Bert Kelly columns on force-feeding and force-funding education:
1. Should we continue to educate the unwilling? (October 9, 1970)
2.Canwe judge students by the amount of hair on their heads?(Nov13,1970)
3. No pity for the poor graduates (January 14, 1972)
4. So why not learn now, pay later? (July 21, 1972)
5. “They would hit you with their halo …” (September 20, 1974)
6. The sacred education cow has had her day (April 28, 1978)

A Modest Member of Parliament [Bert Kelly],
“Should we continue to educate the unwilling?,”
The Australian Financial Review, October 9, 1970, p. 3.

The last sacred cow I tentatively disturbed was the compulsory voting cow. I got no votes by so doing, though a lot of people have again written in to ask if I found out why we do things this way, would I please let them know?

I am now worrying about the education cow. This cow is not only sacred but she has a very loud and penetrating bellow. She is certainly not a cow to be lightly irritated, or indeed quietly milked.

It was Eccles who started me off on this profitless path.

Mavis has felt for some time that I do not put enough sentiment into my speeches, that there should be a heart throb or two stuck away in all the solid stuff about wheat and wool and tariffs.

So I made up a speech entitled “Our Heritage” and high on the list of the benefits bequeathed us in our heritage is “our inalienable right to a free education.”

Eccles, when he heard me use the words “free education,” said sourly that there was nothing in this world that was free, whatever may be the position in the next.

Far from being free, education was becoming increasingly and frighteningly expensive and was only free to some people because other people worked like galley slaves to make it all possible.

I could tell that Eccles was getting worked up about taxation so I asked him whether there was anything else on his mind about education that he wanted to unload.

There was.

What is really puzzling him is why we make education compulsory after a child turns 14 years.

He can understand that it is compulsory until 14 because up until that age most children really cannot be expected to want to go to school.

And too often the parents may want him to leave school for economic and other reasons. And, up to that age, if he is forced to stop at school against his will, he is young enough, in most cases, to be amenable to discipline.

But after that, in this permissive society, a child who is forced unwillingly to school can be a very grave problem to the majority of the class who want to learn, and even more of a problem to the teachers, and particularly to young girl teachers.

I must agree with Eccles in this because I know of many cases where 20-year-old teachers had nervous breakdowns because of the treatment handed out by louts driven unwillingly to school to while away the time until it is legal for them to leave.

A private school is at a great advantage here. If a boy becomes a disciplinary problem a private school can expel him so that he doesn’t pollute the whole school. But not so the government schools.

What is the good of expelling a boy if he is forced to come back next day to either that school or another government school somewhere else?

I suppose the theory of compulsion is that some students may gain by being forced to drink from the trough of learning by having their heads held under, as it were.

But the splutterings and commotion caused by so doing will certainly distract the attention and adversely affect the performance of those who come willingly to the trough.

That the position will get worse there is no doubt, as the canker of the permissive society eats into the morality of our people. And the pressure to learn will be more insistent with the rise in the level of technology, so the student who wants to learn will feel the distraction caused by the unwilling students all the more.

There is no doubt that the position is serious. The solution seems so simple but there must be good reasons why we do as we do. Perhaps someone will tell me what it is, otherwise again I will conclude that like immigration we just don’t know how to stop.

Old Fred the farmer wants me to say something about universities. I will too, but I will wait until just before I go overseas, or something.

A Modest Member of Parliament [Bert Kelly],
“Can we judge students by the amount of hair on their heads?,”
The Australian Financial Review, November 13, 1970, p. 3.

Fred keeps nagging me to get stuck into the universities. He often sees, on TV, hairy, scruffy students behaving like ignorant larrikins. And he wants to know why I continue to vote for his hard-earned taxation money to be squandered to enable such people to abuse their educational opportunities.

That this feeling is common throughout the rural areas there is no doubt.

I sometimes tell me country constituents they should not judge the majority of university students by the behaviour of a sordid minority that blackens the reputation and spoils the performance of the solid, silent majority.

But they don’t really listen.

I have a nephew with very long hair and I have watched him grow up with acute anxiety. But I now have to admit that, in spite of my gloomy forebodings, he has turned out to be quite a sensible young man.

So perhaps I should stop judging students by the quantity of hair on their heads. It won’t be easy, but I will try.

But although I realise that I must not judge the majority by the behaviour of the stupid minority, yet there are two things that really worry me, as well as most country people, who are most acutely envious of the opportunities that these young people have.

The first is the bland assumption that everybody has what is called an “unalienable right” to free university education.

Eccles has constantly drummed it into me that there is nothing in life that is free — that someone, somewhere, somehow always has to find the money and resources.

He tells me that tertiary education costs the taxpayers of Australia about $300 million a year, so it certainly isn’t free. It is paid for by the taxpayers, most of whom seem to work a great deal harder than the university students who make all the mischief.

