Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

IPA Scholarship

Jake Fraser – The end of the line | Week 12

Jake Fraser, 27 February 2017

Hello from Melbourne!

Today marks the last day in the office at the IPA, it’s definitely one of mixed emotions. Over the course of the last three months I have been welcomed into the IPA family, and had the privilege of contributing work for a new deregulation agenda in Australia. Couple this with working on various legal rights and freedom of speech projects, and my expectations of what I was going to take away from this experience have been far exceeded!

A night at the MCG for a t20 with friends

This week my focus has been continuing my research, in collaboration with Morgan Begg, on the accumulation of environmental legislation since the early 1970s. However, I have also been doing research for Daniel Wild on the downward trend of private investment in Australia compared to competing economies since 2012.

Our research found that despite the government’s claim that non-mining investment would take the lead in boosting business growth, it has actually remained relatively stagnant whilst mining related investment has plummeted. Therefore, Australia is enduring a period of an overall decline in private sector investment.

This is one of the core issues facing the Australian economy, and is being inhibited by a obstructive structure and disincentive measures. These include excessive red tape strangling business owners, and a reluctance by politicians to cut the company tax rate to a competitive international level.

In order for Australia to encourage growth into the future, we must be more proactive in improving investment incentives with less red tape and lower tax rates.

Doing what needs to be done - CUT RED TAPE

Tonight after work will be my last social club and Friday drinks with the team, which will involve dinner and plenty of laughs. Not a bad way to end an unforgettable three months.

Signing off for the final time,

Jake

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

Jake Fraser – Abolish the red tape state | Week 10

Jake Fraser, 13 February 2017

Greetings from Melbourne!

Amazingly, this is my tenth blog since the adventure began, but it feels as though I arrived only last week!

My desk A.K.A deregulation station

My primary focus this week has been continuing, in collaboration with Michael Husek and Daniel Wild, to look into the rapid accumulation of red tape in Australia. What’s most concerning is the overwhelming rate at which subordinate regulations are being introduced.

Since the last Federal Election in September 2013, the number of subordinate pages of legislation passed is almost five times higher than the amount enacted by Parliament.

This only confirms the concerns of businesses and entrepreneurs across the country who are struggling to navigate the bureaucratic swamp of red tape.

In Canada, a one-for-one rule has been in force since 2015, whilst President Trump has begun utilising a ‘one-in, two-out’ strategy. Britain previously used Trump’s approach, but has since extended this to a ‘one-in, three-out’ policy to reduce the burden of red tape a further 10 billion pounds.

After examining the approaches to reform of competing developed economies, it is clear that Australia is being left behind. We desperately need to overcome inertia to deregulation and employ methodologies seen overseas.

This is the only way to a freer, more productive Australia.

Not a bad desk view to have everyday

The joy of writing my blog every week is knowing that it’s Friday, which means fun and banter after work with the IPA crew. Tonight, we are off to see the women’s AFL Bulldog’s versus Adelaide Crows match.

Good times ahead!

Until next week,

Jake

Jake Fraser – Section 18C and Trump’s philosophy | Week 9

Jake Fraser, 7 February 2017

Hello from Melbourne!

Another interesting week immersed in defending the right to speak freely in Australia. Tuesday saw the IPA’s Simon Breheny and Chris Berg appear before the senate for the 18C inquiry.

Luckily for me, I was able to tag along to parliament house and sit with my colleague Morgan Begg to witness a days worth of appearances from a range of submissions.

Sitting before the senate at parliament house

Some of the sights inside parliament house

The day prior to the hearing I was looking into the vast array of organisations, councils, and interest groups that claim 18C should be kept as is. Some have also taken the stance that strengthening the law with tougher hate speech ‘protections’ is required.

What I found was the majority of submissions of this nature receive some form of annual government funding. Determining a consensus of the ‘Australian public’s’ opinion is therefore distorted by the disproportionate amount of submissions from such interest groups.

In recent days my focus has turned to the philosophy of Donald Trump in deregulating the American economy with a ‘one in two out’ strategy. That is, for every one piece of new regulation introduced, two must be repealed. The interest is now applying this methodology in the context of Australia’s economy to assess the potential benefits it may bring.

