Rafe’s Roundup July 2

Rafe is a veteran blogger and almost an icon of the blogosphere. At the very least he’s an amiable eccentric who doesn’t do any harm. Ken Parish of Club Troppo.

Greece. A magnificent statement from Oliver Hartwich, h/t IPA Hey!

The whole idea of uniting vastly different European economies under one currency, one interest rate and one exchange was not just folly; it was madness. It had nothing to do with economics because it was so obviously not an optimum currency area; it was always just about political power.

No-one in this crisis is blameless: not the Greeks, not the Germans, not the European Commission, not the European Central Bank and least of all the International Monetary Fund.

There is only one hope. Now that Greece is finally and officially bankrupt, perhaps we might eventually see something resembling a solution to the crisis. How about Greece exiting the eurozone, devaluing its new currency, default on its debt and reform its economy? I have been arguing this case for five years in this column, and I am not the only economist who has been saying so.

Climate. Matt Ridley on the corruption of science. The downside of green energy from Viv Forbes a grand old man of the libertarian movement. Alan Moran’s Climate News. Jo Nova. Tinfoil hat territory, the 99.99% consensus! A journey to climate scepticism.

Regulation nation. A US plan to recruit bipartisan support by attacking regressive regulations that favour the rich.

Regressive regulations — barriers to entry and competition that work to redistribute income and wealth up the socioeconomic scale. This paper identifies four major examples of regressive regulation: excessive monopoly privileges granted under copyright and patent law; restrictions on high-skilled immigration; protection of incumbent service providers under occupational licensing; and artificial scarcity created by land-use regulation.

Lesson from the Scandanavians, not so much in violation of economic rationalism and limited government as welfare staters like to say. Still bad news though, like welfare states the world over, including the USA!

Economics. The minimum wages trap. The blog of the Greek finance minister.

Culture. The late, very impressive Peter Walsh on free speech and the regression to political correctness in the ALP. The New York Review of Books. Sci-fi book covers.

Max Corden on the universities. A handy summary of the reforms since Dawkins and the schizophrenic mix of pro-market and central planning tendencies since that time under all the various Federal ministers.

Sport. Mark Atkinson, editor of Cricket Life magazine, appointed head coach of the Perth Scorchers and Alcohol Think Again Western Fury cricket squad.

Atkinson brings strong high performance credentials to the Fury and Scorchers programs, with his representation in 95 First Class and 42 List A matches across a 14-year playing career with Tasmania complementing more than a decade of coaching and consulting experience. Atkinson is a Cricket Australia Level 3 accredited coach and holds both Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor of Physical Education qualifications.

“I enter this role with an ambition to have the Western Fury and Perth Scorchers winning the WNCL and WBBL, but I also come with a strong passion to create a team culture that sets the bar in Australian cricket.

“That takes in performance and team spirit, inspiring and creating Australian cricketers, as well as the enjoyment of the game and everything that goes with being a great team.”

Interview with Mark Atkinson. More about Cricket Life.

Cricket Life Magazine is the only print publication in the world to have regular contributions from past and present players in each and every issue…the slogan “The Players Voice” will be reflected by personal views comments and ideas from some of the world’s leading players in all future issues.

C. B. Fry, all rounder.

Charles Burgess Fry, known as C. B. Fry (25 April 1872 – 7 September 1956), was an English polymath; an outstanding sportsman, politician, diplomat, academic, teacher, writer, editor and publisher. Fry’s achievements on the sporting field included representing England at both cricket and football, an FA Cup Final appearance for Southampton F.C. and equalling the then-world record for the long jump. He also reputedly turned down the throne of Albania. In later life, he suffered mental health problems, but even well into his seventies he claimed he was still able to perform his party trick: leaping from a stationary position backwards onto a mantelpiece.

Ant special. Practically everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Coordination in ant communities. Serious concern about fire ants in Queensland. Pictures of fire ants. David Attenborough among the ants and mangroves.

Science. The nasty Sydney funnel web. The state of the art with Driverless cars.

It pays to advertise.

Around the town. Hendo and the media watchdog [Updated on Friday afternoon]. The Australian Institute for Progress, (AIP) “because the future does not look after itself”. IPA HEY. The Sydney Institute. Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Quadrant on line, Mannkal Foundation, Centre for Independent Studies.

