Category: Qld

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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Crony unionism, coming soon to a hole in the ground near you

I had a shock recently when I read an article in the New York Times that wasn’t critical of Donald Trump. Not only was it on a subject other than Trump but it was a great piece of investigative journalism of the calibre that was once the mainstay of western journalism. The article was about the enormously extravagant cost of a new subway tunnel named the East Side Access project, which currently sits at $US3.5 billion per track mile, compared to a global average of $US500 million for the same distance. A similar project currently underway in Paris, for example, is being constructed for one-sixth the cost. And this isn’t the only New York tunnel project that has overflowed its financial banks in recent years. Two other recent projects were also way over the global average.

The reason for the extraordinarily high cost is Crony Unionism. A problem as much … Read the rest

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No matter the question, government is the answer

In an excellent article in The Australian this week, Nick Cater does a skilful dissection of the Northcote by-election in Victoria. For those who might not have heard the news, a seat that has been Labor since 1927 went to The Greens. Amazingly, the Andrews government, that seems to have more in common with Che than Chifley, was not left enough for this electorate.

Some of the seat’s statistics of are quite illuminating. Apparently, there are ten times more teachers than truck drivers and twenty times more university lecturers than brick layers. The most interesting statistic of all however, is that 58 per cent work in the public sector. It seems that when government workers are in a position to decide, they vote for more government and there is no party more in favour of larger government than The Greens. It is no coincidence that the growth of government both … Read the rest

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Brisbane’s new green ghetto?

The Queensland Greens have announced what they euphemistically call a “Housing Policy“, called “a home for all”. This will cost (by Greens fuzzy maths) $60 billion, yes, billion with a “b”, and produce 200,000 “dwellings”. The numbers are rosy and utopia will arrive, although they forgot to tell everyone that they’ll be better looking, but I’m sure that will be coming in the “cosmetic surgery improvement” policy they’ll be announcing soon.

If there’s any doubt about what this will look like, just do an internet search for “Soviet housing projects”. Not the concept drawings, but the actual finished product and what it looks like after a few years. If you’re still curious, do a search for British council flats and have a look at how hideous government housing ideas really look like.

The stated intention of the Greens is to bring the wisdom and superior guidance of the … Read the rest

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Queensland’s undemocratic electoral process

Libertarians, classical liberals and small government conservatives will likely be disappointed in their options when they come to vote in Queensland’s election. Faced with a choice of choosing between the Liberal National Party, Labor, the Greens and One Nation many may choose to put a blank ballot paper in the box. Where’re the Liberal Democrats or the Australian Conservatives they will likely ask? The answer to that question has nothing to do with either of those parties’ willingness to run candidates, but Queensland’s byzantine process for registering political parties. It’s time to call bullshit on the corrupt processes used to prevent Queenslanders voting for the party of their choice.

The process for registering a political party in Queensland is outlined in the Electoral Act of 1992 and is described in the Political Party Handbook produced by the Queensland Electoral Commission. That process requires that a political party either have a … Read the rest

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We Need To Take “Privilege” Out Of Our Public Policy Discourse

Writer Benjamin Law used the final Q&A for the year to claim discussion around 18C was just our privileged class claiming to be censored.

Among the chattering class, there is a prevailing belief that they are on the side of the disadvantaged and against entrenched privilege. A cursory glance of the major events of 2016 would tell you that that is no longer true. Nor can it be said that defence against 18C is a defence against the privileged.

The argument that 18C is needed to give power to the powerless has been blown out of the water with the QUT case. It saw a court case seven QUT students for comments they made on a Facebook forum about being kicked out of an indigenous only computer lab.

Four of the students settled out of court, but the three students — Alex Wood, Callum Thwaites and Jackson Powell — were Read the rest

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The legalisation of Uber demonstrates how to campaign for liberty

Last week the Queensland Government announced that it will legalise ride sharing in Queensland. Annastacia Palaszczuk announce on her facebook page that, “From September 5 this year, my Government is leveling the playing field so ride-booking companies will be able to operate in Queensland, in concert with the taxi industry.”  This happened in spite of the vested interests of the taxi industry, the makeup of the Queensland parliament and the status quo. Why then did the Uber campaign succeed and what lessons does it provide for other liberty campaigns?

The campaign to legalise Uber had three main elements: civil disobedience, social media campaigning and it built a coalition of supporters across society and the political spectrum.

Civil disobedience was key to legalising ridesharing. Embarrassingly for the government, thousands of people broke the law by using Uber and working as Uber drivers. This forced the government to either legislate by cracking … Read the rest

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