Published in The Canberra Times on 3 April 1982.

The Franklin River, in Tasmania’s wild south-west, is under threat by a hydro-electricity damming scheme. CRISPIN HULL rafted down river, finding the beauties and ruthlessness of the wild.

Franklin River rafters call it the Masterpiece.

It is a slab of rock the size of a car that sticks out on the western side of the river. The river has taken thousands of years to carve it into a smooth, abstract sculpture, and it has not finished its work. [click to continue…]

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THE Treasurer and others might well look to behavioural psychology and behavioural economics when framing the Budget, but we would be better off if they ignored them. It took several decades for mainstream economists to accept that the economists’ view of the world was essentially flawed. [click to continue…]

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INTERNATIONAL competitiveness has had a bad week, whereas with a little enlightened government it could be the beginning of something really worthwhile.
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OVER the past week we have seen, yet again, the depressingly deficient way our political parties are dealing with what amounts to about half of their job – raising revenue. It was yet another jack-in-a-box policy. Out of the box suddenly and noisily popped Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen. They blurted out a line-item proposal to change to Australia’s complicated tax system. There appeared to be no consultation with even the partyroom, let alone the wider public which contains deep academic, industry and think-tank knowledge. [click to continue…]

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MOST governments and regulators will admit they were taken by surprise by Uber, yet with many car companies expecting to have driverless cars in the early 2020s (two years away), a lot of questions remain unanswered. The chief executive and commissioner of the National Transport Commission, Paul Retter, acknowledged as much at the Australian Logistics Council Forum in Sydney last week. Equally, electric cars (driverless or not) present a major tax question. Smart governments would be preparing for the disruption. [click to continue…]

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Measuring progress not just money

by on March 16, 2018

HERE is a hypothetical example about a small jurisdiction – Tasmania – which can be used to illustrate a point. Just say Tasmania’s GDP grows by 1.5 per cent one year to $30 billion and the Tasmanian Government says, “Wow, we are obviously getting it right.” [click to continue…]

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As China’s President Xi Jinping came closer this week to becoming the next Emperor of China for Life, western leaders wrung their hands and worried about China’s military power; cyber power and soft power – meanwhile naively surrendering, without a scintilla of opposition, primacy the one field that made the British and then the American empires world dominant – energy. [click to continue…]

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Money not argument is the answer to NRA

by on February 23, 2018

AFTER the Florida shootings, Australia was again mentioned sporadically as an example of how to do gun control. Buy back the guns and destroy them. Ban a huge range of high-powered guns. And strictly control purchases of weapons and how they are stored. Too easy, you would think. The vast majority of Americans know what is needed. But getting there is far more difficult in the US than in Australia. Nonetheless there is another aspect of Australian political life which could be quite helpful in the US. [click to continue…]

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Better to kick banks while they are up

by on February 17, 2018

NOW that the banking Royal Commission is under way, it is a good time to reflect on the Australian financial system over the past decade and be grateful that we are kicking the banks while they are up, not down. Far better to have obscenely profitable banks than grotesquely bankrupt ones. [click to continue…]

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THE Australian Government should consider setting up, or at least subsidise, a major domestic and exporting cigarette industry in Australia, even if the subsidies go to foreign companies or that the domestic industry is run by foreign companies. It would create jobs and promote exports. If the demand for the product can be boosted both here and abroad, the jobs created would outweigh any downsides. [click to continue…]

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