6 months to save the world

June 26, 2014

From James Paterson

Forget the Mayan Calendar – the world is coming to an end in six months, at least according to the ANU professor Kevin Rudd appointed as the government’s chief scientist. But don’t worry – her prediction is probably just as reliable as other forecasts from that era, like the return to surplus.

I didn’t think it was possible for a single article to simultaneously discredit the human rights lobby, international law and academia. But that was before I read this absolute gem on the (taxpayer fundedThe Conversation. My favourite part is the just slightly inadequate “disclosure statement”.

Centre for Independent Studies executive director Greg Lindsay had this must-read column in theAustralian Financial Review this morning on the pretence of (taxpayer funded) ideology-free think tanks. As John Roskam wrote in the AFR last week, Ray Evans didn’t need taxpayer funds to change Australia.

This 9-year old boy from Kansas City, Missouri is the freedom fighter of the week, for taking on his local government. But there’s good news from Oakland, California – at long last pinball machines are to be decriminalised.

Tax-time is coming. This proposed US law could come in handy if you happened to misplace some of your tax records, like the IRS.

If you’re a Game of Thrones fan you’ll love this list from Reason on the five libertarian lessonsfrom the hit series.

This week is the 100th anniversary of the event that sparked World War I. In the Wall Street Journal last week Margaret MacMillan explained how it continues to shape the world today.

On Thursday 17 July in Melbourne John Roskam is launching an important new book from Connor Court, Democracy in Decline, by Professor James Allan. Full event details are available here, and you can buy the book online here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:


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Vale Ray Evans

June 19, 2014

From James Paterson

This week Australia has lost one of its greatest champions for freedom, Ray Evans. Ray was a wonderful friend, and more than 25-year member, of the IPA and played a central role in many free market organisations, including the HR Nicholls Society. Andrew Bolt has this moving tribute. Ray’s own speech at the funeral of the modest member, Bert Kelly, captures his passion for freedom.

In breaking news today, the Gillard government’s financial framework legislation has been found to be unconstitutional by the High Court. Read our press release just issued welcoming the decision. When the legislation was first introduced in July 2012 the IPA’s Simon Breheny explained in the Sydney Morning Herald why the law was such a serious threat to parliamentary democracy and federalism:

Even lefties like Jonathan Holmes, David Marr and The Age agree the law that sent Andrew Bolt to court, section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, goes too far. They’re among this IPA list of 51 prominent supporters of reform from across the political spectrum. That’s why it is so disappointing the Victorian and New South Wales Liberal governments oppose any change to 18C. As reported in the SMH on Monday, Simon Breheny sent this letter to every Victorian and NSW Liberal MP reminding them of the values they were elected to uphold.

Meanwhile, the federal government has released a discussion paper to help it decide whether it is ok or not for the government to take pensioners money out of their bank accounts without their permission. As our press release from February last year explained, this should not be a difficult question.

This week was the 799th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. In The Telegraph on Monday Dan Hannan explained its enduring importance.

And you’ll enjoy this piece by Allister Heath in The Telegraph on Tuesday, on why Pope Francisdoesn’t understand economics.

The IPA is now gratefully accepting donations to the End of Financial Year Appeal 2014. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the IPA’s research, please click here.

The IPA’s Professor Jason Potts, Chris Berg, Dr Julie Novak and Simon Breheny are all speaking at the first annual Australia and New Zealand Students for Liberty conference in Melbourne on 5-6 July. If you’re a student interested in liberty, don’t miss it – details here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Hands off my (lavishly subsidised) Arts degree!

June 12, 2014

From James Paterson

The Financial Review is still printing angry letters from agitated Arts graduates after IPA executive director John Roskam’s article on Friday calling for an end to taxpayer-funding for Arts degrees. Given these sorts of subjects are on offer, I thought John’s column was pretty restrained.

The New South Wales government is finally embarking on the (partial) privatisation of its electricity networks. As this chart prepared by the IPA’s Dr Alan Moran shows, consumers will benefit:

You can read more about why privatised energy markets perform better in Alan Moran’s March 2014 submission to the White Paper on Energy here.

Of course, if you really want to help consumers with the cost of electricity, you should follow the advice of Senator-elect Bob Day. Read his letter to Environment Minister Greg Hunt on why the Renewable Energy Target should be repealed and Direct Action scrapped.

On Friday the IPA’s Peter Gregory had this important piece in The Cambodia Daily on why granting secure property rights is essential to continuing to lift Cambodians out of poverty.

Yesterday in the US, House of Representatives Majority Leader, Republican Eric Cantor, lost his party’s endorsement in a major upset. His replacement is economics professor David Brat. TheNational Review gives the credit for the victory to talk-show host Laura Ingraham. Mark Steynisn’t sorry to see Cantor go.

Now this is a hardship posting – one poor reporter at the New York Times clearly drew the short straw for this assignment: “36 hours in Canberra“.

This is a brilliant article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Telegraph on Tuesday on why Britain should leave the EU, and what it should do next.

The June issue of Standpoint has this fascinating essay by Tim Congdon on the horrific damage done to Cuba by two generations of communism. And in the Spring issue of City Journal Aaron M. Renn has a long expose on what’s wrong with Rhode Island, America’s basket case.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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For all your left wing opinions of the IPA

June 5, 2014

From Peter Gregory

Yesterday the Fair Work Commission cost 100,000 jobs.

Here is the IPA’s press release slamming the decision to increase the minimum wage. As this graph below shows, Australia already has one of the highest minimum wages in the world:

This is the IPA’s submission to the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review in March pointing out that low-skilled, low-income workers would pay the price for an increase.

If you walked past any newsagent in Australia last Saturday you might have seen something like this:

We’re so faceless, we’re in the media every day.

In the last week we’ve had the full spectrum of left-wing perspectives of the IPA.

This is the Green Left perspective – I think Christine Milne needs a hobby – she spent most of Saturday tweeting about the IPA (I counted 12 in total).

This is the Hard Left perspective – you wouldn’t know from it that John Roskam spent an hour with the “journalist” before he wrote the piece in The Saturday Paper last week.

This is the Soft Left perspective – attacking both The Saturday Paper and the IPA – and clearly nothing riles up The Guardian more than the IPA getting more mentions in parliament than them.

This is the “I’m-an-Arts-student”-pretend-Socialist Left perspective – they didn’t like the IPA so they decided to come and wave a flag and shout at it.

(If you’re interested, all our faces are here, on our publicly available website.)

This week George Christensen MP made this terrific 15 min speech in parliament on the Nanny State in which he praises the IPA’s principled stand (Sorry Guardian).

More good news on the Nanny State front – a new law in Britain will protect emergency workers and the general public from legal action if they intervene in good faith to help someone in an emergency.

You might want to sit down before you read this – a French town is protesting in favour of building a McDonald’s because they need the jobs. Shocking to think that a big multi-national corporation can create more jobs than the socialist central government.

Last week in The Spectator James Delingpole told Tony Abbott to be more like Nigel Farage when taking talkback calls from grandmothers.

Your long read is this amazing 5,000 word eyewitness account of the Tiananmen Square massacre by Kate Phillips in The Atlantic last week.

Next Thursday in Sydney the IPA’s Chris Berg is speaking at a Unions NSW forum on Section 18C. Details here. And the next Quadrant dinner is featuring James Allan. Details here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:


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