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                                                                                                                                OCT.98/FEB.99
in                                NEWSLETTER OF THE INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS


  The End of the Population Explosion?
                       Ron Brunton          lowest likely figure for the year 2050        population guru Paul Ehrlich claim that
                       is an anthro-        would be 7.9 billion, and falling. In 1996,   the world has already exceeded its ‘car-
                       pologist and         this was revised to 7.7 billion. A few        rying capacity’. But while ‘carrying ca-
                       Head of the          weeks ago the UN released its latest          pacity’ may be useful for arousing anxi-
                       Indigenous           estimate, 7.3 billion.                        ety about population, it is not a very
                       Issues Unit of            The UN also predicts that within 25      helpful scientific concept.
                       the IPA. He          years populations throughout Europe                In just a single year, 1994, published
                       has just             will begin to decrease, and that by 2050      scientific estimates of the planet’s car-
                       published            eastern and southern European nations         rying capacity varied from less than 3
 ‘The End of the Overpopulation             will be around 20 per cent smaller than       billion people – which means that we
 Crisis?’ as an IPA Backgrounder.           they are today.                               are already finished—to 44 billion, or
 The following article appeared as               Nevertheless, 7.3 billion people is      well over seven times the current popu-
 an op-ed piece in the Herald Sun           still 1.4 billion more than the world’s       lation.
 by the author. It presents the major       present population. ‘How will all these            But one of the best reasons for ig-
 themes contained in his                    people be fed?’ you might ask. After all,     noring the doomsayers is their spec-
 Backgrounder.                              even now hundreds of millions of peo-         tacular record of failed predictions,
                                            ple are not getting enough to eat.            which shows that they don’t understand


I
      F you have been lying awake                But hunger cannot be blamed on           how the world really works.
      worr ying about the population        overpopulation. World food production              Thirty years ago Paul Ehrlich pre-
      explosion, you can finally get a      has greatly outpaced population growth        dicted that pesticide-induced cancers
 good night’s sleep. Not only is the ‘ex-   since the 1950s. Food is now more             would soon cause life expectancy in the
 plosion’ fizzing out; predictions that     abundant and affordable than at any           United States to plummet to 42 years.
 rapid population growth would bring        other time in history. Where people go        (It is now around 76 years.) He also told
 famines, resource shortages and en-        hungry today it is because of corrup-         British biologists, ‘If I were a gambler,


                                                                                                                                                v
 vironmental catastrophes have not          tion, mismanagement, trade barriers,          I would take even money that England
 come true either. And they are un-         and poverty resulting from inequalities
 likely to come true in the future.         in political power.
     For the past two or three decades,
 birth rates have been tumbling all
 over the world. In 61 countries the
 birth rate has declined to a level be-
 low what is needed to replace the
                                                 The massive gains in food produc-
                                            tion have come about through im-
                                            proved agricultural yields, rather than
                                            through big increases in the amount of
                                            land planted with crops. And advances
                                                                                              SIDE
                                                                                             in
                                                                                            Major IPA Lectures                  2
 population.                                in biotechnology promise to raise yields
     These countries represent 44 per       even further in the future, allowing the        New IPA Board Member                2
 cent of the world’s population, and        return of large areas of farmland to wild-      Forthcoming Publication             2
 include virtually every developed na-      life habitat, even while feeding billions
 tion, as well as almost the whole of       more people.                                    Media Monitoring Unit               3
 eastern Asia. In another 34 countries           Of course, the environmental and           New Publications                    4
 in Asia and Latin America, birth rates     population activists denounce all this as
 are only a little higher than replace-     a ‘technological fix’. They favour ‘social
                                                                                            IPA Events                          5
 ment level and declining rapidly.          engineering fixes’, despite this centu-         Media Highlights                    6
     Consequently, predictions about        ry’s sorry histor y of attempts to re-
                                                                                            Media Roundup                       7
 the future growth of the world’s popu-     model human beings along the lines the
 lation keep on coming down. In 1994        activists would like.                           Diary Notes                         7
 the United Nations thought that the             Doomsayers like the American over-


