The big government merry-go-round

I have an article in this month's edition of the award-winning IPA Review on taxpayer funded political activism:
Unintentional self-parody has long being a forte of governments around the world.

Yet a movement in recent years to create multi-layered government and quasi-governmental agencies, each existing simply to lobby each other to in turn lobby other agencies has exceeded anything Kafka could have dreamt of. We have seen the emergence of a new industry in Australia, where an entire class of government-funded ‘non-government' organisations has arisen to lobby government agencies who are created for the express purpose of lobbying another government department.....

The influx of taxpayer dollars has resulted in ‘non-government' actors becoming so corrupted and intertwined with politics as to cease to be ‘non-government', while retaining the benefits of non-partisanship in the public eye. The use by the executive of taxpayer dollars to alter public opinion and pressure the legislature is more than contrary to every tenet of the separation of powers and good governance, not to mention a flagrant misappropriation of public funds. Yet, with both sides of politics engaging in such practices, scarcely a word is said.

Examples of this behaviour are everywhere. While campaigns by taxpayer-funded environmental ‘charities' in favour of the carbon tax are perhaps the most obvious instance, the same is seen in almost every policy area. ‘Public Health' campaigns calling for Nanny State restrictions on alcohol and the implementation of plain packaging regulation (the campaign for which has now been extended to fast food), are almost exclusively conducted by groups in receipt of taxpayer funds. Likewise the welfare lobby seems to have created a self-sustaining industry based upon receiving taxpayer funds to lobby for more taxpayer funds, the political equivalent of the perpetual motion machine.

Even Australia's foreign aid budget, ostensibly to assist developing countries, has become highly politicised, with a recent investigation by the Institute of Public Affairs uncovering millions of dollars in foreign aid funding being used for domestic political activism, and lobbying for the carbon tax by ‘non-government' groups such as the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Worldwide Wildlife Fund...

Click here to read the whole piece!

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