Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

Julian Hasleby – The Last Week | Week 11

Julian Hasleby, 21 February 2017

I spent the weekend in Vancouver with fellow intern Gavin. On Friday night one of his colleagues from the Fraser Institute was playing in a grunge rock band, which we went to see. I was impressed at the level of musical talent for someone who also works day to day at a think tank.

We woke early on Saturday morning to take the ferry across to Vancouver Island, on the way meeting up with another Australian (Michael) who would travel with us. Victoria is the largest city on Vancouver Island and is also the capital of British Columbia. We visited the Royal BC Museum, the gardens of the provincial legislature and an obligatory pub or two.

The highlight of the trip for me was during a much-needed visit to a café on Sunday morning; I was approached by a woman who had overheard me talking and wanted to compliment me on my ‘beautiful Scottish accent’.  That was certainly a first!

Preston Manning generously gave me tickets to the Western Hockey League match between the Calgary Hitmen and the Edmonton Oil Kings on Friday night, which will certainly end my time in Calgary with an authentic Canadian experience.

Preston told me that this match would be rougher than his grandson’s game I attended with him. It will be interesting to watch hockey at a provincial level, especially since it’s so different to many of the sports we would usually see back in Australia.

In the office, we’re on the final drive for recruiting attendees for the Manning Centre Conference next week. Using different software including Nation Builder provides us with a wealth of information about people who’ve attended conferences or events in the past and allows us to contact them with special promotions.

On Tuesday, we had the final planning meeting for the conference, and I’m thoroughly impressed at how much has been achieved since I’ve been in the office, especially when any obstacles were placed in the way.

Friday will be the last day at the Manning Centre and with some sadness concludes my time in Calgary. To celebrate my last day, I will plan to bring a cake to share with the office after my mother’s insistence.

Finishing Work at the Manning Centre

I’m incredibly grateful to Mannkal for sending me to Calgary and to the Manning Centre for hosting me. On Sunday, all Manning interns based in Canada will travel to Ottawa for the Manning Conference and for an enrichment seminar organised by Mannkal for which I’m extremely excited.

Sally Hatter | Week 5

Sally Hatter, 21 February 2017

This week at the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union (NZTU) has predominantly been filled with drafting a Private Members Bill. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, the NZTU puts significant resources into sending out information requests under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

This Act supports transparency within the various government departments and local councils of New Zealand. The legislation is key to keeping the aforementioned organisations accountable for their spending of taxpayer and ratepayer funds.

Unfortunately the Taxpayers’ Union has come up against a loophole in the legislation that makes an exception for the New Zealand Local Government Association, the overarching organisation of the local New Zealand councils. To be compliant with the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, an organisation must classify as a ‘council controlled organisation’ pursuant to the Local Government Act 2002.

This loophole exempts the New Zealand Local Government Association from being classified as a council-controlled organisation. The result is that it is not possible to make official information requests to this overarching body. The inability to seek information from the Local Government Association is a difficulty the Taxpayers’ Union has come against a multitude of times.

Consequently, I have been directed to draft options to amend the Local Government Act 2002 so that it is possible to make information requests to the New Zealand Local Government Association. If suitable, the Private Member’s Bill may be presented to parliament later in the year.

I spent the weekend just gone with my housemates in Wellington; it was nice to relax and recuperate for the busy week ahead. We spent Friday and Saturday nights attending their extended friend’s house parties, and on Saturday we made the most of the weather, spending the afternoon at Lyall Bay. We finished off a fun weekend with a Sunday dinner at the flat, complete with steak from the farm in Taranaki we visited last weekend.

Sally

Weekends at Lyall Bay

View from our house

A Balmy Evening

Vena Xu – LEE Press Event | Week 7

Vena Xu, 20 February 2017

Hello!

I greet you with fantastic news! CIPS will be hosting the Asia Liberty Forum 2018 in Jakarta! To prepare, CIPS has planned some events to gain some experiences in running events of this scale. This Tuesday we held our first press event about migrant workers which was a resounding success, I was in charge of taking pictures.