in TOUCH            OCT. 1998/FEB. 1999                                                                                                    1
will not exist in the year 2000’.
    Actually, he was a gambler. In 1980
he accepted a wager offered by the
                                                     Major IPA Lectures
economist Julian Simon, who had long
ridiculed Ehrlich’s predictions that
overpopulation would cause terrible
                                                Professor Lord                              A Public Lecture
global shortages. Simon bet that the        Skidelsky to Give T wo                           The Future of Russia
real price of any five natural resources    Lectures in Melbourne                            The Shell Theatrette
of Ehrlich’s own choosing would be                                                          Tuesday 4 May 6.30pm
lower in 1990 than in 1980, because re-     Professor Robert Skidelsky is a re-
                                                                                      Lord Skidelsky will revisit his incisive
coverable reserves would continue to        nowned economic historian and biog-
                                                                                      analysis of post-Cold War politics and
outstrip demand. Ehrlich lost badly.        rapher of John Maynard Keynes. He
                                                                                      blueprint for how the West could assert
    So what was the lesson Ehrlich          has written and lectured extensively on
                                                                                      its ideological leadership to assist east-
learnt? Did he stop making his wild pre-    post-collectivisation, Thatcherism and
                                                                                      ern Europe adjust from the havoc of
dictions? Of course not. He increased       the welfare state, and Eastern Europe.
                                                                                      communism. He will review the events
his attacks on Simon’s supposedly un-       He holds the chair of Political Economy
                                                                                      of the last few years in Russia—includ-
realistic and dangerous claims that the     at Warwick University in Great Britain.
                                                                                      ing the recent traumatic upheavals in
world did not face an overpopulation        He is Chairman of the Social Market
                                                                                      its economy and political system—and
problem.                                    Foundation—one of the UK’s most in-
                                                                                      analyse where things went wrong. He
    So when people like Paul Ehrlich        fluential think-tanks—and Opposition
                                                                                      will outline how the West can help Rus-
and his followers warn that population      Front Bench Spokesman for the Treas-
                                                                                      sia re-start the restructuring process
growth will bring about a catastrophe,      ury.
                                                                                      towards a modern liberal economy. The
perhaps it is really time to have more          Professor Skidelsky will be in Mel-
                                                                                      lecture should provide food for thought
babies.                                     bourne in the first week of May to give
                                                                                      and debate for anyone concerned with
                                            two lectures.
                                                                                      the economic and political challenges
                                                In his much acclaimed 1995 book—
                                                                                      faced by Russia and Eastern Europe.
                                            The World After Communism—Lord
New IPA Boar d Member                       Skidelsky presented a profound and elo-
                                            quent analysis of the demise of collec-
                       Elizabeth Proust     tivism and the rise of economic free-
                                            dom. In these two Melbourne lectures
                                                                                        Forthcoming IPA
                       joined ANZ in
                       Januar y 1998.       Professor Skidelsky develops some of          Publication
                       She is Group         the further issues arising from the
                       General Man-         themes of his analysis.                     The Changing Fortunes
                       ager, Corporate                                                 of Economic Liberalism:
                       Af fairs and Hu-
                       man Resources,       1999 C.D. Kemp Lecture                           Yester day, Today and
                       with responsibili-                                                          Tomorrow
                                                  Is Economic Freedom
                       ties which in-                  Sustainable?
clude property, HR, media, government                                                      by David Henderson
                                                   The Australian Club
and community affairs.                            Monday 3 May 7.00pm                     with an Intr oduction by
    Prior to joining ANZ, Ms Proust was                                                         Lord Lawson
Secretary of the Department of Premier      Professor Skidelsky claimed that the
and Cabinet in Victoria. Other positions    global pattern of transformation from      This book began as a talk given in
she has held include CEO of the Mel-        collectivism to economic freedom is one    1997 at the Economic Freedom of
bourne City Council, Secretary of the       of the most hopeful events of the Twen-    the World Conference in Berlin. First
Attorney-General’s Department (Victo-       tieth Century. However, in the last few    published by the Institute of Economic
ria), and Deputy Director-General of the    years, there has been growing disquiet,    Affairs it has now been republished
Department of Industry, Technology          both in Australia and internationally,     by the IPA jointly with the New
and Resources. She also spent seven         over the turmoil in Russia, Asia and       Zealand Business Roundtable.
years with BP Australia and BP Inter-       Brazil and the persistent unemployment         Professor Henderson looks at the
                                            in the West. In this lecture, Lord         uneasy trend towards increased eco-
national Limited.
                                                                                       nomic liberalism, and asks whether
    Ms Proust is Member of Council,         Skidelsky will address a number of
                                                                                       this trend will continue. He takes a
The University of Melbourne, Director,      questions, including
                                                                                       120-year historical perspective, and
Opera Australia, Fellow of the Austral-     • To what extent have national states      considers whether this gives a darker
ian Institute of Company Directors, and         lost power to the global market?       view of the prospects for economic
Councillor, Victorian Division of the       • Will globalisation force all systems     liberalism than might at first have
Australian Institute of Company Direc-          of political economy to converge on    been thought. Ending on a caution-
tors.                                           the most ‘efficient’ model and what    ary note, Henderson concludes, ‘the
    Ms Proust holds a Bachelor of Arts          is it?                                 fortunes of economic liberalism
(Hons) from La Trobe University and a       • Does the extended market suit the        during the opening decades of the
Bachelor of Law degree from the Uni-            human condition?                       new century remain clouded and in
                                                                                       doubt’.
versity of Melbourne.


