Mannkal Economic Education Foundation


How to lose community support for universities (in one easy lesson)

Ron Manners, 1 February 2017
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Ron’s latest Mannerism tackles the thorny issue of compulsory student unionism and why Australia needs, more than ever, the next generation of leaders to be aware of liberty and the rights of others.

In case you haven’t heard, several petulant twits running the University of Western Australia (UWA) student union (Guild) are squandering the fees of fellow students on their pet project – Anti-Australia Day. No one minds them spending their own money or time on their pet projects but, the Student Guild hierarchy have launched into this “brainwashing campaign” with fellow students’ money.

All this is being done by the privileged few who continue to arrive each day to get their free stuff, financed by Australia’s long suffering tax payers. Furthermore, on a campus that gives lip service to free speech they shut down anyone that raises their voice to question their agenda.

Details of the latest example are in the following proceedings of a recent meeting:

“2. That the UWA Student Guild:

1. Does not support Australia Day being held on the 26th of January as it is the day of dispossession of Indigenous culture as is a commemoration of a deep loss.

2. That Australia Day should be moved to a more inclusive day and thereby supports the #ChangeTheDate campaign.

3. Recommends to future Guild Council’s to not celebrate Australia Day held on January 26th.

Moved: Tyson McEwan (Welfare Officer); Seconded: Nevin Jaywardena (Guild President).

The only speaker against the motion and person to vote against was Michael McKenzie who was continuously told to check his “privilege” by the education president because she is “sick of white males who make a comment on race issues which they will never be able to understand”. It was said that due to Michael’s racial identity, “he has no right to argue on the topic of changing the date.”

What a sad example they set for our next generation of leaders – and Australia desperately needs fresh leaders.

So how does this affect the community’s support for universities? Simply because people are asking: “why should we continue to support this nonsense?” Unfortunately trust and respect at all levels have broken down so seriously that those who created this problem appear unaware of the challenge and of the scale of the task of rebuilding this trust and respect.

Superannuation – for better or worse?

Ron Manners, 5 January 2017
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So we have come to the end of the annual round of changes to our Super Fund, which in Australia, started off as a world model for the superannuation system.

Instead we have had this annual tampering and numerous amendments (mostly via media announcements). Some amendments are to correct earlier legislation.

Although it is ‘your’ superannuation and originally designed to get you off the promised ‘government pension’, the money for this promised pension is simply not there; because the taxes you paid have since been pre-spent by our governments, mainly on themselves, including their own over-generous Super Funds.

So, what exactly is it that drives this annual frenzy of changes?

Why not leave a reasonable system alone for a few years, so that it can meet the objective of giving us independence through our own financial responsibility?

There is a reason, and it is explained in economic terms by what is called Public Choice Theory, with the recipients of the concentrated benefits (money), being the accounting profession and financial advisers working their butts off to generate constant change, whereas the diffused costs are spread over the millions of people, such as ourselves, being the owners of our superannuation policies.

Most of the latter group are too busy following the latest rule changes and paying the professionals to handle such matters for us, hence we are too busy to march in the streets and demand that they ‘leave our superannuation alone’.

Sally Patten (Australian Financial Review, Nov. 28, 2016) put this well under the headline:-

“Thank you, Treasurer, for the super reforms”

Portion of her article ….

“On behalf of the financial planning and accounting communities, your correspondent would like to take this opportunity to thank Treasure Scott Morrison for the most significant superannuation reform package in nearly a decade.

Changes to the retirement savings rules, especially complicated, tectonic plate-shifting ones such as those which will be introduced on July 1 next year, help to justify the existence of a variety of occupations, including government relations and policy experts, lawyers, super fund administrators and a good number of staff at the Tax Office (not to mention financial journalists).

But the biggest beneficiaries will surely be financial advisers and accountants, who will spend the next seven months demonstrating their expertise by explaining the changes to their clients and ensuring that they remain on the right side of the law. ……..”


Character Beats Strategy (Every Time)

Ron Manners, 2 December 2016
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Character Beats Strategy

(Every Time)


Here we go again,

A strategy for this,

a strategy for that.


Most of our ‘thought leaders’,

spend their time,

talking through their hat.


What we really need,

is to focus on

courage, conviction and character.


