Edited by Peta Seaton
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Time to tip over those SACRED COWS
Relying on ‘oh sh#*!’ moments is a bad way to make public policy reforms – but this is increasingly how it happens. Politicians are afraid to speak up, our parliaments and party organisations have lost their policy grunt, and our media caters to shorter attention spans and celebrities. It’s not a good recipe for long term ideas about how we live, work, and maintain our freedoms.
What If? offers the answers to questions that others are too afraid to tackle. 30 writers have climbed the fence into the paddock of Australian sacred cows – and tipped a whole lot over.
Some of our most outspoken media bosses, former premiers, policy wonks and idea enthusiasts ask the big new policy questions.
If you’ve ever wondered ...
What if we had nuclear energy? What if schools could make profits? What if you could review government performance online, like eBay? What if we brought back state taxes? Or how about abolishing states? What if we stopped bribing people to buy houses, stopped propping up industry, let people from different professions be school principals?
What if we had first class rail travel, and school teachers on individual contracts? What if you could sell your share of public services you don’t want? What if you could read what Cabinet sees?
The answers might surprise you – and many cows are not as sacred as they may have seemed.
What if we did any of these things? What-Iffers show we would have more choice, freer markets, government services that actually took you seriously, a stronger economy, better incentives and greater personal responsibility. Our children would inherit an Australia even better than one we have ....
And having asked the question, at least we won’t die wondering.
‘Disciplined refusal to rule ideas out on day one is often hard, but it is essential if fundamental change is to have a chance.’ Nick Greiner
‘COAG ... would likely be outlawed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission if it were a private business.’
‘nuclear power ... is one of the few effective pathways to an acceptable low carbon base load energy system.’
‘Cabinet should not be a hidey-hole where potential political embarrassments can be buried.’
‘It is the government’s responsibility, having enjoyed the luxury of a “safe” place to debate its course, to then be honest and open in explaining the rationale to the public. I wish our governments would do this with less spin.’
‘Failure is an option, in healthy liberal economies.’
‘We have come to accept that high level of safety built into jet airliners. Why can’t we accept the same or higher standards that exist in nuclear power technologies?’
‘No-one wants to see a return of laws requiring a man with a red flag to walk in front of every motor vehicle, but what regulation do we want of food handling and labelling at community sausage sizzles and cake stalls?’
‘We live in a country where it’s easier for a 15-year-old to get an ecstasy tablet than a bottle of vodka.’
‘Instead of a government monopoly, schools should be free to source curriculum from a range of providers and different sources.’
‘Sadly, fresh ideas in education are often early casualties of an emotional, reactionary onslaught from teacher unions.’
‘Spain, with the world’s most heavily subsidised green economy, has lost 2.2 real jobs for every green job created.’
‘Sydney should stop being run like a penal colony that is micro-managed through heavy handed commands and controls from Governor Macquarie Tower’.
‘NSW is now big enough to be more than Sydney’.
‘Its not nations that build cars – it’s companies.’
‘…the panoply of policies pursued by governments of both political persuasions in the name of promoting increased home ownership has conspicuously failed to achieve that objective.’
‘Democracy is all about choice, and accountability. And the internet is one of the most unwittingly aggressive instruments of democracy, even with appalling spelling.’
‘The ‘Federation system is … laying in its death bed in urgent need of resuscitation’
Nick Greiner – Former Premier of NSW from 1988 – 1992
John Hartigan - Chairman and chief executive, News Limited
Gary Sturgess - Director-General of the NSW Cabinet Office under Premier Nick Greiner
Oliver Marc Hartwich - Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies
Arthur Sinodinos - Former chief of staff to the Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard, between 1997 and 2006.
Julie Novak - Research Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs
Andrew Norton - Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies
Andrew Constance - NSW Shadow Minister for Ageing and Shadow Minister for Disability Services
Tim Wilson - Director of the IP and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs
Saul Eslake - Director of its Productivity Growth program at the Grattan Institute
Ken Phillips - Executive Director of Independent Contractors of Australia
Alan Moran - Director of the Deregulation Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs
Mike Keating - National Chair of the Australian Republican Movement
Adam Boyton – Former Policy Director and Chief of Staff to a NSW Opposition Leader
Ken Baxter - Former Head of the Premier’s Department in Victoria and NSW
Joe Hockey - Federal MP and Shadow Treasurer, and former government minister
Percy Allan - Former Secretary of the NSW Treasury
Paul Fletcher – NSW Member for Bradfield, elected in December 2009
David Weisbrot - Professor of Law and Governance at Macquarie University
Peta Seaton - Principal, policy and strategy consultancy, former NSW Shadow Treasurer
Kevin Donnelly - Director of the Education Standards Institute
Aniello Iannuzzi - NSW Director, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, Director Australian Doctor's Fund
Mark Wainwright - Past Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of New South Wales
Martin Laverty - CEO Catholic Health Australia
Andrew Tink - Visiting Fellow at Macquarie University’s Law School.
Michael Duffy - Co-presents ‘Counterpoint’ on Radio National and is a journalist with the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’
Jennifer Buckingham - Research fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies
Robert Clark – Victorian Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Finance
Julian Leeser - Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre
Barry O’Farrell - Leader of the Opposition in NSW
This product was added to our catalog on Monday 18 January, 2010.