Where the Australian Greens go wrong

I have voted Green more often than I have voted Labor (I’ve never voted for the party I’m a member of, but that’s because there hasn’t been a candidate in my electorate yet). I do so for a number of reasons – environmental issues are not given sufficient consideration by the major parties; the Greens are generally liberal when it comes to social issues; and I want minor parties of all persuasions to have more say in our democracy, which suffers from the 2-party rule we have been afflicted with for so long. However, there is an area where I diverge strongly from Green orthodoxy – economics. Not many people have a solid knowledge of Green economic policies, relying on the watermelon stereotype and the generalised slurs repeatedly made by the mainstream media, so I thought a rundown of some egregious examples would be useful.

With reference to the Australian Greens website:

Implementing all the policies from the Corporate Governance section would represent a substantial increase in the cost of doing business in Australia for dubious gain. It would likely reduce investment by some smallish-but-uncertain amount. That’s not terrible by any means, but something that is preferably avoided if possible. The apparent presumption is that the capitalists are all fat cats who can and will jump through regulatory hoops without changing their behaviour. There would also be a substantial increase in government expenditure if this wishlist was granted. I know lefties don’t see this as a problem, but that’s because they’re either ignorant of, or recklessly indifferent to, deadweight losses.

The Economics section is even more problematic. Item 22 reads, in part, “removing Fringe Benefits Tax concessions which promote increased use of motor vehicles”. Clearly the concern is the increased emissions from more car use, but I recall an outcry from charities at the suggestion that the FBT would be abolished, because having access to it meant they could afford more employees than they otherwise could. Without it, they could not sustain staffing levels, with deleterious knock-on effects for those they seek to help. Another part of 22 says “introducing a tax on extreme wealth applied to the wealthiest 5% of people.” No mention of the rate, so it hardly looks well thought out. Personally, I like the idea of everyone paying tax in proportion to their income – that is, a flat rate – because that seems fair. Apparently the Greens have a different sense of ‘fair’. Fair enough :-)

Item 28 says “return the company tax rate to 33%”. That would be a tax liability increase of 10% (30 going up by 3). It would go against the international trend, which isn’t easily dismissed. Now, company tax rate isn’t the only consideration for firms, but its effect would not be neutral, especially since loopholes and concessions are also targeted (which I applaud on principle, but obviously the libertarian rationale is quite different to the Green one).

Items 33 and 37 are just plain bad. Divesting companies of assets if they are deemed to be “abusing” market power? All “natural” monopolies in public ownership? These are the kinds of things that make people turn away from the Greens in disgust at economic illiteracy. First of all, who decides what is abuse? Governments have often been pressured by interest groups to declare low prices “abuse of market power”, when clearly they are just competition in action, benefiting consumers. Secondly, natural monopolies are rarer than lefties imagine, and who decides that a given situation fits? The government who stands to benefit? Hi there, let me introduce you to my friends Conflict of Interest and Principal-Agent Problem.

Item 38 is trying to take us backward to a mythological golden age of manufacturing, while contradicting itself with regards to developing countries. “[S]trengthening of Australian manufacturing” means an industrial policy – protectionism, in other words, a discredited and outdated concept. As well, it’s backwards in the sense of the march of economic progress. Item 40 is dog-whistling, and doesn’t recognise the benefits of competition. It implies our public life is subject to the (sarcasm alert) dastardly, inhuman, money-grubbing clutches of cutthroat competition. That, if you’ll forgive my French, is bullshit. It also discounts the good things competition can do to the structure of incentives when it comes to the allocation and preservation of environmental resources, something I’ve blogged on several times.

In the Employment and Industrial Relations section, item 40 (banning secret ballots) is undemocratic, 42 biases the system towards employees with the fallacy of “unfair dismissal”, and 44 will increase unemployment because some employers can’t afford high loadings or non-casual workers. Apparently the Greens are taking the union position of advocating for better pay and conditions for those with jobs, forgetting those who don’t have them and are effectively barred from the workforce because they aren’t able to return in profit to the employer what they cost under a high-pay regime.

