Young and Free ?

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’ ?

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Tiu Fu Fong
Tiu Fu Fong
2022 years ago

A the moment I’m looking at CLERP 9, the government’s latest stab at corporate governance reform.

The press has focused on shareholder’s voting on directors’ remuneration and such, but a big part of the legislation is auditor independence reform. This is an area of reform which has wide ranging impacts and should be considered carefully (which I’ve been doing for the last fortnight).

Rather than put the draft legislation out for a 6-12 months period for comment (as is the case in other countries like the UK), the Federal Government has given everyone a 1 month period for comments. Given the legislation is full of drafting errors, internal conceptual errors, general conceptual errors and unintended consequences, this is a less than ordinary approach (and one of the reasons why I’ll be spending this coming weekend beavering away in my office). This approach is supported by popular sentiment (or, at least, that’s how the Government sees it).

An elder lawyer I was chatting with commented that this sort of tactic – heavy regulation, delegation of discretion to regulators, short exposure periods – was the approach taken in Nazi Germany as the government co-opted the business and corporate sphere.

Now, this (like any recent mention of Nazi-like tactics in Australian politics) sounds alarmist. But it is interesting to consider nonetheless.

Now Ruddock is seeking the power to proscribe political organisations by ministerial fiat. By disallowable instrument, yes, but that won’t prevent abuse in the 15 days of tabling.

It makes you wonder. My common sense says that Australia isn’t going to become a fascist state any time soon. Maybe people in Germany thought the same in the 1930s?

Hmmm… maybe it’s time to find a tinfoil hat.

The Usurer
2022 years ago

I wasn’t spinning any significant conspiracy theories, only noting that this particular element of law existed and what it was capable of being used for.

Moreover, I suspect the original motivation of this particular provision (and all like it) was only partly about protecting consumers and more to do with keeping up a good image for Australian financial markets on the world scene – in short, an exercise in uttering all the right buzz-phrases. Getting into worse territory lies in the future.

Btw, I have expressly said before that much regulation etc elements did (at the time at least) make technical sense. The training content of financial services licensing and need for expectation of law-abiding behaviour is included within that. As I also said at the time, that isn’t the basis I argue against licensing on. Similarly, nor is the egregiousness of this particular provision an argument against licensing as such either, and I never claimed that it was.

JJM

Tiu Fu Fong
Tiu Fu Fong
2022 years ago

Sorry, I didn’t mean to insinuate that you were spinning conspiracy theories or the like. I meant to insinuate that I was reaching the tinfoil hat stage.

Tiu Fu Fong
Tiu Fu Fong
2022 years ago

Realisation has dawned that JJM was responding to Mr Woods. I withdraw my previous post.

observa
observa
2022 years ago

Most businessmen I know often subscribe to the view that business would be a snack without the customers and the paperwork. Some of us read about frontier capitalism in parts of Iraq at the moment and get a bit misty-eyed. Packing a six-gun seems to be the drawback though.

Increasing technology, sophistication and interdependence seem to create more and more specialisation. I know I outsource or defer to an increasing array of (licensed) specialists as they do with me. You still have a quiet chuckle at the benign naivety of some customers in the construction and development field.

Better technologies can bring obvious benefits such as the introduction of electrical RCD protection devices on-site. They are cheap and effective and compulsory use was widely accepted. This technology has almost completely eliminated the threat of electrocution on building sites. The next step of requiring ALL electrical leads and power tools to be tested and tagged by a licensed person evey 3 months seems ridiculous. Note also here that a tradesman purchasing a brand new lead or power tool, which complies with all Aust Standards, must have this tested before use.

With this requirement in all workplaces, my teacher wife was asked to take home her privately provided class microwave, cassette player, etc to avoid this ongoing expense at school. Bad luck kiddies!

kez
kez
2022 years ago

i’ve heard that lobby groups are currently encouraging the government to introduce compulsory contracts for persons (coaches) involved in organizing and maintaining local children’s sports clubs – contracts stating they intend no harm to children etc.

the concepts of freedom and responsibility are changing, but progress wouldn’t be a word i’d use to describe this process..

Norman
Norman
2022 years ago

Sadly, centuries after his death, the overwhelming majority of commentators on each and every issue, continue to be oblivious to the importance of Socrates’ plea that we first define our terms. Why is this so?
Because ignoring it makes it far easier to maintain a high self esteem, even if it doesn’t help us maintain a rational analysis.