Banning Political Donations

A report in The Age, on Tuesday 30th June 2015, claims that the Liberal Party’s fund raising processes have been infiltrated by the Mafia to gain access to politicians and favourable decisions by ministers in relation to a visa for a gangland boss. The immediate response has been to call for tighter controls over political donations. This however would have serious consequences in a liberal democracy. It would not stop the problem. Those wishing to influence political decisions will find ways around any and every regulation. Yet it would limit citizens from legitimate promotion of their political beliefs and ideologies. To devise a satisfactory solution to any problem requires that we first

Where are the Leaders we can Trust?

When Vaclav Havel died in 2011, tens of thousands of Czech citizens paid their respects. It is rare for a politician to be so loved. Havel was a man of great integrity who spent his life “living the truth” in a society that was “living a lie”. Nearly a year has passed since I wrote the following text which become part of the back cover for my book The Fragility of Freedom: Why Subsidiarity Matters. “…the coercive and regularity powers of the state have been captured by sectional interests for their own benefit, leading to corruption in public life and crony capitalism in business. Civil virtues have declined throughout the community with leaders in politics, religion, business and the trade

Why are some nations rich and others poor?

In Australia, over the past fifty years, average household income, in constant prices, more than doubled. We live in one of the freest and most prosperous societies in the history of mankind. Why should we be so lucky? Prior to 1800, most people lived subsistence existences. Dirt poor, their lives a drudgery, they suffered high rates of child mortality, starvation in poor seasons and ever present violence. It had been that way for centuries. As Hobbes put it, life was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Since then, the wealth of the average person has increased twelve-fold. (See Mark Rosser’s graphs of GDP per capita throughout history). Concurrently, the world’s population increased

What does it mean to be Australian?

New laws are proposed to strip citizenship from those who oppose our principles and our way of life – specifically those who go overseas and fight for ISIS. This gives us pause for thought. What do we believe in? What are the characteristics that define what it is to be Australian? To what extent might one hold different views but still remain a citizen? If we define clearly what is required of an Australian citizen, might this impact our immigration policy? Australia’s cultural values and laws are based on the heritage of our Western Civilization. At the heart of this is a belief in democracy – that all people have equal political rights; and the rule of law – that everyone, including the

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Peter Francis Fenwick       Writer      Melbourne     Australia