In an economy that is estimated to be losing $176 billion in output to red tape annually, such an approach should be a necessity rather than a mere consideration.

Signing off for now,

Jake

Jake Fraser – Adventure, freedom of speech and Australia day | Week 8

Jake Fraser, 30 January 2017

Hello for the eighth instalment of the IPA experience.

Welcome back to the IPA Evan Mulholland

Monday saw my primary task for the week transition to the parliament inquiry on section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. Building on the work I did earlier in December on the IPA’s submission, the focus has shifted toward collating information on other submissions made by the public.

What I discovered among the diversity of submissions – including interest groups, private citizens, and law practitioners to name a few – is the significantly conflicting views on the issue. From my understanding and working experience of the provision, I feel that there is a misconception of the protection the law provides for individuals, or lack thereof. Hence, the by-product of such is a distortion of the restriction it entails on freedom of speech.

Here, the main issue at hand is a poorly drafted law that requires a large amount of subjectivity from its interpreter. Therefore, it needs to be repealed in its entirety.

Entrance to the Shrine of Remembrance

In the crypt at the Shrine of Remembrance

My adventure for the week saw a visit to the Shrine of Remembrance to learn more about our veterans of past and the stories of sacrifice they made for our great country. The building displays a fascinating crypt underground providing a walk through time into the history of world war I and II.

Lastly, to keep the tradition of home alive I ventured down to docklands on Thursday night to watch the Australia day fireworks display.

Australia day fireworks from Eithad stadium

It’s been a good week!

Signing off for now,

Jake

Jake Fraser – Cheers to restricting industry vibrancy | Week 7

Jake Fraser, 23 January 2017

Greetings for the seventh week of the Melbourne adventure. This week marks the beginning of the second half of my time at the IPA. If the first is anything to go by, more good times are still to come.

Myself and Scott Hargreaves

This week has seen me continuing to work on a report for the senate inquiry on the effect of red tape on the sale, supply and taxation of alcohol in Australia. Of particular interest has been looking into case studies surrounding the restrictions businesses face as a result of red tape enforcement by regulators.

Although the majority of cases are different across the states, a common theme is the licensee’s frustration with the limitations and costs on their business operations. An example of excessive indirect costs are time delays for licence approval. In NSW applications for a small bar licence are subject to an initial 30-day public consultation period before a duration of up to four and a half months for approval – Western Australia in these respects does not fare any better.

An appalling example was an owner going through a two-year battle with the state regulator for his licence to be approved. Yet in this instance, what exacerbated the delay was frequent intervention by the Police Commissioner, as for every application lodged the police are notified. The owner has since stated that due to such arduous delays, this will be his last endeavour in growing Perth’s small bar space.

What makes this all relevant is it’s not just one or two instances where the public has demonstrated its dissatisfaction with the regulator, it’s many.

Magna Carta poster of the IPA publication

So let’s raise a glass and cheers to fighting the suppression of venue vibrancy!

Until next week,

Jake

Jake Fraser – Keeping the Fight Alive | Week 6

Jake Fraser, 16 January 2017

Hello readers, welcome to another week of the IPA experience. May I say, it’s good to be back in the office.

In my first few weeks prior to the Christmas break I was quick to learn that every day, let alone every week, at the IPA is different. This week has been no exception.

Thumbs up to abolishing red tape with Daniel Wild

Myself and Michael Husek

My first assignment of the new year has seen me diving into the red tape surrounding liquor licensing in Australia. What immediately stood out to me was that each state administers its own liquor legislation, which entails different regulations in each jurisdiction. The continual compounding of liquor licensing regulation that businesses must navigate has become a deterrent for aspiring owners.

Such difficulties have created the adverse effect of increasing operation costs to the point that employment and consumer choice are beginning to suffer. In Western Australia alone, a 2009 state Treasury report estimated liquor licensing regulation to cost the local bar industry $7.7 million a year.

To that I say something needs to be done.

It’s examples like this that only motivate my passion for economic freedom further. The opportunity to work as part of the IPA team has enabled me to keep the fight for freedom alive.

What a week!

Signing off for now,

Jake

Jake Fraser – The Melbourne experience | Week 5

Jake Fraser, 9 January 2017

Hello from Melbourne!

