Brexit is a win-win for Europe and the UK

by on 27 June, 2016


Britain’s vote to leave the European Union should be celebrated by all, writes Nikola Kaurin:

When you resign a job you’re essentially firing your employer.

It means that you’ve compared what you have against what you can get and you’ve decided that it’s in your best interest to go somewhere else.

The United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union is no different.

On Thursday, British voters took a good hard look at the EU and they tendered their resignation.

What’s even more extraordinary is that the British electorate voted to leave in the clear absence of a defined alternative.

Or did they?

Contrary to popular wisdom, Britons voted for a very clear option. They voted for the option of successful European integration compared to the alternative of unsuccessful European integration.

But how is that possible? Simple. There’s no greater success story of European integration than the United Kingdom itself.

Why Australia Should Support A Brexit

by on 23 June, 2016

Tomorrow in Britain a referendum will be held asking whether to leave or stay in the European Union. For economic, political and cultural reasons it is imperative to vote leave, and for those same reasons Australia will benefit from this change.

Many British communities living in Australia understand this most acutely. British expat Tobias Lehmann for example, raises the issue of governance. “I read some horrifying statistics that more than 60 per cent of the rules and laws in the UK now come from Brussels rather than Westminster and I just thought to myself ‘I’m lucky to live in Australia where all the laws come from Australia’.

The three main reasons to leave have been outlined by Gerogina Downer from the IPA. She argues:

  • Britain never consented to be part of the European political structure
  • The EU is both anti-democratic and illiberal
  • Australia and Britain will work better following independence

Out and Into the World, Spectator, 18 June 2016

As the spectator notes, the attempt at a ‘common government has had disastrous effects over a continent distinguished by glorious diversity.’ Having lost the ability to cater for the British population, Downing Street has become more pre-occupied with appeasing European technocrats. This is a significant catastrophe in everyday matters, but all the more so in turbulent political and economic circumstances. For the very reason that we do not know events ahead of their time, so we should place greater strength on a British democratic alliance of the willing to tackle them. As the Spectator maintains, Britain will almost always ‘be able to respond and adapt better as a sovereign country living under its own laws.’



Does Canberra know best? The NBN Debate

by on 20 June, 2016

By Dean Hamstead

Labor just announced that “they” will install Fibre to the home for 2 million more Australians. There is no longer a pretense that NBN is a “national asset” – it’s similar another avenue for delivering pork to votes.

Despite this, hidden in a sea of non-sense articles from punters with no technical, no financial and, possibly no life experience – the SMH quietly published perhaps the most sensible article on NBN to date.

“The original vision of the NBN, “FTTP everywhere”, was laudable. Private monopolies are notoriously bad at deploying new technologies and have been in the USA and most other countries. That seems to have been the case in Australia as well. In frustration, the government launched the NBN to fix the problem.

But government monopoly programs are rarely any better than private ones — especially in dynamic sectors like telecom. True to form, it seems that execution of the original NBN did not measure up to the admirable vision. But the new government appears to have kept the flawed execution mechanism (government monopoly) while discarding the admirable all-fibre goal. Seems like the worst of both worlds to us.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There is no need for monopolies of any kind to build state-of-the-art FTTP infrastructure. In fact, contrary to common mythology, economies of scale are small in this sector and need not be a barrier to FTTP development. Profitable companies as small as 1000 customers are being built entirely with private capital in circumstances more difficult than you have in Oz…

“Nor are these networks rocket science. As we look around, we see plenty of people in Australia with the energy and talent to build them. If you are smart and enterprising enough to build and run a farm or small business in rural Australia you are smart enough to build and run a local FTTP network as well.”

My personal view has been near complete regulation and handing powers back to residents to decide what cabling is run in their street. With the pits and poles owned by councils, then access leased to any and sundry to run broadband services, pipe gas or whatever they can dream up.

