You won’t believe what the ABC is spending your money on…

April 28, 2016

From Matthew Lesh

175 countries signed the Paris climate accord in New York on Friday. Barack Obama has said the agreement will solve the “climate crisis“.

Here’s the actual difference Paris will make, according to Bjorn Lomborg:

Bill Shorten has announced that, if elected, Labor would introduce an ETS. As the IPA’s Brett Hogan said yesterday, when Germany tried to do a similar thing their household electricity prices went up by 78 per cent.

Outgoing ABC managing director Mark Scott has told us the ABC needs more money. Can you guess what their latest spending spree was? A new specially designed font, OneABC. Yes, really. At least next time they ask for more money they’ll do it with a fancier font. They even made a video about it:

Before you ask, we have submitted a freedom of information request to find out how much the new design cost. Nevertheless, we do appreciate Mark Scott’s shout out to the IPA in his outgoing interview with Fairfax.

The US president didn’t just weigh in on climate change, he also has an opinion on Brexit – he’s against it. Boris Johnson responded by stating Obama’s “part-Kenyan” heritage may have encouraged an “ancestral dislike of the British empire“. This was too much for students at King’s College London who cancelled a speech by Johnson. Senator James Paterson’s terrific speech in favour of Brexit is making headlines in the UK.

Meanwhile in Britain, a speech against the commemoration of the Holocaust was applauded by a national student union conference, where they also elected a president known for making anti-Semitic comments.

The coddling of Australian children continues. A Victorian primary school has banned hugging to “protect” kids, and a suburban council in Adelaide is looking into forbidding the use of cricket balls in cricket nets.

The Spring edition of City Journal has a terrific 6,000 word article by Myron Magnet on how Alexis de Tocqueville foresaw the end of democracy in America.

The IPA’s Generation Liberty is making waves on the global stage. IPA Campus Coordinator John Hajek was the special guest on the popular Tom Woods Show out of Topeka, Kansas. You can watch John and Simon Breheny’s fiery debate with the Socialist Alternative at the University of Melbourne here.

Tickets are still available for the IPA’s Young members’ event to launch Chris Berg’s latest book, The Libertarian Alternative. If you’re 25 or under and not already a Young member, you can sign up here.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: John Roskam.

With all the talk of what might happen at the Republican Convention, it’s interesting to recall that Ronald Reagan came within 117 out of 2257 votes from winning the 1976 presidential nomination from Gerald Ford. This is an interesting article that explains what happened, and here is Reagan’s 1976 concession speech that helped make him president four years later:

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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All aboard the Boaty McBoatface

April 21, 2016

From James Bolt

The right to silence is under attack in Australia:

The CFMEU made a powerful ad showing how workers would have fewer rights than drug dealers under the current bill to re-establish the ABCC. They’re right, but where were they when the right to silence was taken away by 19 other Acts of federal parliament? Read our 2015 update to our original legal rights audit, released on Friday.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has finally been abolished. As the IPA’s Dr Mikayla Novak wrote on Monday in On Line Opinion, this tribunal was running thousands of Australian truck drivers out of business. The RSRT story shows the human cost of red tape – watch our new video explaining why:

Salaries to federal public servants are no longer included in departmental annual reports. As John Roskam said in the Herald Sun today, “It’s things like this that have the public lose faith in politics and politicians.” It’s no wonder they want to keep the stats secret when ABS figures show the average public sector employee earns 22.9% more than the average private sector worker. Read our report – authored by James Paterson and Aaron Lane – from December last year.

We are saddened to hear of the passing of Dame Leonie Kramer. Dame Leonie was a former Senior Fellow with the IPA from 1988 to 1994. Here are three excellent pieces she wrote for the IPA Review:

A television host in Germany is facing five years in jail for reading out an insulting poem directed at the President of Turkey. The two best articles you need to read about it are Boris Johnson in The Telegraph on Sunday and Mark Steyn last Friday. As Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter has pointed out, the legendary comedian had to go through similar political trouble in the 1930’s to make his classic satire, The Great Dictator.

This weekend marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Last year, the IPA’s Hannah Pandel explained why Shakespeare must continue to be taught in schools. If, like me, you’re a huge Shakespeare fan, Mashable are running a voting contest to find his most popular play.

I love internet voting contests. In the UK, a naming contest for a British government environment council’s £200m ship has ended with the winning name being Boaty McBoatface. Brendan O’Neill called it one of the “things that literally make me want to eat my computer so that I never have to look at anything on the internet ever again.”

But at least we can agree with Brendan on the safe space movement. This week Spiked – edited by Brendan – published an excerpt on how to make your university an unsafe space from Tom Slater’s new book Unsafe Space: The Crisis of Free Speech On Campus .

To legally release a film in the UK, filmmakers have to pay the British Board of Film Classification £7.09 per minute of film to have it classified. So director Charlie Lyne crowdsourced nearly £6,000 to make the censors watch a film of paint drying for 607 minutes. Now that’s something I can get behind.

The great Alex Epstein appeared before the US Senate last week to champion the moral case for fossil fuels – watch the fantastic clip here.

The IPA’s Chris Berg is about to publish his latest book, The Libertarian Alternative. We’re holding a Young member’s event on 6 May in Melbourne to launch it. If you’re not a Young member, join here.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: Simon Breheny.

