It has been nearly two years since the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in November 2016 that his government would repudiate old 500 rupees and 1000-rupee notes and replace these with newly issued 500 rupees and 2000-rupee notes. The government advised that anyone holding the old notes can exchange these for new notes at any bank (up to a maximum limit per day) or deposit unlimited amounts as credit into a bank account.
The Indian demonetization experiment has been promoted as a way to crack down on black money circulating in the economy, with the rationale being that those evading taxes by holding funds in cash or criminals keeping ill-gotten gains in cash would be forced to make such money visible to the government due to the need to deposit old notes into a bank account.
This global ‘War on Cash’ is an attempt by governments to raise revenue from the cash transactions that occur in an economy, but the price of doing away with cash, especially in a developing country like India where many do not even have bank accounts, is likely to be high. By many accounts, the demonetisation experiment has been extremely troubling, with reports of mass financial dislocation and harm to some of the poorest individuals in India.
While all agree that Australia is, or was intended to be, a federal system of government, there has been limited discussion of the role that secession plays as an implication of the federalist principle. To rectify this neglect, I propose to investigate the legality of the unilateral secession of an Australian state.
The background to my inquiry arises from Western Australia’s 1933 attempt at seceding from the Commonwealth of Australia. A referendum held on 8 April 1933 in Western Australia produced a compelling result: nearly 70 per cent were in favour of WA seceding from the Commonwealth. It was an emphatic rejection of a federation that had been consummated a mere 32 years previously. Despite the two-thirds majority in favour of seceding, WA did not obtain recognition for its claim, either from the federal government or the United Kingdom.
As a theoretical concern, the lineage of secession in Western legal theory can be traced to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England, which established the principle that the sovereign people, in extraordinary circumstances, could go outside formal constitutional procedures and depose tyrants. English scholar William Blackstone endorsed this principle. Furthermore, the US Declaration of Independence is an example of the desire to effect revolutionary change and overthrow a government: Britain’s oppression of the American colonists gave rise to a claimed inherent right to ‘alter or to abolish’ existing structures.
Previous work has produced near unanimity holding against the legality of secession, at least via unilateral state legislative action, however there is divergence in reasoning as to why it would be unconstitutional. John Quick and Robert Garran in The annotated constitution of the Australian Commonwealth have suggested the preamble to the Constitution bars secession because the phrase ‘indissoluble Federal Commonwealth’ implies a permanent union. Another school of thought expressed by William Moore finds that secession is ruled out by the covering clauses, that is, sections one to nine of the Constitution. Gregory Craven reopened the question in 1985, albeit finding that that unilateral secession was not permitted by the provisions of the Australian Constitution.
This is the guy directing Donald Trump's economic policy council... the President of Goldman Sachs. Not sure how this is draining the swamp.
Writes Thomas DiLorenzo:
Federal soldiers intimidated voters into voting Republican by menacing them at the polls. As Lincoln biographer David Donald has written, "Under the protection of Federal bayonets, New York went Republican by seven thousand votes" in 1864.
It's probable that Lincoln would have won the 1864 election even if he hadn't engaged in such manipulation. But there's no doubt that it helped him in the states with the closest margins of victory.
Why restrict students to government funded university places? Let them pay if they want.
Year 12s have already lodged their university preferences with VTAC. Some may have opted for full-fee courses as a back-up plan if they don’t get into a government supported place.
But these fee-places are criticised by the Australian Labor Party. Indeed, the ALP has promised to abolish fee-places should they be elected to government.
Yet is such an action warranted? And would it improve access to university education?
To find the answer we need to understand how the current system works. The most important feature of the present system is that there are a limited number of government supported places, and universities can only accept the amount of students negotiated with the government. Also, governments—both ALP and Coalition—are unwilling and unable to increase the amount of students that universities can take on board because of financial constraints.
As Andrew Norton, a former advisor to retired federal higher education minister David Kemp, notes:
“You do not need... an ENTER 99, or anything like it, to be able to complete an arts/law degree at Monash University. But you do need an ENTER of 99 to have been ‘clearly in’ for a HECS place in 2005. The reason for this is simple. The number of HECS places in this course, and every other course, is limited. There are various ways we could ration HECS places, but Monash uses what is, in effect, an academic auction in which, instead of bidding with money, you bid with marks. People who did very well in year 12 win in this process.”
Even if governments were to drastically increase expenditure on higher education at the expense of all else, student demand is difficult to predict and having a centralised government doling out money cannot ensure everyone who is competent enough to complete a university course will get past the quota system.
So the high Commonwealth Supported Place entry scores you see are the result of a poorly designed system unable to cope with student demand.
This is where fee-places come in. What fee-places do is alleviate this problem by allowing universities to take in more students who, although intelligent, may have missed out by a few points. If we only had Commonwealth Supported Places to get into university with, there would in all likelihood be far fewer people going to university.
However, having a limited amount of full-fee places is not, in itself, a solution. What if we changed the rules of the game entirely? What if, instead of governments dictating financial arrangements to universities, universities were privatised and allowed to run like businesses—competing for fee-paying students? Experience with competition in other industries suggests fees would lower and quality would improve. With greater university autonomy and a complete removal of ‘red-tape’ in higher education, Australian universities will hone their education product in response to student demand.
We must allow universities to expand supply in response to demand. Students should be able to pay for undertaking a degree -- perhaps through a bank loan -- rather than being dependent on a limited number of government funded places.
