800 YEARS ON, why Magna Carta still matters

Magna Carta has a universalist heart that still beats today. It articulates the human desire for freedom so powerfully that some of its clauses sound as relevant, and urgent, to our ears now as they must have done to the barons, abbots and royals who witnessed King John's sealing of Magna Carta in a field near Windsor in June 1215. Today, spiked kicks off a new debate on Magna Carta, and on the importance of the rule of law and the rights of man 800 years later. 

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Moral panic is a frightening force

UWA's backdown on Bjorn Lomborg's Australian Consensus Centre exposes a dangerous trend, writes Nick Cater in The Australian today.

Who does Paul Johnson think he is? The University of Western Australia's vice-chancellor or something? It must have been something of a shock for Johnson to discover that despite what it says on his business card, he doesn't actually run the university.

The withdrawal of UWA's offer to host Bjorn Lomborg's ­Australian Consensus think tank …


Left strives to keep students in the dark

Henry Ergas in The Australian.

Aristotle opens the Metaphysics with one of his most striking phrases: "By their nature, all men desire to know". Quite so. But not at the University of Western Australia.
Nor is there any mystery as to why. According to a press release issued late Friday by the University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, the proposal to establish, with $4 million in federal government funding, an "Australian Consensus Centre" which would undertake …


Voters reward David Cameron for reform agenda in UK election

Nick Cater writes in the Australian.

It is a measure of the political volatility in Britain that a viable minority government would have counted as a triumph. To win a majority in his own right, as David Cameron may yet do, will be regarded as the modern equivalent of a landslide.

David Cameron’s Conservatives finished election night in a stronger position than the polls had predicted but he will begin his second term as Prime Minister of a nation deeply divided on …


A Deficit of Dignity – welfare, liberalism and the moral high ground.

Nick Cater, Executive Director.

For how long are the Liberals going to let the Left to kick sand in their faces? For how long will Labor be allowed to get away with the absurd proposition that it is the party of "fairness?" This, after all, is the party addicted to spending other people's money; the party largely responsible for an intergenerational burden of debt.

Its shovel-ready projects were a boon for cowboy contractors, but its live cattle trade ban sent the real …


The money-go-round of industry superannuation deeply compromises Labor’s ­integrity, writes Nick Cater in The Australian.

Australians will have $9 trillion saved in superannuation in 25 years yet seven out of 10 retirees still will rely on welfare, according to last month's Intergenerational Report.

If Labor had leaders of the calibre of Bob Hawke and Keating, it would mark the 30th anniversary of the Hawke government's accord on universal superannuation next year by seeking a mandate for reform.

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The ‘leader who cares’ has no time for fiscal reality

It is now clear the bipartisan agreement on economic reform that drove prosperity for a quarter of a century collapsed with the global credit crisis. It seems Kevin Rudd wasn't joking when in February 2009 he wrote in The Monthly that "the international challenge for social democrats is to save capitalism from itself". He believed it, and it seems others in the Labor Party did too.

Read more here.


The case for reforming the Senate is indisputable, writes Nick Cater in The Australian.

In the lower house the principle of one vote, one value applies. Each member votes on behalf of roughly 100,000 consti­tuents. In the upper house no such rule applies. Lambie needed a quota of just 48,000 votes to be elected in Tasmania. Had she stood across the Bass Strait in Victoria she would have needed a quota 10 times larger.

A Senate candidate in Queanbeyan needs at least 625,000 votes after preference distribution to win election. Were they to stand 15km down the …


Prescient warnings of a minister of common sense

The arrival of repetitive strain injury in Canberra in the early 1980s threatened to bring the national capital to a halt. Office workers were "dropping like flies",The Canberra Times reported.

The president of the Senate warned parliamentarians public service productivity had been seriously affected by an epidemic of RSI and the production of Hansard could be delayed. When the Hawke government announced it would establish an RSI taskforce to investigate the case for …


Green Party manifesto launch: Has there ever been a more dishonest political party?

Green Party manifesto launch: Has there ever been a more dishonest political party?

 The do-gooding Greens are now the real Nasty Party

Has there ever been a more dishonest political party than the Green Party?

Whatever you think of the other parties scrabbling for our ballots, we can at least agree that what they say in public corresponds pretty well with what they would do if they grabbed the reins of power.

Labour really is as visionless as its books-balancing manifesto suggested. And the Tories, as hinted at by their manifesto, really …


NSW's cultural divide on display as latte belt luvvies put Greens into power

Published in the Daily Telegraph

THE latte belt luvvies have cast their votes, returning three new Green MPs to the NSW parliament, two of them from the new Green heartland of Sydney's inner-west.

Seldom has the state's cultural divide been so clearly on display. The division is not between left and right, Labor and Liberal or city and country but between the eco-aware, politically correct inner-city dwellers, sea and tree changers and the rest.

The latte belt is clearly drawn on the map of Sydney. The …


Launch of the RG Menzies Essay: Quiet Achievers by Oliver Hartwich

The RG Menzies Essay Quiet Achievers was launched on 3 December by Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann

Introduction by Nick Cater, Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre
 Launch of the essay by Minister for Finance Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
 Author Dr Oliver Hartwich speaks about the essay


To view the launch of Quiet Achievers click here.

ORDER a copy of Quiet …


Launch of R G Menzies Essay: Quiet Achievers by Dr Oliver Hartwich

Launch of R G Menzies Essay: Quiet Achievers by Dr Oliver Hartwich

The Menzies Research Centre launched the R G Menzies Essays – a series of timely contributions to policy discussion by leading Australian and international thinkers.

In the inaugural essay, Quiet Achievers: The New Zealand Path to Reform, Oliver Hartwich discovers that while Australia has been taking a reform holiday, the New Zealanders have been silently forging ahead.

Oliver spoke to Mark Colvin on PM and Philip Adams …

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