Don Aitkin. Jim Rose, feral and utopian! Jo Nova, climate realist par excellence. Sean Gabb’s site.

Sites of interest. Spiked on line . Richard Hammer, Free Nation Foundation. Aust NZ libertarian students. Powerline. The British libertarian alliance.

Education, accuracy in academia. Andrew Norton on the employment prospects for science graduates. Just when we seem to have enough science graduates for the market to absorb, Bill Shorten decided we need more!

For nerds. Melvyn Bragg’s radio program. Stephen Hicks, always interesting for nerds.

Posted in Rafe, Rafe's Roundups, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Politics is what you can get away with

Went to the Andy Warhol exhibit at the MOMA yesterday which is the kind of thing you come to New York for. But what caught my eye was Warhol’s most famous quote, “art is what you can get away with”. Watching politics in the US, what may be true about art – there being a sucker born every minute – in Obama’s America it is true everlasting about politics. The media here, like everywhere, is to the left. But to mix the media with a presidential system emphasises all of the worst features of both. Obama routinely breaks the law in deciding what he will enforce that he, as the head of the executive branch, is sworn by law to do, while there are other things that he is forbidden to do but does anyway since there is apparently no ability to fight it, never mind the lack of will.

The American political system is corrupt from end to end. The combination of a lawless president and a media that will never criticise means nothing will be done since nothing can be done since the ability to create the storm before the resolution of a problem is entirely absent. This is a country that is evolving into masters and servants, with the tax gathering power and the ability to reward friends unprecedented in a democratic community. Once the richest country in the world, using average real incomes per head of population as the measure, the US is well down the list day and heading even further down. The elites will do well, and the rest will have enough to eat, mostly. But there is no freedom where it counts, which is the freedom to disagree with the majority view on anything.

But it is a Warhol presidency. Explain this in any conventional way:

US blocks attempts by Arab allies to fly heavy weapons directly to Kurds to fight Islamic State

Middle East allies accuse Barack Obama and David Cameron of failing to show strategic leadership in fight against Islamic State

That’s tonight on Drudge. I wonder whether it will even crack the first five pages of the NY Times in the morning. If it’s not in the news, it effectively didn’t happen.

Posted in Media, Politics of the Left | 30 Comments

Board with the ABC

Even from this distance, I can see that the ABC has only two defenders, the ALP and ABC’s own employees. This is not a vote of confidence from the rest of the community. The investigation into Q&A is, of course, too narrow, since the issue really is the bias to the left of the entire political content of the ABC which often seeps into programs about fishing and other such things. If they are allowed to narrow the range of the inquiry to just this issue, even if they slap themselves on the wrist, nothing has been gained. Zaki is a symptom, not the central question to be answered.

The ABC board is below, who have largely been chosen for their financial knowledge and are constituted as a board in a company structure. And as such no blame can be assigned to them for the actual content of the ABC programming, nor I imagine should it be. That does not seem to be their role. The exceptions to this are Mark Scott and the staff rep, Matt Peacock, whose left of centre political views are apparent to everyone, except for themselves.

James Spigelman AC QC
ABC Chairman
BA (Hons) LLB, Hon. LLD
1 April 2012 – 31 March 2017

James Spigelman was the Chief Justice and Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales from 1998 to 2011. Between 1980 and 1998 he practised as a barrister in Sydney and was appointed QC in 1986. Between 1972 and 1976 he served as Senior Adviser and Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister of Australia and as Permanent Secretary of the Commonwealth Government’s Department of the Media. From 1976 to 1979 he was a member of Australian Law Reform Commission.

Mr Spigelman has served on the Boards and as Chair of a number of cultural and educational institutions including: Chair of the National Library of Australia between 2010 and 2012, Member of the Board of the Australian Film Finance Corporation between 1988 and 1992 (Chairman between 1990 and 1992), Member of the Board of the Art Gallery of New South Wales between 1980 and 1988 (Deputy Chairman between 1983 and 1988), and as President of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences between 1995 and 1998. In November 2012 he was appointed a Director of the Board of the Lowy Institute for International Policy. In 2013 he was appointed a Non-Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong.

