Australia is a Nanny State: IPA

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Paternalistic government policies have led to Australia becoming a Nanny State, according to a new submission from the Institute of Public Affairs. The IPA today is appearing in Canberra before the Senate Inquiry into Personal Choice and Community Impacts, chaired by Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm.

“Australia’s political parties have the mindset that governments know better than the people they govern,” says Chris Berg, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs and the co-author of the submission with Simon Breheny, Director of the Legal Rights Project at the Institute of Public Affairs.

“This attitude is shown in regulatory approaches to a number of policy areas where individuals have the ability to harm themselves. When governments prevent people from consuming what they like, they display a fundamental mistrust of the capabilities of Australian citizens,” says Mr Berg.

The areas of public policy the IPA’s submission focuses on are:

  • Public health: “The meaning of the phrase ‘public health’ has become distorted, and provides a dubious justification for the state to pursue paternalistic policies such as plain packaging and lockouts,” says Mr Berg.
  • Speech: “Through classification and internet filters, the government is showing a distrust of the Australian people to make up their own minds about sensitive topics, and purport to decide what Australians can read on their behalf,” says Mr Berg.
  • Taxation: “Governments have used taxation policy to influence paternalistic goals, with the infamous example of this being the alcopops tax to curb binge drinking,” says Mr Berg.

“Australia needs to rethink the relationship between state and individual. Current and future governments must look for ways to restore individual liberty by repealing Nanny State regulations,” says Mr Berg.

The IPA’s submission to the Senate Inquiry into Personal Choice and Community Impacts can be downloaded here.

For media and comment: Chris Berg, Senior Fellow, Institute of Public Affairs, at [email protected] or 0402 257 681 OR

Simon Breheny, Director, Legal Rights Project, Institute of Public Affairs, at [email protected] or 0400 967 382

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