I suppose this is what sickens people most about the behaviour of the minority.

If those who were wasting their time were also wasting their own money instead of ours, it wouldn’t be so intensely irritating.

But it is not easy to cheerfully pay taxes and see the money frittered away.

Fred says if students had to pay a greater share of their expenses, it would encourage them to appreciate their opportunities.

Even the student who pays his own fees is only meeting about 20 per cent of the total cost. And the number who pay for themselves only make up about 33 per cent of those who go to university.

Evidently, fees pay 10 per cent of university running costs. Fred says that the things you get for nothing you usually appreciate as such.

I know that some will claim that this is unfair on the poor student to have to pay a greater percentage of his fees, but most people could get through a university if they wanted to.

And then the behaviour of many students during vacations doesn’t give one the impression that they are earnestly toiling to get together enough money to pay next year’s fees.

The second thing that worries Fred and me is, when the minority play up and take over administrative buildings and smash things up and generally interfere with the running of the university and spoil the opportunity of the keen students to learn, why the bad ones can’t be expelled. (Eccles says the proper term is “sent down.”)

Surely it is not beyond the wit of the administrators to kick them out.

Obviously they do not appreciate what is being done for them at great expense. So I don’t see why we should keep them there if they don’t want to learn.

There is no doubt that most people in Australia are rapidly becoming disillusioned about universities and will increasingly be unwilling to go without things for themselves so that universities can flourish.

This is a pity because in an increasingly technological age I guess we need well educated people.

But I know that the quickest path to popularity in a rural constituency would be to advocate cutting down university expenditure.

It is with difficulty that I have so far resisted the temptation.

But it gets harder each week.

A Modest Member of Parliament [Bert Kelly], “No pity for the poor graduates,” The Australian Financial Review, January 14, 1972, p. 3.

About the only certainty in the uncertain political world is that 1972 is going to be an election year.

So during most of this year I will be describing my desperate efforts to ingratiate myself with my electors, with Mavis pushing me forward on every occasion.

I cannot quite understand why I make such desperate efforts to retain my seat in Parliament, when I spend most of the rest of the time complaining about how hard I work and how little I am paid.

Mavis says I do it for the country’s good — I’ve got a suspicion it’s because I don’t know how to stop.

So Mavis and I have been desperately thinking of popular things to say. The first subject that attracted us was unemployment, so we composed a tender little speech, redolent with compassion for the poor unemployed people standing in the soup kitchen queues, and pity for the poor university graduates as they “were flung brand-new on to this harsh world’s scrap heap.” (This was one of our finer phrases.)

When we had finished the speech, and as we wiped the tears from our eyes, we felt that we had really laboured to some purpose.

“It’s very good, dear,” Mavis said, “it shows you are a man of feeling. It should get you a lot of votes. You must make sure that Eccles or Fred don’t get their hooks into it.”

I can see what she means. This time last year, Eccles made me write articles appealing to the Government to do something worthwhile, even if unpopular, to counter inflation.

It has done at least some of the things that Eccles was urging on it, and the economy is slowing down — a little painfully, I know — but slowing down, as had to happen if we were to dampen down the flaring fires of inflation.

Now one of the results of doing this is that the rate of unemployment has increased. But it is only a marginal increase.

At the end of November 1.53 per cent of our work force was listed as unemployed, and, if you take the school leavers out of this, the figure is 1.2 per cent. And about half of these were wives or teenagers, dependent to some extent on the father’s or husband’s income.

Our figure of 1.2 per cent unemployed is the envy of the world. The average rate of unemployment between 1961 and 1970 has been: Canada 5 per cent, USA 4.7 per cent, Italy 3.3 per cent, France 2.4 per cent, UK 2.1 per cent, Sweden 1.7 per cent, and Australia 1.4 per cent.

Now we are expected to go to panic stations because the figure has reached 1.53 per cent (including school leavers) and jeopardise by so doing the anti-inflation measures we painfully began during the past year.

So you can see why I hope Eccles mustn’t get to hear of my speech. And, come to think of it, I hope Fred doesn’t either.

Fred and I both left school during the depression and we know what unemployment really means.

But Fred knows, as I know but mustn’t say, that one of the reasons why we have had so many strikes, why our productivity performance has been so lamentably low, is that so few people have been available to fill the many empty positions.

This has meant that there has been no economic discipline to encourage people to work well.

And I don’t think I will try to move Fred’s bowels of compassion at the picture of university graduates being unable to stroll into any particular job they fancy, just because they are able to flash a degree in the face of the employer.

In many disciplines those days are gone — at least for the moment, and Fred is glad and so am I, but I am frightened to say so.

