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Domestic Australian politics

Rather like Robert Clayton Dean in America, when I cast my libertarian eye at the Australian political scene, I find little reason to cheer. Australia is due to have a Federal election this year, although the exact date is at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. So election date speculation abounds, with some saying in August and others saying October.

The government here is dominated by the old line ‘conservative’ John Howard, who is basically a right-wing statist. In power since 1996, after a moderately good start at cutting back the state, the government has been in decline ever since and is now a menace, wandering through society causing havoc wherever it goes.

As it happens, last night was Budget night, where the government gives its annual account of its rapine and pillage of our wallets. With the election looming, this is a classic ‘tax-cut and spend’ pre-election budget, although the ‘cuts’ to taxes are not really cuts at all, but mere adjustments of the brackets. Therefore, you have a chance to earn ‘slightly’ more money before the government decides that half of your income belongs to them.

If London readers wonder why their city is full of very clever Australians, that is one of the bigger reasons why.

This is, by the way, the supposedly ‘free market’ party in power. It will in all probability be replaced by Mark Latham and his Australian Labour Party. On economic issues there is very little difference between the two parties, just a disagreement about where to splurge the tax-take on. I can only echo what Mr. Dean said in his survey of his own country’s political scene-as it is, one simply despairs of advancing the libertarian agenda in current Australian politics.

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8 comments to Domestic Australian politics

  • The problem is Scott, Oz libertarians sit on the side lines. The most vocal ones and are the elitist (ALS) or left leaning type (Bob Brown/Greens). Mark Latham has said some appealing things but at the moment the ALP is dominated by screamers that are only tolerating him to get elected.

  • I’m a member of the ALS, am I an elitist?

    Sadly, the ALS’ (or more correctly the LDP’s) biggest problem at the moment is that nobody wants to stand for election or campaign for us. I’m as guilty as anyone in that regard.

    What we really need is a bit of media exposure, but with precious few Australian elites sharing libertarian points of view, it’s hard to get a plug from anyone. Any exposure we get will probably have to come from Green-left style sophomoric protest action.

  • Pete(Detroit)

    One problem I’ve seen here is that Libertarians tend to be ‘lassaiz faire’ in general, and not campaigners. That being said a long term grass roots movement seems to be having SOME result – a few mayors, a few city councilmen, a few state reps, school board members… it starts to add up, eventually…

  • Paul Marks

    Actually Britian has (overall) higher taxes and higher government spending than Australia. Also we have at least as many regulations as Australia (thanks to “modern” thinking – plus the E.U.).

    One person mentioned the financial sector in the City of London – well you would find such things “insider trading” laws, (as well as the whole “competition policy” – antitrust stuff in general industry), the Financial Services Act (a nightmare of complexity) and the new Securities and Investment Board (a British version of the American S.E.C.).

    The old days in the City are long gone. These are times of arbitary power for the government.

    Australians who come over here tend to get caught out by all our semihidden taxes (“National Insurance”, T.V. “Licence”- and so on).

    As for John Howard. Well some of the Australian people I know like him – but I find it diffiult to think of him without thinking of the rifle confiscation.

    Lines of honest farmers (and other folk) being treated like ciminals.

    No surprise that violent crime has not gone down – the confiscation was nothing to do with reducing such crime anyway.

    I was surprised there was not more resistance. True “resistance is futile” if one calculates the odds – perhaps Australians are just too sensible to resist.

  • … perhaps Australians are just too sensible to resist.

    No, we’re too lazy … until they start taxing sunshine, surf and fishing we’ll let them get away with anything.

  • Duncan

    “until they start taxing sunshine, surf and fishing we’ll let them get away with anything.”

    Actually they do tax fishing. Since 2002 in New South Wales (and possibly other states) you have had to buy a “licence” to go recreational fishing.

    Cost is $5 for three days, $10 a month, $25 a year and $70 for three years. They are getting pretty serious about it too.

    The Daily Telegraph
    April 14, 2004.

    “MORE than 470 anglers were checked for fishing regulation breaches on the Coast over the Easter weekend.

    Senior manager at The Entrance for NSW Fisheries Glen Triton said there was about 85 per cent compliance.

    “At this stage there will be about 80 infringements issued,” he said.

    “The bulk of those were for not having a licence, or failing to produce one.”

    Anglers are fined $200 for lacking a licence”

    Don’t be surprised if they introduce a “licence” to use the beach some time soon. There are already complaints about the voluntary funding of lifeguards.

  • John R

    Since 2002 in New South Wales (and possibly other states) you have had to buy a “licence” to go recreational fishing.

    Oh bugger! WA is still free (AFAIK) (except for certain protected species and for freshwater angling). I can’t believe Gallop’s government would dare, his situation is precarious enough (I hope!). He’s not taking my rod unless he pries it out of my cold, dead hand!