Stark reasons to kick the regulatory habit

In The Australian today:
“Let us rain compassion in the shape of regulations,” urged one of the first accounts of European settlement in Australia.

About Henry Ergas

Henry Ergas AO is a columnist for The Australian. From 2009 to 2015 he was Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia and from 2009 to 2017 was Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility. He joined SMART and Deloitte after working as a consultant economist at NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics. Prior to that, he was an economist at the OECD in Paris from the late 1970s until the early 1990s. At the OECD, he headed the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Structural Adjustment (1984-1987), which concentrated on improving the efficiency of government policies in a wide range of areas, and was subsequently Counsellor for Structural Policy in the Economics Department. He has taught at a range of universities, undertaken a number of government inquiries and served as a Lay Member of the New Zealand High Court. In 2016, he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia.
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4 Responses to Stark reasons to kick the regulatory habit

  1. Ant

    Lets have a drought instead. It’s Australia after all. And we can blame it on Global Warming.

  2. Paridell

    Hmm… considering that Australia was founded by the (British) Government, it is a big ask to want to kick the regulatory habit. Americans have George Washington and the American Revolution, Australians have Governor Philip and the convict settlement. Both countries were built by pioneers, but ours were pioneers with the sanction of government. The Commonwealth Constitution only established the same sentiment in the Federal sphere.

  3. Squirrel

    The lingering paternalism of the convict/colonial era may be a factor, but these days, the tendency towards over-regulation is probably a symptom of easy prosperity (too many people insulated from competitive economic forces and largely oblivous to the accumulated costs of regulation) plus a strong central tendency in our political system.

    Until recently, there has been little practical difference in so many areas of policy between the major parties in their approach to day-to-day regulation. The Howard Government shook up a few areas (one to its considerable cost), but much else seemed to have been left to the bureaucracy, with predictable outcomes.

    If the Abbott Government, whatever its duration, can shift bureaucratic behaviour towards and public interest in this issue, that will be a very worthy legacy.

    I assume the Maslen quote comes from his 1830 book ‘The Friend of Australia’ – ironic, much?

  4. Ant


    That can’t be it because in the US they’ve sent the regulatory agenda into overdrive.

    And as for Europe,….

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