I am really keeping the university question up my sleeve until closer to election day.

I am well aware that Fred resents the fact that many university students take it as a right that Fred and his fellow-workers should have to slog away to find the money to put them through their university courses at great expense to all concerned.

He would resent it even more if he finds that he has got to do something heroic to look after them after they are through. I wouldn’t like to ask him to do that.

So I am having second thoughts about my fine, flowering speech on unemployment. I can’t show it to Eccles — that doesn’t worry me because Eccles lives in his ivory tower in Canberra and so doesn’t vote in my electorate.

But now I find I can’t show it to Fred either, and I have a lot of Freds who do. Perhaps I ought to tear it up.

But if I can’t make popular, powerful speeches on unemployment, I will think of something else equally exciting. If I am going to be beaten I will go down with my mouth open!

A Modest Member of Parliament [Bert Kelly], “So why not learn now, pay later?,” The Australian Financial Review, July 21, 1972, p. 3.

Mavis is nagging me to find a subject about which I can make powerful and popular speeches with election day drawing nigh.

Fred says I should come out with a definite policy to kick the universities — to promise to cut off their money supply and so on. This is a tempting prospect as I know there would be many votes in it.

My people distrust the university louts they see on TV and they are always grizzling because they have to pay taxes to keep them.

I tell them that TV stations only show the bad students and they mustn’t think that all are like that. This sounds convincing until you look at the “drop-out” rate, which stands at about 33 per cent.

This is about twice as high as in the UK. Why do we do so badly?

One of the reasons is that our universities expanded so quickly in the 1960s and too many poor quality staff had to be appointed and with which we are now lumbered.

Evidently university staff are a kind of sacred cow: if you sack them they bellow that they are being victimised because of their political beliefs or something.

Universities are always acutely conscious of their haloes, so evidently they either can’t or won’t sack the bad ones.

Fred says that this is either incompetence or cowardice. If the dean of a faculty doesn’t know good staff from bad, he can’t be much of a dean. If he does know, but can’t sack the bad ones, then there is something wrong either with him or the system.

CSIRO can get rid of their failures, why can’t universities? They would have a lot more public sympathy and we would have a better “drop-out” record.

Another reason for the poor performance is because the things you get for nothing you appreciate as such.

If a student had to pay the full cost of his tuition he would be more likely to appreciate his opportunity and would be less likely to embark on a course beyond his capabilities.

The total running costs of universities in 1970 came to about $212 million and the fees paid by students came to $27.4 million, or 13 per cent.

And of this amount, about $11 million came from the Commonwealth scholarships and another considerable amount from State Government scholarships.

So it is clear that the average student pays directly from his own or his family’s pocket a very small proportion of the cost of his university education. If he paid a larger share, we would get better results.

It has been estimated that the increased earning power of a graduate would enable him to pay 15 per cent interest on all the money invested in his university education.

Surely it would be possible to work out some loan scheme whereby the money to pay full fees would be advanced to the student, and the amount recovered from him later in annual instalments.

There would be problems, of course. Some graduates get paid more than others and also the costs vary between different faculties. But generally speaking, the earning power of graduates from expensive faculties, such as medicine, is higher also.

And what a difference it would make to the administration of universities. There would be a real inducement to cut costs as they would no longer have the feeling that if they grizzled long enough the Government would pick up the tab.

They would be encouraged to have a higher entrance standard, and to kick out the students who make learning difficult for others.

And from the students’ point of view there would be less of a tendency for the student to gravitate to an easy faculty if he knew that he would have to pay the full cost later in life. I shouldn’t think there would be quite so many doing Arts!

And it would stop the students thinking that a university education is his right. The opportunity would be his right, provided he was prepared to do the work and take the risk. This is a good principle.

I know there would be many problems in this scheme but the Swedes seem to be able to make it work. We could too if we had the will.

But if we can’t, Fred wants me to sound a grim warning. He says he’s getting sick of paying taxes for education in general and university education in particular.

He wouldn’t mind so much if he thought this money was being well spent. But a “drop-out” rate of one-in-three doesn’t seem good management to him.

A Modest Member of Parliament [Bert Kelly], “‘They would hit you with their halo …’,” The Australian Financial Review, September 20, 1974, p. 3.

When Mr Whitlam told the State Premiers that they would either have to collect money for themselves or spend less, there was a howl of anguish that went echoing around Australia.

Whether the noises were genuine or not is hard to say. This behaviour has been going on since the States lost their income taxing powers and is now ??? some cynicism.

Our State Premier cried as loudly as anyone and, with a sob in his voice, said that he would have to raise State taxes because he couldn’t be expected to cut State expenditure, particularly on education. Evidently education has now become a sacred cow which must not be disturbed at any price.

