The Centre for Independent Studies’ highly uncoveted Nanny Awards (The Nannies) go to the year’s most absurd, ridiculous, and bizarre attempts by governments to meddle in our lives and mind our business.
With every level of government working for us in this, there are always many worthy contenders for the nannies — and this year is no exception.
For 2019, the winner was the Federal Government’s Black Economy Taskforce, which wants to limit cash transactions to $10,000.
Australians who spend more than that amount in cash would face two-year jail sentences and fines of up to $25,200.
According to the task force, limiting cash transactions to $10,000 would end tax evasion, money laundering, and many types of crime. However, the limit only applies to legitimate businesses with an ABN who keep and report accounts — Exchanges between private individuals are exempt.
So, drug deals, bribes, hush money, organ trafficking and illegal gambling are not subject to the limit; but pay more than $10,000 cash for a new car and you could go to jail.
In second place was the NSW Police, which objected to allowing dancing at the Sydney Fringe Festival — dismaying those who planned to mount ballet performances.
For third place, judges have declared a tie between two candidates.
The first is the Bunbury City Council, which has decided to ban women in mermaid costumes from its city swimming pool. These mythical creatures apparently present a danger to other swimmers. Sharing third place is whatever part of our vast federal bureaucracy has dominion over the previously-banned import of Roquefort cheese, and was reportedly considering banning it again.
You may ask, what should our response to the growing nanny state be? We need to seize the moral high ground from the busybodies and resist.
We pushed back and NSW watered down its notorious lockout rules. Each time this happens, the next rollback becomes more likely.
We need to make our case with force, logic and data. And if that doesn’t work, then I recommend ridicule. Busybodies hate being laughed at. So, let us resolve to ridicule tyrants, meddlers and nosy parkers wherever we find them.
With some luck, they will stop minding our business — and start minding their own.
Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies.
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