Mannkal Economic Education Foundation


Fertilizing relationships

Ron Manners, 2 August 2016
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Fertilizing Relationships

File Notes @ 1.8.16

· Try to be the person who you would be attracted to, that you would seek to engage with, to meet, to converse with, and to spend time with.  Someone with whom you can become ‘lost in conversation’ for hours.

The sort of person who makes you feel better, that you always come away from with something new, a new idea or a new approach to an old problem.

You wish to be with a person who is constantly evolving, by virtue of what they do, what they read, who they mix with.

· Always be humble and modest about talking of your plans and goals.

· Link together the separate acts of learning and laughing into one seamless function.  If you can’t do this, you must be doing something wrong so change tack.

· Never underestimate the power of friendship and the price of friendship.

· Collect all those ‘simple wisdoms’ that Leonard E. Read ( “brought to the threshold of my consciousness”. (Expand on pages 8 – 11 “Heroic Misadventures” – see free e-book here)

· Don’t spend much time on beating yourself up!  Be forgiving and stay comfortable with yourself.

· Resist falling into a routine.  Fight that by being unpredictable, do the occasional stupid thing.

p.s.         As this piece is about relationships, we invite your own comments and suggestions.


Voting Season

Ron Manners, 27 June 2016
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A Senator, friend of mine, recently and despairingly said, “Our political system is designed to keep good people out of politics.”

From much commentary made in the run-up to our forthcoming ‘double-dissolution’ election next weekend, it is interesting to count the many times those sentiments have been expressed, only the words vary.

Is this a recent despair over how very few fine and noble people there are with a clear understanding of the benefits of limited constitutional government?

Is it only recently that we have realized how few of our present politicians are patient enough to explain to the electorate that we – the – people can make better decisions for ourselves, without surrendering our lives to the political approach of “if you vote for me I’ll steal some money from ‘other people’ so I can give a special favour to you”?

No, it was the subject of discussion last century, when economist F.A. Hayek asked, “Why do the worst get to the top?” He explained this process in detail in his various writings.

Even before that, as shown in G.P. Baker’s biography of the Roman General and Master Politician Sulla (139 – 78BC), similar questions were asked, “There are some systems which naturally take control out of the hands of good men.  There are even some which necessarily put it in the hands of bad ones.”

So, what can we do about this as voters, as we walk up to the polling booth on Saturday?

Perhaps we should read carefully the proposals put to us by the candidates and vote for those who promise to do less, at other people’s expense.  Vote NO to those who seek to ‘buy’ your vote and vote YES to those who seek to ‘earn’ your respect and through that, your vote.


Ron Manners

July, 2016

Superannuation - a free kick to the smaller political parties?

Ron Manners, 9 June 2016
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Teaching your children about taxation is easy.

How easy?

Just try eating half their ice cream.  If you’re smart, like governments, your introductory phrase will be, “Just let me taste your ice cream.”  Then you will slowly work up to taking half.

If you take half, on a regular basis, I’ll tell you what they will do.

If they are bigger than you, they will hit you fair and square or, if they are smaller, they will hide their ice cream out of reach.

They may be young but they already have a perfect understanding of taxation and are able to differentiate between ‘fair and unfair’.

So it is with adult voters when they see the rules change, retrospectively, concerning their superannuation and retirement arrangements.

The Superannuation rules were established when our Federal Government realized they had failed as ‘custodians’ and that the funds simply were ‘not there’ to pay pensions, even after taxpayers had been contributing, through taxation, over their working lives.

Yes, the cupboard was bare.  So encouragement was legislated to incentivize people to care for themselves.

Whether these arrangements were too generous, to redress the government’s poor custodianship, is irrelevant.  It certainly did not stop our politicians legislating a far more generous superannuation hand-out to themselves …. on a non-contributory basis too!

Their own scheme is seriously under-funded but they have continued caring for themselves by robbing us of 50% of the Telstra privatization shares and establishing a Future Fund to ensure continual payments of their own generous schemes.

