It is with great pleasure that we would like to invite members and supporters of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance as well as the many many friends of the late and dearly beloved Ray Evans, to the Inaugural Ray Evans Memorial Oration.

A giant of Australian politics whose passionate zeal transformed centre-right politics, Ray was an inspiration and a mentor to countless individuals. A founding member of the HR Nicholls Society, the Bennalong Society, The Samuel Griffiths Society, the Galatians Group, and the Lavoisier Group,  all of which he was either President or Treasurer of, his contribution to Australian politics can not be Overstate.

As John Roskam wrote in the Australian Financial Review

Ray Evans had more influence on politics and policy in Australia than 95 per cent of MPs who have been in the federal Parliament, and 99 per cent of MPs who have ever been in a state Parliament. In some way or another, Evans was involved in, and helped shape, the course of every major policy debate in Australia of the last 30 years. And he did it all as a private citizen who volunteered his own time for the public good. He was the epitome of a concerned and engaged member of the community.

Through the establishment of this annual oration, Ray’s vision for a more free and prosperous Australia will be able to live on.

There can be no-one more appropriate to deliver the Inaugural Oration than Ray’s old boss and dear friend, Hugh Morgan AC. Ray wrote over 200 speeches during his time at Western Mining, orchestrating the company’s media and public relations strategy,  and together they changed the direction of political debate in Australia.

A former President of the Business Council of Australia, a Board Member of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Founding Chairman of Asia Society Australia, and a former president of the Lavosier Group we are very grateful to Mr Morgan for delivering the inaugural oration.

The venue shall be one of Ray’s favourite Restaurants and regular haunts – the Red Emperor in Southbank, and includes a banquet meal and 3 hour drinks package.

WHEN : December 01, 2017 at 6pm – 9pm

WHERE : Red Emperor Southbank
3 Southgate Ave
Level 2
Melbourne, Victoria 3006
Google map and directions

CONTACT : Tim Andrews · [email protected]

Posted in Gratuitous Advertising | 3 Comments

More evidence of plain packaging failure

From The Saturday Paper:

According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics national health survey, adult smoking rates fell from 16.1 per cent in 2011-12 to 14.5 per cent in 2014-15. The National Drug Strategy household survey shows a similar decline.

But the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s annual national wastewater survey, in which household waste is tested for the presence of various drugs, tells a different story. Law-enforcement agencies consider it more reliable because it’s hard to hide what’s in your urine. The commission’s 2017 report issued in July, from testing conducted between October and December last year and February this year, shows tobacco use nationally going up, not down.

At an August senate estimates hearing, acting chief executive of the ACIC, Nicole Rose, said reports based solely on official tobacco sales or answering survey questions were not always accurate.

“You’re talking about the difference between licit and illicit tobacco,” Rose told the committee. “I suspect that is what the difference would be.”

At some point the Australian federal government should concede that the tobacco control policies of the last decade have failed.  Failed, of course, if the objective is to reduce the incidence of smoking. If the objective of tobacco control is to enrich criminals, finance international terrorism, and North Korea’s nuclear program then the policy has been a glorious success.

The former head of the government’s illicit tobacco taskforce and a now-retired former Australian Federal Police officer, Rohan Pike, puts the lost tax revenue figure at more like $4 billion.

Pike – who consults to the Australian Retailers Association, which has tobacco companies as clients – made a submission to the tobacco inquiry, some of which was redacted before publication because of fears it could jeopardise operations. Pike says all government agencies must take the issue more seriously, but that it isn’t only about lost revenue.

“The second issue is to differentiate tobacco control from tobacco crime,” he says.

Craig Kelly agrees: “Although the Health Department might cheer about this [higher prices], all the other people who are cheering are the bikie gangs and other groups involved in the illicit trade.”

Actually no. Let’s not differentiate tobacco “control” from tobacco “crime”. In the bootleggers and baptists model everyone has clear objectives and incentives and acts accordingly, but in reality we well know that control and prohibition efforts lead to criminality. As such tobacco control and tobacco crime have common purpose and should be treated as such.