It looks more likely every day this budget will deliver higher taxes. Every politician should watch this classic speech from 1924 by America’s most free market President, Calvin Coolidge, on why cutting taxes is so important:


Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Maybe the left wing establishment should watch Harry Potter

April 14, 2016

From Morgan Begg

It’s official. You spend more than three months ($) of the year working for someone else, as revealed by new OECD statistics this week. We’ve helpfully calculated just how bad it’s become in recent years:

A perfect time to call for higher taxes then! The Australia Institute placed a full page open letter in Fairfax newspapers from the left wing establishment. John Roskam responded in The Australian today, calling these usual suspects “the fatuous 50” who have no idea about the real world.

There is a lesson from the past week: central banks should spend less time designing ghastly bank notes, and more time watching Harry Potter. It’s just a shame that JK Rowling is a Labour supporter.

By popular demand, I’m including a link today to this article by Elizabeth Farrelly in The Sydney Morning Herald last Thursday, “Institute of Public Affairs: the think tank with arms everywhere“. We couldn’t include it last week, as no one in the office understood what she was talking about. We still don’t understand it, but thought we’d have to share it eventually.

As reported by Reason, a man in Dallas is in danger of losing his car repair business because it is not consistent with the city’s vision for an arts precinct.

Meanwhile, students are taught that singing Rihanna songs causes “microaggressions”, and writing “Trump 2016” on a “Free Speech wall” warrants cultural sensitivity training. The IPA’s Matthew Lesh talked with Alan Jones about this issue on 2GB this morning.

Toby Nichols, an IPA member from Western Australia, penned this outstanding piece for FreedomWatch yesterday about the culture of victimhood. Brendan O’Neill in Spiked from December agrees.

This must be what Bernie Sanders voters hear when people talk about economics. You’ll be shocked to hear that Soviet refugees aren’t buying Sanders’ socialism as reported in The Atlantic on Tuesday. It’s safe to say that the millionaires fleeing France won’t be throwing their support behind Sanders either.

Bjørn Lomborg penned two great op-eds recently: in The Wall Street Journal ($) on the overblown climate alarmism, and in The Telegraph about how electric cars aren’t going to save the world. He should be careful: US prosecutors are literally targeting groups sceptical of global warming.

On Tuesday, The Daily Mail published an excerpt from Daniel Hannan’s latest book, Why Vote Leave. Australia’s greatest living poet Les Murray has a new collection of poems out – it was reviewed in The Washington Free Beacon on Sunday.

Connor Court Publishing is launching two upcoming books we’re excited about. The first is the latest book from the IPA’s Fr James Grant, Let There be Light. The second is No Offence Intended: Why 18C is Wrong, by Joshua Forrester, Lorraine Finlay and Augusto Zimmermann. Details for both events can be found here.

IPA Staff Pick

Each week an IPA staff member shares what they have enjoyed recently. Today: John Roskam.

Just because Donald Trump says he likes Ayn Rand, doesn’t make this 5 minute monologue by Gary Cooper in The Fountainhead any less powerful:


Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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How much do mainstream people pay for cupcakes?

April 7, 2016

From Peter Gregory

Do you consider yourself part of the mainstream? Well, have you ever watched Two and a Half Men, bought a ute, or stocked your fridge with domestic mass-market beer?

On Monday, Charles Murray from the American Enterprise Institute released fascinating new research showing just how much elites are out of touch with mainstream culture:

Do the 25 questions for yourself, here. Watch an 8 minute interview with Murray about the quiz, here.

I wonder where Fairfax journalist Jessica Irvine would rank on Murray’s quiz? In The Sydney Morning Herald on Monday she wrote:

“Why go to the bother of running for parliament, being elected and serving, when your only vision is to reduce your organisation’s revenue?

Why not join the IPA instead?”

Speaking of James Paterson, read his Speccie diary ($) about his first week on the job as a Senator.

On Sunday, The Telegraph reported that a student in the UK violated a safe space by raising her hand.

But I think Australian universities are top of the class this week for campus absurdity. As Matthew Lesh wrote in FreedomWatch, the University of Queensland Union is charging different prices for cupcakes depending on gender and race. And the University of Sydney Union is threatening to de-register the Catholic Society for requiring that members of its executive are Catholic.

But at least the Russian communist party is now embracing global free markets – last night they announced they will seek to copyright the Red Star. This is like when we found out the British Communist Party was selling expensive hoodies and t-shirts online.

This piece on Tuesday in RealClearPolitics tells us the GOP will survive Donald Trump – if the Democrats can survive losing the Civil War and the Republicans can survive the Great Depression, then surviving Trump should be no problem.

There are two pieces of long reading this week. Firstly, this 5,500 word piece in The American Interest on the twilight of the climate change movement. Secondly, this 6,200 word piece in The New York Times Magazine about what happened when venture capitalists took over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA.

In Brisbane on 28 April, Liberty on the Rocks is hosting the IPA’s Jennifer Marohasy who will be talking about the Bureau of Meteorology and the changing of historical temperature records. Details here.

Our friends at the Centre for Independent Studies are holding an event with the great Dr Theodore Dalrymple in Melbourne on 21 April. Details here. Here is Dalrymple on Lateline last night.

The Dawson Centre are holding a series of lectures on philosophy and civilisation in Launceston and Hobart in April, May and June. Further details here.

What I’m watching this week – Mikayla Novak

David Hart, an Australian now working for the Liberty Fund in the US, delivered a fascinating presentation at the CIS in 2011 about how liberty has been expressed through art. Watch the video here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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