We’re all used to the image of Australians as rugged, rough-hewn individualists, always eager to cock a snook at authority. However, Australia is now one of the most urbanised major nations on Earth and, as Chris Snowdon points out here, it is fast becoming the world’s leading Nanny State.
The Taskforce also wants to ban drinks advertising during programmes that are watched by people under 25 – a category so broad as to include virtually every programme – and calls for graphic warnings similar to those now found on cigarette packs to be put on bottles of beer. It also wants the government to establish ‘appropriate portion sizes’ for meals, to tax food that is deemed unhealthy and to hand out cash bonuses to those who meet the state’s criteria of a healthy lifestyle…The problem with Australia, as someone once told me, is not that they sent shiploads of convicts out there, but that they sent the warders too, and it is that mentality that now seems to be in the ascendant.
…Australia has a unenviable record of internet censorship, for example, and a national website filter has been proposed to protect children from pornography and gambling. It also has a longer list of banned video games than any other Western democracy. And so if you, as an Australian adult, want to exercise your right to gamble and play violent video games, that’s just too bad. The rights of some hypothetical teenager to enjoy freedom from grown-up pursuits trump your own rights to pursue them.