If you’re reading this on a plane, you should thank the IPA

August 28, 2014

From James Paterson

This week Labor Senator Joe Bullock joined David Marr, Julian Burnside, Jonathan Holmes, Margaret Simons and The Age by supporting reform of the Racial Discrimination Act to restore freedom of speech. (You can see 59 other supporters of fixing section 18C from across the political spectrum here). Watch Family First Senator Bob Day’s excellent speech in the Senate yesterday on the bill he will be introducing to remove the words ‘offend’ and ‘insult’ from 18C.

Last week we told you Australia has the 8th highest top marginal tax rate in the world. It is a bit of a worry when even the New Zealand Greens are campaigning for a top personal income tax rate that is dramatically lower than Australia’s.

You won’t see it on the ABC, but this was a terrific speech from LDP Senator David Leyonhjelm on Wednesday on why we must scrap the mandatory renewable energy target.

Meanwhile, former IPA research fellow Jennifer Marohasy’s important research on how the Bureau of Meteorology ‘homogenises’ temperature records was prominently featured in The Australian on Saturday:

The IPA’s Chris Berg has waged a long campaign for our freedom to use electronic devices on planes. Here’s his article from the September 2005 IPA Review, and this was his piece for The Drum in May last year. This week - victory!

How bad does a Nanny State idea need to be that even The Conversation publishes an article from Simon Chapman ridiculing it? This bad. Of course, Simon is just catching up with the IPA’s James Bolt from more than a month ago.

You will love this list of the ‘Top 11 Funniest Papers in the History of Economics‘. Despite the author, number 2 is my favourite. And this is an interesting article from Bloomberg on why economists aren’t like anyone else.

200 years ago this week the British burnt down the White House. The Washington Post has this fascinating reflection on why no one remembers the Anglo-American war that started in 1812.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

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Wayne Swan – Wayne Swan’s biggest fan

August 21, 2014

From Peter Gregory

Former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan’s new work of fiction claims that he received praise for his ‘impressive fiscal consolidation’. In The Catallaxy Files last Saturday, the IPA’s Sinclair Davidson showed us how it actually worked out:

American economics Nobel laureate Ed Prescott said last week in The Financial Review that Australia’s top marginal tax rate of 49% is too high (as did John Roskam on The Bolt Report on Sunday – go to 22:30). As this table shows, Australia has the 8th highest marginal tax rate in the world:

To find out why Prescott won his Nobel Prize, click here.

The Conversation is running a series on ‘the language of economics’. Ha! They opened with a piece that lamented the ‘balancing the budget fallacy‘. Of course they did. Does Wayne Swan write for The Conversation? But credit where it’s due, the second piece in the series is from the IPA’s Jason Potts on economic language and the dignity of commercial pursuits.

We’ve had our differences with local councils in the past – remember the smile spies? Now Bayside City Council in Melbourne has banned feeding ducks.

Data retention is a serious issue – last week in The Drum Chris Berg had this piece on how it’s not an anti-terrorism measure. For a lighter take, check out Topher’s very funny video on the issue.

There are two excellent long interviews to read this week. Mikhail Gorbachev’s interview with Spiegel last Saturday on the secret history of the break-up of the USSR and David Leyonhjelm’s interview with Reason last Thursday. 

And the best two pieces on the terrible scenes in Ferguson are this from Mark Steyn last Friday and this from Senator Rand Paul in Time last Thursday.

The 2014 Institute of Public Affairs HV McKay Lecture & Dinner will be delivered by Robert Bryce from the Manhattan Institute on Tuesday 9 September in Melbourne. Book here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

 

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What could unite the ABC and GetUp?

August 14, 2014

What prompted an ABC spokesman to say this to Crikey on Monday? ‘The ABC notes as well that the IPA’s interpretation is not surprising given their strong pro-mining stance’. 