This gave our Western Civilization

that special edge,

lifting millions to a new level.


The Enlightenment thinking,

Isaac Newton and friends,

blazed the trails.


Before Entitlements and Victimhood

ran us

off the rails.


In Canberra, this week,

I was told Canberra

is our National Capital.


“Wrong!”, I said.

It’s merely

our Political Capital.


I define Canberra as

200 square kilometers;

surrounded by reality!


Canberra’s where they

work hard to

destroy our Triple A Credit Rating.


It’s ‘out there’.

You are the people

working to save it?


The creators,

will rescue us,

from political seduction.


So, let’s drink a toast.

To the explorers, the industry

and our great producers.


Ron Manners – Dec. 2016

(For full version visit

Mannkal’s Library - A Special Offer

Ron Manners, 3 November 2016
Check out the author's latest book at

Mannerism – Nov. 2016

Anyone visiting for a personal tour of Mannkal’s 2000 book library, will be presented with a free USB stick containing insights to these books, their contents and for many, access to free e-book versions (but … please phone (08) 9382 1288 to organize an appointment to visit).

Philosopher Michael Novak said in a 2003 commencement speech, “a university is not a library”, before continuing with this description:-

“A university is a blessed place, a sacred space in which persons converse in the pursuit of universal knowledge.  In universities, mind speaks to mind, and (over time) heart speaks to heart.  For what we learn from one another in our talks together, our lectures and seminars and discussions and question periods and exchanges, is how individual humans go about, making judgments, what they count important, what they set aside as trivial or irrelevant, what they laugh at and what they take seriously, what is false even if it seems attractive, what is true and to be clung to even if it is unpopular and despised, and what is worth dying for.”

However, libraries with well-chosen books, have much to contribute to a well-rounded education by providing many of the “missing bits” in a modern university curriculum, as outlined in my ‘launch’ comments from 30th November, 2011;

“Tonight is all about Mannkal’s Library, a library with a difference!

My favourite definition of a library is from Jenny Davidson (Columbia University):-

‘If we think of a library as a city and a book as an individual house in that city, each sentence becomes one tiny component of that house.  Some are mostly functional — the load-bearing wall, the grout between the bathroom tiles — while others are the details we remember and take away, perhaps recalling their texture and colour when we assemble our own verbal dwelling-place.’

With us tonight is a great mixture of young scholars and various individuals who encourage us, in various ways, to expand our Mannkal activities.

This week is Mannkal’s 14th anniversary so it’s appropriate to ask, “How are we doing?”

Well, apart from running lots of events, in simple terms we have now sent over 400 young people to various events and training programs, both in Australia and overseas.

I used to be relatively lonely, being one of the only libertarians in Western Australia, but now I’ve got plenty of company.

These young people are able to vigorously question the conventional wisdom of our politicians’ when they buy votes and send the bill to future generations.

Our political leaders will never gain our respect if they continue to buy votes from the brain dead and send the bill to the yet unborn.

Many of our young scholars are now based all around the world but they still keep in touch with us and contribute comments, suggestions that they have seen work elsewhere at other Think Tanks and assist us with our various programs.

There were four of us two weeks ago in New York for the Atlas Foundation events and eleven of us in Sydney for last week’s Mises Seminar.

Their continued input has enabled us to develop one of Australia’s best Facebook sites for economic and policy matters with 4,500 very active friends.

Tonight is an opportunity to welcome back Andrew Pickford, our Senior Fellow, who has just spent three months studying Think Tank Management at some of the best institutes in North America.

Andrew has come back with lots of ideas and those of you who wish to help will have many more opportunities to sponsor scholars.

Emma Crisp, our Research Assistant for the last 3 years has now completed her studies and is off to create a career for herself, possibly in the U.K. where she’ll enjoy the company of several of our other colleagues.

We thank Emma for her great work in putting the Mannkal’s Musings together and co-ordinating scholars’ activities.

Emma’s position will be taken on by Felicity Karageorge, who is not here tonight as she at the moment stepping off a plane in Rome.

Sarah Pendal, another Research Assistant, has been meticulously loading our library books onto out web-based facility where the major project was capably handled by Cynthia MacLaine.

