Public Forum: Lessons from the Victorian Election



What are the lessons for the Liberal Party from the Victorian Government’s historic loss in the 2014 state election? 
What message should Tony Abbott and the Federal Liberal Party take away from this stunning defeat?

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is proud to present a panel discussion and q&a on the lessons from the Victorian election with five of Victoria’s most prominent political voices: John Roskam from the Institute of Public Affairs, Christian Kerr from The Australian, former Victorian Senator Helen Kroger, Vice-President of the Victorian Young Liberals Jess Wilson, and Professor Sinclair Davidson from RMIT.

There will be significant opportunities for attendees to share their views with the panel, and for an interactive discussion to take place.

DATE: Friday, 30th of January
TIME:  6:00pm for a 6:30pm start
VENUE: Morgans at 401, 401 Collins St Melbourne
COST: $20 Adults, $10 Concession

We hope to see you there!

A New Year, A Bigger Tax

10547978_508484902631689_4330841723284768163_o Clark Cooley argues for abolishing the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF):

As university students enter the 2015 academic year this February, new and continuing students alike are set to be taxed. This tax is not for their further education, rather for non-educational services, the spending of which is dictated largely by unrepresentative student unions.

The Student Services and Amenities Fee, or SSAF is a yearly expanding tax imposed not withstanding of a student’s income, their wish to use the services the ‘fee’ funds, or even their ability to obtain value for money.  In 2014, the average amount paid by students in SSAF equaled $280. With the increasing aspect of SSAF, new students for 2015 will pay an average amount $1300 over the lifetime of a typical 4 year degree. It’s no wonder 70% of students wish to have a university wide vote on the abolishment of the SSAF all together. (The Australian 2014)

Objections to the SSAF are not just financially motivated however, accompanying the payment of this fee is the legal requirement of compulsory membership in student unions. This requisite violates the basic rights of students to the freedom of association, the same freedom that Australian’s have advantage of in the workplace, where compulsory unionism has long been outlawed. Our university campuses however, continue to require students to join organisations that they in large have opposition too. Continue reading

Free Speech Must Be Defended

Jack Baker looks at the violent intersection of democratic free speech and the offence taken by some Muslims.

The attack and murder of twelve defenceless women and men in France by three Islamist men wielding assault rifles is as cowardly as it is disgusting. The supposed crime of most of the people murdered was to work at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which in 2011 published cartoons mocking Islam and its founder Muhammad.

Sadly, this is merely the latest occurrence in a litany of absurd reactions stretching back decades. The commonality is that every time, a number of Muslims have been offended by something said, drawn or recorded about their religion, and chosen to react violently.

Following the publishing of Salman Rushdie’s book ‘The Satanic Verses’ in 1988, scores of people were killed around the world and hundreds injured. 20,000 people protested in Parliament Square in London, burning effigies of Rushdie. Bookstores in the United States and England were firebombed. The publishers or translators of the book in numerous countries were stabbed and shot.

When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of Muhammad in 2005, numerous Danish embassies were set on fire. Over one hundred people were killed in protests, primarily in Muslim countries. Staff members at the newspaper continue to face death threats.

When an obscure American threatened to burn the Qu’ran in 2010 and then did so in 2011, dozens of people were killed around the world. In contrast, when a Muslim cleric in Egypt burned the Bible in front of thousands of people in 2012, it went largely ignored by the media and there were no violent riots. Continue reading