Mannkal Economic Education Foundation


Archive for May 2011

Canberra is 200 square kilometres; surrounded by reality!

Ron Manners, 3 May 2011
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First the bushfires, followed by the floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and now, for the bad news.

Canberra has been named as the growth driver for Australia’s economy, even outpacing Western Australia. (Click here to read the accompanying article)

Home building, new mortgages and population growth in Australia’s Capital Territory (Canberra), are all above decade averages, and ahead of other States and Territories.

I have defined Canberra as 200 square kilometres; surrounded by reality. Those of us living in ‘reality land’ don’t read those Canberra growth headlines as good news.

So, for anyone considering political leadership, to give Australia a better future, something must be done to wind this monster back.

‘More of the same ‘ will not inspire support and regain respect for our political leaders.

Malcolm Turnbull’s call for even more Future Funds, to plug the gap in unfunded liabilities, only perpetuates Canberra’s Ponzi Scheme but does not earn our respect.

At our Mannkal Economic Education Foundation we send battalions of bright young scholars to events and Think Tanks to bring back ideas and policies that may have traction in Australian States or Federally.

One such policy document from the Mackinac Centre for Public Policy in the U.S. State of Michigan has developed a policy that shows how that particular U.S. State can eliminate a State Business Tax, avoid a Pension Tax increase and resurface miles of road and still have money left over, by taking one simple action.

That one action is, simply bringing the fringe benefits of public employees into line with private-sector averages.

Bringing this disparity into balance would save that State $5.7 billion.

This is a more moral market solution than the previous Australian Federal Government’s scheme of stealing half of the public’s Telstra, and poking it into a Future Fund.

Without some bold initiatives, here in Australia, to cure the ‘Federal Bloat’ our country runs the risk of following the U.S. path leading to total disenchantment with both major political parties, giving unprecedented support for action groups such as America’s Tea Party Movement. (See “Taming Leviathan” special feature in the Economist)

With today’s modern communications it doesn’t take much to start a rebellion, as we see almost on a daily basis throughout the world.

All political capital cities need to be put on a strict diet and we are constantly recruiting scholars to continue analysing such solutions. Please enrol at

Note - These comments were assembled for a presentation to the Hon Tony Abbott, Leader of the Opposition and the Hon Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, in Perth April 19th 2011.

UPDATE Professor Ian Plimer has sent in an article titled “Reality and Canberra”, as a “spin-off” from the above comments. A must read! Please click here to read.