I tried to justify this to Fred, but he received my explanation with regrettable cynicism. He showed the mean side in his nature by saying that if the Premier really wanted to cut expenditure he could perhaps forgo some of his overseas trips or do without some of his hangers-on who seem to proliferate continually.

I’m afraid Fred is like that; he takes a rather narrow view of life.

But then he got going on education expenditure. He said he was sick to death of the continual complaint by teachers that the expenditure on education should not be cut.

“You will find that most of the increased education vote goes to the teachers,” he complained.

“The teachers’ organisations are always asking for more money for education and when it comes they grab most of it for themselves.

“They metaphorically hold a child in one arm to use as a shield against criticism, and with a bank book in the other hand, they pose as great defenders of the sacred cow. And if they had a spare hand they would hit you with their halo.”

Fred is, of course, too critical. For instance, the teachers are not grabbing all the increased vote for education.

Between 1962 and 1972 the capital plus running expenses vote for primary and secondary education for all government schools rose by $681m.

Of this amount the increase in teachers’ salaries only took $475m or 70 per cent. Nevertheless, many people are getting tired of educational expenditure being treated as sacred.

The trouble starts at university level with the acceptance that once a lecturer is appointed he is there for life, even if he is lazy or incompetent.

I am well aware that many university lecturers work harder than I do, but there are many others who seem to regard university life as a feather bed from which to criticise the real world.

And many student teachers grizzle because they aren’t getting a big enough living allowance while they are being trained at vast expense by the community so that they can earn big salaries and enjoy long holidays for the balance of their working lives.

Fred says that all payments they receive should be in the form of loans to be repaid when they start to receive the good salaries they will shortly obtain.

It is no good pretending that all teachers are dedicated people. Some certainly are, and all of us remember with affection and respect teachers of this quality who influenced us and ours to our great benefit.

But to pretend that all teachers are cast in this heroic mould is silly. Teaching used to be regarded as a calling and it still is with some, but it isn’t by all — not by any means, and probably less so now with salaries as they are.

I know that dedicated teachers can and do work their hearts out for their kids but we also know that some teachers use schools as feather beds during the school year and yet enjoy the long school holidays with gusto.

And we know too that there is a tendency to spend money carelessly on school equipment. We are well aware that there are many schools lamentably housed and equipped and are glad to see this being rectified.

But this does not excuse the examples of expensive equipment being half used and damaged by ill use. There is a tendency to think that if a sum of money is demanded for educational equipment, it must be really needed. It is mostly, but sometimes not.

Many feel that considerable benefit would follow by not forcing unwilling 14-year-old students to stay at school where they are often a disciplinary problem for young teachers in particular and with serious results on the education efforts of more responsible students.

The education cow has a job to do, the same as every other cow. And if she is fed wisely and treated well she will give us a lot of milk. But to treat her as sacred is wrong — she needs discipline, the same as the rest of the heard.

A Modest Farmer [Bert Kelly], “The sacred education cow has had her day,” The Australian Financial Review, April 28, 1978, p. 3.

For most of my political life I have been careful to treat the education cow as sacred and to pat her ostentatiously whenever possible because, until recently she had many admirers.

But she has now gone off her milk somewhat and patting her is no longer fruitful.

I once said rather sourly to a rather rabid education group that, if it was popularity I was after, I would gain rather than lose by advocating a cut in the education vote.

I suppose there is no more waste of education money in the country than in the city, but it is more visible in the bush.

My electorate was latterly very keen for the biggest cut to be made in university expenditure. From now on, with a superfluity of graduates in some disciplines, the pressure to bear down on university expenditure will be even stronger.

And if the Fraser Government sticks courageously to its policy of sitting on the head of the government spending horse, then the pressure to kick the universities will be hard to resist.

If I were still after votes, I would mount the “cut the university vote” bandwagon. But now I can take a more lofty, objective national outlook, I will content myself by giving the universities some fatherly advice.

I wish we could revert to the previously policy of university students paying at least some of their fees instead of having them paid by the taxpayer. I am careful not to use the term “free university education” because we all now know that nothing in this world is free — someone always has to pay.

And with university fees, most of the paying is done by the average taxpayer, probably by a shearer or truck driver with two or three kids, who is expected to work a bit harder to ensure that the son of his boss can go to a university without paying fees and have exciting adventures during vacations instead of having to work his way through as his father had to.

When I talk at universities, I go out of my way to say that we made a great mistake in making the taxpayers pay the fees and I used to anticipate an angry reaction. But I have been surprised to find that a large number of people agree with me.

I wish we could put an end to the tenure system whereby a bad staff member, after he gets a few rungs up the university staff ladder, is assured of a safe position until he retires, and with annual increments. The same situation applies in the civil service and I suppose is a relic of the days when both groups were paid less than in private industry.