Sadly, in Australia we have embraced that Canberra knows best. Got an idea that might work in your area? Are you willing to risk your own money or someone willing to back you? Too bad it’s illegal.

Just How Fair is FARE? The Canberra Lockouts

by on 16 June, 2016

Henry Innis discovers who is behind the ‘popular support’ for Canberra’s lock out laws


Henry Innis is a partner at B.B.E, a ventures and consultancy firm

There’s a pretty interesting piece of research coming out of Canberra today — a poll showing most Canberra residents want 3am last drinks implemented.


At a glance, it’s fairly innocuous. A poll in a newspaper shouldn’t be a big deal. But the results are somewhat surprising. Why would most Canberrans want this to be the case?


When I studied history at Sydney University, one of the critical parts of your research was to identify your source and account for their bias. It’s as important in current affairs reporting as it is in history essays. Here’s a fact — every single poll commissioned that was in favour of lockout laws was commissioned by one body: FARE.


FARE was established in 2001 with $115 million of taxpayers money. There’s no evidence to suggest it reflects the will of taxpayers in any way, shape or form. Worse still, the organisation has very little accountability to the everyday taxpayer.


Public health lobbies are murky at the best of times. They’re organisations which are less about policy outcomes as they are about absolutes. Stopping all of something is never a realistic goal (FARE’s strategy is to “stop harm caused by alcohol”). So of course they pump out study after study designed to scare the public into submission.


Here’s some key facts about polling, from someone who has experience in market research:


  • Polls can be upweighted to get a specific outcome (e.g targeting parents in the poll).
  • They also typically skew older as they target landlines (ReachTEL is notorious for this).
  • Methodology is critical – they all have methodologies and certain questions framed a certain way to get it right.


None of FARE’s polls disclose any of this. Why? Because they’ve probably briefed their market research agencies to get a certain result. Controlling the poll and making it the central source of truth is the best way to shift public policy opinion – even if the poll is a cynical reflection of the public will.


Here’s the thing about the public health lobby: they’re constantly commissioning research for an objective, passing it off as fact and using that to steer the public debate. Forget objectivity. These guys just want to sucker in your politicians and convince them that you’re thinking something you aren’t.


Worse still, the public health lobby is run by staffers. The CEO of FARE isn’t a doctor. He’s a staffer with a history in Crime Prevention. Not a medical professional. Not even anyone with a history in understanding the impact of alcohol harms or policy.


So when you see polls like the Canberra one from organisations like FARE, don’t take them at face value. Because underneath all the stats is a public health lobby pushing its own agenda.

The People’s Republic of WA

by on 16 June, 2016

Jack Morrison explains the latest errors of the nanny state in WA.

jack mo photo

Jack Morrison is a Post Graduate student at Macquarie University where he is studying his Master’s of Politics and Public Policy, he is currently on the executive of Liberty Macquarie

From the State that brought you the Potato Marketing Corporation to control the types and quantities of potatoes produced comes the latest attempt to turn Western Australia into a Venezuelan themed paradise.

The Director of Liquor Licensing has released its decision regarding Aldi’s application to sell liquor in their Harrisdale Shopping Centre store. This decision comes on the heels of the approval given to the Woolworths owned BWS to open a store at the same shopping centre.

The decision noted that it was neither “necessary nor desirable” to have more than one liquor store operating in the one shopping centre. The decision also explained that Aldi’s lower prices for alcohol in comparison to competitors such as BWS “poses a greater risk from a broad public health perspective” than what BWS would offer.

This latest decision from the nanny state bureaucracy flies in the face of true liberal values and should be soundly rejected by all supporters of free choice, competition and free markets. Aldi have appealed the decision and I for one hope it is reversed.

If the decision stands, we may well soon see ourselves with the one brand of State Beer, the one brand of State Wine available at the one price in the one location. Who knows, we may even be lucky enough to line up for hours for it.