CIPS has invited two people caught up in the parallel economy to share their illegal migrant working experiences and the hardships they faced. The day afterwards we appeared in several newspapers labeling the conference a resounding success! No one could tell that it is actually our first event of that nature.

Lee Press Event about Migrant workers

Lee Press Event

Wednesday was Election Day in Jakarta, citizens went to the vote for the new Governor. The competition is now between the incumbent Christian and a Muslim former Education Minister. Radical Islam called for voters to choose the Muslim leader for the city. I would love to share a little story that myself and my coworkers found during the election.

A girl born in a Muslim family told her father that she will vote the Christian candidate because she thinks he has a better experience of leading. Her father disagreed, “you wear a hijab and you are a Muslim, you should vote for the Muslim candidate.”

“Then I will take my hijab off!” The girl said. I wish I had a chance to meet this amazing girl!

I would like to quote my colleague’s words here, vote to keep the worst out.

On Thursday night, the executive director of CIPS, Rainer and his wife Joyce kindly invited me for dinner at an Indonesian restaurant. I also got a lovely present from him, a scarf with Indonesian design.

Dinner with Rainer and Joyce

I can’t imagine saying goodbye to all the wonderful things that I have experienced, and the fantastic people I have met in Jakarta.

Group picture with teammates after Lee Press Event

A cute Indonesian boy I met on the street.

Bermond Scoggins – To be, or not to be, optimistic | Week 6

Bermond Scoggins, 20 February 2017

The Free Market Road Show is a month away. Spirits are high; noses to the grindstone. The office is a flurry of activity – with a constant stream of incoming and outgoing phone calls and emails.

I imagine the same can be said for government departments and embassies around the world, albeit for very different reasons. During a time of such rapid change, it does make it interesting to be research assistant, especially in a world, to put it euphemistically, as ‘colourful’ as today’s.

This week’s events, notably the resignation of the U.S. National Security adviser, the alleged connection between Presidential staffers and Russian intelligence officers, and the assassination of the North Korean dictator’s self-exiled brother, resemble drunkenly scribbled bar napkin plotlines from John le Carré or Graham Greene.

These developments reminded me of a few lines from Voltaire’s Candide, when Cacambo asks Candide what is meant by the term ‘optimism’. Candide, in his witty style, replies “[i]t is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is worst.” Of course, Voltaire also wrote that “[a] witty saying proves nothing”. Regardless, I imagine many are optimistic in today’s political climate, who are willing to brave these slings and arrows, in the hope that it will all resolve itself.

From the backwaters of Pennsylvania to the hallowed halls of Congress, the Forgotten People and their Washington representatives remain optimistic that White House boorishness, the overtures to Russia (a destabiliser of liberal democracies), and the President’s comments of a moral equivalence between Russia and the U.S., constitute nothing more than a necessary inconvenience on a path to renewed prosperity.

In Europe, many voters are receptive to their own peculiar brand of nativism, protectionism, and illiberalism – as demonstrated by the popularity of the Front National in France’s presidential election.

The calls to return to a nationalistic order, eschewing the liberal system that has given us our peace and prosperity, demonstrates a remarkably naïve and optimistic view of history – spuriously believing that history cannot repeat itself.

In a book of Hayek’s collected essays, I was amused to read that in 1983 he delivered a lecture lamenting that

…people in Germany are no longer so convinced that they owe everything to the return to a free-market economy. Old feelings about anti-trade, anti-competition, and anti-internationalism are again coming to the fore. I am no longer quite sure whether German liberalism is sufficiently deep seated…

Phillip Stephens, in his February 9 article in the Financial Times, echoes Hayek by writing “[w]hat was not predicted was that the rich democracies would turn against their own creation, and the question would become whether they could manage the insurrections within”. While the ‘insurrectionist’ impulses Hayek observed during the 1980s proved moot, today’s impulses seem stronger than ever. To overcome them, we ought not be quite so optimistic.