2                                                                                 in TOUCH           OCT. 1998/FEB. 1999
     The Media Monitoring Unit:
      First Project Applauded
The IPA’s Media Monitoring Unit’s            week of the campaign was not a ma-          news reports, but Bell focused his re-
first project, ‘Election ’98: TV News        jor story on the public broadcaster’s       port on the balance of comment be-
in the Spotlight,’ critically examined       evening news. In fact, it received less     tween the major players in the dispute.
TV news coverage of last year’s fed-         coverage on ABC News than it did on         Second, a TV report may ‘balance’ the
eral election campaign. The Unit’s           either Ten News or Seven Nightly            sources interviewed, but at the same
research—which monitors the fair-            News.                                       time present a ver y biased repor t
ness, accuracy and balance of public             Historically, while there have been     overall. That someone’s position is
af fairs news repor ting—was well            many complaints of bias levelled at         being presented on TV does not nec-
received by both the press and the           the media in Australia, it has never        essarily mean that the position is
general public. The study was re-            come under systematic scr utiny             being presented in a favourable light.
ported and debated in over 30 news-          through objective research. However,        These flaws in Bell’s report flowed
paper articles and columns and on nu-        given the importance of the media’s         from a very simplistic notion of bal-
merous radio stations. It was the first      role within a democratic system of          ance—namely, equal time given to
study of its kind in Australia to scien-     governance, its ability to report pub-      each side.
tifically and objectively measure the        lic affairs in a fair and balanced man-        The IPA’s Media Unit is assessing
balance or, more significantly, lack of      ner is critical. It was for this reason     the same coverage examined by Pro-
balance, often apparent in political         that the IPA established the Media          fessor Bell, but is looking at the wide
news coverage.                               Unit. Gratifyingly, public support for      range of issues associated with the
     The Monitoring Unit discovered          the Unit has been very encouraging.         dispute. The report will be released
that TV news reports on Election ’98         Over 60 individuals have already con-       some time in March.
focused more on the Coalition than           tributed to the Media Unit’s support
Labor and, in most cases, were more          fund and Mr Kerran Campbell, an IPA
critical of the Coalition’s policies. The    board member from Perth, wrote to
Unit found that Ten News provided the        compliment the Unit, saying, ‘This
most pro-Labor coverage of the four          type of research has the potential to           Available Now!
main free-to-air television networks’        change the face of politics in Aus-
Melbourne evening newscasts, while
National Nine News was the most bal-
                                             tralia’.
                                                                                             TV News in the
anced.
     Releasing its findings each week
                                                                                                Spotlight
throughout the election campaign,
                                             Looking Ahead …
there is now a feeling that the Unit’s       the Next Project
monitoring may have contributed to
a dramatic change in the ABC’s cov-          The Media Unit has already forged
erage. Frank Devine, commenting in           ahead with a new project. It is taking
The Australian of 22 February said,          a retrospective look at the ABC’s cov-
‘… the switch occurred after several         erage of last year’s waterfront dispute
bad hair days for the ABC, during            between the Maritime Union of Aus-
which an inter viewer asked nitwit           tralia and Patrick Stevedores. At the
questions of the Prime Minister about        time, Senator Richard Alston accused
the effect of the goods and services         the ABC of bias. ABC management
tax on heroin sales, Triple J promoted       duly commissioned Professor Philip
an anti-government pop group cam-            Bell, Foundation Chair, Media and
paign sailing under the banner of            Communications Unit of the Univer-
“Howard’s End”, and the IPA pub-             sity of New South Wales, to investi-
lished the first part of its bias and bal-   gate the claims. Based primarily on a
ance report’.                                measure of the sources interviewed
     Until that point, ABC News was the      for the nightly news reports, Profes-
most pro-Labor of the four news serv-        sor Bell found that the ABC had not
ices. But after that point, a definite       been biased in its handling of the dis-
change was detected by the Media             pute.                                            This IPA Backgrounder is
Unit. For example, although ABC                  Professor Bell’s report, however,             available now from the
News usually gives prominence to in-         overlooked a few very important fac-            Melbourne office of the IPA
dustrial relations news, a major union       tors. First, journalists provide the vast               for $10.00
rally in Melbourne during the last           majority of commentary on television


in TOUCH             OCT. 1998/FEB. 1999                                                                                      3
     New Publications from the IPA
    Renewing the Miracle                     ditional morality and social struc-          serve the public interest.
                                             tures, the non-Western world can                Obtainable from the IPA for
Economic Development and                     rightly invoke the ancient biblical in-      $12.95.
          Asia                               junction: ‘Physician heal thyself’.
                                                 Available from the IPA for $12.95.
          by Deepak Lal
This book is derived from the inau-             Media Regulation in
gural Harold Clough Lecture, which
took place in front of a large audience
                                                 Australia and the
at The Western Australia Club in                  Public Interest
Perth last July.
                                                by Dr Robert Albon and
                                                 Dr Franco Papandrea

