Australia’s 13 mistakes

The IPA’s article on Australia’s 13 biggest mistakes (pdf) is a good conversation starter.   I’m not very good at exercises like that, so I don’t have a list of my own.   Certainly the ‘mistake’ of publishing J S Mill’s On Liberty is an odd one – I guess kind of tongue in cheek it reflects classical liberals’ love/hate relationship with the old JSM.   Hayek started out being a big fan but became more and more equivocal as he went on. Mill had embraced socialism – on utilitarian grounds you see.

Anyway there are lots of interesting claims and thoughts there. I wonder what a left of centre version of the list would look like?

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whyisitso
whyisitso
15 years ago

I note you’re calling for the left’s list. Before they have their say, I think IPA could have included the imposition of dependency on to the aboriginals by the so-called progressive left thirty odd years ago, as so ably articulated by Noel Pearson in many of his addresses.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
15 years ago

I don’t understand why they’ve got JS Mill’s On Liberty in there. On Liberty is a fully libertarian document and says nothing about protectionism or socialism ( at least from recollection). That stuff was in Mill’s political economy text.

whyisitso
whyisitso
15 years ago

I’ll have to re-read On Liberty. It’s quite a few years since I last read it and I also don’t recall anything non-libertarian, particularly on protectionism. but then I wasn’t looking for it either. Maybe some of his other essays do, however, and perhaps the IPA is saying that “On Liberty” in isolation is OK but it’s given him undue credibility for the rest of his work?

Chris Lloyd
Chris Lloyd
15 years ago

#4 refers to the “huge mistake” of state funding of sport – to the outlandish extent of m$250 per year in 06-07. This is about $10 each. I reckon most tax payers are OK with this as it brings a couple of dozen gold medals and makes us feel good. Pretty trivial stuff for #4.

On the white Australia policy, I wonder whether commenters might offer a vision of what Australia would be like now had the immigration policy been completely non-discriminatory (which of course was unthinkable at the time and could never have happened). Almost sounds like a plot for a sci-fi novel.

whyisitso
whyisitso
15 years ago

As a matter of principle I’m against government funding of sport, particularly elite sport. Just as I’m against government for other sectional wanking such as the arts, the ABC, etc etc.

Nevertheless if we MUST have this sort of thing, elite sport does give a lot of Australians pleasure, especially if we WIN. Methinks it might be more justified (at least on that basis) than subsidies to less popular activities.

cam
cam
15 years ago

Chris, I reckon most tax payers are OK with this as it brings a couple of dozen gold medals and makes us feel good.

Didn’t that start because some Australian coach went over to Bulgaria in the 1950s, saw the massive state support for sport there and freaked out.

Sport has proved it is a commercial success, I dont think it needs state support, especially the Cricket Academy, it has had sponsors in the past, which suggests it doesnt need ASC funding. It is not like cricket is some pokey forgotten sport that no-one plays or watches.

Robert Merkel
15 years ago

The greatest problem with making a list like this is that conservatives don’t *do* anything. In the main (granted, people like Kennett were exceptions), they just sit there and twiddle their thumbs while in government. This tends to avoid having their name associated with mistakes (even though some of the “mistakes” the IPA advances are pretty laughable)

Of the present government, I’d have to say the stuffup of greatest long-term consequence would have to be their instransigence on greenhouse emissions; the Libs’ “la-la-la I can’t hear you” approach might have little direct consequence on a global scale (though it will make the inevitable adjustments that much harder and more costly for us), but the political cover it’s given the USA has been invaluable to that country’s efforts to avoid doing anything.

Another stuffup of long-term importance: not doing enough doctor and especially specialist medical training through the 1980s and 1990s. That one has lots of blame to go around (thank you, Royal Colleges of Surgeons, last of the guilds), but there’s plenty that can be heaped on governments state and federal too.