But, art still remains, and much of it. I attended Mass at the Hofburgkapelle, graced with the voices of the Vienna Boys Choir, and roamed through the exhibits at Vienna’s Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK). While the world of politics can make you an irredeemable cynic, art can remind you of all that is, and can be, good in the world.

Vienna Boys Choir at the Hofsburgkapelle

With the statue of Emperor Josef II at the Hofburg

A section of the permanent collection at Vienna's Museum of Modern Art

Foluso Tade – Seminars, Meetings & Insights | Week 7

Foluso Tade, 20 February 2017

This has surely been a jam-packed week! Starting off with premiere film viewing of ‘Werewolf’ at the 67th annual Birlinale on the weekend. Berlinale is a highly renowned international film festival that adds a burst of art and culture to just about every cinema across Berlin for almost two weeks.

Monday evening, I went to a policy paper launch by the Berlin based think-tank Polis 180. The paper, ‘Long Shots and Bold Claims’, is a discussion on issues that have the potential to challenge the current global order.

Focussing on seven key topics from; Russia’s hybrid warfare tactics in the annexation of Crimea, antimicrobial resistance, outlining a worst-case scenario that leads to the destabilisation of world order, as well as a scenario suggesting what may be required of the international community to effectively address the issue.

The interactive nature of the event ensured participation of the entire audience and I left contemplating my own scenarios on how best to tackle these possible future challenges.

Berlinale !

Throughout the week, I have worked on delivering a range of interview questions for election and referendum campaigners. Germany’s federal elections will be held in September this year and the campaign trail will continue to build in the coming months.

FNF are seeking to learn from others past experiences and develop new ways to turn rational economic arguments into emotive and effective campaign messages.

The rise of populism and the far right is seeing consequences for civil liberties across the continent and the growing advantages of digital campaigning need to be harnessed to deliver outcomes that ensure liberty for every individual.

How could I leave out Valentine’s day, I had a lovely evening with my girlfriend Franzi at a restaurant overlooking Berlin’s night sky. The following day was her Birthday too, so we went to Quatsch Comedy Club for their Strictly Stand Up English comedy night.

Thursday was again a busy day, starting off with meetings at the FNF International Office in Potsdam.

I was lucky enough to meet with several heads of department and other staff, who outlined the foundation’s global operations. A specialist on Eastern Europe discussed the various forms of support offered to liberal minded political parties, in the hopes of strengthening democracy in fragile states. Another colleague explained a project designed to facilitate property rights development for indigenous communities in rural India.

The project has had several successes and has even reduced corruption and the exploitation of communities by legitimising their rights and economic opportunities. The entire day was a great opportunity to learn how the foundation influences change and has left me feeling eager to continue to play my role in the process.

After lunch, I hopped on the train back to Berlin and finished a few tasks in the office before heading to an evening seminar at German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). They run regular seminars focusing on development economics, with presentations offered by global experts.

This week’s seminar was presented by the World Bank’s development research group lead economist and outlined a three year project, run collaboratively with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), designed to facilitate female entrepreneurship in rural markets in Kenya.

Broader discussions on economic development continued after the presentation and it was a great chance for me to get further insights from industry specialists, research fellows, PhD students and recent graduates.

FNF International Office

Cycling the city

Chris Hendrickson | There is no rest for the free | Week 7

Chris Hendrickson, 20 February 2017

As another week whizzes by, I find myself only getting busier. Although relatively quiet in regards to events, I am reminded of an old childhood game; “Heads down, Thumbs up”, except there has been no time for thumbs up, all of my fingers have been furiously typing away in preparation for my final week.

Left-Imperialists against the IMF and EU

Being in contact with the FNF has granted me a unique opportunity in the form of an invitation to attend a conference hosted by the European Liberty Forum (ELF) and organised by the Greek chapter of the European Liberal Youth (LYMEC).

I will spend my last two days in Greece at this conference discussing the migration and integration of “The New Europeans”; those fleeing from neighbouring regions into Europe.