Items 46 and 47 are useless because don’t recognise the origins of the gender gap in remuneration – men and women are actually different. We already have equal pay for equal work legislation, and the reasons why women are – on average, in aggregate – paid less than men have little to do with sexism, the patriarchy, discrimination, etc. I can’t cover them in this post, but I might return to the subject at a later date.

Item 51 – “use a combination of government job creation and industry policy to achieve full employment and job security for all who seek employment” is out-and-out misguided socialism. Note there is no mention of specific mechanisms for achieving this lofty goal. That’s because THERE ARE NONE. At least, no sustainable ones exist. A country could try, and maybe get some success initially, but the key problem with socialism is – eventually you run out of other people’s money.

In the Global Economics section, items 11 and 12 will impact on the wealth of Australia and developing countries. Reducing trade (the actual outcomes of the proposals) will inevitably reduce the generation of wealth for all participants. Item 16 is a doozy – by encouraging “economic development strategies that encourage self-reliance” it will decrease specialisation, and therefore comparative advantage, and decrease reliance on foreign technology. That will, ironically, increase energy use and carbon emissions, while decreasing economic efficiency in developing countries and therefore worsening their situation. Item 17 goes against recommendations from independent NGOs and charities (assuming ‘exploitation’ is used as lefties typically use it, ie not in its proper sense). If you want to reduce child labour, help poor countries get rich. Not trading with them (see above) is obviously completely counter-productive. Item 24 is a can of macroeconomic worms that I don’t have the expertise to comment on, but is phrased glibly without any consideration of the possibly very large negative effects.

Overall, Greens economic policies show they are not thinking holistically about first- and second-order effects. Also, putting them in place would entail a MASSIVE increase in regulatory oversight and expense, something barely alluded to in the policies. Finally, some innocuously-phrased policies are slipped in as if they nothing very much, but would actually mean radical lurches to the authoritarian left (in economic terms).

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49 Responses to Where the Australian Greens go wrong

  1. David says:

    I don’t like it when you talk dollars. My brain hurts. Especially after a night of tennis (Go, Stosur!!) and wine.

    My rebuttal is go Democrats!!

    PS: I voted for the LDP in the last election because they were running in my electorate.

  2. Jeremy says:

    That’s fair enough – I’d expect an economic libertarian to have a problem with the Greens’ general philosophy of more spending on public services funded by a more progressive taxation system.

    But I also agree that at the moment, the big parties are as far from libertarian economic philosophy as the Greens, and a lot more hostile on the subject of social policy like civil liberties and personal freedoms. I suspect the Greens and LDP have, on most of the issues that get dealt with in parliament, a lot more in common than the big parties. And presumably a shared interest in tackling the two-party duopoly system they’ve established.

    I’ll be voting Greens, but I might well preference the LDP ahead of Labor and the Liberals for those reasons.

    PS the secret ballot thing is #30; I don’t quite get the rationale behind it, and for the moment I agree it sounds like something I’d oppose. I might see what I can do to either get them to explain it to me or get it changed.

  3. Jaan says:

    Nice post mate, that said, I don’t think I would really class the Green’s social policies as “Liberal” in the true sense of the word. Agree about their gender policies.

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  6. Jeremy says:

    I’m sorry, Jarrah – you appear to have inadvertently been afflicted with the endorsement of Iain Hall. Fortunately it’s only because he hasn’t bothered to read the first paragraph of your post.

  7. Jarrah says:

    Jeremy, it’s not merely a philosophical difference. The Greens seem to think there is no cost to increasing government spending beyond the provisions in the Budget. There is no consideration of Harberger triangles, for example. There’s no thought given to what the altered incentives will do to the accumulation of capital, the basis for our wealth. There’s an excessive focus on symptoms, not causes. This, I believe, is what people mean when they say things like “Greens policies are constructed in fairyland”.

    However, you are dead-on when it comes to shared interests between the LDP and the Greens. Unfortunately, there is a strong current of reflexive anti-Greenery in my party. Early on, I hoped the two could work together in some things, especially getting the message out that a vote for a minor is not a wasted vote, but it doesn’t look likely.