This position is now reversed but permanency of employment still persists. Australia would be better served by its civil servants and universities if this were not so.

Because of the permanent employment link between civil servants and university staff, the position will be not easily altered, if only because both groups now pack a lot of votes.

But at least with university staff it surely should be possible to grade people on merit. The number of research papers published should be a guide as to the quality and quantity of a person’s research.

The teaching side presents more difficulties but I have seen a Yale pamphlet in which the various courses are described and also comments made on the quality of teaching in each course.

The information on which the assessments were made was obtained from a questionnaire filled in by the students of the previous year. Some of the comments were devastatingly frank and others were quite heart-warming.

I can well imagine that a lazy or incompetent lecturer would make heroic efforts to get better assessments after his peers had seen what his students thought of him.

If this method is good enough for Yale, surely it should at least be tried here. And until some effort is made to separate the university sheep from the goats by some kind of drafting process, the amount of money and goodwill going from taxpayers to universities will be limited.

The education cow is no longer sacred, particularly the university cow. There will be more votes in kicking her than patting her from now on.

This is said not to frighten her but to make her more careful not to put her foot in the bucket.

[For more Australian writings questioning the free, subsidised and compulsory education sacred cows, and mostly questioning them more fiercely, see this collection featuring John Singleton, Maxwell Newton and more.]

