Sydney shuts down, Melbourne opens up


In the age-old battle between Australia’s two capital cities, it is pretty clear who is winning on the nightlife front.

In February, Freelancer Chief Executive Matt Barrie had some very harsh words about Sydney nightlife:

As I write this in 2016, not a day goes by without the press reporting of yet another bar, club, hotel, restaurant or venue closing…

It is now illegal to buy a bottle of wine after 10pm in the City of Sydney because not a single one of us is to be trusted with any level of personal responsibility…

Likewise it is now illegal to have a scotch on the rocks after midnight in the City of Sydney because someone might die

Most damaging of all a 1:30am curfew where you cannot enter a licensed premises, which deliberately aims to kill the trade of any business that operates at night.

Meanwhile in Melbourne, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle announced today his support for 24-hour liquor licences:

Cr Doyle supports a partial extension of opening hours into the early morning at smaller venues and those serving food.

But he said a return to the days of 24-hour beer barns was not on the cards: each venue would be judged on its merits.

All-night public transport was changing the way the city worked at the weekend, and Cr Doyle said the city needed to prepare for extended hours “and move towards a real 24-hour city”.

The contrast could not be more stark.


It’s about time we cut company tax

The Australian reports today that the government is planning a modest company tax cut in the upcoming budget, reducing the rate from 30 to 28.5 per cent.

Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos has highlighted the potential economic benefit from such a cut:

“Putting money in the hands of consumers obviously encourages more spending and disposable ­income and has good incentive ­effects,” he told ABC TV.

“But cutting company tax also has good effects — it can ­encourage investment, it can ­encourage higher productivity, it can encourage more investment from overseas.

“At least 50 per cent of the impact of cutting company taxes goes in higher wages for workers and higher employment.”

Indeed, there are substantial benefits from lowering company tax.

The company tax is Australia’s least efficient federal tax, with a 40 cents loss of consumer welfare per dollar of additional revenue. In practice this means lower wages, fewer jobs and higher consumer prices.

Additionally, in an era of mobile foreign investment it is absurd for Australia’s company tax to be so far out of step with so many of our competitors and neighbors:


Lowering Australia’s company tax, albeit beginning with a modest cut, will be vital in securing overseas investment.

In the long run increased investment makes the cut relatively revenue neutral. Previous research has found that despite the decrease of the OECD average corporate tax rate from 47 per cent to around 23 per cent in 2015, corporate tax revenue has remained reasonably stable.

Therefore, reducing the company tax rate is good for wages, jobs, investment and prices, as well as government coffers.

Our high company tax is a burden on all Australians. Its reduction is an absolute priority.


Religious freedom is under attack at Australian universities


The University of Sydney Union has threatened to deregister the Sydney University Evangelical Union over the requirement that members have faith in Jesus Christ.

The University of Sydney Union, a student-led multi-million dollar organisation responsible for the provision of services and management of the university’s clubs and societies program, considers the requirement that members of a Christian club be Christian as “discriminatory”.

Deregistration, in practice, would starve the Evangelical Union access to funding, orientation week stalls, and room bookings, making it very difficult for the society function.

This move comes from the same University of Sydney Union which has spaces exclusively reserved for queer, female and international students.

Bible Society, which has previously reported on discrimination against Christians on campuses across Australia, reports on comments from Sydney University Evangelical Union president George Bishop:

The Executive believes that it is necessary, to maintain our identity as a Christian group, to maintain a faith-based declaration as part of the membership process

The Executive believes that individuals who wish to join any society need to be able to ascribe to the core beliefs, objects and aims of the society – which for a Christian society necessarily include faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ.

The University of Sydney Union, which all students fund through a compulsorily levy, the Student Services and Amenities Fee, is supposed to equally represent all students. However, it appears some students are more equal than others.



Are students finally starting to wake up?


The Australian student left has already begun advocating for trigger warnings and more safe spaces on campus. However, the news is not all bleak. Two new articles, both written by students, show there is still reason for some optimism.

Josh Koby Wooller, a University of Sydney student, has written an insightful piece for his student newspaper, Honi Soit, about the campaign to expunge all mentions of Cecil Rhodes at at Oxford University:

Dealing with the past through our current understanding of society requires no nuanced or contextual understanding and undermines the study of history. Tearing down a statue does nothing more than impose our values upon the past, therefore creating an impossible standard for figures in history. We are in effect engaging in historical revisionism…

No figure in history lives up to the standard of the present, simply because they were not surrounded by the contextual values of our era. Cecil Rhodes is a racist, but the image of the Rhodes scholarship is not. Many Rhodes scholars have campaigned against the colonialism and racism championed by Rhodes himself. His legacy to the university has changed since colonialism.

Meanwhile, University of Queensland student John Slater has written an opinion piece for the Brisbane Times condemning the safe space movement, and the recent cases of racial segregation at QUT:

Campus activism used to be about liberating individuals from being defined by their gender, race or sexuality. UQ student Merle Thornton made history in 1965 when she chained herself to Brisbane’s Regatta Hotel after being told women wouldn’t be served a drink…

If discrimination or bullying is a genuine issue for Indigenous students – or for women, queer and disabled students for that matter – why not root out the rot at its source? Why not deal with the bigots and bullies before construction began on race-selective study rooms?


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