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  9. TonyM says:

    Seems that with FBT, there are a few different issues being conflated. The Henry review recommended fixing the statutory formula for motor vehicle concessions that currently acts to encourage more car travel, which is fair enough. But it also recommended abolishing general FBT rebates for charities, which is a different matter entirely. And as far as I can tell, what it actually suggested was replacing charities’ FBT concessions with direct payments from the government to top-up employee salaries, which seems to be a more transparent way to accomplish the desired outcome.

  10. Jarrah says:

    TonyM, that’s all well and good, but the Green policy I criticise does not suggest any compensation like that. It apparently didn’t even enter into their deliberations. It exemplifies their general approach – good intentions, not much analysis.

  11. john walker says:

    The greens are to labour what the nationals are to the libs, rent-seekers dressed up as representatives of something that is of such national significance that real world rules should not apply to them.

  12. JC says:

    Jarrah says there is an anti green reflex in the LDP.

    Of fucking course there is, as there should be seeing it’s a party of economic troglodytes and misanthropes.

    The annoying, intensely stupid Christine Milne is a great example of what I mean. In a just world the only job she would have in parliament would be to clean the toilets and only after strict supervision.

    She’s the moron who is often telling us how dumb we are not to adopt new technologies to produce energy. Perhaps this Einstein of the senate ought to show us how its done.

    There’s a good reason why most LDP members despise the Greens and hopefully that will continue, which is why I support them.

    The Greens support of civil liberties is basically dishonest. We just saw the party’s love of civil liberties by endorsing Happy Hamilton and Bob Brownose giving him strong endorsement.

    Nearly everything about the Greens disgusts me and should disgust most reasonable people.

    While you’re at it jarrah, you could tell us what ever happened to the Greens policy of eliminating nuclear medicine from our hospitals as it’s no longer on their website and they haven’t formally removed it from their policy plank as far as I know, which must mean they’ve simply hidden it from public view… for now.

  13. john walker says:

    It s the Moral panic combined with the “sense of superiority, based in a lack of curiosity” , that gets me. —-Ms Milne could occasionally smile ( laugh even) and just maybe even develop a sense of irony, no?

  14. JC says:

    Jeremy says:

    ….and a lot more hostile on the subject of social policy like civil liberties and personal freedoms. I suspect the Greens and LDP have, on most of the issues that get dealt with in parliament, a lot more in common than the big parties.

    yea right, Jeremy. Are you just ignorant or just lying?

    Your misanthropic party recently supported Happy Hamilton to represent them as a candidate. Are you forgetting ? And please don’t peddle that swill this also disappointed you.

  15. Iain Hall says:

    Jeremy
    I understood perfectly well what Jarrah was saying in his opening paragraph, and that does not mean that my endorsement of teh rest of the post is in any way wrong.

  16. Peter Patton says:

    Imagine the number of trees that would need to be sacrificed just to print the truckloads of legislation in their first term in government! I suppose every Law student in the country would be pleased, knowing they’ll be snapped up in order to administer the tripling of the size of the bureaucracy that would be needed to administer this Green leviathan.

  17. Peter Patton says:

    Ordinarily one might advise the Greens to recruit a few more economists, but as their thinking involves surrendering economic policy, government policy and budgeting to JUDGES, I suppose they have no need for economists. Just more, more, and MORE lawyers.

  18. Jarrah says:

    You said it, Peter. There’s very little acknowledgment of the vast increase in supervision, oversight, etc, that implementing their policies would entail. It’s typical of leftists, really – not much thought of the costs of government action beyond the immediate price.

    “Ordinarily one might advise the Greens to recruit a few more economists”

    That’s exactly what they need. Urgently. The LDP could really help in that respect, as it’s full of the buggers. And the LDP could use some of the Greens’ large number of wet social liberals.

  19. john walker says:

    greens seem to be pretty much the same thing as the ‘arts luvies’ ;they tend to work in funded or not for profit bureaucratic management positions , teaching or academic things or are on some sort of benefit. Its not that surprising that they tend to favor regulation and anti-commercial dispositions after all, its work for them. Like the Luvies they also tend to be a tad bossy.

