Archive for May, 2012

A heretic in Melbourne

May 17, 2012

My review of the new MTC play, The Heretic

This week started with an alarmist announcement in Sydney from the Gillard government’s two stooges — Will Steffen and Tim Flannery — on new dangers they have discovered about catastrophic heating in the Western suburbs of Sydney; madness, violence and mayhem. By way of contrast, like summer is to winter, or droughts are to floods, just a few days later I saw The Heretic by award winning British playwright, Richard Bean. [read on…]


May 15, 2012


Sweden shows the way

May 15, 2012

No Socialist paradise here but no disaster, if making good decisions counts

In a long interview with Chris Uhlmann on 7.30, Ken Henry almost admits that there was too much spending and not of a productive type. He stands behind the excuse, “if it’s fiscal stimulus the most important thing is to get the money out the door“. Yeah. don’t worry if it goes up in smoke on pink bats or badly targeted education revolutions.

What a contrast to Sweden when in exactly the same situation. Unlike Australia and the rest of Europe, it decided to radically reduce taxes. Cash handouts were a small part of its strategy. Today, Sweden has no budget deficit and is returning a real surplus. It is among Europe’s fastest growing economiues, with growth heading towards 4 percent, and certainly without the help of a mining boom.

How did it do it?  By NOT doing what Gillard did and is still doing.

When elected four years ago, leading a four-party coalition, [Swedish Prime Minister] Fredrik Reinfeldt  had a striking slogan. ‘We are the new workers’ party,’ he said, meaning he would cut taxes for those in employment, but not for those on benefits. When faced with protests about how the poorest would be paying a higher marginal tax rate, he appealed to voters’ innate sense of fairness – and resentment at the high level of welfare dependency. At every stage, his ministers would explain the basics of low-tax economics. Cut tax on wages, and you increase the incentive to work. ‘This will increase employment,’ Reinfeldt said. ‘Permanently.’

Not that he was believed – at first, anyway. The party fell 20 points behind in the polls, and braced itself for the ritualistic electoral ejection. It carried on regardless, with tax cuts for cleaners and baby-sitters (most home helpers were paid ‘black’, as the Swedes say, because the tax was so high). Tax on low-paid jobs fell sharpest. Nursing assistants, for example, saw their tax bill drop by a fifth. The aim was to make work compete more aggressively with Sweden’s famously generous welfare state.

Taxes for the rich also came down. Reinfeldt abolished the notorious wealth tax, which took 1.5 per cent a year from any Swede worth over about Skr1.5 million (£125,000). Anders Borg, the finance minister, faced predictable protests about a Bush-style tax cut for the rich. He replied: ‘The big winners are, in the long term, all Swedes, because we must create conditions for companies to match global competition.’ So while the Tories were endorsing Gordon Brown’s plan to increase the tax on the rich, the Swedes were cutting the tax rate – in order to collect more from the well-paid.

Tony Jones ignorant of basic economics

May 14, 2012

“They grew the pie with the mining tax”.  Tony Jones

A short exchange between Tony Jones and Judith Sloan on QandA last night was about a fundamentally important economic concept, that of “sharing the pie”.

When an economy is growing and a nation becoming wealthier, the pie grows and there should be more for everyone. When the pie is static and the government takes more of the pie, there is less for everyone.

Jones was reacting to the government’s largesse of taking from the rich — the mining tax — and wantonly splurging it on families to compensate for its costlly carbon tax. For the benefit of the doubt, Jones may have been temporarily confused, but he suggested that this government largesse was an example of the pie getting bigger, rather than a good example of Norman Lindsay’s  “magic pudding”. “That’s not right Tony”,  cut in Sloan, and she explained that the government largesse was nothing to do with growing pies.

Tony Jones seemed to be displaying the classic socialist mind: Socialism is good until you run out of other people’s money.


Here is the transcript of the lesson on economics for Tony Jones on national television.  The transcript is from 31:10.

SLOAN:  There is a really important principle in economics and it is this. You have to create the wealth before you try to redistribute the wealth …

You really have to try and expand the pie … when you talk about egalitarianism, that comes at the expense of shrinking the pie. That’s what’s happened in Europe.

JONES: They just grew the pie with the mining tax.

SLOAN:  Well they didn’t. They redistributed the pie, actually.

JONES: They grew the pie with the mining tax, and then they redistributed the income from the mining tax to poorer working families in this budget.

SLOAN: That ‘s not right at all Tony. I mean tax is redistribution. there is no growing the pie. And in due course it may be quite inhibiting of investment and shrink the pie. If there was some magic pudding where you could increase the pie by increasing taxes, that would be a wonderful world, but doesn’t work like that.


Clive Hamilton does a tanty

May 8, 2012

Clive needs to cool his jets and be open to debate 

Clive Hamilton has reared his predictably peevish head over the MTC’s forthcoming production of Heretic.  Andrew Bolt takes him to task for his stream of abuse and hypocrisyThis is somehow not surprising for a man who is a left-green professor of public ethics.