However, even after the Telstra ‘robbery’ they are still in trouble. The scale of the unfunded superannuation problem was clearly explained in Tony Boyd’s (AFR article, May 5, 2016) Behind the $169b in unfunded super where he stated;

“One of the most shocking numbers contained in the federal budget papers on Tuesday was the $26 billion explosion in public sector employee superannuation liabilities over the next three years.

These unfunded liabilities are forecast to rise from $169 billion in June 2016 to $195 billion in 2019.  The liability is to cover the pensions or lump sums of current and former public servants, military personnel, judges and politicians.”

Now that our political leaders stand naked, as our July 2nd Federal Election nears, one might ask if voters could find some attraction in carefully selected minor parties or distributing their votes to some of the up-and-coming Independent candidates?

Ron Manners

Diesel Fuel Rebates are not Subsidies

Ron Manners, 4 May 2016
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Every time governments run out of money they try to seize money which is not theirs.

This is why they are again trying to confiscate trust money they are currently holding on behalf of various industries who are awaiting its return.

I’m referring, of course, to the ‘diesel fuel rebate’, which is again, the subject of government greed.

My May 7th, 2008 letter to still applies, as below:-

Diesel fuel rebates are not subsidies.

Just a quick correction for Crosscut Clyde’s column (May 7, ’08) where he described the Diesel Fuel Rebate as a Subsidy.

It’s easy to see how he got this wrong as the rebate was incorrectly described as a subsidy in the Australian Conservation Foundation’s news release.

A subsidy is where a government steals from one party to pay for handouts to another party.

A rebate, on the other hand, is simply repaying money that shouldn’t have been stolen in the first place.

In the case of the mining industry, when they pay for fuel, portion of the tax paid is to pay for building and maintaining roads.

However, when some mining companies actually provide their own roads and maintain them, after filling in numerous forms, they can retrieve that portion of that tax which they should not have paid in the first place, which they receive as a rebate many months later.

This unfortunate situation will continue until our mining leaders simply decide not to pay the tax in the first place, when it is not applicable.

All that needs is decisive leadership.


Ron Manners,

Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Also here is a collection of previous material on this topic.

Canberra - always good for a laugh! (Pay attention; it’s your money.)

Ron Manners, 1 April 2016
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Evidence abounds to show how Canberra suffers from a ‘spending disease’ (it is not a ‘revenue problem’ as they claim).

In their reckless spending (in self-serving pursuit of re-election) they are currently borrowing at the rate of $100 million per day (much of which pays the interest on their / our current debt.

Any ‘responsible household’ or ‘business proprietor’ would take some action to avert disaster, so you may be bewildered at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s latest extravagance …….

  • Clean Energy Innovation Fund ($1 billion down the drain).

Previously to be abolished.

  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation ($600 million)

Previously to be abolished.

  • Australian Renewable Energy Agency [A.R.E.N.A.] ($2.357 Billion)

You might be excused for wondering if these three expensive entities will deliver results. Will energy be cleaner?

This is the wrong question, we should ask, “where does the money go?”

I challenge any investigative journalists to find out who the lucky recipients of the $1 billion which has already been spent by A.R.E.N.A. and the further $1 Billion from the forthcoming Clean Energy Innovation Fund and the other odd $1 Billion or so.

Such an investigation would confirm that ‘politics is broken’ in Australia and despite the best efforts of Australia’s seven, principled politicians, we are still losing ground.

Good economists study Public Choice Theory which explains ‘concentrated benefits’ (flowing to the few beneficiaries vs diffused costs, spread over many unsuspecting victims).

Those lucky recipients ‘work their butts off’ to ensure that legislation tilted in their favour pass effortlessly through Parliament, whilst the rest of us numbered in the ‘unsuspecting victims’ category don’t stir ourselves to burst into print or march in the streets.

Public Choice Theory (PCT) explains why so much bad legislation has such an easy ride through Parliament.

The noted economic philosopher, Thomas Sowell, describes this phenomenon …….

“No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems.  They are trying to solve their own problems – of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two.  Whatever is number three is far behind.”

Anyone with an understanding of Public Choice Theory can start their own collection of ‘the birth of bad laws’.