  20. john walker says:

    From the James Grimmelman’s Laboratorium blog. This is not a bad Glossary of real world explanations of terms frequently used in reports recommending regulation for anything:
    ‘If, like me, you are spending some of your summer reading law review articles, you may find the following translations helpful.

    For “it is likely that,” read “I would like if it were true that …”

    For “has the greatest institutional competence,” read “is currently staffed by people who agree with me.”

    For “excluding transaction costs,” read “excluding reality.”

    For “including transaction costs,” read “including a fudge factor.”

    For “we,” read “I.”’

  21. Yobbo says:

    Why would the LDP help the greens?

    I guarantee you that 90% of the LDP membership are barracking for the greens to disappear from Australian Politics. They are not liberal in any sense of the word. Some of their social policies may be similar to those of the LDP but they are there for the complete opposite reason. Their economic policies would be disastrous.

  22. Jarrah says:

    The point is we could help each other, for example by educating people that voting for a minor party isn’t a “wasted vote”.

    “I guarantee you that 90% of the LDP membership are barracking for the greens to disappear from Australian Politics.”

    Nowhere near that high. But I’m sure a goodly portion do feel that way. Which is sad, really. The Greens are excellent on civil liberties, and while I’ve heavily criticised their economic policies, they’re not all bad.

    “they are there for the complete opposite reason.”

    Who cares, if the outcome is the same? It doesn’t bother me when the major parties have a policy that echoes an LDP position even though they’re not libertarian, why should it be a problem when the Greens do it?

    I think the main reason plenty of LDP members have issues with the Greens is because they are tightly focussed on the economic side, forgetting that it’s only half of our platform. The other half accords better with the Greens than any other party. But that seems to get lost among all the right-wing bluster.

  23. Yobbo says:

    Who cares, if the outcome is the same?

    The greens are very selective on Civil liberties Jarrah. They only support civil liberties in cases where they would be used to challenge western cultural traditions. They have precisely no interest, for example, in protecting the rights of smokers of drinkers, but strong interest in protecting the rights of illicit drug users. Why? Because illicit drugs annoy the establishment, so they are in favour. Cigarettes and Alcohol on the other hand, are drugs beloved by the rich,white males they despise, so they have no interest in defending consumption of those drugs.

    Similarly the greens are in favour of Blasphemy laws, a massive affront to Free Speech. Why? Because blasphemy laws are overwhelmingly applied in a PC crusade to silence critics of Islam, and the Greens are big fans of Islam – because again, it challenges the established culture that they hate so much.

    Libertarians want civil liberties for their own sake. The Greens on the other hand see relaxation of civil liberties as simply a means to an end, and that end is the demonisation and marginalisation of modern western culture and society.

  24. Yobbo says:

    I think the main reason plenty of LDP members have issues with the Greens is because they are tightly focussed on the economic side, forgetting that it’s only half of our platform.

    Mostly because it’s the most important and more importantly most realistic half.

    While it would be nice to imagine that ending the war on drugs is a possibility, it really isn’t, mostly because it’s an international issue and we would be seen as a pariah by most of the world if we unilaterally stopped policing and prosecuting the drug trade.

    Reducing taxes and reforming the welfare system on the other hand are very attainable goals ,and in fact there are already many countries that have tax and welfare regimes very similar to what the LDP would like to implement.

  25. Jarrah says:

    “Similarly the greens are in favour of Blasphemy laws”

    That doesn’t sound like them. Where did you get that from?

    “Mostly because it’s the most important and more importantly most realistic half. ”

    The importance is subjective. That lots in the LDP think it’s the most important is true – and I kind of include myself in that group – but I’m often struck how it seems to be ALL they think about. It’s also inconsistent. You couldn’t say that 90% of the LDP wants the Liberals to disappear from Australian politics, but they are far (far!) worse on civil liberties than the Greens, are just as big on tax-and-spend as Labor, and even more skewed towards conservative ideals that are anathema to libertarianism.