Academics Accidentally Discover Link Between the Left and Authoritarianism

by on 11 June, 2016

Cody Findlay, economics and finance student at Macquarie University discusses one of the greatest blunders in recent research academia, accidentally revealing something true.

Three taxpayer funded academics released a study in 2013 called “Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies” which found a link between conservatives and psychoticism. This obviously made the rounds through social media providing more conformation about conservatives being genetically predisposed to their archaic views and being cited at an extremely high rate. A higher psychoticism score or P score showed higher personality traits that are associated with being aggressive and having higher hostility among peers.

To their results: “ First, in line with our expectations, higher P scores correlate with more conservative military attitudes and more socially conservative beliefs for both females and males.”
What’s better than the results is the objective stance taken before getting their results “in line with our expectations” HA!

In the same paper the academics found a relationship between neuroticism and people who are socially liberal. Neuroticism is personality trait characterised by anxiety, envy, jealousy and has a higher prevalence in people who feel guilt, envy and anxiety more. This makes sense doesn’t it? Conservatives are against policies like the minimum wages, penalty rates and such, it’s obvious they are emotionless.

The final interesting result the researchers ‘found’ was the relationship between social desirability and social ideology. Social desirability is where someone would answer a question in the way that would present themselves in a desirable light. This link was consistent with previous studies and shows that there was a substantive relationship between social desirability and social liberalism.

They concluded: conservatives are less socially desirable, more authoritarian and more psychotic than their socially liberal counterparts.


Our tax payer funded research: accidentally finding the link between the left and a love for authority

In one of the biggest failures of all time they got the whole relationship reversed.

Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response. Specifically, in the original manuscript, the descriptive analyses report that those higher in Eysenck’s psychoticism are more conservative, but they are actually more liberal; and where the original manuscript reports those higher in neuroticism and social desirability are more liberal, they are, in fact, more conservative.”


I don’t even know how you can even fail this much. The authors said the main aim of the study was to show that there was a socio-political relationship, not to find the direction that relationship went. This doesn’t make sense given the extent to which the paper was used to justify a causal relationship between conservatism and authoritarianism. The academics even had the to conclude that the high causal relationship with psychoticism and specifically conservative views were “in line with our expectations.”

Given the undisputed link between the left, authoritarianism and their incompetent taxpayer funded research, I guess this error has fallen in line with my expectations as well.

Is Uber Making us Drunk and Dangerous?

by on 10 June, 2016

By Celeste Arenas

‘Don’t drink and drive” is the maxim of a night with alcohol. It shows maturity and a sense of civic duty; a commitment not to die on the road or get arrested. Yet the saying is slowly but surely fading into obscurity with every new service that drives for you.

Some say services like Uber and Lyft are reducing the reasons to stay sober on a night out because there is no longer a need for a designated driver.  They equate this with a growing concern for public safety because of an apparent rise in binge drinking.

Let’s address these concerns one by one.

  1.   Is Uber making us dangerous?

Almost all the research on road safety has concluded that ride sharing has significantly lowered the rates of drinking while drunk, and by extension, the number of fatal crashes and arrests have been reduced by a whopping 16.6 % Without government oversight or regulation, services like Uber and Lyft have delivered unprecedented public safety benefits that are only going to continue the ‘larger and longer the service is available in any given area.’

The very article that makes a case against ride sharing says ‘people rely on Uber and Lyft to get them home safely‘and that ‘Uber drivers acknowledge they are commonly called upon to act as sober drivers.‘ This shows the myriad of ways ride sharing has been pivotal in delivering the peace of mind that driving under the influence, or depending on the taxi industry could not.

2. Is Uber making us more drunk?

It is true that ride sharing is allowing us to delegate the responsibility to drive, therefore reducing the legal requirement for one person in a group to remain sober on a given night out. Can it be said however, that ride sharing is responsible for a rise in binge drinking?