Jane Bennett
Company Director
AdvCertAppSc (Dairy Tech), FAICD
30 June 2011 – 29 June 2016

Jane Bennett is the former Managing Director of Ashgrove Cheese, a family owned and run business in Tasmania. Ms Bennett is the immediate past chair of the Food Industry Advisory Council in Tasmania and is a Board Member of the Brand Tasmania Council. Her other directorships include the Australian Farm Institute, Tasmanian Ports Corporation and the CSIRO.

Peter Lewis
2 October 2014 – 1 October 2019

Peter Lewis is currently the Director of Finance for Acquire Learning and a member of the Advisory Board for Anacacia Capital. He has previously held board and advisory positions with the International Grammar School Sydney, TXA Australia Pty Ltd, Norwest Productions Pty Ltd, Propex Derivatives, Australian News Channel Pty Ltd, B Digital Limited, VividWireless Limited and Yahoo 7 Australia.

Mr Lewis has more than two decades of experience in both executive and financial roles in the media. He was appointed financial controller of the Network Ten between 1990 and 1994; the Head of Business Affairs for the Sydney Olympic Broadcasting Organisation between 1996 and 1998, Chief Financial Officer of the Seven Network Limited from 1998 to April 2010, was the Chief Financial Officer of Seven Group Holdings Limited from May 2010 to November 2011; was the Chief Operating Officer of Seven Media Group from July 2008 to January 2012 and was the Chief Financial Officer of Seven West Media Limited from May 2011 to May 2013.

Mr Lewis is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, a member of the Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants and a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia.

Simon Mordant AM
Investment Banker
FCA (UK), FCA (Australia)
8 November 2012 – 7 November 2017

Simon is Executive Co-Chairman of Luminis Partners. He is Chairman of the Board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Simon is Australian Commissioner for the 2015 Venice Biennale, a director of MOMA PS1 in New York, a member of the Leadership Council of the New Museum in New York and a member of the International Council of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, a member of the Executive Committee of the Tate International Council, a Director of the Garvan Research Foundation, a member of the Wharton Executive Board for Asia and a member of the Italian Advisory Board for Venetian Heritage.

Matt Peacock
Journalist, ABC
Staff Elected Director
22 April 2013 – 21 April 2018

Matt is a senior journalist with the ABC’s 7.30 program, having formerly been ABC Radio’s chief political correspondent and reporter in New York, Washington and London. He is Adjunct Professor of Journalism with Sydney’s University of Technology (UTS) and has authored the book Killer Company (HarperCollins, 2009), a history of Australia’s largest asbestos manufacturer, James Hardie which inspired the ABC Television mini-series, Devil’s Dust.

Mark Scott AO
ABC Managing Director
BA, DipEd, MA (Syd.), MPubAdmin (Harv)
5 July 2006 – 4 July 2011; 5 July 2011 – 4 July 2016

Under Mark Scott’s leadership, the structure and operation of the ABC has been transformed and the ABC’s services and reach have been dramatically expanded. The ABC has established a reputation as Australia’s leading digital media innovator during this time. He has also led a shift within the organisation from a process-based culture to one that emphasises the values of Respect, Integrity, Collegiality and Innovation.

Before joining the ABC, Mr Scott served 12 years in a variety of editorial and executive positions with Fairfax Media, Editorial Director of the Fairfax newspaper and magazine division and Editor-in-Chief of Metropolitan, Regional and Community newspapers.

Steven Skala AO
Vice Chairman, Australia and New Zealand, of Deutsche Bank AG
BA LLB (Hons) (Qld) BCL (Oxon)
6 October 2005 – 5 October 2010; 24 November 2010 – 23 November 2015

Steven Skala is Vice Chairman, Australia and New Zealand, of Deutsche Bank AG, Chairman of Wilson HTM Investment Group Limited, and Hexima Limited. He is Vice President of the Board of the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Deputy Chairman of the General Sir John Monash Foundation, and a Director of the Centre for Independent Studies. Mr Skala serves as a Member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. He is the former Chairman of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and Film Australia Limited, and a former Director of The Australian Ballet.