                                             Successive Australian governments
                                             have been unwilling to let the market
                                             in the media industry work. Instead,
                                             claiming a host of ‘imperfections’, ‘fail-
                                             ures’ and ‘social responsibilities’, they
                                             have imposed a maze of special regu-
                                             lations controlling entry, ownership
                                             and content.                                 Australian Competition
                                                 The two authors demonstrate that
                                             many of these regulations have been
                                                                                                  Policy
                                             contrary to the public interest, result-             Deregulation or
                                             ing in too few services, delayed intro-               Reregulation?
                                             duction of new technologies, and
                                             greater concentration of media own-          by Deepak Lal, Alan Moran,
                                             ership.
                                                 While the regulator y structure
                                                                                            David Briggs & Richard
    In it, the distinguished Professor
of International Development Studies         has improved in recent years, it re-            Scheelings, Allan Fels,
at the University of California, Deepak      mains poorly placed to handle the                   Peter Allport
Lal, looks critically at Asia’s great suc-   challenges presented by new and con-
cess story in the context of its recent      verging technologies.                        Microeconomic reform in Australia
crisis. He looks to explain both the             Robert Albon and Franco Papan-           has typically promoted competition
reasons for past Asian success, and          drea argue that a less interventionist       by withdrawing government regula-
for the region’s current economic cri-       approach—including the removal of            tion. In contrast, current competition
sis.                                         cross-media rules and restriction on         policy introduces new regulations,
    This crisis, in part caused by the       foreign ownership—would better               especially over infrastructure facili-
‘crony capitalism’ that was a feature                                                     ties that are thought to constitute
of this so-called ‘East Asian’ alterna-                                                   natural monopolies.
tive to the Anglo-Saxon model of capi-                                                         This IPA Current Issues has col-
talism, has rightly brought many as-                                                      lected the papers based on the IPA’s
pects of this model into question. But                                                    inaugural deregulation conference
the question raised by these                                                              held in Melbourne on 24 July 1998,
‘culturalists’ is more general and re-                                                    some criticising, some defending.
lates to the sorely neglected but vi-                                                          If Dr Moran and the other three
tally important question of the rela-                                                     critics of Australian trade practices
tionship of culture to development.                                                       policy at this conference are correct,
    Deepak Lal, in this fascinating ac-                                                   it threatens microeconomic reform by
count, concludes that it is possible to                                                   undermining, rather than liberating,
modernize without Westernizing.                                                           the sources of wealth creation. This
Rather than pursue Western ‘habits                                                        collection carries the debate to the
of the heart’, which are by no means                                                      frontier of knowledge and analysis of
universal, and which include massive                                                      the subject.
welfare transfers and erosion of tra-                                                          Available from the IPA for $12.95.


4                                                                                     in TOUCH         OCT. 1998/FEB. 1999
      EVENTS
intouch
The IPA’s Energy Forum continues             market commentator, gave a provoca-          December 17 Dan Fessler, partner
with its regular meetings in which           tive talk on investment strategies. He       with Leboeuf, Lamb, Greene & Macrae,
speakers are invited to talk on particu-     is considered a ‘maverick’ and at the        and former President of the California
lar issues of concern to its members. It     luncheon displayed his legendar y            Public Utilities Commission, gave an
comprises leading firms in the electric-     contrarian and optimistic views on the       IPA Dialogue on how reform and regu-
ity and gas supply industry who share        world financial scene. The audience          lation in the US electricity and gas in-
a common view that privatisation and a       was as mixed as were the reactions to        dustries could serve as a lesson for
minimal level of regulation will best        the Professor’s remarks.                     Australia. In particular, he focused on
serve the community. On October 27                                                        the outcome of reforms already imple-
Tony Cook, CEO of TransEnergy, a             December 2 Kate Morrison was a part          mented in California, the role of regu-
subsidiar y of Quebec Hydro gave a           of a panel discussion organised by the       lators in the deregulated industries, the
presentation on the use of new tech-         Public Relations Institute of Australia      issues of ‘contract’ versus ‘market’ car-
nologies for increasing electricity trans-   on the topic ‘Has the media lost its way?    riage of gas and electricity, and price-
mission capacity. This was followed on       The relationship between owners, edi-        setting in residual monopoly areas.
November 12 by a presentation by the         tors and news’. The panellists included
head of the Privatisation Task Force for     Terry McCrann, Associate Editor Busi-        Febr uar y 22 Mike Nahan gave a talk
South Australia, Race Spitsley.              ness of the Herald Sun, John Fitzgerald,     on ‘Business Taxation—a Radical Op-
                                             Executive Director of Javelin Australia,     tion’ to a group of the Institute’s sup-
November 11 Kate Morrison gave an            and Mike Smith, chief General Man-           porters in Perth. He argued that the
IPA Dialogue on ‘Media Bias: The Art         ager of PPR Shandwick. Each gave a           time was right for radical reform which
and Science of Content Analysis’, which      short presentation. Kate talked around       would eliminate the existing bias
summarised the major findings from           the question of whether there was a dis-     against savings and investment in the
the IPA’s Election ’98 study of prime        cernible bias in political news report-      tax system. What he advocated was a
time TV news. The Dialogue attracted         ing, and if there were, whether this bias    shift away from the existing income tax
wide interest, and was well attended by      could be measured. Armed with her re-        system to an expenditure tax.
media academics and journalists. At the      cent experience heading the IPA’s
meeting a certain irony became appar-        Media Monitoring Unit, she contrib-          Febr uar y 24 Alan Moran was a guest
ent. In the past, media studies have         uted to a lively discussion.                 speaker in Melbourne at the Second
been criticised for being subjective.                                                     Annual Conference on the Reliability
This time, when the study under ques-        December 3 Professor Allan Fels,             and Quality of Power Supply. It focused
tion was completely objective, the criti-    chairman of the ACCC, launched the           on notions of securing an optimal sup-
cisms from the floor were focused on         IPA’s latest book, Media Regulation in       ply of electricity and gas. His topic was
the fact that it didn’t monitor such         Australia and the Public Interest, writ-     By-pass Competition in Electricity and
things as visuals, which by their very       ten by Dr Robert Albon, Media Special-       Gas. The conference, like the one last
nature, would have to be subjective.         ist and Director of the Centre for           year, provided both producers and in-
                                             Applied Economics, at ANU, and Dr            dustry consumers with much needed
November 17 Mike Nahan took part             Franco Papandrea, Communications             up-to-date and relevant information.
in a debate on the meaning and               Researcher and Policy Analyst. The
meanderings of the ‘Third Way’ at the        book was launched in the Senate Presi-       Febr uar y 25 Alan was again a guest
University of Melbourne. The panel in-       dent’s Courtyard, Parliament House,          speaker, this time in Surfers Paradise
cluded Mark Latham, MHR, Fred Argy,          Canberra. Professor Fels gave an elo-        at the National Summit on Power Gen-
former head of EPAC, and Professor           quent presentation to the large turnout      eration, whose role is to provide infor-
Dawkins of the Melbourne Institute.          of guests. He was followed by the two        mation solutions to the Australian
Mike pointed out that one glaring dif-       authors, who outlined their claims that      power and energy industry. The Na-
ference between the Third Ways being         many of our media regulations are con-       tional Power Forum identifies emerg-
pursued overseas and those being pro-        trary to the public interest, resulting in   ing market trends in the industry. Alan
moted in Australia is the labour mar-        too few services, delayed introduction       spoke on the question of whether coal
ket. The local versions envisage the re-     of new technologies and concentration        can continue as the primary power gen-
regulation of the labour market and an       of media ownership.                          eration source in Australia. He asserted
expansion in union power, whereas Mr                                                      that coal has an assured future in power
Blair and Mr Clinton no longer see           December 4 Ron Brunton took part             generation at close to its existing mar-
themselves as defenders of organised         in a panel discussion on Val Bichard’s       ket share of around 70 per cent. Two
labour and have come to terms with a         SBS National Radio programme on the          other papers delivered at the confer-
flexible, decentralised labour market.       controversial issues of reconciliation       ence were given by IPA Energy Forum
                                             and an apology to the ‘stolen genera-        members, Stephen Orr of Hazelwood
December 1 The IPA hosted a lunch-           tions’. Presumably Ron is invited to con-    Power, and Bob Scott of Texas Utilities.
eon at which Professor Mark Skousen,         tribute when the media requires a sem-
a United States investment adviser and       blance of balance in its programmes.


