A generation is being robbed of the opportunity to learn critical thinking

Freedom of speech, according to Cato’s Letters, is “the great bulwark of liberty; they prosper and die together: And it is the terror of traitors and oppressors, and a barrier against them. It produces excellent writers, and encourages men of fine genius.” It is a fundamental right that all Australian citizens, both young and old, should enjoy.  Free speech should be protected and fought for, with only restrictions placed on it when it comes into direct conflict with other human rights. The ability to exercise one’s right to free speech is critical to learning, intellectual discovery and a free society as a whole.

Inscribed in the sandstone façade above the main entrance of the University of Queensland is the legend: “Place of light, liberty and learning”. For nobody is freedom of speech more important than it is for young people; at no time is it more important than their time at our universities.

Laws like section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act place unnecessary curtailments on the freedom of speech of all Australians. Whilst free speech can legitimately be limited when it conflicts with other human rights, there is no right protecting people from being offended or insulted. These limits work, instead, to stifle debate and discussion around issues that some may find controversial or even challenging.

Suppressing the exposure of students to ideas and views hinders the development of critical reasoning

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Your retirement savings are funding a campaign against the rule of law

The Australian Union movement held its conference in Sydney this week.

Only days earlier, one of the major unions, the CFMEU, issued threats against the safety of public servants and their families for enforcing Australian laws in construction sites.

The CFMEU is aggrieved the government has managed to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

The ABCC is a tough cop on the beat to ensure houses and workplaces are built in the community’s interests, not to line the pockets of union bosses.

The conference handbook tells delegates how terrible the government is for enforcing the rule of law in the building industry. No mention of lower construction costs by ending the union rorts and rip-offs here!

Hilariously, the handbook runs through other talking points for delegates on matters including tax, penalty rates and inequality.

Of course, there is no mention of the deals union bosses do to reduce or eliminate penalty rates for multinationals to line their own pockets.

Equally, there is a very funny section on tax where it is claimed companies are supposed to pay tax on income. Every small business owner knows you pay tax on profit which is:

Income (minus) expenses = profit.

Perhaps the most interesting page is the last one which presents the union movement’s partners (or sponsors).

No fewer than 8 industry super funds are conference partners as are three different industry associations representing industry funds:

Super funds:

  • Care Super
  • Australian Super
  • CBUS
  • TWU Super
  • Host plus
  • First State Super
  • REST Super

How much money do these organisations put into unions? Over the past 10 years, over $50m of retirement savings has been transferred to unions.

In most cases, the people running the union also sit on the board of the super fund.
It is any wonder why the industry super funds fight like mad against reforms to impose independent directors!

Either way, the members of the eight super funds above deserve to know their retirement savings are funding a campaign against the rule of law in the building industry, transparency in superannuation and the Coalition government.

Source: ACTU

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The greatest gift of a nation – intergenerational fairness

Geoffrey Winters

No generation should be less well off than the one before” is an old adage of decreasing relevance to Australian millennials.  Forget the near impossible task of entering the housing market, attempting to save in a half-decade of no real wage growth or the escalating cost of living – the biggest challenge facing our generation is the structural high cost base and aging society.  For example, there are 4.5 working taxpayers currently paying for the healthcare and pensions of every Australian over the age of 65.

By 2050 the taxpayer to old age pensioner ratio is anticipated to drop to 2.7:1, while the cost of those services per person is expected to increase at the same time.  My generation will be left worse off than generations before us, thanks to a culture of entitlement among those who can afford to take care of themselves.

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New growth jobs WA – from timber to truffles

ABC News Photo by Robert Koneig-Luck
Sky News Commentator and former adviser to Liberal Prime Ministers and Premiers

I grew up in a small town, deep in the forest of the south-west of Western Australia, when the wine country of Margaret River was still too out of reach for many average Australians, truffles were yet to be found in the hills of Manjimup and everyone’s dad worked logging timber.

Here, politics isn’t high-brow social engineering. It’s about having a job, putting food on your table, a roof over your family’s head and helping your kids do better in life than you did. It’s a long way from Potts Point or Toorak and the opinions of those here are often crowded out when it comes to policy making. But where I’m from is an example of people benefitting from trade, investment and tourism policy decisions that will shape a generation of regional Australians for the better.

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Jobs not robots – the small business advantage

Robot production line

With the implementation of the Federal Government’s tax breaks for small business announced in the May Budget, the nation’s small business owners are already buying new equipment and expanding.

Under the changes, the corporate tax rate will be reduced from 28.5 per cent to 27.5 per cent for the 2016–17 income year for small businesses. The aggregated turnover threshold to qualify as a small business has also been increased from $2 million to $10 million.

