Review - Institute of Public Affairs
- Institute of Public Affairs
- Publication date:
- First document:
- Vol. 56 Nbr. 2, June 2004
- Last document:
- Vol. 63 Nbr. 2, June 2011
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- Free Speech in the Climate Debate
You'd think that climate sceptics deserve free speech as much as everybody else. That, however, isn't the view of the ABC's media criticism program, Media Watch. In an episode this March, Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes called for the government to use a practically defunct regulation to restrict the free speech of climate sceptics because he disagreed with the content of that speech. Media Watch is one of the ABC's flagship programs -- a self-appointed press watchdog, dedicated to exposing media perfidy, ethics breaches and bias. The program opened with an extended discussion about the number of climate change sceptics hosting AM radio shows, their take on climate science, and the fact that they interview more sceptical scientists than non-sceptical ones. Considering how central the c...
- We're All Devils
All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, is reviewed.
- Taxi Mess an Old, Stubborn Failure of Government
In Melbourne, train performance was seen as a key factor in the defeat of the Labor Government in last November's Victorian Election, yet surveys conducted by Victoria's Department of Transport have consistently shown a greater degree of customer dissatisfaction with taxis than with the much maligned trains. So, given that improving the trains was seen as a key performance indicator for the new Victorian government, it was perhaps surprising that, when it came to taxis, nobody seemed to be applying much pressure to governments to fix the problems. Combined with regulations around industry structure, the types of services taxis can provide and the price they can charge, the licensing system has created a deadly policy cocktail. A deregulated taxi industry will not mean that taxis are alw...
- Bourgeois Dignity
: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World, by Deirdre McCloskey, is reviewed.
- The Biggest Loser Is the Nanny-State
The recently concluded reality television show, The Biggest Loser, contains some surprising lessons for public policy. Of all the reality television shows bombarding people, The Biggest Loser best combines entertainment with the spectacle of social stratification. And The Biggest Loser contestants fulfil their expectations. The Biggest Loser approach is to offer a massive financial incentive in the form of $100,000 of prize money to lose weight, plus substantial amounts of personal training and a fair dose of new-age group therapy support. Locking every obese person up in a reality television show for months on end is not a public policy option, even if it is one of the very few approaches that clearly works. As the contestants in The Biggest Loser show, and research supports, there is ...
Inside Wikileaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website, by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, is reviewed.
- Bad History Now a National Problem
Australia's unique cultural heritage risks being lost if the next generation is not taught about its classical liberal origins. Australia's education ministers have decided there will be a single National Curriculum for the country. The National Curriculum dictates what every student is taught up to Year 10. The plan of the ministers is that by the end of 2013 the National Curriculum for English, Mathematics, Science and History will have been substantially implemented. It's no exaggeration to say the National Curriculum is a document giving politicians enormous power over the lives of the country's citizens. The National Curriculum helps shape what people think. Eventually every single Australian will have been taught according to what's in the National Curriculum. For the National Cur...
- Wild Colonial Boy
Colony: Strange Origins of One of the Earliest Modern Democracies, by Reg Hamilton, is reviewed.
- Should Parallel Import Restrictions Be Removed?
For Tim Wilson, director of the IP and Free Trade Unit and Sinclair Davidson, senior fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, Parallel Import Restrictions are an unjustified government intervention into the market for books. In a highly competitive market publishers can only sell high by offering a quality product, or by monopolizing the market by restricting supply to raise prices. But government action to remove parallel import restrictions would undermine private property rights, argues Alan Moran, director of the Deregulation Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs. For practical purposes, normally a product is sold to everyone at the same price despite some people valuing it more than others. The owner, not the government, should decide when it is worth taking action to charge pe...
- From the Editor
Nearly a third of the savings identified in this year's federal budget is actually the government's temporary flood levy -- collecting one and a half billion dollars for the 2011-2012 financial year. This rhetorical trick -- that you can make savings by increasing revenue -- was duly and uncritically repeated in much of Australian media's budget coverage. It's an old trick. Last year's budget claimed that increasing the tobacco excise was a 'major saving'. Then there's the yearly predictable erosion of tax concessions on investments. Eliminating loopholes may be a worthy task in its own right, but they constitute, implicitly, an increase in the overall tax burden. The crowing of the government about its successful management of the global financial crisis is dangerously misplaced.
- Bourgeois Dignity
: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World, by Deirdre McCloskey, is reviewed. ...
- Empty Spaces: Government Regulation Is Killing Australian Culture
There is now an increasingly significant barrier to a vibrant Australian culture -- nanny state regulations and bureaucratic red tape. The most difficult time for any artist is at the beginning of their career. Artistic entrepreneurs don't hold the promise of windfall profits that their commercial...
- Biotechnology Is Bioterrific, Not Bioterrifying
Edging Towards BioUtopia, by Richard Hindmarsh, is reviewed. ...
- Emissions Trading: Towards the Biggest Economic Change in Australian History
The introduction of a wide-ranging emissions trading scheme (ETS) is, as the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong, acknowledges, a 'tough whole-of-economy' measure. Many commentators have pointed to the introduction of the GST in 1999 as an economic reform on the equivalent scale of...
- Imposing Our Preferences On Whaling Cultures
Many environmentalists claim to be simply advocates for the sustainable use of resources; they claim that they are not in favor of outright banning any sort of resource use. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is such an organization, established in 1948 at the initiative of the US to...
- Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Austrian Economics*
Economics can be confusing enough on its own without the added complexity of dozens of competing 'schools of thought' with different approaches, assumptions and conclusions. For those interested in free market economics and the argument for small government, there is one school of thought that is...
- Vi@Gr@ Sold H^R^: Is Your Annoyance Our Problem?
By the end of the year, the number of emails sent worldwide is predicted to reach 136 billion per day. An estimated 64% of these, however, are spam -- unsolicited emails sent in bulk, usually of a commercial nature. In response, governments around the world have stepped in to try to curb the evil...
- How Land Supply Restrictions Have Locked Young People Out of the Housing Market, and How Australia Is Starting to Figure It Out
Adjusted for inflation, the price of houses in Australia has more than doubled over the past 30 years. In a landmark address to the Housing Industry Association in July 2005, the Institute of Public Affairs demonstrated that the stellar rise in house prices across Australia was due to land costs....
- Measuring the Money, Not the Mouths
Who really cares: America's charity divide, by Arthur C. Brooks, is reviewed. ...
- People, Pundits and Prime Ministers: What Biographies Reveal About Australia's Political Culture
At the time of the 2004 Federal Election, John Howard had been the subject of one biograhy. He faced an opponent, Mark Latham, who was the subject of several. It has become something of a cliche to note a greater propensity for books to be written about Labor, rather than Liberal, political figures....