in TOUCH             OCT. 1998/FEB. 1999                                                                                         5
    HIGHLIGHTS
media
FREEDOM! FREEDOM!                         the Australian Financial Review that       wished to change their old mode of
According to the great moral philoso-     both One Nation and the Australian         life. In the 1930s Yorta Yorta leaders
pher Adam Smith, the key to prosper-      Democrats described their economic         were denouncing Australians who
ity is freedom—economic freedom.          policy approach as ‘economic nation-       wanted to prevent them from adopt-
Mike Nahan reviewed the recently          alism’. Their policies, particularly in    ing ‘the culture of the white man’.
published Economic Freedom of the         immigration and economic issues are        They argued that the only aspects of
World Report 1998 for the Australian      so similar as to be virtually indistin-    traditional culture that should be re-
Financial Review. The report is pub-      guishable. In a word, everything ‘for-     tained were items such as corro-
lished by the Fraser Institute with the   eign’ is bad, explains Rowe. Foreign       borees, but only if they were treated
assistance of the Institute of Public     goods, foreign capital, foreign owner-     in the same way that Europeans
Affairs and 53 other similar organisa-    ship of assets, foreign culture and net    treated their old folk dances.
tion from around the world. The ques-     migration of foreigners—these are all
tion of course is why some countries      undesirable in the lexicon of eco-         BIG SPENDERS
prosper and grow rich while others        nomic nationalism.                         Why are Australian consumers spend-
do not. The report rated the perform-         Whilst at first appearing to be odd    ing like mad, asks Mile Nahan in his
ance of 119 countries. Australia comes    bedfellows, these groups all have in       regular spot in the Herald Sun. As he
out in eighth place. It shines in terms   common a shared distrust of markets        obser ves, over the past year con-
of having the most open currency          and an unashamed faith in Big Gov-         sumer spending grew by more than
markets, the least controls on inter-     ernment.                                   6 per cent. The answer appears to be
est rates, low government ownership                                                  that many of us feel wealthier. Over
of banks and the best legal structure     WARBLING IN THE MEDIA                      this decade, Australians have taken a
and proper ty rights measured in          Chipping away at the silliness that        plunge on the share market and this
terms of the risks of expropriation and   passes for debate in the daily media,      has paid off—often in a big way. In
contract violations. The report shows     Michael Warby has taken to letter-         total, about $40 billion has been in-
a robust positive relationship between    writing, projecting into the broader       jected into household balance sheets
the change in economic freedom and        public arena the balanced and well-        in the past 18 months. This has trans-
the growth of GDP. As Mike points         reasoned views of the IPA. In The Age      lated into higher consumer confi-
out, many people remain uncon-            on 4 December he took John Quiggin         dence and spending. Apart from the
vinced. In the last federal election      to task for his magic pudding ap-          indirect threat to our share market of
more than 60 per cent of the elector-     proach to privatisation, and the idea      the US high-tech bubble bursting,
ate voted for parties which promised      that Telstra, due to low discount rates,   Australia’s share-driven wealth effect
to reduce economic freedom in the         had more value in public hands than        is sustainable.
belief that that would bring prosper-     private hands. As Michael comments,
ity. He adds that the critics are also    ‘On that argument, the Government          SELLING AUSTRALIA SHOR T
concerned that freedom brings with        should buy BHP, CSR, PBL, etc—be-          Michael Warby argues in The West
it greater social inequities. But the     cause, hey presto, the value would go      Australian that the tightly regulated
report demonstrates a strong, posi-       up!’ Quiggin went on to accuse the         Australian media need the reins loos-
tive relationship between the level of    IPA of seeking to control public de-       ened. He says that we regulate me-
economic freedom and the share of         bate. That a publicly-funded academic      dia—it is alleged—to restrict foreign
benefits flowing to low income            accuses a small, privately-funded          ownership and encourage diversity.
groups. In other words, economic          think-tank in this manner is equally       Yet we have media which are substan-
freedom tends to empower the poor.        mendacious.                                tially foreign-owned with the most
                                                                                     concentrated ownership in the West-
THE WOOD FOR THE TREES                    YOR TA GIVE ‘EM MORE LAND                  ern world. Michael claims that the
Such was the vilification and panic       On the serious business of native land     history of media regulation in this
coming from our media over the            claims, Ron Brunton, writing in his        country is a sad saga of timid delays,
Pauline Hanson phenomenon that it         regular column for the Courier Mail        privileged access and selling Austral-
took calmer, more astute minds to         from the Sunshine Coast, tells us the      ians short. There is already a mecha-
make the obvious link between One         Yorta Yorta land claim case was dis-       nism to stop excessive market con-
Nation policies and those of the          missed on the basis that there had         centration—the Trade Practices Act.
Greens and the Australian Demo-           been no continuous connection with         It is time to place media regulation
crats, and by extension, much of the      land. Justice Olney cited an 1881 pe-      under the same set of general rules
Labor Left. Lyndon Rowe, author of        tition in which ancestors of the           as everyone else, so Australians can
the IPA backgrounder Odd Bedfel-          present claimants said they had lost       make their own decisions from as
lows: The Economic Nationalists and       possession of all the land within their    wide a set of choices as practicable.
Why They Are Wrong pointed out in         tribal boundaries and that they

