News

Feb202018

Reality eludes millennial economics

Reality eludes millennial economics

That the world can be made a more contented place without first becoming wealthier is the kind of romantic notion that tends to flourish in periods of stable prosperity, writes Nick Cater in The Australian.

The good news on the company tax front is that Australia looks pretty flash against Congo, Venezuela and Equatorial Guinea. Sadly, however, we’re about to lose our edge against Argentina, an economically unreconstructed jurisdiction in many respects that, none the …

Feb162018

It's the economy, stupid: Alberici analysis 'did not meet ABC standards'

It's the economy, stupid: Alberici analysis 'did not meet ABC standards'

 ABC Chief Economics Correspondent Emma Alberici has reproduced five myths on company tax in Australia. Spiro Premetis sets the record straight.

ABC chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici is at it again. After overlooking the economic analysis of sugar taxes released by the Menzies Research Centre (spoiler: they are bad economics) last month, this week she turned her attention to arguments against company tax cuts.

The most egregious element of the story was the …

Feb162018

Drinking games

Drinking games

Government attempts to control the behaviour of the citizenry can have unforeseen, ironic consequences, writes Fred Pawle.


Walk past any old pub in Australia today and you will see one of the physical legacies of an attempt a century ago to control people’s drinking. Tiles.

Ceramic finishes on the walls of pubs became necessary after 1916, when laws were gradually introduced in most Australian states to shut pubs at 6pm, and remained part of pub decor long after the laws …

Feb162018

Save it for the revolution: Why banks should still worry about Bitcoin

Save it for the revolution: Why banks should still worry about Bitcoin

Before we write off a future of crypto-currencies based on the fragility of Bitcoin, we would do well to remember other innovations that the experts dismissed.

“Authorities agree that automobile transportation is suitable only where fixed train routes are either not available or not suitable,” wrote a letter-writer to The Age in 1904.

The correspondent was none other than John Monash, Australia’s most distinguished engineer, whose expertise in re-enforced …

Feb162018

Michael Crouch, AO, 1933-2018

Michael Crouch, AO, 1933-2018

One of the few luxuries of which to boast in the Menzies Research Centre’s office is our Zip - the elegant silver tap in the kitchen after which this newsletter was named.

The tap dispenses piping hot water on demand, just as efficiently as it produces cold.

Today we pause to pay tribute to a great Australian behind this world-leading innovation, our dear friend Michael Crouch, AO, who passed away last week at the age of 84.

The Zip instant water heater heater he …

Feb142018

Israel raises the stakes in the Middle East

Israel raises the stakes in the Middle East
Israel's attack on air defences in Syria were a message to Iran, says a visiting counterterrorism expert. Will Donald Trump join in with renewed sanctions? By Fred Pawle

Israel has for six years had a clandestine strategy to deal with Iranian weapons being snuck into Syria and threatening its northern border, visiting counterterrorism expert Jonathan Schanzer told a media briefing in Sydney this week.

“They would attack under cover of darkness, in a one-off, then deny …

Feb132018

The tyranny of low expectations

The tyranny of low expectations

'Compassion' and 'inclusiveness' do our most recent immigrants no favours, writes Nick Cater in The Australian.

What did the Labor Party imagine it was doing when it blocked a tougher English test for potential citizens? The government’s modest legislative amendment prompted an outburst of moral vanity unmatched in the immigration debate since Kevin Rudd’s fateful decision to relax border controls a decade ago.

Opposition citizenship spokesman Tony Burke claimed it was …

Feb092018

Chris Bowen's fiscal fantasy

Chris Bowen's fiscal fantasy

The Shadow Treasurer acknowledges the Budget deficit but proposes to fix it by raising taxes. By Spiro Premetis.

Australians who don’t know the role fiscal policy plays in their everyday lives could be sold a lemon by Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen. His strategy to get the budget back in surplus is to punish thrift and enterprise by raising taxes and disregard wasteful expenditure.

By contrast, the Coalition will do the opposite.

Fiscal policy supports the economy …

Feb092018

Refining the argument: Further proof that sugar taxes fail

Refining the argument: Further proof that sugar taxes fail

 Despite what the ABC says, sugar taxes do not improve general health. By Fred Pawle. 

When we published a report recently that found taxes on soft drinks, designed to reduce obesity and diabetes, targeted the wrong products and would not work anyway, the response from one supporter of government paternalism was swift and unequivocal.

 ABC chief economics correspondent Emma Alberici published a story and spoke on radio falsely discrediting one of our sources …

Feb092018

Your shout: Why you should oppose the health lobby’s plan to restrict alcohol

Your shout: Why you should oppose the health lobby’s plan to restrict alcohol

A new draft plan for a national alcohol policy is alarmist and proposes ineffective remedies, says Fred Pawle.

Of all the campaigns by the health lobby to protect people from themselves, none ticks as many boxes as the campaign to reduce Australia’s alcohol consumption.

Alcohol causes various levels of domestic violence, illness, death, traffic accidents, street violence, work absenteeism, indigenous disadvantage, family breakdown and fetal damage during pregnancy. …

Feb092018

'Inclusivity' is just the start: Immigration is about creating a better life

Our enviable record on immigration is falling, says Nick Cater.

We are frequently told that Australia should strive be a more “inclusive” society. But what does it actually mean?

In our view the word has become so devalued that it conveys nothing except a general sense of warmth and fuzziness.

Few countries can claim to be as inclusive as Australia when it comes to immigration. More than 25 per-cent of us are first-generation migrants, and more than half first or …

Feb062018

Shorten's cure is more pain

Shorten's cure is more pain

Bill Shorten’s pledge to cap insurance premiums will hurt those he says he wants to help, writes Nick Cater in The Australian.

No one would wish to discourage our politicians from thinking creatively over the summer break, but price-control edicts are unlikely to work any better for Bill Shorten than they did for the emperor Diocletian in AD 301.

“When by various extortions he had made all things exceedingly dear, he attempted by an ordinance to limit their …

Feb022018

Labor's recipe for disaster

Labor's recipe for disaster

Raising the minimum wage above the rate of inflation will punish the poor and the elderly, and ruin Australia’s competitiveness, says Spiro Premetis.

Young people should ask their elders how they felt about the performance of the Australian economy in the 1970s before signing up to Labor's populist policies to raise wages.

The Whitlam government chased wage increases in the early 1970s. The consequences for employment and living standards were negative. The average …

Feb022018

In good company: Tax cuts make more sense than ever

In good company: Tax cuts make more sense than ever

Humanity's relentless quest to improve life has found a new, more relevant cause, writes Fred Pawle.

Last year's great leap forward, the passing of amendments to the Marriage Act, dominated our national debate in ways that only dramatic changes can.

With that debate over - at least until the government's panel of experts report on religious exemptions next month - the collective gaze has settled upon the prospect of tax cuts for companies. Treasurer Scott Morrison has …

Feb022018

How Bill Shorten paid $1.75bn to reduce apprenticeships

How Bill Shorten paid $1.75bn to reduce apprenticeships

The sustained downfall in opportunities for young people wanting to learn a trade was sealed under Labor, says James Mathias.

Bill Shorten visited Meadowbank TAFE, in Sydney, in November to blame Malcolm Turnbull for losing 150,000 apprenticeships.

What he didn’t say was that the apprenticeships were lost under a partnership agreement signed with the states by Julia Gillard’s government while he was minister for employment. The agreement locked the incoming coalition …

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