CIS Policy quarterly on line

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Welcome to our new electronic edition of POLICY magazine. This is a mirror of the printed version, which you can read on your computer, smart phone or tablet.

One of the great pluses of this version is the search functionality which will become even more useful as we start adding our POLICY archives.

Posted in Politics, Rafe | 2 Comments

Q&A Forum: June 29, 2015

Posted in Open Forum | 511 Comments

Monday Forum: June 29, 2015

Posted in Open Forum | 997 Comments

Climate propaganda: agitators against wealth and their friends

I put out a regular monthly newsletter on all the interesting and all-too-often depressing facts about climate issues.  Here is the latest.  It deals with the machinations of government bodies trying to justify the empirically challenged warming numbers they promote, the Pope’s anti-humane entry into the debate, and the wonders of renewable energy with its massive costs compared to modern technology.

The daily cavalcade of news and views on this dominant economic issue means no sooner is Climate News issue sent out but more information comes in.  This morning we learned that Bill Gates, who the Guardian has been trying to recruit as its sponsor in chief for greenhouse madness, considers the existing renewable approach is a dead end but he wants to spend the money looted from taxpayers and energy users into novel forms of R&D.  He has already spent much of his own fortune on this but now wants the rest of us to magnify his $2 billion contribution.

Meanwhile, today we also learn that industry representative bodies including the BCA, the Aluminium producers the Australian Industry Group and the Energy Supply Association have joined with the economic vandals like the WWF, ACF, Climate Institute in seeking ways to undermine Australian industry competitiveness  reduce the use of fossil fuel for energy. Capitalists paying for their own hangman is a familiar theme though we rarely see them actually joining forces to do the job.

And for good measure, another ecclesiastic branch of Christianity is joining the poverty inducement business.  The Anglican Church is to pull its funding from investments from  resource companies, making an exemption one would think materials used for sacramental cups.

With all these useful idiots, maybe we don’t need the ISIS Caliphate in order to undermine our living standards.

Posted in Uncategorized | 35 Comments

Helping Bill with his homework

037804-a3a8639c-17a6-11e5-a5d7-748605b6db23It will be like swot-vac for Bill, preparing for his appearance before the Royal Commission on Trade Union Governance and Corruption.  Bear in mind, non-answers such as ‘I can’t recall, I don’t remember’ do not score well.

I thought I might help Bill out by outlining the major subject headings, but note that examiners often thrown in a trick question or two:

  • Cleanevent
  • Winslow Constructors
  • Roche Mining
  • ACI
  • Connect East
  • Chiquita Mushrooms

In at least two of these instances, possibly more, workers were made worse off while the employer and the union benefitted.  And what the hell was the AWU Vic Branch doing receiving money from a Queensland mining company?  You might want to revise your answer on that one, Bill.

You might also want to prepare an answer to the broader issue of why the AWU financial statements completely obscure the issue of donations and other payments, including the parties making the payments.   Only by going to the returns required by the Electoral Commission has it been possible for some of these details to see the light of day.

Phantom memberships is another topic that could be covered and you need to be on top of the AWU rules of membership which require new members to physically sign a consent form.

The topic of Industry 2020, the slush fund established by your pal, Cesar Melhem, might come up.  Why did you speak at an event that raised money for this slush fund?  Why did you become personally involved in backing one side of the contested HSU elections with the funds from Industry 2020 being used as part of the deal?

It will be busy time – I’d be lining up those HB pencils and working on the answers now.

And don’t forget giving syrupy answers such as “Everyone is somebody” and misquoting the source is a sure way to getting an F.

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

ABC’s terror stance calls for inquiry and remedies

In The Australian today:

Merely hours after the managing director of the ABC claimed Zaky Mallah had the same right to ­appear on Q&A as Charlie Hebdo had to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, the Islamists showed the world exactly how much use they have for freedom of expression.

Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

I yam off to the grate saten

The next time I go to bed it will be in New York. The main purpose of my trip was originally to debate the author of a book called Seven Bad Ideas in Economics about Say’s Law, which was bad idea Number 2. The venue was to be at Freedomfest in Law Vegas. In the end, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and so, I will be having that debate, with me taking both sides. As I tell everyone else, I will be having a one-man show in Vegas.

But other stops along the way as well, which mostly includes meeting and discussing authors I am bringing together in my Modern Critics of Keynes, of which there are hardly any. These are economists who have each already written extensive critiques of Keynesian economics. If you can think of more than two, please add their names to the comments. I am happy to say that on a previous such appeal, I was given one name that will now appear and star in this volume. Given how few there are, this was a reason for serious gratitude.

Meantime, blogging will be lighter than usual.

Posted in Classical Economics | 8 Comments

Where’s the outrage?

I just watched Steve Ciobo on Bolt and what a disappointment. Where’s the “heads will roll” attitude? I want an ABC version of The Bolt Report, and whatever it takes to get it, should be high on the government’s agenda. Along with a savaging of that billion dollars of funding.