6                                                                                in TOUCH         OCT. 1998/FEB. 1999
                           IPA Media Activities
    Not all the media activities in which our staff engage can be featured in our ‘Media
Highlights’ section, so here is a list of those activities for the months of October to February.
1.10.98 ABC Radio, Gas, Alan Moran        18.10.98 Herald Sun, City begging:         9.11.98 ABC Radio, Perth, John
interviewed                               the question of poverty, Mike Nahan        Hyde Debates … (Mr Howard and
3.10.98 ABC Radio, Perth, Election        quoted                                     the Senate)
Comment, John Hyde (with Peter            19.10.98 BRW, It’s reform that needs       10.11.98 The Australian, Make ACCC
Walsh)                                    intervention, Robert Skeffington ar-       show a proposed merger is harmful,
4.10.98 Radio 2UE, Sydney, Media          ticle, IPA mentioned                       by Alan Moran
Monitoring Unit, Owen Delaney inter-      20.10.98 ABC Radio 3LO, Drivetime,         11.11.98 AFR, No policy is best policy,
views Mike Nahan                          Mike Nahan interviewed by Terry            letter by Alan Moran
4.10.98 SMH, How the leaders played       Laidler re lowering high roller tax at     19.11.98 ABC Radio 3LO, Drivetime,
the media, mentioned by Peter Cox         Crown                                      Mike Nahan interviewed by Terry
5.10.98 Radio National, Sandy             22.10.98 The West Australian, Inquiry      Laidler about increases in infrastruc-
McCutcheon, Privatisation, Alan           told bush safe, IPA submission             ture spending
Moran                                     mentioned                                  19.11.98 SBS Insight, The third way,
5.10.98 ABC Radio, Per th, John           22.10.98 The West Australian, Migra-       Gar y Johns discussion with Mark
Hyde Debates …(with Peter Walsh)          tion: a matter of survival, by Frank       Latham
5.10.98 AFR, Howard won because           Lindsey, IPA Review article men-           21.11.98 Herald Sun, Australia finds
he read the electorate correctly, by      tioned                                     activity wards off Australian plague,
David Barnett. Media Monitoring           24.10.98 Herald Sun, Telstra sale          by Mike Nahan
Project mentioned.                        would solve bush woes, by Mike             25.11.98 Herald Sun, Stumbling bloc,
7.10.98 Adelaide Review, Compulsory       Nahan                                      by Gar y Johns
                                          24.10.98 Courier Mail, Tied to past




