The IPA believes in the timeless values of freedom and the Australian way of life, but sometimes we have to put the focus on the very urgent and very important. Two extremely current issues are the Voice to Parliament, and the looming energy crisis in Australia driven by net zero obsessions.
As you receive this, know that this month NSW will take a further step toward undermining its own energy security, when it closes the Liddell Power Station without any real replacement. All other mainland States have plans to do the same in the coming years, closing vital coal-fired power stations. This is so important to Australia’s future I asked IPA Research Fellow Dr Kevin You to focus attention on Liddell in our first article on page 8.
Leafing through the proofs of this edition I saw on page 55 the ad for the very thoughtful and learned book by Fr Tony Percy, with the wonderful title Australia: What Went Right? What Went Wrong? I am due to see him very shortly and will ask him whether he would let me do the follow-up volume: Australia: What IS going right? What IS going wrong? The second half of my book might be longer than the first!
Such thoughts are behind my own reflections on the lack of a shared sense of purpose in Australia, which you can find on page 14. I could even say my concern is the lack of shared commitment to our great country and its national interests. I explore the idea of a national strategy not in the sense (god forbid) of a Five-Year Plan, but just having our national leaders build on what is great about our nation and to stop pursuing messianic visions of transformation promoted by self-interested and somewhat delusional global elites. Please let me know what you think.
Race has no place in our Constitution.
You will also find a review by me of a new book on immigration and the role of culture. It is in some ways relevant to earlier themes, because the mass immigration program being sought in Australia is in practice a substitute for other measures we could take to improve our prosperity and secure our way of life. Immigration has a place, but we accept second-best if lazy governments use it just to boost headline GDP numbers and prop up universities and the construction sector.
One who did not accept second best was John Hyde, a proud son of Western Australia who took his fight in defence of individual freedom and against State power into parliament, and later into his inspirational leadership of the IPA. Another former Executive Director of the IPA, Mike Nahan, writes an informative and still highly relevant overview of John’s career as Australia’s leading ‘Dry’, showing why he fully deserved the honour accorded him on Australia Day.
Australia’s complex and fascinating history provides another opportunity to talk about what went right and what went wrong. We should not turn our backs on heroic stories of the pioneers who built Australia, supposedly because to do so glorifies ‘colonialism’, and ignores the contribution of Indigenous Australians then and now.
That is why I am so pleased that literary critic Peter Craven on page 32 has been delving back into classic tales of the pioneer life in Australia, covering the late 19th and early 20th centuries. What he shows is that the Australians who wrote and read these accounts were well aware of the good and the bad, the heroic and the shameful. History is rich, and one of the many sins of our current education system is to project woke values back onto our forebears, and find them lacking. But they could find a moral compass (as Craven writes), even as they suffered torments, hardships, loneliness, and tragic deaths. There is a truth behind the old Australia idiom, ‘in more strife than the early settlers’.
I have not directly repeated any of the IPA research on the Voice as it has been covered in other IPA publications, including the contribution by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price to Essays for Australia, which are all available on our website. All start from the premise that we are all Australians together, and race has no place in our Constitution. But I wanted to bring in an additional perspective from Dr Gary Johns, who has a decades long interest and involvement in Aboriginal social policy, and who challenges the premises of ‘empowerment’ used to justify the need for the Voice. This is on page 22.
Something else going wrong is in the proliferation of ‘white elephant’ projects, as governments throw taxpayer money at wasteful projects which invariably go over time and over budget. One such form of white elephant is a desalination plant, which as Bruce Kingston points out on page 42 are themselves too often driven by prior decisions to turn our back on the building of much-needed water storages. His case study inspired our cover design.
Scott Prasser on page 56 reviews an informative book on the Swedish approach to managing Covid, which puts Australia to shame. Governments here in their enthusiasm for lockdowns and other restrictions were constantly saying to ‘trust the science’, but the Swedes drew on the same science but with more interest in actual outcomes, considered holistically.
Richard Allsop on page 68 concludes his three-part review of David Kemp’s five-volume magnum opus on Australian Liberalism, commencing with The Land of Dreams: How Australians Won Their Freedom, 1788-1860 and concluding with Consent of the People: Human Dignity Through Freedom and Equality, 1966-2022. This is a history of how multiple generations of leaders put into effect the timeless values we share.
Finally, IPA Communications Manager Michael Barrett takes up the mantle of the IPA’s long-standing Strange Times column, asking what hope there is for the Oscars and movies generally once the left wins its battle against ‘cultural appropriation’. This year’s Oscar winner was Everything Everywhere All at Once, which is sometimes how it feels at the IPA as we respond on multiple fronts to the threats to our freedoms, prosperity, and way of life. I trust in this edition you will learn more about some of the important and urgent.
This is the editorial from the Autumn 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.