Culture

The latest fake statistics: this time on faith

The great 19th century American writer and wit, Mark Twain, once said “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” Not only has nothing changed since then, statistics have progressively worsened under the auspices of the various government ‘Ministries of Truth’ such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics (CBCS) was the first bureaucratic monopoly on statistics in this country. The CBCS was established under the Census and Statistics Act in 1905, and was later replaced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) under the Australian Bureau of Statistics Act in 1975.

It was reported widely in the media last month, such as in The Australian, that the 2016 ABS Census reveals Australians are increasingly faithless, with 29.6% claiming no religion.

To be fair to the ABS, they provide a less churlish and disingenuous narrative on their … Read the rest


Blind to gender, and the facts

What more evidence do we need that ‘the patriarchy’ is a myth, than the recent findings of the government’s very own ‘nudge unit’? In direct contrast to the expected findings of the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government, or BETA for short, having a male name on your job application form means you are 3.2% less likely to get an interview.

The purpose of the government funded study was to assess whether women and minorities are discriminated against in the early stages of applying for top level executive positions with the Australian Public Service. The method was to hide the names and any other information that would reveal their sex and ethnicity from the initial applications; so called ‘blind recruitment’. The underlying assumption is that this would increase the numbers of women and minorities getting to the interview stage.

Unhappily for the BETA nudgers, early results indicated that the Read the rest


After Manchester: anger and courage

There isn’t much that is more frustrating than the desperate scrambling, post the latest Islamist terrorist attack, for commentators and social media buffs to start their preemptive chastising of members of the public that dare to be pissed off about it. No sooner has the initial shock worn off, then the apologism begins.

News coverage descriptions of the perpetrator mention his nationality and his sporting pastime but not the ideology that drove him to detonate a bomb that killed 22 young people and himself.  Columns tell us that  love and resistance is the answer, and everyone who disagrees is a hateful troll. Being angry and hating the Manchester bombing is ‘exactly the aim of terror.’ ‘Not all Muslims’ they tell us as though we are stupid. I’m fairly certain that most people already know that ‘not all Muslims’ are terrorist bombers and yet we have to be reminded at every Read the rest


Hurt feelings should never trump hurt bodies: how attempts to silence discussion on Aboriginal issues damage all Australians.

The freedom of speech that allows scumbags to write the word “abo” is the same freedom of speech that allows the rest of us to expose and ridicule such comments and insist on equality for all.

It is only by defending their freedom to be obnoxious that we ensure our freedom to argue back and make a better society.

Section 18C must be scrapped. Not only because it is censorious, but because in treating minority groups as children requiring protection, it does more to insult, humiliate and offend them than any racist throwback ever could.

(Brendan O’Neill, The Australian, 25 March 2017)

In April of 2017 I had the pleasure of being an invited speaker at the 5th ALS Friedman Conference. I want to thank the organisers of that conference – it was an excellent conference. This article roughly reflects and elaborates on my presentation. In a Read the rest


5 ways we can give Aboriginal disadvantage the boot

Last week The Australian newspaper reported claims that a high proportion of Aboriginal children in some Cape York communities are not receiving the assistance they need to address intellectual impairment. Also reported on an ABC website was the call for extra police officers to go to the remote community of Ali Curung to bring an ongoing conflict between two clan groups under control. On Anzac Day, a 16 year old Aboriginal boy took his own life in Broome. While these stories do not represent all of Aboriginal Australia, they do spotlight the serious problems which far too many Aboriginal people face today. If these are not dealt with now, they will blight the next generation.

While Aboriginal leaders, organisations, and committees are focusing on treaties and constitutional recognition, I provide five ideas here that I believe will result in a positive quantum change for Aboriginal people. We do … Read the rest


Failing Fairfax’s sad sneer at the Friedman Liberty Conference

There’s nothing like seeing an event that you personally witnessed, written up in the mainstream media to realise how inaccurate and biased news reporting can be. We know on an intellectual level that we’re likely not getting the whole story when reading something from the mainstream news, but when you see it happen with something you have had a personal experience with, the bias and inaccuracy is stark.

Over the weekend I attended the Australian Libertarian Society Friedman Conference and since returning home, have so far read two articles that seem to have been written with the intent of casting the conference and libertarianism in general in the worst possible light.

In the Sydney Morning Herald an article that focused on Senator Cory Bernardi’s talk, told us that the audience was ‘overwhelming young and male’ with a ‘handful’ of MAGA hats on display. I can attest that the claim of … Read the rest