  26. . says:

    Jarrah,

    In 1954 after we ensrhined social justice policy into our constition, the tax to the GDP ratio for all levels of Government summated to 17.5%. It was during this time we boomed, had low inflation, interest rates and unemployment. It was the deterioration in public finances well into the 1980s that made the outcomes (inflation and unemployment) so unpalatable. In 1954, we were still a formidable military power

    Anyone who doesn’t want significant cuts to Government simply stands for prolifigate waste and graft.

    http://www.treasury.gov.au/documents/1156/HTML/docshell.asp?URL=01_Brief_History.asp

    In the golden era of Federation to WWI, it was 5% of GDP and we were the per capita wealthiest nation on earth.

    Even with reasonable equity concerns and the grandfathering of entitlements, the welfare and tax systems, along with Governance are in need of an overhaul. There is positively no reason to go above 17% tax to GDP ratios. With a better tax system, 15% should be the cap.

    What tax to GDP ratio do the Greens want? Pauline wanted it about 50%!!!

  27. Jarrah says:

    “Anyone who doesn’t want significant cuts to Government simply stands for prolifigate waste and graft.”

    Agreed. That includes the Greens, Labor, Liberals, Nationals, and all of the minors and micros that are not single-issue parties. The LDP is, AFAIK, essentially the only one that wants “significant cuts”. It’s part of the reason why I’m a financial member and former candidate.

    “What tax to GDP ratio do the Greens want?”

    I dunno. They probably don’t either – they don’t think of it that way, which is one glaring weakness in their thinking.

    “In 1954…Federation to WWI”

    Don’t fall into the ahistorical trap of thinking you can reduce large-scale history to a single variable. It’s a common affliction – eg watch leftists waffle on about growth rates post-WWII until ‘neoliberalism’, or happiness researchers (LOL) and their idiocy about wealth.

  28. . says:

    Jarrah, I see the problem, but the theory is consistent with economic theory (fiscal theory of prices) and the history of our expenditure.

  29. Yobbo says:

    “Agreed. That includes the Greens, Labor, Liberals, Nationals, and all of the minors and micros that are not single-issue parties. ”

    The Greens are the only ones who want to significantly *increase* it though. Labour/Lib/Nats are just keen on a few minor pork projects for their favourite industries.

    That doesn’t sound like them. Where did you get that from?

    Their support for – and their wish to extend the powers of – the HREOC which has used the Racial and Religious Tolerance act of 2001 to prosecute people for criticising Islam.

    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/legal/publications/law_society_journals/2005/permissable_limits_freespeech.html

    Quote: the legislation was drafted to carefully draw the boundary between the competing rights of freedom of expression and the right to be free of offensive behaviour based on religious hatred.

    In other words – the HREOC defends your right to speech that doesn’t offend anybody. How reassuring.

    You see the greens do no actually believe in Civil Liberties at all. They believe in forcing everyone to agree with them, no more and no less.

    You are way, way off the mark about the Greens Jarrah. Just because they support gay marriage does not make them the good guys. They are socialists who wish to use the power of the state to control people to a far larger degree than is currently the case. They just couch it in terms designed to make them seem harmless, when they are anything but.

  30. john walker says:

    “In the golden era of Federation to WWI, it was 5% of GDP and we were the per capita wealthiest nation on earth.”
    It was the need to provide medical care (and often pensions) for the 200 thousand diggers returning at the end of ww1 that created the beginnings of a proportionately large welfare /medical sector. All of these men had been volunteers and virtually all of them had been either wounded , gassed ,many both and many also carried very real mental damage. It is simply wrong to attribute the massive PRE -WW2 expansion of the system, to events in the 1950s.

    As to the Greens, ‘ green’ is a bit of an empty variable . People can and do put just about anything in to it.

  31. john walker says:

    Actually, ‘green’ often = ‘other’

  32. . says:

    John,

    WWI also had a 10% mortality rate – medical doctors drafted in did not suffer these losses though.

    Did we not have doctors to serve the servicemen before they fought in the war? Have you got any data to back up your assertions?

    What legislation was made to accomodate for them? How many trained psychologists and psychatrists did we have then?

    The growth in Government spending was on invalid ex servicemen? Only after WWI though?

