IPA Ahead of the Curve

16 January 2024
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In November 2023 I went to London for the inaugural conference of the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC), along with a number of IPA colleagues and a raft of Australian luminaries. I daresay you have read or watched something about it by now. There’s a couple of observations I would make about it which are relevant to readers of the IPA Review.

There were nearly 1500 people there, from across the world, looking to spark a revival. The conference sought to join those who believe in free markets with those who believe in something even higher. It aimed to inspire belief in our civilisation and a belief in our own capacity to make better lives for our families—indeed, to make a better society.

A core purpose of the ARC is to mesh considerations of politics and culture. But as you know, what you now have in your hands is dubbed a magazine of politics and culture, and it has been for many years. I think the IPA has, once again, been ahead of the curve. Much was said at the ARC conference about the role of education in propagating core values and culture. But under Rod Kemp as Executive Director (up to 1989), and again under John Roskam, this was a particular focus of the IPA’s research. It remains so. From Dame Leonie Kramer to Dr Bella d’Abrera, our research on education has been relevant and powerful.

We want a free and prosperous Australia, but we know this cannot be secured if our cultural institutions are being undermined. To be free and prosperous we need a coherent nation-state, and a keen sense of citizenship. Global citizenship is a vacuous and dangerous concept, but nevertheless it dominates the National Curriculum. If our education system teaches our kids that Australia is a terrible country which has been doing terrible things for nearly 250 years, they are not going to commit to it. And they will be debilitated by self-loathing and anxiety, as so many are.

The IPA puts defence of values front and centre.

In our work on red tape, productivity, industrial relations, net zero, and energy, the IPA is clearly focused on economics. But we also have Bella d’Abrera and Colleen Harkin, and John Roskam at the Centre for the Australian Way of Life (CAWL), putting defence of values front and centre. An extract of a forthcoming publication in CAWL’s How Australia Was Made series appears on page 48. In that article IPA Adjunct Fellow Dr Brad Bowden tracks progress towards women’s emancipation during the 18th and 19th centuries, a narrative at variance with the radical feminist diatribes against the liberal democracies of the West.

Similarly, Lana Starkey on page 66 reviews books by two great critics of identity politics, woke culture, and other elite obsessions, Joanna Williams and that great friend of the IPA, Brendan O’Neill of Spiked Online. But the lead article concerns the most momentous challenge to Australia’s democracy for many years, the Voice referendum. Daniel Wild’s article analyses not just the outcome, but what our research tells us are the drivers of that outcome, and what it means for Australia and potential political pathways.

I have also included on page 16 an article drawn from remarks made by Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO at an IPA event in June 2023. Although that speech was made in the context of the referendum, Warren ranged much more broadly. At the time, it was clear that while Australians were rightly suspicious of the Voice, they wanted to hear about better ways forward. I believe much of that can be found in what Warren said that night: that certainly Government can help, but fundamentally the building blocks are family, self-discipline, education, hard work, saving, and—if possible—to own your own home. That is, precisely the same way forward we would recommend to all Australians.

Therefore, I was keen to publish Warren’s remarks. They are made more memorable by the way he weaves in his own story, and that of his extended family across the generations (I can also heartily recommend his memoir, Warren Mundine in Black and White: Race, Politics and Changing Australia).

John Storey’s article on page 40 completes the ‘Voice Trio’ of articles, looking back on the result but also forward to the ‘misinformation’ and censorship battle ahead. The losers of the referendum have blamed ‘misinformation’ for the result, and their push to legislate against opinions with which they disagree will be the focus of the IPA’s most important work in 2024.

This edition also reflects our ongoing interest in the drivers of our cost-of-living crisis. On page 54 Ben Beattie tackles Alan Finkel over the latter’s deeply concerning plans to ‘carpet’ Australia with renewable energy, while on page 24 Morgan Begg and Dr Kevin You explain why red tape in the housing sector is driving up the cost of owning or renting a home.

Another theme of ARC was the enduring relevance of the great alliances of the West, particularly in the context of deteriorating global security. Dr Paul Monk on page 34 delivers an extended essay rebutting a new book claiming—more or less—that Australia should detach itself from our global alliances.

You can also read on page 60 my musings on an early hero of mine, the free-market economist Friedrich Hayek. I review a new biography, and in so doing discover there is much to be learnt from his life about how to navigate dangerous times dominated by terrible ideas.

Finally, Strange Times casts a wry eye on the epitome of the globalist catastrophe, the UN Human Rights Council—which represents everything to which ARC, and the IPA, is opposed. I trust you will find much of value in this edition of the IPA Review.

This is the editorial from the Summer 2023 edition of the IPA Review by Editor of the IPA Review, Scott Hargreaves. Articles once loaded online are listed here. IPA Members receive a print edition and online versions of articles are progressively released in the months following publication. To join/subscribe see here.

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