Why is there still a pro-ABC faction in the government?

Posted in Media | 91 Comments

Dead man talking

First at Tim Blair and then Andrew Bolt, so why not here? An interview with Bill Shorten not to be missed! The problem is that Shorten is the walking dead. He will not lead the ALP into the next election. Labor will make the switch as close to the next election as possible to maximise the potential for Tanya to run at the same time as Hillary. Meantime, there is this to help see us through the night.

Posted in Federal Politics | 41 Comments

Cross Post: Terry Barnes – Constitutional smoking ceremony

The push for changing our Constitution to recognise explicitly the special status in Australia of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders is well and truly on, but misguided. Tony Abbott is sincerely passionate about combating Aboriginal disadvantage, as his volunteer work in remote communities shows. He wants a new preamble adopted by referendum by May 2017, the fiftieth anniversary of the historic 1967 vote. Whilst Noel Pearson proposes both a Declaration of Recognition outside the Constituion (which we support) as well as an Indigenous advisory body in the Constitution (which we don’t), others like Mr Abbott’s chief Indigenous adviser Warren Mundine fear this proposal could stymie Recognition – as he writes in this issue. Good ol’ Bill Shorten simply plays contrarian and says symbolic recognition doesn’t go far enough anyway.

When the Recognise campaign launched in early 2013, Abbott and Julia Gillard made dignified and genuinely heartfelt parliamentary speeches. Both placed a constitutional amendment in a line of social evolution running through the ‘67 removal of provisions empowering the Commonwealth to make laws in relation to Aborigines, and Kevin Rudd’s 2008 national apology to the so-called ‘stolen generation’. This month, John Howard said he too supports recognition ‘because it asserts an indisputable fact’.

Outspoken Recognisers happily appropriate Abraham Lincoln’s ‘better angels of our nature’: a favourite Abbott quotation. While appealing to our sense of moral duty, they lay on collective inherited guilt for the many wrongs done to Aborigines from Captain Cook’s landing at Botany Bay onwards. The sins of the fathers are visited on current and future Australians who had no part in past wrongs: not just by bleeding hearts, but conservatives, too.

But constitutionally enshrining Aborigines’ status over all others sends a powerful message that one group of Australians is more special than the rest. That their ancestors were here first is undeniable, but singling them out in our foundation document puts them on a pedestal of which no other Australian is considered worthy. Is that right, or fair, in a country that prides itself on its egalitarianism?

Like Rudd’s apology, symbolic constitutional recognition might help the tone of the national conversation, but won’t undo the past. We can only build the future as we wish to build it, so let’s just get on with what Howard called ‘practical reconciliation’: sensible policy and programmes supporting Aboriginal communities and people to better help themselves. Feel-good words might warm urban white elite hearts: a sort of constitutional smoking ceremony and about as authentic. But they won’t make a jot of difference to the quality of Aborigines’ lives in the cities or the bush. Such words would be like the black character, Token, in the television series South Park: visible but having no real purpose. What’s more, our melting pot of a country draws on the skills, talents, cultures and social and economic contributions of people from all over the world, not just Aborigines or those from Britain and Ireland. Shouldn’t this collective contribution be acknowledged, not just one group of Australians?

Surely the only form of Aboriginal recognition that matters is in our hearts and minds, and that’s where great progress has been made since ‘67. Singling out Aboriginal and Islanders in our constitution might honour them, but implicitly relegates everyone else to the second division and risks creating ammunition for the few racist extremists. Instead, everyone should be equal in the eyes of each other regardless of race, and certainly must be equal before a colour-blind law. As for Aboriginal advancement, will constitutional symbolism help advance their social and economic conditions any more than they are being advanced now? Sadly, no. If recognition passes, indigenous life expectancy and unemployment rates will still be shameful, and remote Aboriginal communities will still struggle with Third World living conditions. Chronic problems with grog, nutrition and family violence will still confront too many Aborigines and Islanders. That’s where the Coalition and Labor must focus their energies, not on symbolic gestures changing little. Above all, there will still be the Aboriginal industry of parasitic bureaucrats and consultants, activists and lobbyists, who thrive on perpetuating Aboriginal victimhood on one hand, and talking up Middle Australia’s guilt on the other. Constitutional recognition will simply embolden such rent-seekers to reach even deeper into taxpayers’ pockets. What’s proposed instead paradoxically would address discrimination by enshrining positive discrimination. A strong but wrong message would be sent to all Australians that, while we are all equal, our Constitution would say some are more equal than others. Defending recognition recently, Alan Tudge MP wrote of: ‘includ(ing) the Aboriginal face in our national family portrait’. But as Pearson, Mundine, and even Adam Goodes attest, that face is already there, front and centre. No smoking ceremony is needed.

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 27 June 2015

Posted in Cross Post, Federal Politics | 47 Comments