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Ron’s latest Mid-Month Mannerism has him defending our property rights, WA’s upcoming state election and governments forgetting their main function. And who better to consult with these quandaries than the man with all the economic answers, FA Hayek.

Before I answer ‘Why I can’t vote Liberal’, I must admit to having just re-read one of my favourite writings by Nobel Laureate FA Hayek: Why I am not a Conservative.

In this piece, Hayek explains why unlimited government power becomes intolerable. A brief excerpt from Hayek:

“Closely connected with this is the usual attitude of the conservative to democracy. I have made it clear earlier that I do not regard majority rule as an end but merely as a means, or perhaps even as the least evil of those forms of government from which we have to choose. But I believe that the conservatives deceive themselves when they blame the evils of our time on democracy. The chief evil is unlimited government, and nobody is qualified to wield unlimited power. The powers which modern democracy possesses would be even more intolerable in the hands of some small elite.

“Admittedly, it was only when power came into the hands of the majority that further limitations of the power of government was thought unnecessary. In this sense democracy and unlimited government are connected. But it is not democracy but unlimited government that is objectionable, and I do not see why the people should not learn to limit the scope of majority rule as well as that of any other form of government. At any rate, the advantages of democracy as a method of peaceful change and of political education seem to be so great compared with those of any other system that I can have no sympathy with the antidemocratic strain of conservatism. It is not who governs but what government is entitled to do that seems to me the essential problem.”

The relevance of Hayek’s comments to the Barnett state government explains the fragility of property rights here in Western Australia. My own experience with property rights’ fragility is amply described in these two articles: To the Premier, regarding property rights and Property rights in WA: an endangered species.

When I write with questions, the Premier’s ‘minders’ reply, referring to someone else’s land where different conditions apply…then silence when I inform them of this error. Please excuse my frustration. At what stage does one become angry?

At the November 2016 Property Rights Conference, held at Murdoch University, there were many examples of property rights being similarly trashed. This is a serious matter as one of the few legitimate roles of government is to protect our property rights.

So when voting for the next state government, having reviewed the above material, I am sure that I would feel little joy in suffering a further term of fragile property rights.

That is why I can’t vote Liberal!


  • Ron, I sadly agree with you and also cannot vote (again) in support of retaining the Barnett Government. My reasons:
    Promises mean nothing to Colin,
    Colin has no suitable back up for his inevitable retirement,
    The extra ordinary debt the Libs have left their successors, and
    The scandalous arrogance shown in signing massive contracts for Roe 8 just before an Election.

  • Hi Ron,
    Am flabbergasted. Perth & rural W.A. has never been in better shape.
    The world is full wishy washy leaders and sometimes a bit of arrogance is needed.
    Your strong views of the past have betrayed you.
    Please explain.
    Ian Hay

    • Hi Ian,
      I can, in part, see where you are coming from but your view of life and fortunes in ‘the bush’ does not accord with my observations. The current massive crop yield is due to the elements and farmer’s good management however depressed crop prices have not advanced their fortunes to any significant extent….and let’s hope next year is not a drought or it will all be over for many producers. On a State revenue level the huge debt burden should have us all concerned, particularly as so little of the government’s expenditure has been aimed at wealth-generating infrastructure (most voters see the spending mostly focused on ‘folly’ projects) and again we should all lament the missed opportunity to create a sovereign fund back when the money was flowing into government pockets. Nonetheless, I also like a strong leader but Colin seems to have lost his sense of accountability – I wouldn’t employ him. That said, the dilemma is, who else?

  • Hi Ron,
    Sadly I think we have something of a Hobson’s Choice in the forthcoming election.

    For while you undoubtedly have legitimate qualms re the Lib’s view and practices on this important matter, I would be very surprised if the ALP were any more sound. And probably much less so.
    And indulging the minor parties is fraught with danger, because who knows what accommodations they’ll make in both preferences and policy. And B Grylls becomes more Bob Katter-like every time I see him interviewed. So given the political landscape I sullenly survey at the moment, Barnett is as close as we have to a (fiscally and philosophically) safe pair of hands at the moment.

  • The only reason for voting Liberal is if a Labor government is too horrifying as the alternative. Otherwise, it’s peas in the same pod and it makes no difference who I stealing your property and skint away your freedom.

  • Dear Ron old mate. Warwick here and a retired banker to both yourself and others in the resource sector in times past. I read your material and admire your promotion of freedom in the West and elsewhere. However, I feel compelled to comment. You should vote Liberal if only because it’s still a broadish-sort-of-church and does represent some decent values even if poorly executed from time to time….. even more frequently.

    Remember that meaningful change only occurs in the wake of cathartic events and our nation and indeed WA, has been a bit devoid of these since the 1991 recession which re-set a lot peoples expectations. In other words, true centre-right/libertarian thinking only makes decent headway following such cycles or, in the past wars and pestilence.