Dr Fiona Stanley AC FAA FASSA
Patron and the founding Director of the Telethon Kids Institute (formerly Telethon Institute for Child Health Research)
MSc (Lon.), MD (WA), Hon. DSC (Murdoch), Hon DUniv (QUT), HonMD (Syd.), Hon. DUniv (Melb.), Hon. Dsc (ECU), Hon, FRACGP, Hon. FRCPCH (UK), FFPHM (UK), FAFPHM, FRAQNZCOG, FASSA, FAA, FRACP, FFCCH
30 June 2011 – 29 June 2016

Posted in Federal Politics, Media | 96 Comments

Wednesday Forum: July 1, 2015

Posted in Open Forum | 1,431 Comments

Greek fire

I have been asked to comment on Greece and the Euro, seeking 1000 words by Thursday. Too busy really, but this was the overview of what I might or might not write:

My view is that Greece should stay in if they want the discipline a fixed currency could give them, but the others should kick Greece out if she is going to drag the common currency down. But as to whether there should be a common currency at all, I think the UK made the right decision to stay out. It is politics and not economics that is the reason it has lasted even this long.

In the long run, staying in is best but would require a discipline the Greeks have not so far shown. I doubt they can do it, and the others won’t miss them when they’re gone. For the Greeks overall, if they can mend their ways, they will be better for it. But since the world only gets run once, they will never know the alternative future they missed so won’t think anything positive about the result. It will look too much like hard work and then life will just go on.

Posted in Economics and economy | 60 Comments

Joe Hockey, SMH, libel and its defence

What are we to make of the $200,000 payout Joe Hockey got from the Sydney Morning Herald?

The judge called the editor, Darren Goodsir, a malicious liar. (“an unconvincing witness whose evidence was repeatedly found wanting”, who used his newspaper to publish a personal attack on the Treasurer that was predominantly motivated by malice).

That must put his position under a cloud.

The judgement was based not on the story itself but on the promotion and tweets that accompanied it.  The article itself said that the Treasurer was offering privileged access in return for funding.  There can be nothing objectionable about that – political parties’ finances are floated on “fundies” and other revenue-raising and influence-amassing events.  Nor was the headline “Treasurer for sale” judged to be libelous in the context of the article.  This was the case only in the stand-alone promotion of the story.

Naturally, the Fairfax rivals over at Murdoch were cock-a-hoop at the decision.  Chris Merritt argued, “This case has damaged Fairfax and revealed an abuse of editorial power. A once-great newspaper used its resources to prosecute the ­malicious plan of one man who resented being forced to correct his paper’s mistake.”

The SMH’s soulmate rival, The Guardian agreed that the paper had “pushed the limits of free speech in advertising”, thereby lukewarmly endorsing the decision.  But it went on to argue that politicians should not do libel suits as they have other outlets, including the Parliament, from which to counter accusations.  This seems a bit thin as such defences are unlikely to receive as much coverage as the original comment and do little to deter the sort of malicious behaviour that the judge found Darren Goodsir to be involved in.

Truth should always be a defence against libel.  And opinions likewise – even if they, probably incorrectly, said that Hockey was in receipt of funding from Eddie Obeid and his corrupt interests.  Hockey did not win the case because of a newspaper article that examined the relationship between money and political favours.

The SMH itself quoted at length an enigmatic statement from Tim Wilson, “Free speech shouldn’t be restricted under defamation law simply because there is a general injury to a person’s reputation. The test should be set higher around explicit harm and material loss. This decision is a reminder that our commitment to free speech needs to be consistent, reflected in law and not just rhetoric.”

Though the SMH would see this as support for their case, this is not obvious.  Free speech can never be absolute: truth is always a defence and protection from malicious libel is as important a right as free speech.  In that respect the judgement actually clarifies and possibly extends the concept of free speech in so far as it denied Joe Hockey damages for an article per se.

Posted in Uncategorized | 92 Comments

CIS Policy quarterly on line

Get up to date with a click here and here.

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 | 5 Comments

Q&A Forum: June 29, 2015

Posted in Open Forum | 524 Comments

Monday Forum: June 29, 2015

Posted in Open Forum | 1,527 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 | 43 Comments