Not only is this a poor accusation that confuses correlation with causation, but it is based on highly irrelevant data. The article used to make a case against Uber uses a study that focuses on ‘drinking patterns from 2005 onwards,’ before ride sharing services existed. It concludes a rise in binge drinking is ‘largely due to an increase in female consumption‘, where it remains unchanged for men. How then, can a service offered to both men and women be responsible for what is largely, a female phenomenon? Unless better evidence than this can be found, Uber is not in fact, responsible for creating a drunk generation.

The reduced need for a designated driver on a night out is due to the rise in designated drivers available on the market. Rather than causing concern,  ride sharing saves lives by providing an unprecedented level of safety on our roads. Rather than making us more dangerous and drunk, ride sharing gives us the option to drink as much as we wish without causing harm to any other person.

That in itself is cause for celebration, and probably a drink.




James Mathison: A Simple PR Stunt

by on 1 June, 2016

By Henry Innis, partner at B.B.E Consulting

There’s an old saying in advertising: frequency is the key to success. Celebrities in particular have this problem. They need to constantly be front and centre of the media, or they lose relevance quickly.


The challenge is celebrity is often tied to “doing” something. Films are generally good because there’s a new one every few months, and a new wave of exposure comes. Modelling is good because there’s always a new collection. In short, top-tier celebrities often get there because they’ve got high frequency in the media. Simple as that.


It’s why Adam Sandler is an A-List celebrity, despite not being the best actor.


Here’s the thing about TV hosts – they lose relevance after their TV show ends. And because their personality is so tied to hosting the show, there isn’t a natural “next step” for them. They aren’t actors. Not clear entertainers. They’re the remora fish of the entertainment world.


That’s why it wasn’t a shock or surprise to see one James Mathison running for the seat of Warringah.


If James was serious about running, he would have had some commitment to the local community. He would have contributed to causes and built up a local profile. Instead, he’s going around challenging Tony Abbott on a whim.


Anyone who has spent time in the electorate would know that they all have quite conservative views. Warringah believes in the Tony Abbott approach (though the rest of the country may or may not). They don’t support things like marriage equality and the Safe Schools program. Like it or not, Tony Abbott has been a highly effective local and representative voice for many years.


The challenge with Mathison is if he truly wanted to make a difference, he would have run for Senate. Or planned out his actions a little more. But it’s clear that he’s got no interest in doing that, because he has no intention of running. Challenging Tony Abbott is a way to build his media profile and his frequency in the media.


It’s a challenge to his waning relevance. So if you’re looking for a reason to vote James Mathison, ask yourself – why would you help a D-List celebrity stay relevant?

Entrepreneurial Cognition, is it really important?

by on 31 May, 2016

13318435_10156885000485537_144220695_n[1]Armen Arakelian outlines how entrepreneurship contributes to a wider community, and the values that underpin it

The very definition of entrepreneurship is based on a broad range of personal background experiences such as education, social standing, income, political and geography; influential factors that shape the individual entrepreneur’s ideals, ambitions and psychological approach. Nevertheless, there are a series of collective traits that link the entrepreneurs’ business culture; a cohesive blueprint that forms the very genesis of entrepreneurial scope and success at any business or social level.


Entrepreneurs are ‘optimistic, hard-driving, committed individuals who drive great satisfaction from being independent’ (Frederick, Allan & Donald 2016, p. 43). By this definition, there is a level of consistency, motivation, perseverance, competitiveness and self-determination that entrepreneurs possess; characteristics that lead individuals to put into practice their personal business principles through innovation and intent on viable opportunities they’ve seized.


The assortment of factors is varied however opportunity, necessity and their pathway to freedom are the main drivers of the entrprenrial force. Within this drive there can be both existing entrprenrial characterises and characteristics that have been theoretically identified as entrepreneurial; that can develop over the course of their enterprising lives. This makes up the core functions of entrprenrial cognition. This is supported in principal that ‘entrepreneurship is a function of the entrepreneur’ (Frederick, Allan & Donald 2016, p. 43) and an ‘entrepreneurial function implies the discovery, assessment and exploitation of opportunities’ (Carland et al. 2007, p.1) that subsequently stimulate and grow the economy.


