Cuts to ABC, not to China’s emissions

November 20, 2014

From James Paterson

You’ve probably heard about the ‘gigantic’ and ‘extraordinary’ deal Barack Obama secured with China to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Except there’s just one problem. Only one country has actually promised to reduce emissions:

(Via the IPA’s professor Sinclair Davidson at the excellent Catallaxy Files blog.)

If you’re looking for analysis of the cuts to the ABC and SBS budgets, we’ve got you covered. In The Courier Mail on Wednesday the IPA’s Simon Breheny said the 5% cut is a good start. On ABC Radio National last night I said ultimately both the ABC and SBS should be privatised. And this morning on The Conversation IPA Adjunct Fellow and RMIT professor Jason Potts explained why economic theory proves taxpayers will be better off thanks to the reduced funding.

In America this week everyone’s been talking about the latest scandal to afflict Obamacare: Grubergate. Never heard of it? This is a great rundown from John Fund at the National Review on Monday, and this video compilation chronicles Democrats’ embarrassing efforts to distance themselves from it. In The Washington Post last week Charles Krauthammer outlined what it means for Obama’s presidency.

Billionaire libertarian Peter Thiel has an important new book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, Or How to Build the Future. Watch Thiel discuss the book, and his views on climate change, in this interview with Glenn Beck. And read this fascinating review in Forbes last week on what we can learn from Thiel about economics and why the higher education system is so broken.

Next June is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. In the November edition of Standpoint, historian Andrew Roberts reviews two of the best new books examining the battle and its aftermath. Roberts was the keynote speaker at the IPA’s 2011 Foundations of Western Civilisation Symposium – watch his address on the legacy of the English-speaking peoples.

IPA member Peter Fenwick’s new book, published by Connor Court, The Fragility of Freedom: Why Subsidiarity Matters, will be launched in Melbourne on Monday 1 December by former federal health minister Jim Carlton. More details about the book and the launch are available here.

There are still some places available for the IPA’s Sydney event, ‘Liberty in the Digital Age’, on Thursday 11 December with LDP Senator David Leyonhjelm and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson. Click here to secure your place.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Comparing oranges to lawnmowers

November 13, 2014

From Peter Gregory

You know how we’re always told Australia is a low-taxing nation? Even Treasury has fallen for the line that Australia has the 5th lowest tax rate in the OECD (this is the same Treasury that brought us ‘StimulusGate‘). Sure, Australia is a low-taxing nation if you compare oranges to lawnmowers. But if you compare oranges to oranges, as the IPA’s Dr Mikayla Novak has in forthcoming research, Australia has higher taxes than the OECD average.


When was the last time someone described climate change policies as ‘industrial scale rent-seeking‘ on Q&A? The answer is last Monday, when the IPA’s James Paterson was on the show.


If you thought that was unusual, at the end of this clip James even gets applauded by the audience! Q&A really is the IPA’s favourite TV show – an IPA member even sent us this video of their new intro for the program.

Last Sunday was the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. If you are pessimistic about the future of freedom read this post from Cato on Tuesday. Then watch this video from the Competitive Enterprise Institute from the 20th anniversary. It begins with Reagan’s famous ‘tear down this wall!’ speech. John Roskam wrote in 2009 in the IPA Review how Reagan had to fight with cautious officials to have the iconic line included. 

This excellent piece in Standpoint this month describes the end of communism as truth defeating falsehood. But it was just as much about the small things as the big things. For one Czech cab driver Mikayla Novak spoke to it meant a larger choice of yoghurt. For Boris Yeltsin, it meant frozen pudding pops.

Ever dreaded making a phone call to apologise? Check out how Reagan handled it in this recording released on Tuesday – he’s calling Margaret Thatcher to apologise for invading Grenada, a Commonwealth country, without her knowledge in 1983.

And what would Reagan say about this? A 90-year-old man in Florida who was arrested last week for feeding the homeless was arrested again a few days later for the same thing.

There are two great events in Melbourne coming up in the next couple of weeks. Connor Court Publishing and the Menzies Research Centre are launching a new book, A Better Class of Sunset: Collected Works of Christopher Pearson. Details here. And the HR Nicholls Society is holding its Annual Dinner. Details here.  