    Regarding your disappointing property dealings south of Perth which you wrote the Premier about, that is surely disappointing . However I would point out that real property (RP) is treated under British law quite differently from intellectual property (IP). As owners of RP we don’t actually “own” the land but rather have very high level permanent lease at the discretion of the Crown. If for whatever reason a government decides is the greater good, land may be forcibly returned to the Crown or other wise affected by easements or conditions. In Australia, government is required to “pay just compensation” (I’ve seen the The Castle) and you may have case there. The law takes a far more jealous view of the protection of IP (thank god) which in my opinion is far more important to the development and sustenance of western civil society.

    Anyway old mate, keep up the good fight.

  • I have read your responses and it seems you are in the same position as we were in the USA. Neither party was nterested inlimited government. But along came Trump and some of us are hopeful that he will change that. Contrary to news reports by MSM he is doing everything he promised. You need a Donald Trump. Good luck with that. He would need to be very wealthy with no ties to either current party. Adesire for fiscal resposibility and an understanding of economics is mandatory.

    • Hi Kirt … having become immersed in the U.S. politics whilst living there last 3 years … agree a Trumpian is needed throughout the world! The establishment so mired in P.C. and appeasing MSM for approval and forgetting WHY THEY’RE THERE!! To get stuff done for their People. Spread that hope!! W.A. has suffered Labor politics and corruption before Barnett. My fave person Ron must be very disallusioned … but hope he sees alternates are Clintonesque!!

  • Dear Ron, Ian Hay should realise that arrogance is only tolerable when it is right. He must be living in a different world because things are not all right in the country and they are getting worse. Your voting intentions are understandable but pathetic as all the alternatives appear to be worse. I once told a senior Liberal Minister that I thought Colin Barnett was a half baked Greenie. He told me I was wrong and that he was in fact an affluent Western Suburb housewife. The problem is there are far too many of these people in the Liberal Party. You are absolutely right when you say that “property rights” is the foundation of democracy. There are many politicians, Brendan Grylls being a prime example, who do not understand this. The problem is made even more difficult to deal with because the government funded ABC is a subversive left wind organisation. Since prayer does not work, your only alternative and obligation is to keep on fighting.

  • Hi, Ron,
    Please vote Liberal but harass the hell out of Ms. Bishop and our other federal MP’s living the high life at our expense and taking 49% of our earned income.

    I have written repeatedly to Bishop and other federal members on the massive government intrusion into our lives. Also about the billions of dollars stolen each year by home and commercial child care operators , theft via Centrelink and numerous unsuccessful programs, eg to the aboriginal industry lawyers and fraudsters. Why are minor government officials being paid AUD 350,000 + a year , up to AUD 5.6 million , plus massive non contributory superannuation benefits. These are non jobs carrying no risk.

    No private enterprise could stand the fraud and waste. There is obviously no effective internal accounting and expenditure systems in government.

    And so on. I think we need a non politician eg President Trump to drain the Canberra swamp. Hopefully , Malcolm is developing some guts.

    Colin Barrnet is a good and honest manager. The opposition in WA is inexperienced ,incompetent and evil.

    Best regards,


  • As an East-Coaster in a predominantly West Coast Forum, I do feel a bit nervous… However we face the same problems here, though my feeling is that it may well be headed “Why I cannot vote for major political parties”… Both the majors now seem to be far more focussed on self interest and looking after foreign interests far more than their constituents. We are still seeing Banks being protected while they forcibly evict graziers, Coal Seam Gas miners being given unhindered access to agricultural land which they are destroying for ever, and preferential sales being made to foreign interests ahead of higher value offers from locals… A difficult situation to turn around! We take heart from seeing Pres. Trump get up on the back of a massive groundswell of citizen discontent, we can look at the couple of able Contenders here who are listening carefully to ordinary, hard working people, and who are not “owned” by faceless “Party Machines”… Wish them well, send them constructive and practical suggestions, and vote for them when the opportunity comes around…..!!

  • Why Vote for a USSEC Registered Corrupt Corporate Pseudo Government that only pays dividends to the share holders. Not into Australia’s proper General Revenue Government.

  • Perth population increased by 500,000 during Barnett’s Govt. Clearly the infrastructure and services expansion that resulted drove WA deep into debt. Grylls was aiming to violate State agreements (ratified by Parliament) – akin to infringing property rights. Now, after the election, there are calls for the PM to legislate to fix the inequitable GST carve-up. Again, this would be akin to violating property rights. The States entered into an agreement with the Feds and now it is being suggested that the Feds can unilaterally change that agreement. If that solution is accepted would the States ever again trust entering an agreement with the Fed Govt? Grylls’ proposal was even worse because it would have impacted not only WA’s sovereign risk rating, but that of Australia. Under the circumstances, which were horrific, Barnett did a good job. I like Elizabeth Quay and the land sales mean it cost us nothing. The stadium is impressive and represented only a small fraction of the State debt. The road works, hospitals, school expansions, services etc resulted in “good debt” – not pink batts-type debt. Barnett has left a great legacy. Labor, for once, has taken the reins without a bucket of money to waste.

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