A federal government taskforce that recommended limiting how much Australians can spend in cash and a council pool that banned mermaids have taken out the top 2019 Nanny State Awards.
Awards were also handed out to the NSW police force, which objected to dancing at a Sydney arts festival, and “whatever part of the federal bureaucracy” was responsible for the ban of Roquefort cheese.
The so called “Nannies” are awarded each year by the Centre for Independent Studies for “the year’s most absurd, ridiculous and bizarre attempts by governments to meddle in our lives and mind our business”.
Announcing the awards at a function in Sydney last night, Emeritus Professor Steven Schwartz said there were many worthy contenders for the awards across all levels of government, but the committee couldn’t go past the Black Economy Taskforce for the top gong.
The taskforce recommended an economy-wide cash payment limit of $10,000 with jail sentences and fines of $25,000 for exceeding the cap.
According to the government the move was meant to tackle the black economy and prevent criminal transactions.
But Professor Schwartz said the limit only applies to businesses with an ABN and reporting obligations, while 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,” he said.
City of Bunbury Council, south of Perth, took home the dubious honour of third prize for a decision earlier this year to bar women in mermaid costumes from its swimming pool, tying with NSW police and their Sydney Fringe Festival dancing ban.
“These mythical creatures apparently present a danger to other swimmers,” Prof Schwartz said.
While the awards are in good humour, Professor Schwartz says they contain a serious message about the encroachment of the state, which has resulted in failed policy decisions such as the NSW government’s controversial lock out laws, which have since been reversed.
“We need to seize the moral high ground from the busybodies and resist,” Professor Schwartz said.
“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.
“With some luck, they will stop minding our business — and start minding their own.”
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