(in order of appearance on
  1. Bert Kelly on his journalism
  2. Move for a body of Modest Members
  3. Modest Members Association
  4. Bert Kelly's Maiden Parliamentary Speech
  5. Government Intervention
  6. 1976 Monday Conference transcript featuring Bert Kelly
  7. Bert Kelly, Hayek and Mencken on the virtues of farmers
  8. Sound economics calls for quiet from government
  9. Petrol for Farmers
  10. Some Sacred Cows
  11. Experiences in Parliament
  12. Spending your Money
  13. Is Taxmania a politician fetish?
  14. Too many car men in the feather bed
  15. The Kangaroo Population Bomb
  16. How Bert Kelly repays a free feed
  17. Modest column #898
  18. Chicken-hearted feathered friends strange bedfellows on a feather bed?
  19. Who needs literary licence?
  20. A touch of Fred's anarchy
  21. Helping the farmers help themselves
  22. Standing on the shoulders of the downtrodden
  23. Supply and Demand
  24. Bert Kelly responds to claims he is arrogant and uncredentialed
  25. Politics: it's a very confusing business
  26. The best featherbeds run on rails
  27. Bert Kelly on Disaster Relief
  28. Bert Kelly Wants to Secede
  29. Blinded by their tears
  30. Anti-freedom pro-tobacco industry lobby harmed Australia
  31. Under Labor, is working hard foolish?
  32. An Idiot's Guide to Interventionism
  33. Is free priceless healthcare worthless?
  34. Can government kiss it better?
  35. Bert Kelly Destroys the Side Benefits Argument for Government
  36. Bert Kelly gets his head around big-headed bird-brained politics
  37. First Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  38. Second Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  39. Third Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  40. Fourth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  41. Fifth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  42. Sixth Modest Member (Bert Kelly) AFR Column
  43. Bert Kelly on the 2011 Budget and Australia's Pathetic Journalists and Politicians
  44. Bert Kelly, Bastard or Simple Sod?
  45. Liberal Backbencher Hits Govt. Over Import Restrictions
  46. Bert Kelly feels a dam coming on at each election
  47. Bert Kelly Enters Parliament
  48. Why take in one another's washing?
  49. Bert Kelly breaks the law, disrespects government and enjoys it
  50. Gillard's galley-powered waterskiing
  51. State Premiers are always asking for more taxing powers
  52. Can price control really work?
  53. Should we put up with socialism?
  54. We're quick to get sick of socialism
  55. Time the protection racket ended
  56. Can't pull the wool over Farmer Fred
  57. People not Politics
  58. Bert Kelly admits he should have had less faith in politicians
  59. The inspirational incentivising Dear Leader Gough Whitlam
  60. Labor: a girl who couldn't say no
  61. Why leading businessmen carry black briefcases
  62. Ludwig von Mises on page 3 of AFR
  63. Bert Kelly's empowering feminism
  64. Another shot at motor car madness
  65. Mavis wants the Modest Member to dedicate his book to her
  66. What if the whole country is swindled?
  67. Moss Cass: "Flood plains are for floods"
  68. A worm's eye view
  69. Eccles returns to haunt us
  70. How to grip a politician's ear
  71. It's hard to digest this economic cake
  72. Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
  73. Cold water on government-instigated irrigation schemes
  74. Hooray for Ord River Dam!
  75. Tariffs paid by exporters
  76. The problem of principles v popularity
  77. If you support State Quotas, where will your logic take you?
  78. Against guidance by government
  79. A socialist in Liberal clothing
  80. Never ask the government to help
  81. Don't listen to economists!
  82. Bert Kelly's revolutionary strategy
  83. Welfare state incentivises bludging and being thrown out of work
  84. It all sounds like bloody politics to Fred
  85. Mavis wants me to get in for my chop
  86. Whitlam's July 1973 25% tariff cut
  87. Bert Kelly on Import Quotas
  88. Good directions when government backseat driving, like reversing down wrong side of road
  89. Barriers to imports are barriers to exports
  90. "I was right" — but he's off to hospital ...
  91. Kicking the multinationals is too easy
  92. Bert Kelly reviews The War Diaries of Weary Dunlop
  93. Bert Kelly reviews We Were There
  94. Tariffs get the fork-tongue treatment
  95. Bert Kelly reduces government to its absurdities
  96. Politician sacrifices his ... honesty
  97. It's all a matter of principle
  98. Bert Kelly Destroys the Infant Industry Argument
  99. Bert Kelly Untangles Tariff Torment
  100. Bert Kelly resorts to prayer
  101. Eccles keeps our nose hard down on the tariff grindstone
  102. "Don't you believe in protecting us against imports from cheap labour countries?"
  103. Even if lucky, we needn't be stupid
  104. Great "freedom of choice" mystery
  105. Small government's growth problem
  106. I like my kind acts to get a mention in the press
  107. A Modest Member rakes the embers
  108. Tariffs Introduced
  109. More About Tariffs
  110. Sacred cow kicker into print
  111. Bert Kelly's 1984 two-article quote-collection on Aboriginal policies
  112. Modest Member must not give up
  113. Traditional Wheat Farming is Our Birthright and Heritage and Must be Protected!
  114. Tariff-cut nonsense lives on
  115. Bert Kelly brilliantly defends "theoretical academics"
  116. The high cost of protection
  117. Generosity creates problems
  118. The Society of Modest Members
  119. Is this an illogical, soft, complicated, unfocussed and unsuccessful attempt to communicate the case for markets?
  120. Modesty ablaze
  121. Case for ministers staying home
  122. The unusual self-evident simplicity of the Modest Members Society
  123. Animal lib the new scourge of the bush
  124. The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Krill
  125. modest members society
  126. Repeal economic laws, force people to buy new cars and enforce tariffs against overseas tennis players