To help draw on entrprenrial conceptions case studies of two different entrepreneurs was conducted. An Australian of the year recipient Ronni Kahn and Business mogul and philanthropist Kirk Kerkorian. There was a commonality between the two in their early life experiences; both ethnic minorities living at a time where persecution and intolerance was rife. Their early life developed a fundamental trait of habitualness and self- efficacy; through necessity they evoked dreams and by determination they identified opportunities. Their pathway principals developed their lives in two very contrasting dimensions.


Ronni Kahn founder and CEO of OzHarvest Australia’s largest food rescue organisation was first exposed to entrepreneurship through her necessity-driven mother. When her father was hospitalised for 2 years her mother R. Kahn (personal interview, 15 March 2016) ‘had to become very entrepreneurial to manage the household’. She had grown up in South Africa during the apartheid era and made the best of every situation modelling off her mother’s ventures.

To get rich is glorious!

by on 30 May, 2016

Chris Rath


Chris Rath outlines how the rise of China came about as a result of market liberalisation and the move away from the Mao era policies.

When Chinese Leader Deng Xiaoping commenced liberalisation of the Chinese economy in 1978 neither he nor a single foreign policy analyst would have predicted four decades of remarkable economic growth.


Comments attributed to Deng Xiaoping, that “to get rich is glorious” was a clear break with the economic communism of Mao Zedong which left China weaker and more poverty stricken in 1978 than it had been at the time of the communist revolution in 1949. China has not experienced its recent huge economic growth in spite of Western capitalism but rather because it has appropriated Western capitalism.


I have recently been fortunate enough to participate in a bipartisan political delegation to China, selected by Federal Director Tony Nutt to represent the Liberal Party. The program was an endless saga of economic and political meetings and decadent banquets with high-ranking Government and Party officials in Beijing, collaboration with the Australian Embassy, and briefings by South China Sea foreign policy analysts and academics in Hainan. Needless to say that it was a jammed packed seven days and an amazing opportunity of which I am deeply honoured to have participated.


This article is a response to the unfair criticism China has received by certain quarters in Australia and America, especially in terms of trade and foreign investment. China is no longer an economically communist country. It’s not just that its shopping malls are bejeweled with the omnipresent glowing lights of Louis Vuitton, Apple, McDonalds, and Nike, but the fact that they have legalised Uber before most Australian states is a salutary reminder of how far they’ve come. The widespread competitive Chinese capitalism I viewed far exceeds that of Australia and would certainly leave Chairman Mao turning in his grave. Indeed perhaps the rampant materialism and consumerism in China has problematically become a substitute for religion and spirituality, the vacuum left behind from the communist era.


In any case “to get rich is glorious” and China has become very rich very quickly. Instead of admonishing China we should celebrate what I call the three cheers for China.


The first cheer for China is humanitarian; you know the things the left pretend they care about with their good intentions but never suggest anything practical. The positive humanitarian impact of capitalism on the Chinese economy is incredible. The World Bank argues it best:

Since initiating market reforms in 1978, China has shifted from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy and has experienced rapid economic and social development. GDP growth has averaged nearly 10 percent a year—the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history—and has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty.”


When you put into perspective that Australia is only a nation of 23 million people, the fact that 800 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty as a result of economic globalisation and liberalisation since 1978 is unfathomable.


And how was this colossal humanitarian feat achieved? It wasn’t through foreign aid or twitter hashtags. It wasn’t through the United Nations or NGOs. Nope, it was almost entirely the result of Western multinational corporations acting out of their self interest by lowering their business costs and maximising profit through employing cheap Chinese labour. It’s a shame the supposed guardians of equality and human rights on the left have not embraced this undeniable fact. It is also a win-win situation as western corporations have become more profitable meaning higher dividends and higher returns on our superannuation.