Posted in Hypocrisy of progressives, Plain Packaging | 1 Comment

Mr Shorten Goes to Korea to Achieve World Peace.

Is it just me or does the idea of the leader of the opposition, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, visiting:

South Korea to address nuclear tensions

send a chill down the spine of others?  And taking the Shadow Foreign Affairs spokesperson, the Hon. Penny Wong also?

If this was the United States, there would be cries of breaches of the Logan Act.  But irrespective, fair dinkum!  What is Mr Shorten going to offer here?  A tax plan?  A spend plan?  A tax and spend plan?   I don’t think the scope of the North Korean government can expand any further?

Perhaps Mr Shorten can offer South Korea a renewable energy target or an NBN.  That way the economy of South Korea can shrink to close the gap with the North; lowest common denominator style.

As reported in the Guardian:

Australia’s opposition leader, Bill Shorten, will meet with South Korea’s prime minister as part of a bid to reassure the region that Australia’s position on North Korea will not change, even if there is a change in government.

The presumption of the man.  The hubris of the man.  Wow!

Breathtaking.  You’d think his name was Rudd.

Don’t fret Australia.  Your taxes are paying for this.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Presidential sports round-up

The American media truly is a phenomenon. Are these throw away lines really the big issues of our time?

Then there is this. The vid is by Mark Dice:

A hilarious retweet by President Trump of an animated gif showing him hit Hillary Clinton with a golf ball caused the liberal media to absolutely freak out. Subscribe now for more videos every day, and I’ll see you tomorrow!

I’m sure not everyone found it hilarious. And do I have to point out that Hillary was not really hit by a golf ball hit by PDT or anyone else, but fell over by herself?

[My thanks to max for sending the second vid along.]

Posted in American politics | 6 Comments

The Big Bad Australian, Battling the Nation’s Interest

BHP, the world’s largest mining company, has demonstrated its clout by firing the head of the Minerals Council of Australia, Brendan Pearson. Amongst the most competent and seasoned energy specialists in Australia, Brendan had led the MCA with self-effacing charm.

He had sought to ensure an integrity in the organisation (this being the second most important of BHP’s stated values – clearly trumped by the organisation’s view of it first stated value “sustainability”). MCA commissioned GHD  to do the basic research on the costs of new coal in Australian generation; though careful to doff a hat to Political Correctness by measuring only high cost HELE (high efficiency low emissions) plant it estimated the costs at under $50 per MWh, much less than half of the costs of unreliable wind and solar. Such costing confirmed those of my own, which were developed by examining costs of the most recently commissioned Australian generator and estimating cost increases in coal, labour and capital since then.

Perhaps because its executives have caught the greenhouse climate change disease or perhaps because they fear the campaigning left, BHP has been in the forefront of politically correct statements on the issue.

It was a major supporter of the Gillard carbon tax and contributed heavily to funding the ALP taxpayer floated think-tank, the Grattan Institute, for which it also got a free pas from the ALP to pursue its unconsummated takeover of its iron ore rival Rio.

BHP bankrolls organisations like the World Resources Institute to give it a clean bill of health as a greenhouse gas emitter, claiming that its in-house and related emissions have been halved to about 18 million tonnes of CO2. Of course that excludes its sales of the fiendish emitting products which involve some 70 million tonnes of CO2 from coal and maybe half that in terms of gas and petroleum.

Coal and petroleum contribute $3.8 billion and $4.1 billion respectively to gross profits with only iron ore greater at $9.2 billion – though this itself like the other major commodity copper (earning $3.5 billion in gross profits) is valueless without subsequent use of fossil fuels for processing.

The key Australian manager and deliverer of the death blow was Mike Henry who has overseen impressive cost cutting and for this may even be worth his $4.5 million a year remuneration. Henry doubtless believes that the world must move out of carbon fuels but there is no path for the Bad Australian to achieve this. Indeed in a delicious irony, its South Australian smelter lost $138 million as a result of the wind-induced state blackout debacle last year, a coal replacement strategy that the firm has championed.

