Gungahlin tram debate derails rational arguments

Nick Cater writes in the Australian on transport

"The controversy in regard to ­'Automobiles v. Rails' is not by any means new," John Monash wrote in a letter to The Argus in March 1904.

"The steel-rail track has had the best of the argument," Australia's greatest engineer and military commander decided.

"The necessity for 'steering' an automobile is one of its most serious objections."

As it turned out, the freedom to steer a car wherever one may wish has given private transport a strong competitive advantage over …


IPCC is to science what FIFA is to soccer

Nick Cater writes in The Australian on the IPCC

IPCC is to science what FIFA is to soccer

Given our deference to experts in these technocratic times, it's troubling how often they get it wrong. Take Matthew England, an expert on global warming, who on the eve of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009 warned that the Antarctic was "losing ice at an alarmingly fast rate."

"There's a net mass loss of such a scale that Antarctica's actually contributing as much today to sea-level rise as the Greenland ice sheet," he told the ABC's Lateline.


Civilised discourse is the passport to citizenship

Nick Cater from The Australian, Tuesday June 2, 2015

Not everyone, to be fair, is looking forward to the conversation about citizenship the Prime Minister wants us to have.

Reem Sweid, director of Muslims for Progressive Values Australia, raised this objection last week on the pages of The Age.

"The risk is that this conversation plays into that 'Australia — love it or leave it' mentality," Sweid told Michael Gordon. It may encourage "the idea that, if you don't share …


Reform lessons in British vote

A distant Australian observer might be forgiven for thinking the recent British election, with issues such as Scottish independence and an EU referendum, contained no big lessons for us. But not just because the Conservative campaign was masterminded by Lynton Crosby, former federal director of the Liberal Party of Australia, a closer look is warranted, as I quickly learned from my ringside London seat.

Nearly all the pollsters got it fundamentally wrong for the third …


Creeping fairness a blow to Labor’s class warriors

Labor is losing the debate about fairness, writes MRC Executive Director Nick Cater in The Australian today.


 There was more disappointing news for the hand-wringing industry last week when an OECD report found Australia to be a remarkably fair place.

The poor are getting richer and the rich are getting poorer while those in the middle are doing very nicely, thank you.

"Between 2007 and 2011, the income of the bottom 10 per cent increased by 2 per cent …


Where the ‘dark force’ is welfare

It's not so much the poverty that haunts us in the SBS series Struggle Street as the hideous human cost of another failed utopia.

The planners didn't mean Mount Druitt to turn out this way when they set out to build a little piece of paradise on the western fringe of Sydney a half-century ago. It was the largest housing project undertaken by the state of NSW. Some 8000 homes were to be rented out at an affordable price to workers; there would be parks in which children …


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. 

Read …


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.

Continue reading.


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.

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