Just on the library, let me mention that we want every one of you to take away tonight our entire library.  It’s all on a simple USB card here which is affixed to this book which we’d like you to take – The Merits of Western Civilisation which we jointly sponsored with the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). Plus there is another book, The National Curriculum and it explains why Mannkal, with the IPA, is promoting a project called Western Civilisation (as it is no longer taught in our universities).

The third thing we’d like you to take is our latest copy of Mannkal’s Musings.

Again, re-focusing on our library.  Tonight I’m about to receive copies of very significant books from two of our close associates, and I’ll ask them to step forward and present these books.

Firstly, Hal Colebatch, is presenting us with a copy of his biography of his father together with a copy of Edward Shann’s 1929 book, Bond or Free.  This is indeed a rare book as it was influential on Bert Kelly and John Hyde and the other members of the Dry group who were largely responsible for temporarily introducing economic and fiscal rectitude, to Australia.

Also, Mr Denham Boulger is presenting to us a copy of The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson.

Niall, a close associate of Mannkal Foundation, along with his beloved wife, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, have both been voted amongst the most influential people in the world.

This just gives an example of how our library has been accumulated from so many sources and, more recently, by several important books from our friend Michael Sutherland.

It’s with pleasure I now hand over to Joanne Nova who will conduct the official opening ceremony of our Mannkal Library.

Thank you.”

Mannkal’s library contains over 2,000 books, many of which are now ‘out of print’ and not available by Googling.  They may be accessed, in our office, by students or visitors for research purposes, but not available on loan as we are not set up to pursue any overdue books.  Ask for our USB Library ‘tour guide’.

An offer you can refuse! [Say no to the Mafia-style remedy in the Uber vs Taxi dispute]

Ron Manners, 3 October 2016
Check out the author's latest book at

An offer you can refuse!

[Say no to the Mafia-style remedy in the Uber vs Taxi dispute]

Let’s look at the latest attempt to ‘milk the public’ in the emerging open competition between ride sharing (Uber) and the protected taxi industry.

The history.

Some years ago as a way of extracting higher prices from the travelling public, the Western Australian taxi industry (now controlled from Singapore) did a Mafia-style deal with our State Government.

“If we pay you ‘protection money’ you agree to protect us from competition.”

This gave the government a ‘river of money’ in the form of Plate Licences and in return gave the taxi industry a monopoly with obvious outcomes.

Enter the digital age.

Then, around 2015, along comes competition from quicker, cheaper, cleaner, private-owner, ride sharing.

It has been my pleasure to experience Uber in so many different countries and it was interesting to see in Athens, last year, that regular taxis had joined forces with Uber and as the driver explained to me, “When we looked at the Uber way of doing business, we decided to join it rather than fight it.”

Two solutions to the problem

The answer is either ‘competition’ or ‘compensation’.

Current negotiations between the taxi industry and the State Government are, unfortunately, focused only on ‘compensation’ with the taxpayers (travelling public) again likely to be slugged either with a $2 per Uber ride levy or $100 per year vehicle fee, passed on to riders.

How can this be fair?

The government received the ‘protection money’ from the taxi industry and if the taxi industry thought that this protection from competition was a ‘forever event’ and can find contractual evidence of this, they should take legal action against the State for fraud.

I somehow think the taxi industry would not like to expose their modus operandi in this way.

This dispute is entirely between the taxi industry and the State Government so the travelling public, not being implicated in this dispute, should step away from this war zone.

The only fair remedy

Leave it to the travelling public, to choose its method of transport, without government meddling.

Whoever provides the fastest, cleanest, cheapest, travelling experience will win this battle in the marketplace, not in the grubby corridors of politics.

For a humorous take on the taxi industry’s unreasonable demands, please watch the below video from our friends at the Australian Taxpayers Alliance.

Ron Manners

Oct. 2017

Role Model Reversal?

Ron Manners, 4 September 2016
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Role model reversal?

Under developed versus developed countries.

(The real generational gap in Australia)

Matthew Lynn, of the Daily Telegraph (24/5/16) recently set out to investigate why the title of Developing Country no longer exists.

The language of the left still claims that; “vast parts of the world are impoverished by a greedy West, while the professional poverty industry insists that the world is becoming more and more unequal all the time.”