The “entry fee” to this event is, a minimum 1000 word, article relating to the topic. I hope to offer a unique Australian perspective on migration, hoping that the European policy makers can learn from our history and avoid the same mistakes as we did regarding the White Australia Policy.

A mass protest happening just around the corner from the office

A disruptive highlight of the week was a large protest on Tuesday, which saw the gathering of hundreds of agricultural workers from all over Greece. I didn’t feel too comfortable sticking around; given that the crowd identified as the Populist Left-Imperialists, being somewhat liberal among this crowd seemed almost suicide.

There was a large police presence around the scene, cutting off a large part of central Athens and creating some very heavy traffic, thankfully the protest didn’t turn violent.

I was slightly disappointed that the farmers didn’t drive their tractors into the city though, which, I am told, actually happened last year causing even greater disturbances in the city.

Although, it turns out many workers from the public sector were allowed to leave their jobs to join the protest. It would have been a bad day to need something from any of the public services.

My  free time this week at home has been spent busily arranging my final, free, weekend. I have planned to travel to Parnassus mountain for some snow activities, as well as a day trip to ancient Delphi which is a short drive east from the ski slopes.

I anticipate spending a lot of time on my backside as I get reacquainted with a snowboard, though there won’t be time for neither rest nor complaints as I have much to prepare before I leave next week.

I'll certainly miss walking through these doors

Gavin Rogers – Fraser Institute | Week 11

Gavin Rogers, 20 February 2017

My internship is coming to an end. Time has absolutely flown by; it is clichéd but true that the last three months have felt like one. I’m wrapping up my last week at Fraser Institute tomorrow, before heading to Ottawa for the enrichment program and Manning Centre conference.

I’ve been incredibly busy the past few weeks trying to fit in as much as possible before leaving, so this blog is unlikely to do all of it justice. I will try to explain it as concisely as possible.

Last Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of again meeting up with Julian, another Mannkal scholar who has been interning at the Manning Centre in Calgary. Together with my other Australian friend Michael, we went to watch a live gig.

This was not just any old gig, this was the latest album release by my colleague Bacchus and his grunge inspired band “The Belief Experiment”. They killed it!

Early on Saturday, the three of us then made our way over to Victoria. Something that has likely taken many people by surprise, including myself, is that British Columbia’s capital is not actually Vancouver.

The provincial capital is Victoria, a pretty and quaint town on Vancouver Island, separate from regular Vancouver and the mainland. Victoria is much smaller, and it has a rustic and mellow atmosphere of a regional coastal town similar Albany in Western Australia.

That being said, Victoria boasts a number of significant landmarks, such as the parliament building and beacon hill park. It was an extremely relaxing weekend and the perfect place to absorb a bit of culture before leaving British Columbia.

I finally made it to Stanley Park on Family Day, a public holiday in British Columbia and some other provinces. The weather was perfect, 10 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.

My friend Hannah and I took to the bicycles and rode our way around the seawall, we couldn’t have chosen a better day for it. I wish I had time to do it a few more times, or even stay just to do it again in summer, but the show must go on.

I’m in the process of finalising my last project at Fraser, relating to oil transportation. I’m hoping to acquire some relevant statistics on the volume of oil transported by, and proportion of spills from, both pipelines and tankers.

Statistics show that spills from both pipelines and tankers have declined dramatically over the past few decades. In addition, studies by the Fraser Institute have shown that pipelines have become an increasingly desirable method of transportation, proving to have far fewer spills than rail when compared under equal volumes.

When examining issues of a highly contentious or political nature such as these, it’s important to examine the fundamental statistics and information behind them, which I’m grateful to be doing. Research based on empirical evidence is why I wanted to intern at Fraser in the first place, and it has delivered.

Bayley Novakovic – Revisiting Positive Non-Intervention | Week 7

Bayley Novakovic, 20 February 2017

The history of Hong Kong’s “positive non-intervention” made its reappearance this week with Laurence Pak (LRI Director of Operations) giving a speech at a TEDx event.

The event was at an international school and Laurence’s speech covered much of the lessons he gave me early on in my internship here at the Lion Rock Institute.

