Alcohol, Cause, and Effect

Barry O'Farrell continues his illiberal policy ineptitude.

Banalities and Inaction

Two of the world's leading conservative polemicists just happen to have written on the failings of the political class at the same time. With robust results. In an age screaming out for reform, when elected leaders adopt small target strategies, we are in real trouble.

A Declining Religious Test For Office

When a politician publicly avers that he "is still a believer in" something, it is a marker of a religious man appealing to religious prejudices. So Graham Richardson's climate confirmation is disturbing.

Quadrant Online: Well Said – And Saying Well Isn’t Enough

My latest piece up at Quadrant Online, arguing that well written, rational pieces supporting classical liberal institutions like free speech won't make a jot of difference.

The Political Class Mantra

It's true. Disunity is short-term electoral death. It's also true that a political team that doesn't want to be held accountable by its own side is basically governing for themselves, neither in the interests of a party philosophy, nor in the interests of good government. For much of the senior political class, the interests of the government and the Party reduce to that of the top 20 leaders and influencers. Something like, perhaps, L'état, et le parti politique, c'est moi.

BCA Stands Up – For Mates’ Money

It is positive to see a business group arguing for classical liberal concepts in the public domain and taking on a nannying and statist government. Pity it only appears when the superannuation and retirement income of the upper echelons of corporate Australia come under threat.

We All Know Gazetted School Days?

The NSW RMS has released the Top 10 Misunderstood Road Rules. At first glance, not a bad idea. Roundabouts, left turns, merging, headlight use and a few others hit the list. All quite helpful really. And then we come to school zones.

A New Standard is Barely a Standard

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has tried to make a splash with A New Standard, a policy and internal process document designed to address the Obeid/MacDonald/Roozendaal and other assorted stinks hovering over NSW Labor. Assessment: some useful suggested political reforms and token internal process reforms. Traction to reinvigorate NSW Labor brand? Zero.

Hard Questions for Get Healthy NSW

NSW Health has been promoting Get Healthy Information and Coaching Services, which offers a personal health coach and up to 10 free coaching calls to help live a healthier life and lose weight. Since health coaching is privately available, it is odd that NSW Health feels the need to sponsor a program to tell people to eat less and go outside, and to offer it to someone like me. Even more concerning is the cost-benefit basis for this program, the basis for the evaluation, and whether or not the money could be better used in areas of direct, damaging need.

Heritage Unthinking

All sense of balance in the heritage argument is gone. It has reached that point where where its concepts and application, and the exercise of power associated with it, have well exceeded usefulness or reason. Our built environment isn't an opportunity for monomaniacs to create a frozen theme park corresponding to their passions, funded by the taxes of people who share neither the location nor the ideology behind it.

Yay for Serious Blogging

Paul Frijters identifies economic realities where the best we can do is a bad model, and how mistaking that model for reality leads us far astray.

Slush-Fund Tony Stretches Even ALP Cred

Tony Sheldon of secret TWU slush-funds lectures on Labor's ethical failings. Political class gall and hypocrisy at its best.

Tattoo Taste

If a tattoo design isn't something you'd consider good enough to put on your living room wall, the question is, why would you put it on your body? In a permanent way? Do people even ask themselves that question?

Layers of Promotion

I pay to watch cricket that is used to sell the products in the advertisements that appear in between overs; and between innings I pay to watch music artists singing a song they want me to buy, while promoting fatty chicken that Cricket Australia and the music artists are paid to promote.

Where is the liberal in Liberal?

Minister Nick Kotsiras' warning to Geert Wilders is another worrying announcement from a Liberal insider class channelling deeply illiberal intuitions. At bottom, classical liberal institutions, rights and conventions limit authoritarian power, and protect individual autonomy. No government likes that. No political class likes that, regardless of their ostensible labelling. Coalition governments need to beware.