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David Sharp’s last article for Laissez Faire


David Sharp – Barrister at Law

Democracy is widely regarded as the epitome of good government. Its virtues are lauded by politicians and prelates, journalists and judges, academics and scholars of many and varied backgrounds. As Winston Churchill, with typical wit, observed, “Democracy is the worst form of government, save for all the others”. Not everyone however would agree. Democracy and the critics thereof have existed since earliest times. Plato wrote unfavourably of democracy and foresaw the eventual fate of all democracies as tyranny or mob rule. Hans Herman Hoppe, whilst not advocating monarchy, suggests in his book, “Democracy the God that Failed”, that it was superior to democracy, against which he directs much criticism. The definition of democracy as two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner, is sometimes attributed to Benjamin Franklin, clearly suggesting that he did not favour it. Perhaps Franklin had in mind the threat of democracy when, on leaving the American Constitutional Convention he was asked what form of government the new USA was to have, he responded, “a republic, if you can keep it”.

In his preference for a republic and his opposition to democracy, Franklin was not alone amongst the American Founding Fathers. The second President, John Adams, asserted “Democracy never lasts long. It (more…)

WA: It wasn’t ‘Time,’ it was profligate spending

Perth has doubled its population to 2 million in the last 30 years, but it hasn’t changed much. The same old families still rule the roost and anyone from across the Nullarbor Plain is known as an ‘Eastern Stater’ or ‘someone from over there.’

The propagandists for the recently defunct Liberal government will say it was a matter of ‘time,’ as in Gough Whitlam’s ‘It’s Time’ campaign of 1972. This is not true. It was a matter of the monumental stupidity of the government.

I worked in mineral exploration during the last mining boom in WA in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Then it was mainly nickel the explorers sought. This time it was mainly, though not entirely, iron ore. This time, the resource was already there, thanks to the foresight of Sir Charles Court, former Liberal Premier of WA. They just had to dig up the rocks and put the iron ore on a ship to China. For years, the iron ore mines were marginal propositions supplying mainly the Japanese market. When the China boom began, the miners, mainly BHP and Rio, and later Fortescue, were ready.

Now, I wish to make this clear. The iron ore boom was the most stupendous boom in a century. WA had seen nothing like it since the gold rush at the turn of the 20th century. With the assurance of riches never seen before, Colin Barnett’s government began a massive spending spree: new hospitals (plural), a new football stadium, which neither the Dockers nor the Eagles has as yet called ‘home’ and Elizabeth Quay. Elizabeth Quay scaled new heights of idiocy. Contractors dug a huge hole in the Esplanade, on the Swan River, and eventually, after years of effort, filled it with water. The net result? More passengers take the ferry to South Perth. Not really worth
the effort.


Expose the Climate Change scam

I don’t need to remind readers that the ‘climate change’ scam has been scientifically refuted. When predictions based on scientific theory fail to materialize it is usually the end of the theory. But zombie like, the idea of imminent (but always far enough into the future not to be immediately apparent) climate change catastrophe has a life of its own and no number of facts or reality checks seem able to put a stake through it heart.

There is a psychology involved here. It takes enormous integrity of character to disagree with the underlying beliefs of all your peer groups. Most people ‘won’t go there’. I have often heard people avoid confronting the failure of the catastrophic climate change theory, by claiming that eliminating fossil fuels and using renewable (i.e. unreliable) energy is somehow a good thing anyway. Depending on their sophistication, they will waffle on about saving the planet from carbon pollution (without distinguishing carbon dioxide from real pollution) or peak oil or reliance on OPEC. Of course, nuclear power, which produces no greenhouse gasses, will never be contemplated as a replacement to fossil fuel generated energy. But that’s another story.


April Meeting – Dr Alan Moran – Climate Change Policy

The Adam Smith Club will host a meeting on Tuesday the 18th of April, 2017 at Bohéme Restaurant Bar, 368 Bridge Road, Richmond.

Dr Alan Moran on

CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY: Treaties and Policies in the Trump EraClimate Change Treaties & Policies

Alan Moran has been a prominent writer on regulatory matters for thirty years. He was the inaugural head of the Australian government’s regulatory review office and researched the issues in “think tanks”. Working outside and within the Victorian Government, he was a major participant in the disaggregation of that state’s monopoly electricity business into a dozen independent parts and in the creation of what later became the National Electricity Market.

Dr Moran has written many books and articles on the interface between climate change, energy and economic well-being. These include editing and contributing to the 2015 best seller, Climate Change: The Facts. His latest book is Climate Change: Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era. Dr Moran will address the Club on both his book and more specifically the causes and consequences of the closure of the Hazelwood power station. (BYO candles in case of post-Hazelwood blackout.)


 >>>>> April 2017 Newsletter and Dr Alan Moran Dinner Invitation <<<<<


VALE – David Sharp

It is with great sadness that the Club notes the passing of our co-founder and 15 year President – David Sharp.