Given one final free week before the IPA kick starts again next Monday, I sought to make the most of exploring the sights in Melbourne. The city has a unique architectural history throughout its buildings which embody the past times of Melbourne life. These include Parliament House, the Royal Exhibition Building, State Library of Victoria, and countless churches. As seen below the inside of St. Paul’s Cathedral is breathtaking which left me wondering the events this place would have seen over the years.

St Paul's Cathedral

The organ at St Paul's

In the days following, I went to experience a more contemporary sight of Melbourne – the Eureka Tower. Having not yet decided whether I’m comfortable at extreme heights I thought what better way to test my limits than being eighty eight stories above the ground. The panoramic view of the city and surrounding areas is a sight I will never forget.

The Eureka Tower - 88 stories up!

The Eureka Tower from the Yarra river

Interwoven between these adventures were multiple others worth mentioning. Two specific standouts were the Melbourne museum and the St Kilda coastline. One of the most moving displays at the museum was the World War I collection of notes and letters to soldiers. Reading through what these people endured brings a new level of respect for those who serve. A visit to the Shrine of Remembrance is on the next adventure agenda.

Although the previous weeks of exploring have been exciting, I’m eager to get back into the office on Monday and report back next week to continue the fight for freedom in Australia!

Signing off for now,

Jake

Jake Fraser – A Melbourne Christmas | Week 4

Jake Fraser, 3 January 2017

Hello again for another week of unforgettable life experiences.

First and foremost, Merry Christmas to the readers of this blog!

As work has wound up for the year at the Institute of Public Affairs, this week has been a Christmas experience in a city full of adventure. Given the Australian test team is currently in town, I decided there would be no better opportunity to go and experience the MCG live. It wasn’t hard to make friends as shown below.

New friends made at the cricket

However, one day of cricket turned into two from a generous invitation by a new friend and member of the IPA team Stuart Eaton, who asked me to join a group for lunch on the following day of play. Following an afternoon of fantastic food and conversation, who should we have the pleasure of meeting? None other than Australian cricket legend Glenn McGrath.

Meeting Glenn McGrath

I’m not sure a week spent with new friends could possibly get any better than this.

More than anything, this week away from the office has shown the other side to the enrichment this Mannkal scholarship has provided. Amidst the core work and intellectual component, the relationships, contacts, and life experiences gained have been equally as fulfilling.

Writing this blog every Friday, I sit here trying to guess what could possibly happen to top it all next week!

Signing off for now,

Jake

Jake Fraser – Croquet, Red Tape and Secret Santa | Week 3

Jake Fraser, 2 January 2017

Ponder this combination for a moment – what do croquet, combating red tape, and secret Santa all have in common?

A lovely spot of croquet on a Sunday afternoon

The answer is, the last week before Christmas at the IPA.

My week began by heading down to the Royal Croquet Club on the river in Melbourne with some of the IPA team on Sunday afternoon. Upon arriving, I was quickly thrown a stick and thrown into the ring to play my first ever game of croquet. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the friendly competition, the game seemed to have brought more laughter at the lack of skills we all displayed rather than a quick and sound victory. I think I might stick to economics instead.

Moving onto the interesting part of the week, work.

Much like the first two weeks, the tasks I performed were never the same. This week I was given various research roles that began with looking into the state emission targets for the coming decades. The purpose of this was to see what strategies and implementation processes are being used at the state level, to increase the level of renewable energy into the power grids. More importantly it was imperative to find out how this would impact the cost of power via the expensive infrastructure required.

In the days following I moved onto analysing the Victorian governments’ new legislation on apartment complex design which imposes mass amounts of restrictions on how architects can design living spaces according to the individual consumer needs – it is a red tape disaster! In between all this included looking into the issue of housing affordability in Australia and the history of the housing price-to-income ratio. I found that the average household is now having to contribute 30% of its income a month toward mortgage repayments alone, a figure that has substantially increased since the 1980′s.

Lastly, yesterday was the IPA Christmas party where the whole team gathered for an afternoon of lunch, secret Santa giving, and good conversation!

Myself, Morgan Begg, Bella d'Abrera, and Saul Muscatel in Melbourne

Myself, Bella d'Abrera, and Sharni Cutajar

Signing off for now,

Jake