Institute of Public Affairs, Melbourne – Week 5 – Christmas Festivities

Anis Rezae

As Christmas nears, it is the final week of the year at the IPA. Projects are wrapping up, Kris Kringle festivities is almost here and the holidays are in near sight. At our Tuesday morning meeting, we discussed the fantastic year that the IPA has had, in fact, the 75th year.

Legal Rights Research Fellow, Morgan Begg, and I are working on the Legal Rights Audit for this year. As parliament sitting days have ended for the year, we are able to assess all the legislation passed through. There are almost 6,000 pages of legislation enacted this year. The Audit will look at whether these laws abrogate fundamental legal rights. Since 2014, the IPA has conducted this Audit, identifying and holding the government accountable for the slow erosion of common law principles.

The rule of law is one of the most basic common law commitments. The rise of the administrative state in recent times has led to the slow erosion of common law right and principles. Upholding fundamental principles such as the rule of law and separation of functions (and powers) should be the absolute priority in a common law nation such as Australia.

Meanwhile, I aim to finish the draft of my research paper on the state of red tape. I discuss the implications of red tape on developed economies such as the US and Australia. There are two key ways that regulation can distort markets and lead to losses in economic growth. Firstly, economic growth is dependent on investment. The economy relies on investment in research and development which leads to innovation and increased productivity. Therefore, the effect on investment choices is far greater than the cost captured in regulatory compliance. Regulatory intervention has a cumulative effect on the economy. The cost of regulation is not static, the accumulation of regulation over time lead to greater and greater distortion on investment choices.

Reducing red tape for businesses is generally regarded as essential for improving economic growth and raising competition. Regulatory reform initiated in the US and other countries such as Canada has reaped many benefits. Administrative costs alone can impose significant costs on businesses. This canadd to both internal and external costs.

As 2018 comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the year and the opportunity to intern at the IPA has been a fantastic experience.