Lawyer, Banker, War Correspondent, Activist for Liberty, Logie winning parachutist ( – yes that strong jawed floating man is David), U3A lecturer and very loving father to Adam, Alena & Ryun and husband to Betty.

He had been unwell over the last eighteen months – but at our January Committee BBQ he had recovered some of the old bounce, we hoped for many more years of his wit, his wisdom and his passion for liberty.

For those who wish to check out his involvement in starting the club – I point you to his address at our 30th Anniversary dinner and his very modest bio as a former President in the Dinner Programme (page 4)

Our sympathy to his family – a loss for all.

Tim Warner
Australian Adam Smith Club (Melbourne)


March Dinner – Tanveer Ahmed – Fragile Nation

The Adam Smith Club will host a meeting on Wednesday the 15th of March, 2017
at Bohéme Restaurant Bar, 368 Bridge Road, Richmond.

Tanveer Ahmed
Fragile Nation: Vulnerability, Resilience & Victimhood”

Tanveer Ahmed-Fragile Nation (Connor Court)


Dr Tanveer Ahmed is a consultant psychiatrist. He received his medical degree at the University of
Sydney and trained as a psychiatrist throughout New South Wales. He is also an author who has
involvement in the media and politics. He is an elected councillor at the City of Canada Bay. He
appears in various media, most commonly regular contributions to Channel 7’s Weekend Sunrise
and columns in the Spectator Australia. He has previously had regular columns in national
newspapers, undertaken international news stories and co-hosted a prime-time gameshow. His
migration memoir is titled The Exotic Rissole. His latest publication, Fragile Nation, will be the
subject of his address to the AASC.

>>>>> March 2017 Newsletter and Dinner Invitation<<<<<

November Dinner – Peter Fenwick – In Defence of Bill Leak

Peter Fenwick   on
Taking Responsibility for Ourselves and our Children:
A Defence of Bill Leak’s Message and his Right to Say it

The Adam Smith Club will host a meeting on Tuesday the 22nd of November, 2016 at Bohéme Restaurant Bar, 368 Bridge Road, Richmond. Further details on costs and booking are in this months Laissez Faire – see below.

Peter Fenwick will address the basis of our free and prosperous society, the errors of redistributive justice, crony capitalism, sound money and why good parenting – highlighted by Bill Leak – is essential. The current issues and court cases involving the QUT students, the Bill Leak cartoon, welfare as an entitlement and use of trigger warnings – this address will be taking aim at some of the problems eating at our body politic.

November Laissez Faire Newsletter and Peter Fenwick Dinner Invite <<<< download here

May Dinner – Tim Wilson – Traditional Rights & Freedoms: the Report has arrived

The Adam Smith Club will host a meeting on Monday the 16th of May, 2016 at Bohéme Restaurant Bar, 368 Bridge Road, Richmond, – 6.30pm for 7.00pm. Further details on costs and booking are in this months Laissez Faire – see below.

In 2013 the then Abbott Government launched a far ranging inquiry by the Australian Law Reform Commission. Its’ aim was to find which Traditional Rights had been diminished or extinguished by the Leviathan of caring progressive Government (Tradition Rights being the olde UK type ‘Rights of Englishmen’).

After two interim reports and many hearings and submissions a Report has been delivered! << download link

Tim Wilson
Tim Wilson

Tim Wilson – until February 2016 the Human Rights Commissioner charged with defense of those Traditional Freedoms – will speak at our May Dinner on the Report, and how the Coalition Government may view the findings.


May 2016 Laissez Faire Newsletter and Tim Wilson Dinner invite<< download link


Happy 257th Birthday to Theory of Moral Sentiments

The foundation work on which the better known Wealth of Nations is built. Theory of Moral Sentiments (TMS) was published on April 26th 1759. A great little post on the Adam Smith Institute (UK) site outlines its importance to Smith and his career.


April 2016 Dinner – Gary Johns – No Contraception: No Dole

Dr Gary Johns
No Contraception No Dole: Tackling intergenerational welfare

No Contraception - No Dole [Connor Court]
No Contraception – No Dole [Connor Court]

The Adam Smith Club will host a meeting on Tuesday the 12th of April, 2016 at Bohéme Restaurant Bar, 368 Bridge Road, Richmond. (invitation download below)

The Hon Dr Gary Johns served in the House of Representatives from 1987-1996, was Special Minister of State and Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations from 1993-1996 and was an Associate Commissioner of the Commonwealth Productivity Commission 2002-2004. He was for 10 years Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs and a senior consultant with ACIL Tasman economic consultants from 2006-2009. In 2009 he was appointed Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Australian Catholic University’s Public Policy Institute. In 2012 he was appointed visiting fellow at QUT Business School.

Gary Johns will argue the case for his book “No Contraception No Dole: Tackling intergenerational
welfare”. It has created considerable controversy amongst the chattering classes and will be an
opportunity for those who attend to discuss the pros and cons with the author.

March 2016 issue – Laissez Faire with Gary Johns Dinner invitation – download here