  33. john walker says:

    Have just read a interesting book on this matter (title escapes me- we were helping to cull lots of entrants for a prize- I will try to find it) .

    Mortality amongst the AIF was 5o thou out of a total of about 250thou. Proportionately only Russia suffered a higher casualty rate than the ANZACs

    The life long effects of the many toxic gases used are not all that well known these days .Gas was everywhere on the western front – gas masks were of little use-or even actually dangerous – some used formaldehyde to neutralize the gas. One ,I think it was Phosgene, for example caused slow but lasting blistering and scaring of the airwaves and was absorbed through the skin as well as by breathing. If somebody had some on his clothing and climbed into a dugout to sleep, everybody in the dugout was lightly gassed. Of the AIF who came back 100 +thou were in France. Many of them had sexual diseases, many had wounds, most had had some exposure to gas and many had shell shock.

    There was a huge expansion of ‘systems’ to ‘deal’ with them, albeit often rather poorly.

    Australia’s Deakanite and relatively generous pension system was created in pre war Australia , a famously healthy , hardworking place. (Many remarked on the contrast with the very runty poms; about half of all the english conscripts were so unhealthy that they were rejected as unfit for service.)

    The sudden appearance of thousands of men in the prime of life with chronic conditions more typical of the last years of life, crated a lot of pressure.

    Ps the 7th august will be the 92 anniversary of the morning of the battle of Villiers, the 3 days when the AIF, as the french president said Monash ‘ changed everything’

  34. john walker says:

    Sorry the battle of 7th august 1918 was Amiens
    If Monash was, in Conan Doyle’s words .” imaginative unrelenting and ruthless'”.
    I am simply middle aged and a crap typist,.

  35. john walker says:

    The book is titled ” The Dark Pocket of Time: War, medicine and the Australian State 1914-1935″ It is a bit of a book version of a PHD thesis- at times a bit ‘academic’.
    The thesis of the book -the importance of the returning wounded Anzacs as a driver of the development of public health care in Australia – is well argued and backed by a lot of professionally , thoroughly done, research. It is the individual stories and reports in some parts of the book that really got me, they make the individual realities of these men very concrete.

  36. john walker says:

    A question; despite all the back flips , apparent insincerity and opportunism of the last year of Mr Rudds leadership there is a tragic quality to the story – of Mr Rudd that is not simply down to the method of his final removal.

    Why this quality of tragic failure? What exactly was the flaw in the glass?

  37. Jarrah says:

    A sad story, Yobbo. It shows many of their flaws – aversion to individual choice and personal responsibility; dislike of business; hostility to trade; condescension towards the public, etc. Things like that are why I’m glad they’ll never be in power.

    Balance of power in the Senate, on the other hand, will mean they get some say, but can only push for amendments rather than drafting legislation. I can see many positives in that scenario.

  38. Yobbo says:

    “Balance of power in the Senate, on the other hand, will mean they get some say, but can only push for amendments rather than drafting legislation. I can see many positives in that scenario.”

    I can’t. It just allows them to do backroom deals that allow them to have far more influence than they would if they merely had a few lower house reps.

    Like I said I will be happy when they no longer exist, and until then I will put them last on every ballot.

  39. Peter Patton says:

    One thing I will say about The Greens is that they are extremely unattractive people. I don’t mean physically, but in character terms. Every single one of them in state and federal parliament is really quite awful. Priggishness really is the uber deadly sin.

    Who tend to be more repellent, Greens or international socialists?

  40. john walker says:

    A lot of the growth in the green vote is disaffected liberals.
    There could be some growing tension in the party if this trend continues.
    Don’t you think that the profile of the greens as a group of people (not the leadership) bear more of a resemblance the profile of a median UK liberal , than to a international socialists. The leadership of the party bring to mind a wonderful phrase from Conrad :” the exasperated vanity of ignorance”

  41. Peter Patton says:

    I definitely think they are a different type than international socialists. But my question was better or worse? You are right that the growth in the Green [polled] vote is coming more from Coalition voters than Labor voters.

    And Conrad’s quote is spot on. Whenever I see or hear The Greens perform, I can’t help shaking my head, and uttering, “you complete and utter priggish airhead.”

