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John Stone

4
Mar
2019

More Ministers Quit; Treasury Officer’s Life

Last Friday’s Commentary suggested that the latest Coalition’s Newspoll of 47/53 for the third successive time indicated that the Morrison government was still in serious trouble. I suggested that the additional policy decisions announced by Morrison on climate policy would be unlikely to help close the gap. These measures included acceptance of the Paris agreement and an expanded use of renewable through the establishment of the very uneconomic Snowy2.0 and the usage of “big batteries”. Energy Minister Taylor also claimed the new measures would cut energy bills while lowering emissions but this failed to take account of the additional costs from using the Snowy or from back-ups needed when other renewable are not available. I noted that it seemed unlikely that the Energy Minister would be able to reduce electricity prices except through the adoption of a regulatory system which legally limited the maximum price able to be charged by retailers.
16
Dec
2018

CChange Conference; Judith Curry on Predictions of CChange

It was great to discover at last Wednesday’s Christmas drinks at Treasury (in Canberra) a number of “oldies” who said they were enjoying my Commentary and in particular the scepticism about the dangerous warming nonsense. While I resigned from Treasury in 1987 I later hoped that, with the danger thesis becoming more widely reflected in government policy both here and overseas, Treasury would publish analyses as John Stone and others had done on various controversial economic subjects during my time there. In fact, I edited a couple including one on the New International Economic Order(NIEO), which had an aim similar to one adopted by believers in the dangerous warming theme viz “save” developing countries by providing squillions of aid which would allow them to substitute costly fuel sources for cheaper fossil fuels.
2
Dec
2018

US Wins at G20; Morrison Meets Trump; Germany Fails To Successfully Employ Renewables; Stone on Immigration

Although there has been a “final statement” by leaders attending the meeting of the G20 in Argentina, the text does not seem available on the web and nor does the communique. However, some media are reporting on what was agreed. The outcome on trade was expected to reveal something on the what has been described as a dispute between the US and China (but which has implications for all trading nations). It appears that the US did succeed at G20 in obtaining agreement that the present arrangements need to be changed.
20
Nov
2018

Immigration Policy; Turnbull Rampant; Terrorist Identification Rules

In last Thursday’s Commentary I drew attention to an article in The Australian by John Stone suggesting that immigration isthe most obvious example of Morrison’s present policy deficiencies and arguing that the permanent settler program should be cut by 60,000. Stone added that if Morrison was “prepared to say that Australia will continue to be non-discriminatory on racial or ethnic grounds, but will henceforth reject all permanen­t visa applicants judged to be culturally incompatible with our Australian way of life, he would enormously enhance his electoral prospects next year”.
6
Oct
2018

Morrison Becoming a Hasty Decision-Maker

Yesterday’s Commentary referred to a number of policy decisions and comments on policy positions made by PM Morrison which raised concern about the directions being taken by him and, in particular, whether his government is differentiating itself from the leftish Turnbull government to a substantive degree. The publication of an article in Spectator of 6 October by John Stone (see Stone on Morrison), and other developments, suggest the Morrison government does not seem at present to have the capacity to handle issues in a way conducive to attracting the electorate to the Coalition.
8
Sep
2018

Morrison Has Long Way to Go

My last Commentary on 6 September suggested that Morrison has an “in-between” policy on energy and that it was hoped that he would make a broad announcement on policies in a speech scheduled to be made in Albury later that day. Alas, that has not proved to be the case and, despite the abandonment of the Turnbull/Frydenberg NEG, energy policy is worse and as confusing as it was under Turnbull. A quotation from his speech published in the SMH/Age gives the gist of his position
7
Aug
2018

Samuel Griffith Conference Showed Increased Conservatism

The annual conference of the Samuel Griffith Society , which finished at 1.00 pm last Sunday after starting on Friday evening, was notable for many reasons but most importantly showed through those who spoke and attended that the “conservative” movement is strongly increasing. The expansion in the Society is due importantly to the contribution by leadership from Stuart Wood QC, who is also able to be a leading industrial relations barrister.
27
Jul
2018

Questioning Continues Regarding Effects on Pricing under NEG

Today’s Australian reports that the views of three groups in the Senate appear to depend on whether and/or by how much the supposed final version of NEG will reduce costs. Pauline Hanson says she is “strongly against” the NEG and wants to pull out of the Paris accord requiring reduced carbon emissions as coal-fired power stations would deliver cheaper power. Senator Leyonhjelm, the Liberal Democrat, said he wanted to see evidence the NEG would dramatically lower power prices before he would back the deal: “they need to fall by at least 50 per cent to restore competitiveness and take pressure off households”. The Centre Alliance’s Rex Patrick said he and Senate colleague Stirling Griff backed the NEG’s goals but their vote would depend on how much the policy brought down power bills: “we would expect on the pricing side for there to be a clear indication of what the savings will be, and that the modelling that generates those savings is released publicly, including all assumptions that were made,” Senator Patrick said (see Some Senate Opposition to NEG).
6
Jul
2018

More Questioning of Turnbull Energy Policy

The public address on 3 July by Tony Abbott advocating withdrawal from the Paris agreement has produced favourable reactions from several quarters but a response from Turnbull and some of his ministers which is largely dismissive and an attempt by much of the media to suggest Abbott’s analysis is outdated and should be ignored. That is what might be expected from people who have locked themselves into a fixed position that we face dangerous warming unless carbon emissions are reduced. My commentary below concentrates on those who have challenged that position.