Groups shouldn’t get special ‘rights’

I have an article in the Star Observer arguing why LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex, phew!)  Australians should support the repeal of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

The discrimination lobby is trying to stir up sections of the community to stop the repeal on very dubious grounds. It needs to be Continue Reading →


Stockholm syndrome alive and well in Sweden

There’s some comfort knowing that the over-regulation collective madness of Australia isn’t isolated to our island continent. Sweden is now giving us a run for our money.

According to a report in Sweden’s English language newspaper their annually constructed ice hotel (literally made out of ice) has become the target of regulators. Their target? Installing “slippery when wet” signs? That’d be logical. No, the builders have been asked to install fire alarms in case it sets alight. According to the article:

While it might sound crazy that a building made of water needs to be equipped with fire alarms, the fact that the hotel is built from Continue Reading →


Marie Antoinette bureaucrats cry “Don’t let them eat quiche”!

If you ever wanted evidence that big government leads to small citizens, just take a look at the madness emanating out of the ACT’s health bureaucrats. According to a report, ACT bureaucrats want to ban any “high risk” food from being sold at community events.

What are the “high risk” foods? Box Jellyfish jelly? Stonefish with salad? Blue-ringed octopi with chips? If you guessed any of these things you’d be wrong, according to the report:

NOT content with interfering in fund-raising barbecues, the ACT government’s food safety bureaucrats have turned their attention to school fetes, telling parents they cannot sell their homemade quiches any more.

The government has this month enforced bans on a list of popular home-made dishes, telling parents they cannot sell foods it has labelled ”high risk”. That list includes spring rolls, casseroles or any other dishes containing meat or dairy, such as cakes containing custard or cream.

Astonishingly the article then goes on to identify that this proposal has been flagged despite:

ACT Health also [having] no data on food poisonings at school fund-raising events.

This is madness. Risk isn’t something to be avoided, it is something to be managed. The trade off from such a stupid proposal is that civil society is smashed for regulator’s piece of mind. It’s the perfect example of big government being the enemy of community.


From bipartisan consensus to not being put to the ballot


Last week the new Local Government Minster, Warren Truss, declared the abandoned local government referendum that would have led to Canberra controlling Councils was officially dead. According to the speech:

“after the bad taste left in everyone’s mouths, now is not the time to raise the referendum question again. The new government has no plans to put the issue back on the agenda”.

The announcement has been reported in the Herald Sun today.

This victory should not be under-stated. When the referendum was announced it enjoyed bipartisan support and polled Continue Reading →


Have health activists driven the obesity binge?

Are medical scientists and health activists one of the causes of expanding waistlines?

That’s the question that needs to be asked as there are increasing reports and advocates against excessive restrictions on fat in foods. This report covering an article written in the British Medical Journal argues:

There has been too much emphasis on fatty foods and not enough attention paid to Continue Reading →


“I didn’t choose to eat badly, it was the disease”

If it is possible for responsibility to become an even dirtier word when discussing people’s health, some academics have found a way to do it.

A shocking and deeply concerning article appeared in the Sunday Herald Sun yesterday about some academics calling for obesity to be diagnosed as a disease. According to the article:

Obese Australians would be treated as if they have a disease and have their dietitian, personal trainer and physiotherapist bills subsidised by Continue Reading →


ACT declares free choice is too expensive, so it is time to ban it

The ACT government has decided free choice is too expensive for a liberal democracy and is going to use their powers to regulate and legislate it away in the name of tackling obesity. According to a report the ACT will be pushing a new anti-obesity strategy which was celebrated by ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher:

She said the government’s plan had elements that would be controversial, including a proposal to Continue Reading →


Eligible to be Australian of the Year, but not to toast your award?


Ita Buttrose has made a very strange intervention into public debate today arguing that Australians should have to be over the age of 21 to have a tipple.

According to a report in Perth Now:

Ms Buttrose, who will speak at the 2013 State Library of South Australian Foundation Oration Dinner tomorrow, said she was alarmed by the number of children who end up in hospital because of alcohol abuse.

“We do have to recognise we have a problem with alcohol,” Ms Buttrose said. “A lot of Australians drink more than is good for them, and long term that is not good for their health.

According to Buttrose laws should be designed to keep us safe, not to protect our freedoms:

“We need to trial it and see if there is any benefit and examine what happens in other countries like the United States.”

Buttrose’s comments reinforce the problem with the evidence-based policy model: If there is a definable benefit, people’s freedoms should be curtailed. It’s absurd.

If people are deemed old enough to vote for the government, or even be Australian of the Year, they should be able to engage in lawful activity.

Buttrose argues:

Ms Buttrose said there was a tendency among many teenagers to “drink until they are drunk”.

That certainly does happen, but the solution is to promote a culture of responsible consumption, not banning it all together.