The TEDx event not only covered economics or politics but a range of topics from students and various leaders in Hong Kong.

Thus, it was great to see Laurence’s speech receive applause not only at the end as to be expected, but also midway through; the only speaker on the night to achieve this! Hopefully the crowd’s response reflects a widespread enthusiasm among the younger generation for freedom!

Laurence delivering his speech

Positive non-intervention continued to feature this week as I partook in a meeting with LRI Chairman Nicholas Sallnow-Smith. Today’s government of Hong Kong is casting aside positive non-intervention as “irrelevant” and as such much discussion during the meeting focused on progressing free market solutions in face of greater public policy interventions.

Mr Sallnow-Smith also outlined the next steps for my completed Electronic Road Pricing report in engaging with the public and key decision makers; further serving as a lesson for me on how to best engage in the public policy arena.

Working on some positive non-intervention!

Over the weekend I further explored South Island’s art scene. There are some bizarre exhibitions, the last resulting in me wearing a virtual reality headset while holding an artichoke!

South Island views

Also over the weekend I was fortunate enough to join in on a casual meet-up of local entrepreneurs. Everyone had their own angle from transport applications to boutique green tea exports. This is what I love about Hong Kong; with the city so highly interconnected you can get involved in something new at a moments notice!

Jake Fraser – Australian democratic history: a dying breed | Week 11

Jake Fraser, 20 February 2017

Welcome to the second last instalment of the Melbourne experience.

This week I’ve been kept on my toes by a range of tasks, collaborating with a number of IPA researchers. Earlier in the week I finished my regulation research, and began working with Bella d’Abrera on the quality of undergraduate history degrees in Australia.

Hydrating in the office at 'hydration station'

In 2014 the IPA published ‘The end of history … in Australian universities’, which sought to address the failures of universities in teaching students the foundations of Australian liberal democracy. The report highlighted how only 6 subjects, out of 739, featured the study of British history after the colonisation of Australia.

Exacerbating this is the fact that more universities offer courses on the history of popular culture than on intellectual history – this is an issue that must be addressed.

Since 2014, many universities have expanded the number of undergraduate history courses offered. But while the quantity of units has increased, the quality has continued to decline.

In addition to this work, I have also been helping Morgan Begg in his study of the growth of environmental regulations since the late 1970’s, as well as contributing research to the 2016 audit of fundamental legal rights breaches in Australia. It’s been a busy week.

As seen below, social club last week was a trip out to watch the women’s AFL. A hard fought match in front of a 3,000 strong crowd which saw the crows get up over the bulldogs!

An awesome night at the footy!

Signing off for now,

Jake

James Case – Final week at the CTF | Week 10

James Case, 20 February 2017

This week has been focused around reflection. My time at the CTF is coming to an end and what a journey it has been! With two action packed weeks left in North America, I’m sure to end on a high.

This week I was able to attend a dinner held by the MacDonald-Laurier Institute, a public policy think tank. The dinner took place at the Canadian Museum of History and was a celebration of 150 years since confederation.

Many parliamentarians, senators and entrepreneurs attended the dinner with a panel discussion taking place to discuss Canada’s future. It was a pleasure to hear the stories and experiences of these individuals over dinner, particularly being surrounded with parts of Canada’s long history.

Tomorrow I will be road tripping down to Washington D.C to attend the International Students for Liberty Conference, one of the most anticipated liberty conferences on the planet. Prominent speakers include Mr Forbes chairman of Forbes media, Senator Rand Paul and Greg Glassman founder of CrossFit.

I eagerly look forward to meeting the hundreds of like minded libertarian students, as it is sure to be a fascinating experience. I can not wait to write about the conference on my return to Ottawa.

I would like to take the opportunity to thanks Mr. Bowes and Mr. Wudrick at the CTF for making my time so memorable. They were both so welcoming and made me feel apart of the team from day one. It has been a pleasure.

The frozen canal

MacDonald-Laurier Dinner

Acclimatised