Category: News

Jobs Guarantee: a guaranteed failure?

US economist Stephanie Kelton, a former adviser to Bernie Sanders, has just embarked on a tour of Australia. Kelton is promoting her vision  of government funded jobs to deal with unemployment and underemployment in Australia: a government Job Guarantee. While the idea sounds nice, a government guarantee is nothing but a guaranteed failure.

The economic rationale for this proposal is the idea known as Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), which  began gaining popularity in the early 90s, evolving from existing theories developed by economist Georg Friedrich Knapp in the early 20th century. The theory proposes that taxation does not fund government spending and is merely a policy tool to control inflation and unemployment. The same thinking applies to government spending being a policy tool. Further, MMT proposes that when a sovereign nation establishes its currency as fiat money and is the sole supplier, the government commands an unlimited ability to Read the rest

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The Liberal Party’s new ‘narrow church of consensus’

John Howard often liked to describe the Liberal Party as a ‘broad church’. It is a wonderful piece of propaganda that he is rightly celebrated for. To him it was more honoured in the breach than in the observance, but it alluded to the wide range of beliefs compatible with Classical Liberalism. Likewise, its is a characterisation that says something for the tolerance of dissenting views within the scope of that political philosophy.

It has been over a decade since Mr Howard was ignominiously voted out of his parliamentary seat, and consequently out of office. During his tenure as Prime Minister the term ‘broad church’ was a fanciful guise for describing a loose form of factionalism. By being, or at least appearing to be, tolerant of a wide-range of views it is possible for a skillful political operator to diffuse tensions and pre-empt the formation of rigid factions within … Read the rest

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Alex Jones and the new social media censorship

In the wake of Alex Jones’ banning from Facebook, YouTube and Apple the outrage has been palpable. And that is understandable. There is no doubt that there is a bias on these social media platforms against what is often described as ‘far right’ viewpoints. Anything slightly right of centre is described as ‘far right’ these days, so it’s no wonder that people on the right are concerned when they see another instance of voices being silenced on three of the big social media platforms.

The problem with being outraged about these acts of private censorship is that the natural inclination is to look to government to do something about it. It’s all too tempting to look to any easy fix when an injustice is perceived and, in this case, the easy fix would be for government to step in and somehow insist that social media platforms quit censoring views that … Read the rest

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How Lauren Southern exposes a double standard

Activist reporter Lauren Southern who is currently touring Australia with popular alt-media philosopher Stefan Molyneux, was warned by police not to visit a mosque in Lakemba, a predominantly Muslim area in Sydney’s western suburbs. Her plan was to observe the “culture” in Lakemba and to interview people outside of the mosque.

But before she could get there, she was apprehended by a senior police officer, who warned her that if she continued, her actions may incite a serious breach of the peace. His first line of questioning included asking her where she planned to walk next. In a video of the exchange, the flatfoot is seen to tell her that he has “grave concerns” that she will cause an “imminent breach of the peace” if she continues on towards the mosque and asks her not to go there.

Obviously Australia is not quite the free country that we think it … Read the rest

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WTO plain packaging verdict is an assault on liberty

The World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) recent decision to validate Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws is a colossal setback for liberty. The plain packaging laws which were implemented in 2012, ban logos, stylised images, brands and coloured cigarette packaging in favour of a generic packet with brand names printed in small standardised fonts. The WTO concluded, without considering significant evidence of their ineffectiveness, that Australia’s plain packaging law contributed to improving public health by reducing the use of and exposure to tobacco products and rejected claims that alternative measures would be equally useful. As a result, they declared that the law was still consistent with global trade rules.

The decision to uphold plain packaging laws is an assault on the principles of liberty. Free market capitalism, personal liberty, the ownership of private property and the enjoyment of limited government are being curtailed as a result of the panel’s decision. Strong and … Read the rest

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My Health Record: it’s worse than you think

There have been many critiques of the Federal government’s rollout of the My Health Record, based on many different grounds. There are the threats of hackers abusing the lax security of government databases, there are concerns over abusive spouses accessing details by logging into their spouses’ accounts, there are questions over the access private companies will have to sensitive records, and there are worries regarding access creep – more and more people getting access to this information.

The government has been on the back foot since the opt out period has started and has scrambled to assuage the fears of the public. No health minister would want a large program like this to fall flat and give the opposition a free kick going into the next federal election, which could be held as early as August 4th. All of these criticisms are valid and any one of them provides good Read the rest

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Is there anything wrong with ‘liking men’?

I’m not one to support defamation law, and indeed neither should those on the left. It is, for practical purposes, a tool almost exclusively for the rich and powerful, used in many cases to stifle criticism, the McLibel case being one famous example.

In addition, on principle, it’s a bizarre law in that makes it illegal to encourage someone to do something which is completely legal. It’s quite legal to think bad things about someone, even if those things are not true. Whilst we have laws against encouraging illegal behaviour (like inciting violence), it’s nonsensical to have laws against encouraging something we consider an acceptable legal action in our society.

Encouraging someone not to break the law should not be illegal itself.

Indeed the idea that you’re allowed to think things, but no-one is allowed to talk to you about those things, seems frighteningly authoritarian.

But defamation law does exist. … Read the rest

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Bootleggers, Baptists and baggage: who benefits from plastic bag bans?

The State of Queensland recently instituted a ban on single-use plastic bags at retail outlets. Woolworths is a first mover in removing all plastic bags from its own shops. Unsurprisingly many Queenslanders are frustrated with this move, and yet few Queenslanders are surprised that the State government has done yet another stupid thing.

But why do things like this happen in the first place? Why do widely unpopular, stupid regulations seem to get through the political process that is meant to represent the populace at large?

The first thing that must be noted is that many of these regulations impose diffuse costs (a small cost on absolutely everyone) yet have concentrated benefits (a few big winners). This means that there is less incentive for individuals who have to bear the costs to lobby against such regulations, and more incentive for those few big winners to lobby for them.

But Read the rest

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It’s the law that needs to change, not men

A little over a week ago as I read of the callous rape and murder of Melbourne comedian Eurydice Dixon a familiar fury boiled inside me. The right of all human beings to life, liberty and security is a cardinal component of my morality. As she walked through a park in “the world’s most liveable city”, Eurydice Dixon had those rights ripped from her in a brutal and horrifying manner. Ms Dixon was a few years older than my eldest daughter. News of her slaying sent a shiver through my core, as it did for thousands of parents of young women who wish to exercise their fundamental right to go about their business unmolested.

In the days following, a number of lengthy and confronting lists of “things that women do that men don’t have to think about” circulated social media detailing the lengths women go to in order to avoid Read the rest

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