Mannkal Economic Education Foundation


“Drink a Toast to Outstanding Public Service!”

Ron Manners

28 July 2014

Check out the author's latest book at

In Australia, if there is one person to thank for Australia’s prosperity over the past 30 years, it is Bert Kelly - the Modest Farmer / Modest Member from Tarlee, S.A.

He had an idea that Australia’s then overwhelming protectionist policies and tariffs were holding back Australia’s prosperity.

He stuck with his idea and mentored a small bunch of volunteer colleagues who became known as ‘The Dries”[i]. They conceived policies to remove these restrictions. These policies were implemented and Australia flourished.

At Mannkal Foundation we ‘prospect’ but unlike prospectors who prospect for gold and minerals, we prospect for success stories like Bert Kelly’s and we have found another in the form of John Cowperthwaite.

If there is one person that deserves credit for the prosperity of Hong Kong it is John Cowperthwaite (Financial Secretary 1961- 1971).

His idea? He refused to provide any Hong Kong statistics to his political masters in the U.K.

He knew that if they had access to such statistics they would be tempted to impose central planning on Hong Kong.

He could see the damage that central planning was doing to the economy in the U.K. and he would have no part of it for Hong Kong.

So, Hong Kong prospered and has for many years been the ideal model for other countries to follow.

Hong Kong repeatedly comes in first in the Annual World Index of Economic Freedom[ii].

John Cowperthwaite had this idea and although it made him unpopular in certain circles, he knew that he had to safeguard the prosperity of Hong Kong; so we honour him as a public servant with the qualities of clear thinking and courage.

We will be ‘saluting’ him by requesting our Mannkal scholars, who attend internships in Hong Kong, to research aspects of Sir John Cowperthaite’s career.

Cowperthwaite’s challenge was entirely different to Bert Kelly who set about removing impediments to prosperity.

Cowperthwaite’s challenge was to preserve and encourage prosperity.

They were both fine examples of individuals who should be remembered and emulated.

Please bring more success stories to our attention.


[i] The foremost of the ‘Dries’ included Bert Kelly, John Hyde, Jim Carlton, Peter Shack, Murray Sainsbury, Stephen Lusher, Jim Short and Ross McLean. Their full story is told in John Hyde’s Dry: In Defence of Economic Freedom - IPA -

[ii] In Perth, the Fraser Institute, will be launching the results of this year’s World Index of Economic Freedom at a Mannkal / IPA event at the Celtic Club on Thursday, October 30th - you are invited, see details at

One Response to ““Drink a Toast to Outstanding Public Service!””

  1. Rafe says:

    Onward and upward Ron!

    Sent from Blockley village (Glos) on the eve of our departure for St Petersburgh and the Baltic states. Travelling with two Western Australians, Geoff Hogbin and his cousin Geoff Bell.