Having read this piece of bile disgorging spleen, I take it that Clive is upset. As James Delingpole said on his recent visit to Australian, when you encounter flack like this, you know you are above the target.

Sadly, and ironically however, the most striking impression I got when reading this immature piece is that Clive Hamilton is himself a man in denial. The debate has moved on and his reactions resemble rather more those of a child in tantrum mode because he can’t get his way as he may once have been used to getting.

Topsy turvey land

May 7, 2012

Are there lessons for us?

It is strange how the timidity of conservatives wants them to try and win over and appease the worst traits of the Left.

Hal Colbatch has for many years been documenting the madness going in Britain. In case you missed it, this piece is well worth reading.

Even Ted Ballieu in Victoria would profit from reading about this particular British madness, and think about his refusal to reform or abolish the Victoria Charter of Rights introduced by the previous Brack’s Labor government and other weaknesses.

Since coming to power, Cameron has done almost nothing to oppose – in fact, his government has supported and condoned – the flowing tide of political correctness that seems to be attacking and dissolving virtually every major institution in the country.

The criminal justice system appears to alternate between the cosseting of dangerous criminals with politically correct credentials and punishment for the most trivial or imaginary instances of wrongdoing (a man who was fined for littering after accidentally dropping a banknote takes the cake).


Andrew Bolt underlines the double standards outlined above as it applies in Australia.

Mabo decision: the dirty secret

May 6, 2012

“O foolish people, which have eyes, and see not”. Jeremiah 5:21

Tonight, ABC Four Corners is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the High Court’s Mabo decision.

Whilst the impression given from the promos for this programme suggest that this momentous decision is a most wonderful moral breakthrough for Aboriginal people, we won’t be expecting from the ABC to put two and two together to explain why the land policies of the last two decades have produced the most poverty striken, abject and depraved social groupings in the history of our country.

No account will be given of the utter failure of legislation that followed the Mabo decision that has systematically denied “individual property rights, democratic voting rights and civil society rules that make the rest of Australia one of the world’s most liveable countries.”

 It is understandable that governments do not highlight their failure to deliver equal rights on indigenous land. It is surprising, however, that the many organisations which claim to support Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders go along with withholding fundamental rights without protest. It is as though they still do not believe that indigenous people should really own land.

Despite the success of indigenous Australians in mainstream society, on indigenous lands governments persist in denying residents the rights to private housing, to be responsible for their property and to have local government with resources and probity. Reconciliation, “partnerships”, “engagement”, “consultation” and wasteful public expenditures are the smokescreens behind which discrimination hides.

This article is a devastator, and should be read widely by anyone indignant about the lack of progress in Aboriginal living conditions.


May 2, 2012


 ‘Sir,’ read a letter in the Daily Telegraph last week. ‘Is this the wettest drought since records began?

Apparently, there has been an offical declaration of drought in more than 17 counties in Britain. Many people are angry that their shoes are being ruined by … water.

It seems the British Environment Agency can’t take a trick

Leveson inquiry backfires

May 2, 2012

A lesson for our eager ABC

The backwash from the Leveson inquiry looks like it is revealing much more than the alleged perfidy of the Murdocks. It is swamping not only David Cameron and his government, but that of the previous Labour governments of Blair and Brown, and the BBC reporters, up to their necks — like their Australian cousins in the ABC and for the same reasons — in hatred and envy of News Limited.

To some, the unpleasantness of the affair is not politicians’ varying prejudice towards the Murdochs. It is the self-interest of Murdochs’ media critics, especially the BBC. In reporting the Murdochs’ lobbying of the government, the BBC’s reporters overlook the corporation’s persistent lobbying of the same personalities to boost their own fortunes. Dozens of highly paid BBC executives regularly meet ministers and civil servants to negotiate the renewal of the licence fee, the dispersal of staff from London to the regions and even the content of programmes. Occasionally, they have even lobbied ministers and officials to limit Sky’s success.

Turnball still a constant irritation

May 1, 2012

Robert Manne does it again
At dinner parties, at meetings and in conversation, it is so common to hear the enthusiastic suggestion that Malcolm Turnball would be a better person to lead the Liberal Party.

In a quite silly piece by Robert Manne in The Monthly, the same crazy propositions are put forth in an interview with Turnball. It is quite impressive just how often Manne confects views that are so out of touch with political reality. As John Lennon once said, “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination”.

The Opposition under Abbott stands far higher in the opinion polls than it ever did under Turnbull. These days, the two-party preferred average poll is about Coalition 56 Labor 44. When Turnbull was leader in 2009, the result was the same – in reverse! Manne claims ‘a conservative rebellion robbed Turnbull ofhis leadership’, as though it was a personal possession. In reality, the Liberal party under Turnbull was heading down the gurgler, thanks in no small part to its leader’s stupid support for higher energy costs, the very issue that has been a political godsend for the Coalition ever since Abbott’s elevation to the leadership coincided with the Copenhagen fiasco.

Read this outstanding piece above on Manne’s madness by Hal Colebatch in April 21’s The Spectator:  What on earth is Malcolm Turnbull still doing in the Liberal Party?” [link not available].