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Neoliberalism and the Ashes

February 13, 2014

From James Paterson 

Everyone subsidises the car industry. But no country subsidises the car industry quite like Australia:

As the IPA’s Sinclair Davidson said on ABCNews24 on Tuesday, the departure of Toyota is not the catastrophe that some have predicted.

Meanwhile I hope no Hey readers have loaned anyone their car (Australian made or otherwise) in the past week – because I would be very sad to see you sent to jail.

Unfortunately, the end of the car industry doesn’t mean the end of corporate welfare in Australia just yet. In Tasmania, the state government is spending $100,000 to encourage people to drink their whiskey and cider. (At the same time, the federal government is spending $53.5 million to discourage people from drinking, presumably including Tasmanian whisky and cider).

I bet you’re still wondering how Australia beat England in the Ashes. Peter Oborne shared the secret in The Telegraph last Thursday: it was all thanks to neoliberalism. Really.

If you have kids or grandkids, make sure you take them to see the new Lego movie (out in Australia in April) – “the most subversive pro-liberty film ever” according to The Federalist. If you’re looking for more pro-freedom films, you can’t go past our April 2012 IPA Review list.

You will enjoy this lengthy profile of U.S. Senator and Tea Party sensation Ted Cruz in the February edition of Texas Monthly. This is a great 3-minute interview from Reason TV that shows why Cruz could be president.

If you’re wondering where Obamacare is up to, the government agency the Obama administration previously touted to defend the scheme just admitted it will cost America 2.3 million jobs. But don’t worry – the White House says this is a good thing.

Finally, this is a wonderful tribute by the Foundation for Economic Education to Sir John James Cowperthwaite, “The man behind the Hong Kong miracle”.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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SPC workers are in the richest 1%

February 6, 2014

From John Roskam

Today’s Hey is dedicated to the Gosford Anglican Church in New South Wales.

Here and here explain what Gosford Anglican Church think of Kevin Rudd and climate change.

It’s been nearly three weeks and I’m still waiting for an answer from David Gonski, the chairman of Coca-Cola Amatil. Three weeks ago in my column in the Australian Financial Review I asked why a company as profitable as Coca-Cola (it’s most recent profit was $558 million) wants $50 million from taxpayers for one of its companies, SPC Ardmona.

Still…the $50 million Gonski wants for SPC is not as bad as the $5 billion a year he wants extra for education. (It’s no surprise Julia Gillard asked Gonski to be boss of her education review – they both like spending other people’s money.)

The 94 page industrial agreement between the SPC and the union is here. Go to page 17 and read section 2.7.3.4 about how workers can get 2 years pay if they’re made redundant.

SPC’s claims about what it pays its employees are not quite the full story, as The Australian pointed out today.

SPC employees are in the richest 1% in the world as you can see in this brilliant piece (scroll down to number 24) from Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute on Monday – ’50 reasons we’re living through the greatest period in world history’. If you’re reading this and you earn more than $70,000 US (which is $78,600 Australian) you’re in the richest 0.1%.

The poor are not poor because the rich are rich as explained in this outstanding article in The Washington Post on Monday by Robert J. Samuelson.

Sunday was Groundhog Day. It was a good excuse for the National Review Online to reprint Jonah Goldberg’s classic 2005 essay on the movie.

Charles Murray, the author of ‘Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Science, 800 BC to 1950‘ described the movie in The New Yorker as a ‘brilliant moral fable, offering an Aristotelian view of the world’ and as one of the 20 greatest cultural achievements since 1950.

In 2007 in the IPA Review we talked about how Groundhog Day even helps explain Austrian economics. Even the Left like Groundhog Day. This is a lovely piece from The Guardian on the twentieth anniversary of its release last year.

I got a big reaction to my column last Friday in the Financial Review on children banned from playing tiggy, banned from trading footy cards, and banned from doing high fives.

I can’t imagine what would happen to a child in South Australia if they tried to give someone a glass of water. Andrew Bolt can’t believe it – nor can we as we said on FreedomWatch.

Tickets are still available to see Dan Hannan in Perth and Melbourne. Thanks to our friends at the CIS, IPA members can attend at the CIS members’ rate. Details for Perth here and Melbourne here. Details of the Quadrant events with Dan in Sydney and Canberra are 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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