  127. Thoughts on how to kill dinosaurs
  128. Let's try the chill winds
  129. Taking the Right's road
  130. Bert Kelly: "I did not try often or hard enough"
  131. Bert Kelly "lacked ... guts and wisdom"
  132. A look at life without tariffs
  133. The Gospel according to Bert
  134. Tiny note on Bert Kelly's column in The Bulletin in 1985
  135. Why costs can't be guaranteed
  136. Hitting out with a halo
  137. Paying farmers not to grow crops will save on subsidies, revenge tariffs, etc
  138. "The Modest Farmer joins us" | "How The Modest Farmer came to be"
  139. Bert Kelly Destroys the Freeloading Justifies Government Argument
  140. Industrial Relations Club shovellers
  141. From Shann to Stone
  142. Government Intervention
    Government Interference
  143. A sojourn in the real world
  144. The tariff wind swings
  145. Bigger Cake = Bigger Slices
  146. Bert Kelly on the Political Process
  147. A charabanc called protection
  148. Taken for a ride - to nowhere
  149. Down hill, in circles, all the way
  150. Economic facts and figures are statistics who should speak out
  151. Any cons arguing small business bad but big government good?
  152. Relationships with the Liberal Party
  153. Tariffs = High Prices + World War
  154. Bert Kelly's Family History
  155. Bert Kelly's Pre-Parliament Life
  156. What the MP could say to the Bishop
  157. Why Bert Kelly was not even more publicly outspoken
  159. How to stand aside when it's time to be counted
  160. How the Modest Member went back to being a Modest Farmer
  161. My pearls of wisdom were dull beyond belief
  162. Bert Kelly on Political Football
  163. Undigested morsels in Fraser spew
  164. Bert Kelly on LSD
  165. Bert Kelly reflects on the Australian car industry in 1992
  166. Bert Kelly wants reprinted Shann's Economic History of Australia
  167. If tariffs are opposed here then why not there?
  168. The emperor has no textiles, clothing and footwear sense
  169. Ross Gittins Wins Bert Kelly Award
  170. Interesting 1964 Bert Kelly speech: he says he is not a free trader and that he supports protection!
  171. This is the wall the Right built
  172. The Impertinent Society: Cheeky MPs take Mr Anthony at his word
  173. Tariff Protection in Australia (1970)
  174. Has Santa socked it to car makers?
  175. Is the Budget a cargo cult?
  176. Will we end up subsidising one another?
  177. Keeping the bucket of worms alive
  178. Can we get off the stomach-churning head-spinning tariff merry-go-round?
  179. Do we want our money to fly?
  180. Can a bear be sure of a feed?
  181. How to impress your MP -
    ambush him
  182. The time for being nice to our MPs has gone ...
  183. Don't feel sorry for him -
    hang on to his ear
  184. Trade wars can easily end up on a battlefield
  185. Tariffs Create Unemployment
  186. Bert Kelly recommends Ayn Rand
  187. Bert Kelly on Alf Rattigan's Industry Assistance: The Inside Story
  188. Bert Kelly's Satirical Prophecy: Minister for Meteorology (tick) and High Protectionist Policies to Result in War Yet Again (?)
  189. Bert Kelly in 1972 on Foreign Ownership of Australian Farmland and Warren Truss, Barnaby Joyce and Bill Heffernan in 2012
  190. Bert Kelly baits Welfare State Tiger
  191. Why does Govt wear two faces?
  192. Parliament a place for pragmatists
  193. Of Sugar Wells and Think-Tanks
  194. Bert Kelly: "I must take some of the blame"
  195. Bert Kelly on dumping duties
  196. The Govt's helping hand often hurts
  197. Unbuckling the hobbles on the motor industry
  198. A Modest Farmer looks at the Problems of Structural Change
  199. Government Fails Spectacularly
  200. Know your proper place if you want the quiet life
  201. Bert Kelly on political speech writers
  202. Having your cake and eating it
  203. Perish the thawed!
  204. Hooray for Northern Development!
  205. Politicians can resist everything except pressure
  206. The silly image of our MPs
  207. Bert Kelly Question Time highlights
  208. Modest Farmer sees his ideas take hold
  209. Should facts stand in the way of a good story?
  210. Fondling one another's glass haloes
  211. What is the sense in making the effort to look after yourself?
  212. Fred's Feeling: Counterpatriotic country contrarian
  213. Handouts for big boys only
  214. Mavis trying to buy a hand loom
  215. Bad news for bearers of bad news
  216. Is it time to get aboard the tariff band-waggon?
  217. Why farmers resent tariff protection for motor makers
  218. A sordid use of scare tactics
  219. Goods vs services
  220. Tariffs are hilariously counterproductive
  221. The dilemmas of Aboriginal Affairs
  222. Bert Kelly on decentralisation
  223. Inflation breeds moral decay
  224. Who envies equality?
  225. Growth – malignant or benign?
  226. Government wiser than Magna Carta
  227. Bert Kelly on looking to politicians for moral leadership
  228. Max Newton: Maverick in Exile
  229. Whitlam & co on the Dismissal
  230. 25% Tariff Cut
  231. Bert Kelly on pensions
  232. The plotting powers of Mavis nag martyr to snag compo
  233. The backseat drivers of the Pilbara
  234. Mr Clunies-Ross of the Cocos Islands should rule Australia
  235. They get the wind up when it changes
  236. Why the Big Green Lie survives
  237. Ross McLean in 1982: "Malcolm! Why don't we try good government? It might be popular."
  238. Bert Kelly on the importance of exchange rate movements
  239. Bert Kelly shows how to attack
  240. Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly vs Bert Kelly
  241. Industrial relations dinosaur, Bruce, chews his cud
  242. Hooray for "firmly entrenched"!
  243. Respect your dinosaurs
  244. What if something is "deeply ingrained" yet harmful?
  245. A case for ministerial inertia
  246. Why politicians don't like the truth
  247. Punemployment: people are neither numbers nor puzzle pieces; the platitude attitude
  248. Our great open spaces ... an empty blessing
  249. Heart in right place but head missing