  42. john walker says:

    better or worse? They have not yet really had much chance to be put to the test.

    But going off the experience in Tasmania , the man who sees no problems in promoting his girl friend to a post she is not qualified to hold, is not a good indication. Righteousness can often be a cover for the narcissistic, selfish , causal hypocrite .

    George Seddon once wrote of a particularly pompous ‘explorer’ , (an explorer who needed frequent rescuing by the ” inferior blacks”) .
    That “there are forms of superiority that are based solely in a lack of curiosity”.
    The greens are strongly influenced by the modern ‘academic’ world – It is a world of of titles and qualifications and very compartmentalised knowledge, it is curiously , largely lacking in irony.

  43. Regulation says:

    Jarrah – Your article raises some interesting points, some I want to investigate further and some I don’t agree with.

    But to pick up on your last paragraph, we have already had a massive increase in regulation over the past 30 years (under both Labor and Liberal control). Regulation (under both Howard and Rudd) was growing 3 times faster than it was in the 1970’s.

  44. john walker says:

    Regulation

    In the Government funded art sector virtually all the money is these days paid to organisation management costs. The peter principle is alive and well.

  45. john walker says:

    The Libs in government rejected the resale scheme , because (apart from being an authoritarian: anti liberal idea in principle), it is also intrinsically economically a fairy land project

    The Total gross value of indigenous art sold at auction is about 5-8 million per year . This equates to about 250-300 thousand in royalties,
    collected at great publicly subsidised cost (1.5 million committed so far and rising).
    For many traders the royalty will be a fully tax deductible cost of biz.

    The money would have been better spent buying kidney machines for Alice!

    The parliamentary committee on the royalty was bi-partisan because of
    • a desire to put an end to the 15 year saga.
    • In the sincere hope that Mr Garret (a undoubtedly good man with a lot of indigenous friends) somehow knew better.
    • AND because- Otherwise ,the greens would get their hands on it.

    The current scheme has one great merit- it occupies the space .

    Judging by the ‘wording’ one of the greens advisers in this matter is provably the National Association of the Visual Arts (NAVA). In June/July 2008 NAVA was very publicly sacked from its role in drawing up the indigenous code of conduct; Because of slowness and a widespread “failure to consult”. NAVA was forced to pay back to the Australia council a grant of 100 thou- (something that very rarely ever happens.)
    At the end of 2007 one of the other people also involved in preparing the code of conduct rang up NAVA and asked why NAVA had not signed off on its part of the process NAVAs answer was ” we are to busy with the resale royalty”.

    Peter judging by their friends I would say that” complete and utter priggish airhead.” is too kind.
    I would go for- ‘selfish, narcissistic ,authoritarian ,mediocre and nasty’
    ‘Nearly all great men have been very bad men.’

  46. john walker says:

    NAVA is the chief lobbyist for the draconian compulsory ‘management right’ version of the resale royalty scheme- The scheme that the Greens have adopted.
    NAVA was publicly sacked from the indigenous code of conduct by the cultural minsters council and Mr Garret.
    NAVAs version of this event was that- “NAVA agreed to license the completion of the code of conduct to the Australia council” .

    I have just obtained a copy of NAVAs 09 year fin statement.
    NAVA had a gross income of $720k.
    $530 was in the form direct payments from the Australia council, an increase of about 40 thou on the previous year.
    Only 97 thousand of its total income was in the form of member contributions = %13
    Its member contributions have actually declined from about 120 thou in 2006 and are actually less than member contributions ten years ago.
    The management of the funded arts sector is -Answerable to no one .

  47. Joshua says:

    Suggestion: why not simply rename the Greens to a much better name that truly reflects what they are and what they represent.

    A great name would be “The Farcical Party”.

  48. Bernie Smith says:

    I believe the new greens of Australia will be the Health Australia Party. They have a wide range of policies that are truly green. Healthy policies in all aspects of life. Healthy people, healthy economy, healthy democracy, healthy environment and healthy society. They are a party that doesn’t blame other parties for problems, but tries to find ways to fix them. A truly fresh wind in the Australian political landscape.

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