• 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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Latest documents

  • Showdown in Wisconsin

    The Midwestern US state of Wisconsin, home to long winters, strange delicacies such as fish boils, and sporting teams such as the Green Bay Packers, seems a strange epicenter for one of the great public policy battles of today: how to rein in rampant public sector unions. Essentially, the government of the 'Badger State' is living beyond its means, and with the global financial crisis having translated into a significant loss of the state's manufacturing workforce, the need for fiscal correction poses as an absolute states was $124 billion last year. There has certainly been an element of color surrounding the protests. Teacher's unions have played a prominent role in the protests, with many Wisconsin schools being forced to close. Far from being an item of international triviality, wha...

  • Is Modern Art a One Trick Pony?

    Clear visual evidence of genius exists for all to see -- albeit at rather an inconvenient distance from Australia's shores. What then, should one make of contemporary artistic figures such as Damien Hirst, for whom claims of genius have certainly been made by some at least, including -- somewhat regrettably -- by the artist himself. Just as artists can be divided between avid self-promoters and more retiring types, so in art criticism a similar division could be said to exist between writers characterize as gushers -- largely on account of their breathless enthusiasm for novelty -- and those of a more sober and historically-based turn of mind. Clearly artists making relatively conventional works -- whatever their levels of skill -- cannot possibly compete for headline-grabbing potential...

  • It's the Pollies Fault, Too

    Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy, by Lindsay Tanner, is reviewed.

  • Where Are You Superman?

    Waiting for Superman, directed by Davis Guggenheim, is reviewed.

  • We're All Devils

    All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, is reviewed.

  • 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.

  • The Greens and Labor: It's Time for a Divorce

    When Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced her carbon tax plan at the end of February, Greens leader Bob Brown and his deputy Christine Mime not only got to join her at the press conference. They also had the pleasure of seeing the Prime Minister formally adopt a policy proposal that they had put forward 12 months before. The public response was swift and severe. Less than a fortnight after Gillard broke her election promise not to put a price on carbon, the first Newspoll for March found Labor's primary vote was at an all-time low. Labor figures were debating that very matter even before the damning Newspoll. The Prime Minister's adoption of the Greens' carbon tax proposal -- despite her election time denials -- has infuriated more.

  • Wikileaked

    Inside Wikileaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website, by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, is reviewed.

  • Tim Flannery: Climate Prophet

    Appointed by Climate Change Minister Greg Combet to his $3,000 per week, part-time job in February, Climate Change commissioner Tim Flannery is tasked with turning around the climate change debate for the minority Labor administration. His comments, made in a 2004 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, are just one indicator of the depth of Flannery's quasi-religious fervor for climate change, not to mention his exaggerated sense of self-importance. Many commentators have noted the extensive use of quasi-religious language by climate activists. Followers of the hypothesis that man is responsible for so-called dangerous climate change are referred to as 'believers' whilst doubters are often labeled 'deniers', 'skeptics' and even 'heretics.' There's no doubt that Flannery is an effecti...

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  • From the Editor

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    Any effort to promote workplace reform in Australia is always confronted by moral arguments against the reforms mounted by coalitions of unions, Christian churches, labour academics and significant sections of the ALP. At the heart of the moral objections is the assertion that employees are always...

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  • Showdown in Wisconsin

    The Midwestern US state of Wisconsin, home to long winters, strange delicacies such as fish boils, and sporting teams such as the Green Bay Packers, seems a strange epicenter for one of the great public policy battles of today: how to rein in rampant public sector unions. Essentially, the...