It may make a deal of sense for BHP to pay greenmail and denigrate the products that create its profits if in doing so they buy peace with the howling green agitators, who are proving their influence in the costly greenfare surrounding the Queensland Adani mine. But any net benefits that BHP shareholders from such strategies are peanuts compared to the damage its agitprop support does to the Australian economy.

p.s. Raider Elliott thinks BHP management have taken their eyes off the ball, as The Australian reports “BHP’s embattled boss has been given six months to save his job”

To his great shame Alan Moran admits to owning shares in BHP

Posted in Uncategorized | 46 Comments

Classical theory explained

I’ll be in Canberra for the first three days of next week for the meeting of the History of Economic Thought Society of Australia where I will be giving a presentation on the actual meaning and significance of “classical” economic theory. I am therefore putting up a post from way back in history that I did in 2011, so ancient that Maurice Newman was the Chairman of the ABC and I was still being published at The Drum. The rest of this post is what I said then. But before I get to that, I will put up this quote from a brief article on me [my name even comes first in the article’s title!] which you may find in the June issue of the Journal of the History of Economic Thought:

“Steven Kates is probably the best-known present-day proponent of the old ‘classical’ macroeconomics of Jean-Baptiste Say, James Mill, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill.”

But as I say in the heading to the slide, I am probably the “best-known” because I am probably the only one in existence. It was also, let me assure you, not intended as a compliment. Anyway, here is what I wrote back then.


I have an article up at The ABC’s Drum website where I again look at the statement by the ABC’s Chairman, Maurice Newman, on the value of classical economic theory in comparison with the modern. Here was the full quote from his speech:

We may think we are all Keynesians now, but perhaps contemporary teachings of Keynes are not faithful to the original doctrine, or, maybe, Keynes is now a defunct economist. Perhaps post modernist economics has so captivated our journalists that they have suspended the spirit of enquiry, open-mindedness and scrutiny that an informed democracy so desperately needs.

Under relentless pressure, classical economics has become all but a relic of a bygone era. Yet the work of classical economists most likely holds the solution to today’s economic ills.

The point that Maurice Newman was making was that journalist really ought to take a look at the economic ideas of the classical economists, which using the modern Keynesian definition incorporate every economist before Keynes himself, with the exception of Malthus, Hobson, Major Douglas and Gesell (who these last three are you might very well ask, but this is Keynes’s very own and very short list). As for the rest, they were consigned by Keynes to the dustbin of history, whose theories are only kept alive by a very small band of economists scattered across the world.

In the article, I quote Alfred Marshall, arguably the greatest economist to emerge from the nineteenth century. As I wrote on The Drum, Marshall “was very specific about not mistaking an economic recession for a failure to spend and he very much thought of himself as following in the tradition of the classical economists. This is what he wrote in his Principles of Economics:

[This is] the attitude which most of those, who follow in the traditions of the classical economists, hold as to the relations between consumption and production. It is true that in times of depression the disorganization of consumption is a contributory cause to the continuance of the disorganization of credit and of production. But a remedy is not to be got by a study of consumption, as has been alleged by some hasty writers … The main study needed is that of the organization of production and of credit.

Demand deficiency was not an idea discovered by Keynes. It was an idea about as old as economics itself and had been thoroughly debated and rejected for a hundred years before Keynes came along. And the fact of the matter is, there is not an economist in a hundred who could tell you in a convincing way why demand deficiency had been seen by classical economists as the province of cranks. They would also be unable to tell you what the classical theory of recession actually was. All they have is what they were told by Keynes, the very last man in the world from whom anyone should try to learn what classical economists had said.

Newman’s point is exactly right. Why don’t our journalists (and economists) show enough curiousity to find out what those classical economists said and wrote. We might still reject classical theory when we have examined their theories and ideas. But then again there is the possibility, a possibility that grows stronger by the day as we move towards another downturn, that classical economists actually did know more about the causes of recessions and their cures than we are currently led to believe.