                                                                                                                               v
Voting, by Gar y Johns                                                               26.11.98 AFR, Quiggin wrong over
7.10.98 Adelaide Review, The Com-         by issue of identity, by Ron Br unton
pensation Society, by Gar y Johns         29.10.98 The Australian, One culture,
7.10.98 Herald Sun, Way to fix the        accepting and confident, should fit all,



                                                                                       DIARY
Senate, by Gar y Johns                    by Michael James (Precis of IPA
                                          Review article)


                                                                                       notes
8.10.98 ABC Radio, Canberra, Priva-
tisation discussion with Alan Moran       31.10.98 News Weekly, Who watches
                                          the media, by Michael W arby
8.10.98 The Australian, Don’t forget
gas rivals in pipeline, by Alan Moran     31.10.98 SMH, Push to curb wages,
                                          by Paul Cleary, Mike Nahan quoted.
8.10.98 ABC Radio 3LO, Drivetime,
                                          3.11.98 The Australian, Preselection         3 May Professor Skidelsky will
Mike Nahan interviewed by Terry
Laidler                                   by voting diminishes value of parties,       be visiting Australia to give the
                                          Gar y Johns                                  second C.D. Kemp Lecture in
10.10.98 Herald Sun, AIRC key to
Kim’s target, by Mike Nahan               2.11.98 ABC TV, Media Watch, Me-             Melbourne on Monday 3 May.
                                          dia monitoring unit findings for             The lecture will be held at The
10.10.98 Courier Mail, Howard must
of fer a vision of hope, by Ron
                                          weeks 2 and 3 of election campaign           Australian Club and is entitled:
                                          mentioned                                    Is Economic Freedom Sustain-
Brunton
                                          4.11.98 AFR, Prospering from free-           able?
Oct. 98 Adelaide Review, A strategic      dom’s riches, by Mike Nahan
retreat to help the poor and the Left,
by Gar y Johns                            5.11.98 The West Australian, Property        4 May Lord Skidelsky will be
                                          rights missing in gloss, by John             giving a second Melbourne
13.10.98 SMH. Be grateful for small       Hyde
mercies, by Gar y Johns                                                                lecture on Tuesday evening, 4
                                          5.11.98 ABC Radio 3LO, Drivetime,            May, on the topic The Future
14.10.98 97.4FM, Prodos Connection,       Mike Nahan interviewed by Terry
Giving IRC a target of full employ-                                                    of Russia. The lecture will be
                                          Laidler                                      held in The Shell Theatrette.
ment, discussion with Michael
Warby                                     7.11.98 Courier Mail, Casualties of
                                          truth, by Ron Br unton                         For details of times, locations
15.10.98 Courier Mail, The nature of
                                          7.11.98 Herald Sun, Jeff rides high            and bookings, please contact
political corruption, by John Hyde
                                          on reform, by Mike Nahan                           Joanna Ingram in the
16.10.98 The Australian, Instead of                                                           Melbourne office on
selloff, why not give Telstra away?, by   9.11.98 Radio National Sandy
                                          McCutcheon, Welfare reform and cor-                  (03) 9600 4744
Alan Moran
                                          porate philanthropy, by Mike Nahan


