Coming from overseas in the 1970s, Australia looked to me like the ‘Land of Missed Opportunities’. Partial liberalisation during the Hawke-Keating era and some further reforms under Howard-Costello let Australian entrepreneurs and citizens realise much of their considerable potential: Australians became winners. Since then, we have suffered wealth-sapping political curtailments of economic freedom. After the 2016 election, overdue and urgent reforms are likely to be postponed. This heralds further relapses into a less citizen-friendly policy setting.
In this situation, it is urgent to re-examine the role and size of government, in particular unsustainable redistribution policies and enterprise-hampering interventionism in a Green or a social-justice guise. Australians will only master the challenges of a dynamic global economy, if governments become lean and modest and leave more breathing space for self-responsibility and risk-taking enterprise. Failing that, we will again become losers.