Well, guess what?

They are wrong again.

Who says so?

The World Bank!

The World Bank has just decided to get rid of the term ‘developing countries’.  Why? Due to these countries becoming so successful the World Bank has decided the term no longer has any real meaning.

On the measures that actually count, such as infant mortality, life expectancy, educational standards, or public health, there isn’t much difference anymore between the ‘developed’ and the ‘developing’ world.

Those differences that do remain are more likely to be within countries than between them.

The change has been achieved through free markets, competition, more open and more liberal trade.  Capitalism has worked remarkably well for what used to be regarded as the Third World.  It is about time that the Left and indeed a lot of mainstream opinion caught up to the way that the global economy has changed — instead of constantly ranting the rhetoric about how evil the West is.

Another analogy, closer to home.

In similar fashion may I politely suggest a similar ‘role model reversal’ in Australia?

Not many years ago we looked to the ‘older generation’ as a role model to guide us into the future.  However, try putting yourself in the position of our next generation, looking at recent headlines ….

· W.A. business at war with Barnett.

· Monetary policy ‘out of shots’ to boost economy.

· More Australians are net beneficiaries of the tax and welfare systems.

· Fleecing the young.

· Perth is officially Australia’s broadband wasteland.

· $80 billion super crunch as bureaucrats’ wage rises add to blowout.

· Fremantle no longer wishes to celebrate our National Day (for fear of upsetting Aborigine activists).

· State Government forced to pay $500,000 every month for 300 car bays that contain no cars (because they assumed the hospital would be opened on time).

· Legal experts predict potential future Native Title claims could hit State coffers hard.

· Western Australia over the past eight years is managing with a public service salary bill that has risen by 63.3%.

So, what conclusions would the next generation come to in evaluating our current crop of political leaders?

I only hope that they have the patience to drill deep enough to identify and support those few and rare politicians who are courageous enough to display their own values and beliefs.  The few who continue to fight against today’s corrosive political tidal waves.

Hopefully, they will become ‘role models’ of a new generation of politicians.

Equally important, is that a new generation will emerge with the realization that to achieve their ambitions they will need to bypass the political quagmire and deal direct with people with whom they feel comfort and trust.

From that generation will emerge new leaders and we will see the older generation being replaced to Australia’s benefit.

Ron Manners

Fertilizing relationships

Ron Manners, 2 August 2016
Check out the author's latest book at

Fertilizing Relationships

File Notes @ 1.8.16

· Try to be the person who you would be attracted to, that you would seek to engage with, to meet, to converse with, and to spend time with.  Someone with whom you can become ‘lost in conversation’ for hours.

The sort of person who makes you feel better, that you always come away from with something new, a new idea or a new approach to an old problem.

You wish to be with a person who is constantly evolving, by virtue of what they do, what they read, who they mix with.

· Always be humble and modest about talking of your plans and goals.

· Link together the separate acts of learning and laughing into one seamless function.  If you can’t do this, you must be doing something wrong so change tack.

· Never underestimate the power of friendship and the price of friendship.

· Collect all those ‘simple wisdoms’ that Leonard E. Read ( “brought to the threshold of my consciousness”. (Expand on pages 8 – 11 “Heroic Misadventures” – see free e-book here)

· Don’t spend much time on beating yourself up!  Be forgiving and stay comfortable with yourself.

· Resist falling into a routine.  Fight that by being unpredictable, do the occasional stupid thing.

p.s.         As this piece is about relationships, we invite your own comments and suggestions.


Voting Season

Ron Manners, 27 June 2016
Check out the author's latest book at

A Senator, friend of mine, recently and despairingly said, “Our political system is designed to keep good people out of politics.”

From much commentary made in the run-up to our forthcoming ‘double-dissolution’ election next weekend, it is interesting to count the many times those sentiments have been expressed, only the words vary.

Is this a recent despair over how very few fine and noble people there are with a clear understanding of the benefits of limited constitutional government?

Is it only recently that we have realized how few of our present politicians are patient enough to explain to the electorate that we – the – people can make better decisions for ourselves, without surrendering our lives to the political approach of “if you vote for me I’ll steal some money from ‘other people’ so I can give a special favour to you”?