Isn’t it surprising, with the government designed educational syllabus, that all, but one, of Australia’s universities have abolished teaching Public Choice Theory?

Ron Manners

The Intergenerational Report 2015, produced by the Treasury Department, stated that: “The Australian Government is currently spending over $100 million a day more than it collects, and is borrowing to meet the shortfall.” (Intergenerational Report 2015 Executive Summary, page xv).

Bob Day; Cory Bernardi; Gary Gray; Andrew Hastie; David Leyonhjelm; James Paterson; Tim Wilson (endorsed).

Too many laws = too many criminals

Ron Manners, 4 March 2016
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Perth is not the only civilized city faced with a criminal epidemic, with law courts and prisons at bursting point.

I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but could one reason be that too many laws (many outdated) produce this abundance of ‘criminals’.

Over-criminalisation’ could result from placing so many criminal prohibitions on the books.  Many well-meaning people can be swept into the criminal justice system for behavior that most would consider unobjectionable.

“Okay”, you say, “name me some examples?”

So here are two:-

1. Illegal flag pole?

An elderly Baldivis couple are dumbstruck Rockingham council has told them to pull down their flag pole because the pensioners didnt get planning approval.   Val and Bill Ashman put up the flag pole at their home three years ago and proudly raised the Australian flag every day without any problems.

An elderly Baldivis couple are "dumbstruck" Rockingham council has told them to pull down their flag pole because the pensioners didn't get planning approval. Val and Bill Ashman put up the flag pole at their home three years ago and proudly raised the Australian flag every day without any problems.

I put this ‘WAtoday’ article on my Facebook on Feb 5 and it was flooded with support comments in favour of Mr & Mrs Ashman.

My Facebook comment was …

“If the Rockingham Council fines these proud Australians; then I offer to pay that fine.  They should receive a medal, not a fine!”

2. Growing too many potatoes!

Well known W.A. potato grower, Tony Galati, has been risking jail since 2011 for growing more potatoes than the government thinks he should.

Instead of prosecuting this productive individual and his efforts to serve his community, the State Government should have nominated him for Australian of the Year 2016, instead of this year’s absurd outcome. []

Furthermore, there is an unintended result of this ridiculous potato law.

This law has turned Tony Galati into a celebrity and he was a popular guest at a recent youth gathering (see below).

Tony Galati meeting on the steps of W.A. Parliament House with young Western Australians from the Young Liberal Movement and the Mannkal Foundation)

Tony Galati meeting on the steps of W.A. Parliament House with young Western Australians from the Young Liberal Movement and the Mannkal Foundation)

Are there any law students who might consider taking on the project of trawling through the law statute books to produce something of a comical catalogue of statute stupidity?

Further rich pickings could be found by identifying all ‘victimless crimes’ where it might be said that without a victim there can be no crime.

Perhaps a worthy project?

Ron Manners

Australia Day and Australian of the Year, 2016

Ron Manners, 29 January 2016
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Australia Day and Australian of the Year, 2016

They must be dreaming!

The uproar caused by the choice and comments made by this year’s ‘Australian of the Year’ is enough to kick-start a fresh stand-up comedy TV series.

Almost every populist, non-mainstream issue was elevated to priority level and to top it off was his commitment to use his new public platform to campaign for an Australian Republic.

There will certainly be a time to raise this issue again (having last been raised at our 1999 Referendum).  The appropriate time will be when our politicians have earned our respect and we can relinquish our Monarch’s role as umpire.

That will not happen until our politicians realize that respect cannot be bought, with taxpayers’ dollars, it must actually be earned by them.

Australians are paying too high a price to pay for politicians promises, which amount to little more than their re-election campaigns.

Ron Manners.

Feb. 2016

January 2016 - ‘Celebrating Mannwest’s 120 Years in Business’

Ron Manners, 12 January 2016
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Excerpt from Chairman Ron’s comments on board the Decoy Paddlesteamer - Dec. 18, 2015

“There was another party recently, a couple of weeks ago in Paris - I think it was called the Climate Circus.  40,000 people were there.  We have got only 100 tonight and there are four main differences between that party and this one.