The second cheer for China is that consumer goods are now relatively cheaper for all Australians, resulting in a better quality of life and higher disposable incomes in real terms. We should celebrate rather than recoil when we see ‘made in China’ as we may not have been able to afford a comparable item in the 1950s when such consumer goods were made in high cost developed economies. Unsurprisingly, Australia’s main imports from China are telecommunications, electronics, computers, furniture, prams, toys, games, sporting goods, textiles, clothing and footwear. The Institute of Public Affairs published research in 2014 outlining how consumer goods are bigger, better and cheaper today than in the 1970s, a direct result of capitalism and trade with low cost economies like China. The average Australian would have to work 194.9 hours to buy a television in the 1970s but now a mere 9.7 hours. A microwave would have cost you 83.8 hours of hard earned cash back then and now only 2.7 hours, and a refrigerator 86.4 hours in the 1970s but today only 21.8 hours of labour. Indeed if China has become rich then certainly as a result so have we.


The third cheer for China is that Australia more so than any other Western nation has directly benefited from its huge economic growth due to its purchase of our exports. Australia has a comparative advantage in our largest exports such as iron ore, coal, natural gas, education, gold, copper, wool, wine, beef, dairy, and tourism. We’re not just the quarry and the food bowl for China but we’re now also its university and its holiday destination. Australian exports to China now account for over $98bn per year, making China not only our largest export market but also larger than our next three highest ranking markets combined- Japan, the USA and South Korea. We were weathered from the global financial crisis in part because of China. We have experienced 25 years of continuous unbroken economic growth in part because of China. No doubt those Australians who attack Chinese trade and investment must either be mislead by shock jocks or are happy to see a poorer Australia if it means their xenophobic concerns are alleviated. Figures from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) show that contrary to the view that Chinese investment is taking over our farms, the largest investment sources in agriculture in Australia are from developed Western nations. However, we should want more Chinese investment in agriculture, not less, because more investment means capital flowing to Australia, it means jobs, growth, productivity and economic development.


The trade unions are wrong to attack the free trade agreement with China. Donald Trump is wrong to argue for a 45% tariff on China. Faux conservatives who support Trump and the CFMEU are wrong. Indeed you could easily argue that the most important reform and achievement of this Government has been the free trade agreements with China, Japan and Korea together with the transpacific partnership, brokered by Andrew Robb and never delivered under Labor. Certainly it is a huge motivating factor behind my zeal to campaign this election.


However, this article shouldn’t be viewed as hyperbolic praise for China. As a staunch Anglophile and a defender of Western Civilisation I’m still very concerned about several issues facing China. Of course China is an authoritarian single party state which still has a lot of work to do in improving its basic freedoms and liberties. Too often we hear of human rights abuses, censorship, and political prisoners. Similarly China’s position on the South China Sea and disputed “islands” is aggressive, inflexible and nonsensical. Furthermore, the 1,600 missiles pointed at Taiwan does not play well on the world stage.


But again the solution here is more trade, more globalisation, more economic integration and more capitalism. The statement ‘nations that trade together don’t go to war together’ might not be a truism, but it’s pretty close. Similarly remarkably close to being a truism is the golden arches theory that ‘no two countries with McDonald’s have ever fought a war against each other’. China of course has 2,200 McDonalds restaurants and recently announced plans to add a further 1,300 restaurants over the next five years, a positive sign for the future.


There are indeed many positive signs for China in the future. It is upon us to embrace the huge economic opportunities ahead and to educate Australians of these opportunities. The best days for China and Australia are still ahead of us. Together we can get rich and it will be glorious!


Christopher Rath is a member of the State Executive of the NSW Liberal Party and a Young Liberal Branch President. He has a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Management from the University of Sydney and currently works as the Government Relations Manager at IAG, Australia’s largest general insurance company.