Not your house. Not your land by ProQuest


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    Nanny State                                                                 Property Rights                         According to the Weekly
                                                                                                                  Times three generations of
    the GST is a massive fat tax                                                not your house.                   the Masters family ‘have
    Julie Novak                                                                 not your land.                    turned their ancestral home

                                                                                Richard Allsop                    into an oasis surrounded by
                any public health activists claim that a tax on
                                                                                                                  a lush garden containing 150

                fatty food is necessary to tackle obesity.
                                                                                           ormally, if your       rose varieties, ancient fruit
                      The critics of this fat tax idea point to
                                                                                           house is heritage-     trees and neat rows of chook
    a number of studies revealing the limitations of such
                                                                                           listed, you have       pens and well-maintained
    a scheme. A 2005 US study of a 10 per cent fat tax
                                                                                a problem if you want to          buildings’ and also raised 28
    on dairy products found that it would not lead to a
                                                                                knock it down, or renovate        children in the old house.
    significant reduction in fat consumption. A 2006 study
                                                                                it. Robert Masters of Gun-              There is some dispute
    presented at an agricultural economics conference in
                                                                                bower in northern Victoria        about whether a lease signed
    Australia found that fat taxes to finance nutritional edu-
                                                                                is happy to leave the home        in 1987 can be extended to
    cation program may actually increase fat consumption.
                                                                                his great-grandfather built in    the next generation of the
         However, those supportive of an evidence based
                                                                                1863 exactly as it is.            Masters family, but any sen-
    policy stance usually want more than just the recitation
                                                                                      So where is the prob-       sible conception of property
    of academic studies modelling the hypothetical impact
                                                                                lem? The problem is Parks         rights would assess that the
    of policy change. They are after information about the
                                                                                Victoria, which is evicting       Masters have a better claim
    effects of policies implemented in real life.
                                                                                the Masters family from           to the site than Parks Victoria
         Most governments around the world have been
                                                                                both the 1863 heritage-listed     does.
    sensible enough (so far!) to avoid such a discriminatory,
                                                                                house, and a second 1950s               No-one could seriously
    onerous tax regime. Except for Australia, that is.
                                                                                residence.                        believe that a Government
         In order to secure passage for its tax reforms, fresh
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