  250. Ominous dark clouds are gathering
  251. Proverb vs proverb
  252. Better to be popular than right
  253. Crying in the wilderness
  254. Ivory tower needs thumping
  255. Bert Kelly asks, "How can you believe in free enterprise and government intervention at the same time?"
  256. Politicians get undeserved praise, why not undeserved blame too?
  257. Feet in a bucket of champagne
  258. Rural Problems
  259. Health cover needs a $30 excess clause
  260. Unholy state of taxation
  261. Boring economics worth a smile
  262. The Libido for the Miserable
  263. Agricultural Development and Tariffs
  264. Fred's too poor to have principles
  265. Eccles Law of the constant wage share
  266. "He whom the gods would destroy ..."
  267. Low tariff torch burnt Eccles' fingers
  268. A cow of a car — with dual horns
  269. Tariffs: when to wean infant BHP?
  270. Keep any government as far as possible from farming
  271. The Playford charade is out of date
  272. Bert Kelly: the odd man out who's now in
  273. Dries must resist giving up struggle as going gets tough
  274. How a well meaning Government can be so stupid
  275. The icing on the economic cake
  276. Sir Roderick Carnegie's foreword to Bert Kelly's Economics Made Easy
  277. The Vale of Popularity and the Protection Procession
  278. Politics 101: Pay Lip Service to Capitalism and Shoot the Messenger
  279. Bert Kelly makes politicians eat their own words on tariffs, then says, "We cannot be blamed for treating the statements of our statesmen with cynical contempt"
  280. Bert Kelly on Free Enterprise
  281. Cartoons of protected industry, the welfare teat and the nanny state
  282. Bert Kelly on the theory of constant shares and the Fabian Society
  283. Bert Kelly vs Doug Anthony
  284. You're lucky if you escape being helped by government
  285. Bert Kelly on Small Farmers
  286. Bert Kelly on Apathy
  287. Bert Kelly in 1967 on "problems of government and things like that"
  288. The last "Dave's Diary"
  289. Bert Kelly vs The Australian on tariffs in 1977
  290. Bounties or Tariffs, Someone Pays
  291. Geriatric companies without a minder
  292. A free marketeer wary of free trade
  293. Nixon's puzzling profession of faith
  294. "Ford ... seems to spend more time bending its knees than its back"
  295. Clyde Cameron's weak ways with wise words
  296. Why flaunt what others flout?
  297. Bert Kelly yearns for Tim Flannery's powers of prediction
  298. Looking after yourself is silly
  299. Bert Kelly masterpiece on drought, fire, flood and other natural disaster relief schemes
  300. Government can take credit for our car industry mess
  301. Car makers want the 4wd driven deeper into tariff bog
  302. Why our MP is no longer prone to a good sob story
  303. Auto industry is in a straitjacket
  304. Bert Kelly on market predictions
  305. Why should dryland farmers subsidise irrigation farmers?
  306. How much should government decrease incentive for independence from government?
  307. Clarkson crowned Deputy Government Whip
  308. Bert Kelly to blame for soaring government healthcare costs
  309. 1959 return of Dave's Diary
  310. Bert Kelly in 1966 on developing northern Australia
  311. Successful government intervention can [sic] occur
  312. Vernon Report upholds Clarkson
  313. Quiet Man Makes An Impact
  314. Should it be compulsory to buy footwear and clothing?
  315. To save Australian clothing industry women must all wear same uniform
  316. Don't confuse plucking heart strings with plucking harp strings
  317. Speech only for public
  318. Catchy Tariff Circus Extravaganza
  319. Bert Kelly in 1985 on cars yet again
  320. Hurrah for the Gang of Five
  321. Thoughts on a verse about Balfour
  322. Bert Kelly pep talk to politicians
  323. Government intervention = Agony postponed but death brought nearer
  324. Recipe for disaster: Freeze!
  325. Recipe for government intervention: Gather winners and scatter losers
  326. Recipe for industry destruction: Blanket market signals
  327. Mavis writes!
  328. Bert Kelly's empiricism is not kneejerk reaction kind
  329. The $2,000 song of the shirt worker
  330. Subsiding only small farmers means subsiding the big banks
  331. Difficult to be fast on your feet when you've got your ear to the ground
  332. It would surprise people to see how sensible MPs behave if they think they are not being watched
  333. Bert Kelly on "this land of limitless resources" and "great open spaces"
  334. Growing bananas at the South Pole
  335. Car components tariff protection under fire
  336. Why carry a $300m car subsidy?
  337. Tariff feather beds for the foreign giants
  338. Bert Kelly says end compulsory voting to stop donkey vote
  339. Perhaps being smart and insured isn't all luck
  340. You gets your tariff, you pays a price
  341. More funds to train Olympians?
  342. Fire in their guts and wind in ours
  343. Should free universal healthcare include pets?
  344. Sound advice from a modest farmer
  345. A tottering monument to intervention
  346. Cunning meets wisdom
  347. Competition, Aussie-style: Who's the bigger parasite?
  348. Australians are proud patriotic parasites, says Bert Kelly
  349. Taxpayer-funded sport is cheating
  350. Being loved by all is not always a good thing
  351. Welfare State Destroys Society
  352. 1980 Bert Kelly feather bed series
  353. The White Mice Marketing Board
  354. Government intervention and advice can be harmful, even when right, even for those it tries to help
  355. One small step on the compulsory voting landmine
  356. The free & compulsory education sacred cows have no clothes
  357. Holding a loaded wallet to an economist's head
  358. Political No Man's Land
  359. Only blind greed demands both equality and prosperity
  360. A cow that sucks itself — that's us!
  361. Nip the bud of incentive; mock community spirit into submission
  362. Bert Kelly questions why miners pay royalties to the Crown
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