Originally published in the 2005 edition of 'The Witherbarian'.
Chris Leithner’s book, The Evil Princes of Martin Place: The Reserve Bank of Australia, the Global Financial Crisis and the Threat to Australians’ Liberty and Prosperity not only has a long title, but is also extremely lengthy in number of pages. At 654 pages, a casual reader interested in understanding the recent financial crisis might wonder whether it’s worth buying Leithner’s hefty work. My answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Every Australian should read this book to understand how the government’s involvement in money and banking has diminished their living standards.
Leithner’s goal is simple: to challenge conventional wisdom in the field of monetary economics. Along the way, he also demolishes a variety of other fallacies surrounding the State and its interventions. Harvard-educated academics – the same people who did not foresee the crisis – have blamed the crisis on capitalism and greed, but Leithner is here to defend the free-market perspective against the Keynesian onslaught.
According to Leithner, government intervention, not market failure, is the underlying cause of recessions and depressions. Government’s interventions are manifested through such measures as fractional reserve banking (FRB), legal tender laws, and central banking. Leithner argues that these forms of meddling in monetary affairs create economic turmoil. Though few people discuss the merits or otherwise of FRB and legal tender laws, central banking is already prominent in mainstream debates.
Central banks are a relatively recent phenomenon. For many years, Australians prospered without a central bank in an environment where private banks issued paper currencies. The pre-1901 era in Australia was a time of free banking, i.e. a situation where government gave no special privileges to banks. ‘Australian banking was relatively free for almost a century from the establishment of the first banks until well into the twentieth,’ explains Kevin Dowd in Laissez Faire Banking, ‘and fully fledged central banking arrived only with the establishment of the Reserve Bank of Australia at the comparatively late date of 1959’.
Nowadays, central bankers are highly praised and government intervention is taken for granted. Leithner questions this naïve faith:
In Australia, economists, investors and journalists babble endlessly about the level at which the Reserve Bank should “set” the “official interest rate”…Alas, almost nobody bothers to ask why it should be set, or whether it actually can be fixed…[F]or reasons rarely discussed and never justified, virtually nobody baulks at the notion that a short-term money market rate of interest must be “set” by a committee of price-fixers and central planners in Martin Place, Sydney.
The media and mainstream academics have done their best to suppress the true causes of the recession. But finally, the truth about the financial crisis is here.
In his latest book, The Evil Princes of Martin Place, investor Chris Leithner puts forward a free-market view of the economic crisis in 2008 as a counter to critics who have blamed capitalism and supported Karl Marx's notion of central banking.
Dr. Leithner's argument is that although the Reserve Bank of Australia masquerades as a "scientific" and independent organization, it is the underlying cause of the financial crisis.
Dr. Leithner is firmly within the Austrian School of Economics, which boasts luminaries such as Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek and respected economist Ludwig von Mises.
The book can be purchased through Amazon.com by clicking here. Download a free chapter. Read my review.
Medical doctor Wendell Rosevear, who works on the front-lines of the War on Drugs, explains the hypocrisy of state-sanctioned strip searches:
When individuals continue to use drugs in prisons, the system feels loss of power and face and with ‘mud on their face’ [and] wants to justify ‘coming down harder’ with strategies such as locking individuals in indefinite solitary confinement after overdoses or drug use and justifying forced internal body cavity searches, strip searches and observed urine tests which make individuals feel degraded and ‘raped’. To deny someone a choice in relation to protecting their body is rape even if you use the power of the state to justify it. The ‘Tough on Drugs’ strategy justifies rape, the very crime our society imprisons individuals for committing. To use the same strategies that cause the problem is to discredit oneself. Strip and Internal Body Cavity searches can happen to ordinary citizens coming through an airport as well as people in prison.
I never thought about invasive searches this way before, but on reflection, it makes a lot of sense. Especially since the courts have always held that rape, in criminal law, does not require penetration of the penis but can also include insertion of any other object into the vagina or anus. In its futile quest to protect people from their own harmful vices, the government is encouraging its agents to do despicable things.
Invasive searches are one way of being raped. Another is to arrest drug users and send them to prison - where prisoners and guards have been known to sexually abuse. Needless to say, this is ineffective in helping addicts. Would we treat alcoholics the same? Would you treat family members the same if they had a drug problem? What a shame that when the government does something, otherwise decent people think it’s acceptable.
Many think that capitalism thrives on conquest, and sincerely believe that capitalism causes wars. This is false.
In purely economic terms, there is no need to go to war for oil (or any other resource).
The reason is simple, and it has to do with the price system. For more, I recommend reading “Do We Need to Go to War for Oil?”, by David Henderson.
In yet another example of the unintended consequences of foreign aid, it was reported that Australia may be paying troops who torture.
According to the Associated Press: "Australia has sent an official to the Indonesian province of Maluku to investigate claims that Indonesia's elite counter-terrorism unit, Detachment 88, which receives millions of dollars from Australia each year, brutalised a group of separatists last month, repeatedly beating them in detention."
Regardless of whether these claims are true, the fact that Australia is sponsoring an organization that actively cracks down on civil liberties is a cause for concern.
Australia's own intelligence agency, ASIO, was the source of controversy a few years ago when it was implicated in the mistreatment of detainee Mamdouh Habib.
We need to stop sending money overseas to organizations that are opposed to the values of ordinary Australians.
It's time to end all foreign aid because much of it is misdirected into illegitimate causes, despite the good intentions of those who send taxpayer dollars abroad.