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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To be or not to be…in the National Curriculum

November 6, 2014

From Peter Gregory

Can you guess how many times Shakespeare is mentioned in Australia’s National Curriculum of English? If you said none, you’d be wrong. He’s mentioned once in an example sentence in the glossary. Unfortunately, the example sentence chosen is hardly likely to encourage 14-year-olds to rush out and get a copy of King Lear – ‘Because I am reading Shakespeare, my time is limited.’

On Tuesday, the IPA released a new research report, ‘Australia’s English Curriculum: A critique‘ by Stephanie Forrest and Carla Schodde. The IPA’s Hannah Pandel was on The Alan Jones Show on 2GB yesterday morning talking about the report and Stephanie had this piece in The Australian on Tuesday.


This piece in The Federalist also on Tuesday is spot-on when it says the US mid-term elections were about Obama’s failed presidency.

The great economist Gordon Tullock died on Monday. Tullock greatly enhanced our understanding of rent-seeking and the bureaucratic process. The IPA’s Mikayla Novak had this piece in today’s Financial Review on Tullock’s contribution to economics. This list of Tullock’s best insults in Marginal Revolution from Alex Tabarrok in 2006 is also very funny.

On Tuesday Boris Johnson made a speech at a Spectator event in London about his new Churchill biography. You can listen to it here.

And this is a brilliant piece that was in The Wall Street Journal last Saturday about how the right to be offended is threatening free speech in Britain and the US.

On Monday Christine Milne said ‘Coal is bad for humanity‘. Really? I’m not sure the 832 million people in developing countries who gained access to electricity because of coal between 1990 and 2010 would agree.

Milne was responding to the release of the latest IPCC report. James Delingpole had his own response in Breitbart on Monday. For all you need to know about global energy, re-live author Robert Bryce’s address to the IPA in September.

Here is your guilty pleasure for Thursday afternoon – Michael Moynihan in The Daily Beast on Monday on why Russell Brand’s new (new?) political manifesto Revolution is rubbish.

The November edition of Reason magazine has this long piece on why the free market is behind the current golden age of television. In October Reason also made this cool video of ‘The 5 best libertarian TV shows ever‘ (to go with their video from last week in Hey of the ‘The 5 most anti-libertarian shows ever‘). And remember when we told you in Hey what the IPA’s favourite TV show was?

Speaking of the free market making television better, the IPA’s James Paterson will be appearing on the IPA’s favourite TV show (the ABC’s Q&A) on Monday.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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Castrating pigs: the perfect preparation for Washington

October 30, 2014

From James Paterson

Next Tuesday America goes to the polls for the mid-term elections. You know the Republicans are looking good when The Washington Post says controlling the Senate is no big deal. The most interesting thing about American elections is of course the ads – and this election has featured some classics:

If the result isn’t good for freedom next week, we can blame ‘The 5 most Anti-Libertarian TV Shows Ever‘ compiled in this video by our friends at Reason.

If it turns out ok then we can thank Ayn Rand. This is a terrific essay from The Claremont Review of Books by the American Enterprise Institute’s Charles Murray on why Rand has had such an enduring impact on politics in America.

On Tuesday the Abbott government announced it was increasing the petrol tax without parliamentary approval. As the IPA’s Dr Mikayla Novak said in this press release, the tax increase is both undemocratic and unnecessary. On Tuesday night Mikayla appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 to explain why parliament must consent to tax increases:


This is a terrific speech by Tim Montgomerie of The Times on how UKIP would never have been a problem for the Tories if David Cameron had followed John Howard’s advice.

The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History is an important new book by Boris Johnson on how Winston Churchill’s leadership changed the course of history. This review in The Telegraph last week explains why it’s different from every other biography of Churchill. For a taste of the book read Johnson’s column in The Telegraph on how Churchill saved Britain from the Nazis.

What would Churchill do about Twitter trolls? Somehow I doubt he would jail them for two years as Britain now plans to. James Delingpole was scathing in Breitbart last week.

There’s a new date for the IPA’s ‘Liberty in the Digital Age’ event in Sydney – Thursday 11 December. We’re delighted to have LDP Senator David Leyonhjelm and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson join the IPA’s Chris Berg and Simon Breheny to discuss the threats posed by government to our online freedoms. RSVP 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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