Posted in Classical Economics | 9 Comments

Open Forum: September 23, 2017

Posted in Open Forum | 1,290 Comments

What really matters is not what matters but who decides what matters

This is a twitter stream on Big Brother and Protecting Elections which really is not just funny but also relevant and serious. And speaking of Facebook, let me also mention this: Mark Zuckerberg’s Fake News Problem Isn’t Going Away. From which:

In early September, Facebook disclosed that it sold $100,000 in political ads during the 2016 election to buyers who it later learned were connected to the Russian government. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Mark Warner of Virginia, the most senior Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have said they’re considering holding a hearing, in which case Zuckerberg could be asked to testify.

Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller has made Facebook a focus of his investigation into collusion between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s campaign. A company official says it’s “in regular contact with members and staff on the Hill” and has “had numerous meetings over the course of many months” with Warner. On Sept. 21, Zuckerberg said the company would turn over the ads to Congress and would do more to limit interference in elections in the future. Facebook acknowledges that it has already turned over records to Mueller, which suggests, first, that the special counsel had a search warrant and, second, that Mueller believes something criminal happened on Zuckerberg’s platform. . . .

On Sept. 14, ProPublica reported that it had managed to purchase ads targeted at users who’d listed interests such as “Jew hater” and “How to burn Jews.”

Well they’ve stopped that now, but only after it was pointed out to them. Every new technology not only changes the way people find things out but also what things they find out. I am therefore a free speech absolutist which is why we should make it illegal for Facebook or Twitter and other platforms of the same kind to prevent people from saying things there that are perfectly legal to say anywhere else.

Posted in Freedom of speech, Media, Politics of the Left | 24 Comments

Keeping their eyes on the big stuff

In a very joint announcement:

  • The Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer MP, Minister for Revenue and Financial Services on 19 July 2016;
  • the Hon. Craig Laundy MP, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science;
  • the Hon. John Barilaro MP, NSW Deputy Premier, Minister for Small Business; and
  • the Hon. Victor Dominello MPm NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property

Announced this morning a new plan “Making it easier to start a new business“.


The new business registration service allows businesses to apply for multiple business and tax registrations at the same time online at This has reduced the average time taken to register for an ABN from over an hour to less than 15 minutes. The service also supports businesses to meet their obligations and avoid applying for registrations that they don’t need.

Great.  But when will the new service that will allow for easy business de-registration and bankruptcy filing be announced?

Is this the new Government version of give with one hand and take with the other?  Make it easy to register a business but make it impossible to run a business?

One might wonder whether it will it be possible to use this new wiz-bang service when the electricity is out because the sun ain’t shining and the wind ain’t blowing?  Will it also work when the NBN is down or internet is not otherwise available?  Will it work remotely when businesses are up before the Fair Work Commission dealing with industrial relations matters?

As a citizen, I am very comfortable that Ministers O’Dwyer and Laundy are on the job here.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Local Government in the Inner West of Sydney

Local government.  What does it exist for?  In the inner west of Sydney, it does not appear seem to exist for local residents or rate payers.

You might think that local government is there for things like planning, pools and parks.  Perhaps a bit of rubbish collection and road maintenance.  But not for the new Inner West Council in Sydney.

Having done a deal with …. the Liberals …. Labor Councillor Darcy Byrne will be the new Mayor.  And Mayor Elect Byrne has promised to:

lead a council which is both progressive and effective.

Councillor Byrne also said:

With our belief in social justice and our commitment to diversity, we can show the rest of the country how progressive principles can be put into practice at the local government level.

The Inner West Council is the forced amalgam of 3 smaller councils – Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield.  Marrickville Council even managed to have its own foreign policy.

But hey.  Who needs efficient planning and rubbish collection when you can have effective and progressive planning and rubbish collection with a touch of social justice and a commitment to diversity.

Perhaps a Council anthem to be sung before all Council meetings.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized | 12 Comments