Australian’s let us rejoice,
For we are young and free.
For a start if it means me, that’s ageist, I’m now chronologically superior and if it refers to the age of the country, when do we become grown up ?
Apropos the debate about freedom to espouse a political ideology and freedom of satire?? I think that most of the commenters are suffering the self delusion (that they actually know what they’re talking about) arising from a far from perfect understanding of the foundations of what they like to call democracy and that our system of government can only continue to subjugate the rights of it’s citizens while they are apathetically engrossed by ‘the race that stops the nation’. How can a debate about individual freedoms, constitutional rights etc. not make reference to the French Revolution ?
UPDATE: When asked what he thought about a bunch of seafaring Ottomans beaching a boat on Melville island, a Tiwi elder said “They didn’t get a permit to visit from the Tiwi Land Council so we don’t want anything to do with them.”
Now I’m not suggesting that the Brown Kettle bears much resemblance to Robespierre but I think that what happened at the end of the 16th century has just as much relevance as Herr Hitler (sponsor of the one nation, no reffos, only red heads permitted to be so stupid, party) or Pol Pot (see what happens when we adopt year zero policies) particularly when it comes to the application of ideology born out of raving megalomania. I suspect the historians amongst you will be able to give many more examples of power corrupting absolutely.
The point I’d like to make is that where we are in Oz today hasn’t come about through a revolution but by the gradual usurpation of a whole raft of ‘little’ rights or freedoms that we’ve always taken for granted. Like ‘innocent until proven guilty’. Tell that to the ATO when it fines you for breach of the Act, payable within 14 days, until you prove your innocence ! Or argue with ASIO while they hold you in communicado (for god knows how long under the new legislation); where did they learn that one, Chile, Argentina ? How long before we have mothers marching in the streets demanding information about ‘los desaparecidos’. Try to disagree with the local council about zoning bylaws, advertising regulations or selling your car. But the most insidious transgressions of average punters rights and freedoms are those protected by licences. Why can’t anyone other than a newsagent sell newspapers? Or why can’t consumers shop in a pharmacy in Woolies? Only lawyers can do conveyancing in Queensland, only permit holders can busk, demonstrate, etc. etc. Or why do … insert your favourite government organised and sanctioned monopoly here ….
On another floor of ubersport towers John McVey conjures up conspiracy theories galore “S913B(4)(d) clearly allows ASIC to consider social, political, or other philosophical views of outspoken persons when deciding whether to grant a license” in support of his arguments against licensing authorities having the power to reject an application on the grounds of lack of ‘good fame and character’. The whole thrust of licensing financial planners has nothing to do with protecting consumers, but everything to do with protecting accountants and lawyers who may continue to spout bullshit to their clients until the cows come home, completely without fear of retribution for giving false or inappropriate advice. And while we’re talking about licensing, how about Real Estate agents having to know a bit more about investment (negative gearing, capital gains tax, interest rate cycles) than how to achieve $1,000,000 in sales ?
Government monopolies have another nefarious side affect. In order to obtain a licence it’s mandatory to have professional indemnity and/or public liability insurance. Want to run a tourist bus in Kakadu ? Prove you have $10,000,000 in PL insurance before you can get a license. Of course, once the lawyers find out that you have insurance they’ll destroy your business when a stupid tourist gets bitten by a crocodile.
I don’t necessarily believe that there be no licensing whatsoever. It’s probably preferable that a brain surgeon is examined as to his/her expertise from time to time and not everyone should be able to rent an operating theatre to an obliging barber when they find out that their knee reconstruction will cost $3,000 more than the MBF subsidy – but at the same time that doesn’t mean that alternate medicines must all go through the TGA regulatory machine and the anyone who has passed an exam is the fount of all medical wisdom.
The whole system of Government has gradually been chipped away to the point where the ordinary citizen can’t shit, let alone carry on a business, advertise a service, dig a swimming pool etc. etc. without a licence. What’s your best example of living ‘under license’ ?