No, it was the subject of discussion last century, when economist F.A. Hayek asked, “Why do the worst get to the top?” He explained this process in detail in his various writings.

Even before that, as shown in G.P. Baker’s biography of the Roman General and Master Politician Sulla (139 – 78BC), similar questions were asked, “There are some systems which naturally take control out of the hands of good men.  There are even some which necessarily put it in the hands of bad ones.”

So, what can we do about this as voters, as we walk up to the polling booth on Saturday?

Perhaps we should read carefully the proposals put to us by the candidates and vote for those who promise to do less, at other people’s expense.  Vote NO to those who seek to ‘buy’ your vote and vote YES to those who seek to ‘earn’ your respect and through that, your vote.


Ron Manners

July, 2016

Superannuation - a free kick to the smaller political parties?

Ron Manners, 9 June 2016
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Teaching your children about taxation is easy.

How easy?

Just try eating half their ice cream.  If you’re smart, like governments, your introductory phrase will be, “Just let me taste your ice cream.”  Then you will slowly work up to taking half.

If you take half, on a regular basis, I’ll tell you what they will do.

If they are bigger than you, they will hit you fair and square or, if they are smaller, they will hide their ice cream out of reach.

They may be young but they already have a perfect understanding of taxation and are able to differentiate between ‘fair and unfair’.

So it is with adult voters when they see the rules change, retrospectively, concerning their superannuation and retirement arrangements.

The Superannuation rules were established when our Federal Government realized they had failed as ‘custodians’ and that the funds simply were ‘not there’ to pay pensions, even after taxpayers had been contributing, through taxation, over their working lives.

Yes, the cupboard was bare.  So encouragement was legislated to incentivize people to care for themselves.

Whether these arrangements were too generous, to redress the government’s poor custodianship, is irrelevant.  It certainly did not stop our politicians legislating a far more generous superannuation hand-out to themselves …. on a non-contributory basis too!

Their own scheme is seriously under-funded but they have continued caring for themselves by robbing us of 50% of the Telstra privatization shares and establishing a Future Fund to ensure continual payments of their own generous schemes.

However, even after the Telstra ‘robbery’ they are still in trouble. The scale of the unfunded superannuation problem was clearly explained in Tony Boyd’s (AFR article, May 5, 2016) Behind the $169b in unfunded super where he stated;

“One of the most shocking numbers contained in the federal budget papers on Tuesday was the $26 billion explosion in public sector employee superannuation liabilities over the next three years.

These unfunded liabilities are forecast to rise from $169 billion in June 2016 to $195 billion in 2019.  The liability is to cover the pensions or lump sums of current and former public servants, military personnel, judges and politicians.”

Now that our political leaders stand naked, as our July 2nd Federal Election nears, one might ask if voters could find some attraction in carefully selected minor parties or distributing their votes to some of the up-and-coming Independent candidates?

Ron Manners

Diesel Fuel Rebates are not Subsidies

Ron Manners, 4 May 2016
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Every time governments run out of money they try to seize money which is not theirs.

This is why they are again trying to confiscate trust money they are currently holding on behalf of various industries who are awaiting its return.

I’m referring, of course, to the ‘diesel fuel rebate’, which is again, the subject of government greed.

My May 7th, 2008 letter to still applies, as below:-

Diesel fuel rebates are not subsidies.

Just a quick correction for Crosscut Clyde’s column (May 7, ’08) where he described the Diesel Fuel Rebate as a Subsidy.

It’s easy to see how he got this wrong as the rebate was incorrectly described as a subsidy in the Australian Conservation Foundation’s news release.

A subsidy is where a government steals from one party to pay for handouts to another party.

A rebate, on the other hand, is simply repaying money that shouldn’t have been stolen in the first place.

In the case of the mining industry, when they pay for fuel, portion of the tax paid is to pay for building and maintaining roads.

However, when some mining companies actually provide their own roads and maintain them, after filling in numerous forms, they can retrieve that portion of that tax which they should not have paid in the first place, which they receive as a rebate many months later.

This unfortunate situation will continue until our mining leaders simply decide not to pay the tax in the first place, when it is not applicable.

All that needs is decisive leadership.


Ron Manners,

Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Also here is a collection of previous material on this topic.