in TOUCH           OCT. 1998/FEB. 1999                                                                                     7
                                                    5.12.98 Herald Sun, Billion dollar case    7.1.99 Courier Mail, Productivity and
Media Highlights                                    for storing nuclear waste, by Mike         the legacy of the banana republic, by
(continued from page 7)                             Nahan                                      John Hyde
                                                    5.12.98 ABC Radio/TV discussion of         9.1.99 The Australian, Editorial, State
foodless GST, letter from Michael                   Mike Nahan’ s Herald Sun article           relies too much on pokie punters, IPA
Warby                                               ‘Billion dollar case for storing nuclear   quoted
27.11.98 The Age, Why we should                     waste’                                     11.1.99 The Australian, Population
have more casinos and gaming ma-                    8.12.98 Radio National, Australia          bombers’ claim fizz, by Frank
chines, by Alan Moran                               talks back, Aborigines in War Memo-        Devine, IPA mentioned.
2.12.98 The Australian, Storage                     rial, debate with Ron Br unton &           13.1.99 Prodos Connection, The
outearns uranium mining, by Alan                    Henr y Reynolds                            ACCC, with Alan Moran
Moran                                               9.12.98 The West Australian, N-waste       14.1.99 ABC Radio, Nationwide, Dis-
3.12.98 3AK, Robert Hicks, Media                    ‘as good as gold’ by Nick Miller ,         cussion on recycling, Alan Moran
Regulation, interview with Rober t                  Mike Nahan quoted.                         16.1.99 Herald Sun, PM’s resolve
Albon                                               9.12.98 The West Australian, Oppor-        founders on mound of red tape, by
3.12.98 5DN, Derryn Hinch, Media                    tunity too good to waste, by Mike          Mike Nahan
Regulation, interview with Rober t                  Nahan                                      16.1.99 Courier Mail, In search of a
Albon                                               9.12.98 ABC Radio, Alan Moran with         degree of common sense, by Ron
3.12.98 AFR, It could be a food fight,              Terry Laidler                              Brunton
by John Quiggin                                     12.12.98 Courier Mail, Politics with-      20.1.99 SMH, Exploding the over-
4.12.98 Daily Telegraph, Media r egu-               out consent, by Gar y Johns                population myth, by Ron Br unton
lation book , write up                              12.12.98 The West Australian, Media        20.1.99 The Australian, A question of
4.12.98 AFR, Media laws a house of                  regulators currently sell Australians      focus, mention of IPA & Alan Moran
cards, re Media r egulation book                    short, by Michael W arby.                  25.1.99 SMH, Letters re Ron
launch                                              15.12.98 Canberra Times, Sur vey           Brunton population backgr ounder
4.12.98 The Age, Quiggin is off the                 finds TV agenda setters fail to sway       20.1.99 News Weekly, Was the popula-
mark again, letter fr om Michael                    voters, by Ian Warden (regarding           tion bomb a dud? by Ron Br unton
Warby                                               Media Monitoring Unit )
                                                                                               Jan. 99 Adelaide Review, Labor’s class
4.12.98 Courier Mail, Media owner-                  17.12.98 Courier Mail, Media regula-       of ’98, by Gar y Johns
ship limits attacked by law authors,                tion book, by Michael Duf fy
                                                                                               30.1.99 Herald Sun, Sharing in the
by Kate Hannon                                      17.12.98 Canberra Times, Media             wealth, by Mike Nahan
4.12.98 SBS National Radio, Val                     regulation article, by Michael W arby
                                                                                               31.1.99 Courier Mail, No need for the
Bichard’s Program, Panel discussion                 17.12.98 ABC Radio 3LO, Drivetime,         ‘elite’ to cringe, by Ron Br unton
on reconciliation and apology to sto-               Mike Nahan interviewed by Terry
                                                    Laidler re US attack on Iraq               1.2.99 SMH, Mike Nahan quoted re
len generations, with Ron Br unton
                                                                                               bringing down unemployment.
5.12.98 Courier Mail, Defusing the                  18.12.98 The Advertiser, Considerable
                                                    benefits in privatisation, letter from     2.2.99 AFR, Welfare industry’s failure
population explosion, by Ron Br unton
                                                    Alan Moran                                 a literal shame, by Marlene Gold-
                                                                                               smith. Michael W arby quoted exten-
                                                    19.12.98 Herald Sun, The real rea-         sively.
                                                    sons why phone call costs will fall, by
                                                                                               3.2.99 Prodos Connection, Media

  TOUCH
 in
                                                    Mike Nahan
                                                    19.12.98 Courier Mail, Gift giving an
                                                    annual ordeal, by Ron Br unton
                                                    19.12.98 Canberra Times, Relax,
                                                                                               regulation, with Michael W arby
                                                                                               13.2.99 Herald Sun, ACCC gets it
                                                                                               wrong on joint venture, by Mike
                                                                                               Nahan
    In Touch is published every two months by the   breed, the population bomb’s a dud,
    Institute of Public Affairs Ltd                 Ron Br unton                               13.2.99 Courier Mail, More who you
    (Incorporated in the ACT) ACN 008 627 727                                                  are than what you say, by Ron
                                                    28.12.98 Herald Sun, Head to Head,         Brunton
                                                    with Alan Moran
    Level 2, 410 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000                                                17.2.99 The Australian, Reith on
                                                    28.12.98 Herald Sun, To populate or        track, letter to editor by Michael
    Tel: (03) 9600 4744 Fax: (03) 9602 4989         perish, by Ron Br unton
    E-mail: ipa@ipa.org.au                                                                     Warby
                                                    28.12.98 The Age, The population           1998/99 Policy, Australian poverty,
    Website: www.ipa.org.au
                                                    myth, by Ron Br unton                      then & now, reviewed by Michael
                                                    Dec 98 The Australian Economic Re-         Warby.
    Editor: Andrew McIntyre                         view, In search of a third way, by Mike
    Design: Colin Norris, Kingdom Artroom                                                      22.2.99 The Australian, ABC will
                                                    Nahan                                      profit from being run, by Frank
    ISSN 1325-6564                                   2.1.99 Courier Mail, People’s tragic      Devine, mention of IPA media moni-
    Print Post Approved 34276/00075                 tale of culture eroded & renounced,        toring unit
                                                    by Ron Br unton



8                                                                                          in TOUCH         OCT. 1998/FEB. 1999

				
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