1. Everyone actually got here, tonight, at their own expense!

2. Everyone here, has the ability to balance their own cheque books and balance their own budgets.

3. We know that to spend, we first have to earn.  However, not that 40,000 bunch of climateers.  That group of people have incurred an ongoing cost to future generations, estimated to be about $1.5 trillion each year forever.  This debt is left to the ongoing generation just to cover the fun that these ‘Climate-Alarmists’ had during their two weeks in Paris.

4. When we are gone we will do our best not to leave any debt behind.

So, it’s great to be with responsible people here tonight. Consequently, if I wanted to take any advice from anyone I certainly would not take it from any of the 40,000 Paris contingent.

However, I would take advice from people like yourselves.

So thank you for being with us tonight.”

Further information on the event:-

  • Photos -

  • Two short videos -

Mannwest Group’s 120 Year Anniversary

A bit of history taking place…

  • 120th Commemorative brochure -


Looking forward to our next 120 years.

Ron Manners,


Property Rights, Dogs and the Liberal Party

Ron Manners, 4 December 2015
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Property Rights, Dogs and the Liberal Party

(Open letter to the Premier)

1st December, 2015

Dear Premier,

Re: Barnett Government Trashes W.A. Property Rights

You have not replied to my last letter dated 29th July, 2015, so I have attached the earlier correspondence -

I feel that a reply is required as several important principles are involved:-

1. Does a Premier have the right, when pressured by Alcoa, to extinguish the Property Rights of landholders without compensation?

2. The comments in your letter of 20 July, 2015 did not relate to the specific land in question.

3. Is it permissible for a Premier to take a matter which should be dealt with by the Minister for Lands and position this task in the Premier’s Department?

Mr Premier, my correspondence raised several serious questions regarding Property Rights and requires answers, please.

A legitimate role of government, in civilised societies, is to protect the Property Rights of its citizens, not to demolish Property Rights without compensation.

Some civilized countries even have Constitutions that prevent such behaviour so I’m curious to know if my comments are justified.

My letter suggested that this matter be reviewed so I look forward to your reply.

The fact that my July 29th, 2015 letter has remained unanswered, for four months, tells me only one thing. So, I respectfully conclude that;

“My small dog has a better understanding, of Property Rights, than the Barnett State Government.”

With persistent patience and kind regards,

R.B. Manners,

Managing Director,

Mannwest Group Pty Ltd

Corporate Culture 2015

Ron Manners, 3 November 2015
Check out the author's latest book at

Corporate Culture 2015

At Mannwest Group and Mannkal Foundation we invest in a wide range of publicly listed companies as we are dependent on their continuing cash flow and dividend yields.

This is the life-blood to enable us to expand our current activities.

Naturally, we read each company’s annual report in an attempt to understand the culture behind each company, hoping that this will give us some insight into their future success.

I have written elsewhere about the current trend toward political correctness where Chair & CEO’s reports these days appear to be written by junior P.R. flacks and apart from being incredibly bland and boring, they do meet the requirements of having the correct number of words to fill the page and are littered with meaningless terms such as sustainability, corporate social license to operate, environmentally friendly, etc.

Although, meeting their P.R. requirements, these reports usually give very little insight into the nature in the thinking of the people running your company.

This year we found only one company that dared to present their story in a form that exposed their own thoughts and plans for the company, following the Chair / CEO’s reports with a two page story ‘The OneVue Philosophy - People and Culture’, which incorporated a theme that they followed, illustrated by ‘The twenty mile march - the story of Amundsen vs Scott’.

We give you their story here

(There is a follow-on story from the above comment which continues on pages 20 - 24 of the OneVue report which can be accessed here)

Please note that this is not giving you investment advice so it should not be taken as such.  However, we raise this subject for two reasons:-

1. This is an outstanding communications strategy for explaining the general thrust and strategy of their company.

2. The story of Amundsen vs Scott is also a story that explains our Mannkal Foundation’s strategy to fill in the gap of life sustaining strategies (mostly economic) that might currently be missing from the next generation’s formal education.

What are your findings as you peruse this year’s crop of company annual reports?



Mannkal Economic Education Foundation