It was our major new report, released this week, which notes the ABC’s strong anti-mining stance. (The difference of course being that unlike the ABC, the IPA isn’t funded by taxpayers nor legally required to be impartial and balanced). GetUp is not happy with us either. 

You can read the full report here, but these are the key charts. The ABC gives renewable energy more than four times the favourable coverage of coal seam gas and more than three times the favourable coverage of coal mining:

In The Australian on Tuesday I explained the only solution to the ABC’s bias problem is privatisation

Last Thursday the IPA’s Chris Berg delivered this timely speech to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Free Speech symposium:

If you missed the IPA’s full page statement on section 18C in The Australian on Friday, you can see the final print version here. Thank you to the 501 IPA members and donors who together contributed $60,294 to make the ad possible. 

Maybe the Left will change their mind on section 18C now that it is being used against Mike Carlton. If Carlton is lucky, Senator Bob Day’s efforts to fix the law will succeed before he’s hauled before the courts. 

And maybe the Left will also change their mind about media regulation, after Russia announced it was implementing a key recommendation from the Finkelstein Review. Actually, that’s not fair, Russia’s law is much more moderate than Finkelstein’s recommendation. 

On Monday the IPA’s Simon Breheny appeared on ABC’s Q&A. You can watch the full replay here

You’ll enjoy this 7,000 word essay from The New York Times last week, ‘Has the “Libertarian Moment” Finally Arrived?’ 

If you’re in Sydney on Tuesday 26 August don’t miss this great event from our friends at MyChoice and the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. The IPA’s Dr Julie Novak, Cassandra Wilkinson from the CIS and Christopher Snowdon from the Institute of Economic Affairs in London will be discussing ‘Your rights at play’.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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A kind offer from The Saturday Paper

August 7, 2014

From James Paterson 

The IPA doesn’t need to advertise in The Saturday Paper to get prominent coverage. But it was very nice of them to ring me yesterday to offer! They called after they saw the IPA was fundraising to publish this statement in The Australian on Friday:

As The Age reports today, fundraising is going well. But there’s still time to make a donation - click here to add your support.

The Abbott government’s abandonment of its promise to restore free speech is a great time to revisit the video of Mark Steyn’s brilliant 10-minute demolition of the right not to be offended. On Tuesday afternoon the IPA issued this media release on why the decision is so disappointing. That night IPA Executive Director John Roskam sent this note to IPA members to explain why the IPA will never give up fighting for free speech. And as Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson said on ABC News Breakfast yesterday, section 18C must still be repealed.

In The Sydney Morning Herald in September 2012 the IPA’s Chris Berg explained why Nicola Roxon’s plan to introduce mandatory internet data retention was such a dangerous idea. Now that it has been taken up by the Abbott government…it’s still a terrible idea, as Chris argued on Tuesday.

It’s great to be joined in this fight by the Greens, who are concerned about protecting “our hard-won and precious freedoms”, and Bill Shorten, who is worried about the “rights of individuals…being intruded on by Big Brother.” It’s just a shame they weren’t so troubled about rights or freedoms when it came to free speech and section 18C.

Sadly data retention is not the only looming danger to the online freedoms of Australians. As Chris Berg and Simon Breheny explained in their important new report last week, the Coalition’s proposed eSafety Commissioner is another serious threat to free speech.

The 2014 Institute of Public Affairs HV McKay Lecture & Dinner will be delivered by Robert Bryce from the Manhattan Institute in Melbourne on Tuesday 9 September. Bryce will be speaking on the topic of “The Energy of Human Flourishing: Liberty, Innovation, and Progress”. Tickets are $140 for IPA members, $190 for non-members and $60 for people aged 25 or younger - book online here.

In Brisbane on Wednesday 20 August the Economic Society of Australia is hosting Dan Mitchell from the Cato Institute for a discussion on international tax competition – more information is available here.

In Melbourne on Monday 25 August the HR Nicholls Society is holding a free public event on reforming the construction industry with Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations, Robert Clark – full details available here.

Here’s what else the IPA said this week:

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