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OPINION: Small business is no small beer

Australian Small Business

Is laissez-faire economics being sent to the garbage bin of history? It just might be – and a good thing too. Voting patterns around the world show that most people are sick and tired of government inaction and policy domination by powerful vested interests. It’s time the Australians who make up the small business sector got a genuinely fair go.

So what does that mean? To start off with, policymakers have to realise that the small business sector is not something that follows a particular formula. In the real world, the small business community is diverse; we are retailers, café owners, pharmacists, owner drivers, couriers, independent contractors, manufacturers, IT experts, accountants, real estate agents, lotto agents, newsagents, cable layers etc. We are based in shopping malls, at home, in shopping strips, on the internet, on major highways, in industrial parks, in cities, in towns and in our trucks. We are all individuals.

“the small business sector is not something that follows a particular formula”

We can at times be segmented into larger groups for behavioural purposes, for example, we can assume that owner drivers are more worried about losing their drivers licence than a home-based business operator, bad as that would be. But policymakers who believe the small business community is homogenous – or worse that it behaves according to some textbook theory – are bound to work on flawed, exaggerated or false assumptions.

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Who’s your grand-daddy?

Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders

We can’t be the only ones who remember that brief, disturbing time in which Australia declared the newly-minted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to be “daddy”.

We were curious how UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and US Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders would stack up in the daddy stakes. Corbyn got a huge slice of the youth vote and Sanders didn’t make it through the primary but still commands the hearts, minds and Twitter feeds of voters craving a political quality which has been thin on the ground.

It’s The Fair Go’s considered opinion that this quality is Daddiness. Or maybe more like grand-daddiness. Hear us out.

At first glance, you’d have to say that these old white leaders (OWLs) are unlikely heroes for a woke generation. But the young, white and wealthy just can’t get enough of them.

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Simplify Medicare to make it better and more sustainable



“Stop eating as much and do a bit of exercise … the Australian Taxation Office is not going to save you” was Barnaby Joyce’s response to a renewed parliamentary debate for a moralistic sugar tax.

Putting aside the idea that there are definitely some health issues that a decent run and a salad won’t fix, Barnaby Joyce was on the money when it comes to the complex overreach of the Government into individual Australians’ health care.

With health expenditure reaching 10 percent of the GDP for the first time, it is, of course, a natural interest of the Government to keep Australians healthy. A recent report from The Future Health Index, which surveyed more than 33,000 individuals across 19 countries has revealed that relative to expenditure, overall health outcomes in Australia still left much to be desired. This suggests (*shock horror*) that increased expenditure by government is not a direct solution to the health needs of Australians.

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Women are just people

Women are people

There seems to be an expectation that when women write, it is not as the people they are, but as an exponent of a gender, a spokesperson for a cause. And I’m a little sick of it.  It’s a privilege of the wealthy and stable nation I was born into that I’m even able to write about this endless navel-gazing.

Forgive me for thinking that the struggles of “women’s liberation” and second-wave feminism were about getting the vote, the right to work and equal pay for the same work at the same seniority, the choice in what clothes to wear, and all the rest. Instead, it’s become an ideological mission to create perpetual conflict between genders, to exact revenge on men, and never to let peace reign.

Since women achieved suffrage in 1894 in South Australia, the cause in Australia for equal rights has achieved monumental social change, on an unprecedented time scale. I am confident that my daughters will have equal opportunity in the workplace. There is still some work to be done, in sport for example. And the benefits of feminism are still largely enjoyed by the middle class; not nearly as much has changed for girls from working class families, who live similar lives to their own mothers.

“It’s a privilege of the wealthy and stable nation I was born into that I’m even able to write about this endless navel-gazing”

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Ignore the doom, we are a nation of innovators

Innovation Light Globe

Australia is a nation of innovators, we always have been. Our geography and isolation have shaped us. Australians have been leaders in both maritime and aeronautical fields, including powered flight, the black box flight recorder, the inflatable escape slide, the wave-piercing catamaran and the winged keel (thank you Ben Lexcen). In the fields of agriculture and mining, Australians have invented the grain stripper, the stump jump plough, mechanical sheep shears, the Dethridge water wheel, the froth flotation ore separation process, and the buffalo fly trap. Australia has a proud history in defence technology, including the underwater torpedo and most recently hypersonic rocket breakthroughs. And Australian scientists have invented breakthroughs such as ultrasound, the bionic ear, the electronic pacemaker and WiFi. Our current Australian of the Year is Emeritus Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, a pioneering stem cell scientist.

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