CIS 2023 Nanny State Awards - The Centre for Independent Studies
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CIS 2023 Nanny State Awards

The Centre for Independent Studies had intended to follow the rules for US presidential polls and ban any candidate from running in the Nanny Awards if they had  already won twice.

But when you come across a case of idiocy so perfectly exemplified, so meticulously constructed, that it rips apart the very fabric of space and time, we decided we had to rip up any plan to ban  it from being considered once again for the awards.

So, what has happened? Well, Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of PETA — that is, ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ — has updated her will … no, not by adding a bequest to CIS … despite all the free publicity we’ve given PETA by awarding it the Nannies prizes in previous years.

Ms Newkirk has, in fact, bequeathed a slice of her … buttocks … yes, you read that correctly … she is leaving this piece of her … er, derriere … to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (or his successor) in her will, to remind the PM that sheep are subjected to the practice of mulesing.

Other parts of her body will apparently also be sent off to different government departments when the moment arrives.

We wonder if Ms Newkirk has some Kiwi ancestry, because PETA clearly has a thing for sheep. Crowds entering the stadium for the first Australia-hosted match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup were confronted by PETA’s “sheep” mascot, dressed in a referee jersey and holding a giant red card urging people to shun wool.

PETA has also written again to Albo — who after the bequest announcement — must have been keen to hear if he was inheriting more dissected bits. But in this case, PETA wanted the government to ban minors from engaging in hunting activities, like shooting rabbits.

You can only suppose that with PETA having already gotten rid of all the sheep … farmers will be delighted to see their paddocks fill up with bunnies … and will go about their day merrily whistling the theme from Watership Down.

And the rabbits will also be free to swarm onto our roads without fear – that is, if the many Nannies now trying to stop us driving cars get their way.

For a start, the Climate Council wants to cut private vehicle usage by half in order to reduce emissions; while the Victorian government wants to ban completely all “emitting road vehicles” by 2035, and allow only green vehicles powered by battery, or possibly even solar or — who knows — compost heap bacteria.

The council has made no mention of the “emitting factories” that produce the electric cars and batteries, nor of the emissions from house fires when the lithium batteries self-ignite … which is definitely not the kind of “automatic ignition system” listed in the brochure.

And a group called Comms Declare — probably just a couple of bored adolescents on social media … thank you, Mr Zuckerberg — wants to go further and ban all advertising for utes and SUVs.

Like the notorious USA Hays Code —which some will recall didn’t allow movies to show married couples in the same bed — this group has deemed ute and SUV advertising to be vehicular pornography that is likely to corrupt innocent tradies and soccer mums … luring them into the car showroom dens of iniquity.

No doubt the advocacy group is concerned this could also lead to loading zones and school drop-off areas falling prey to all kinds of immoral behaviour … such as driving and parking.

To help us to ‘Just Say No’ to our vehicle addiction … sports clubs and art institutions are being urged to remove fossil fuel sponsorships under a new code designed to ban coal, oil and gas companies from funding major events.

But cars and fuels are just the tip of the advertising iceberg we apparently have to be protected from.

This year’s call for junk food TV advertising to be banned – and there is such a call every year – comes from Teal MP Sophie Scamps. We suspect they pass this one around the Teal party room in a planned rotation, and no doubt they’ll soon be calling for sports teams to remove any junk food — or indeed any car brand — sponsors from their jerseys as well.

I’m sure the green groups will step in to donate funds to keep Australia’s sports teams on the field.

No doubt the Fremantle Dockers will soon be replacing their Woodside patch with one from the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

The Diamonds netball team will swap their Nissan and Origin Energy sponsorship for Greenpeace. And the NRL will dump Kia, Isuzu and Gulf Oil the minute Sea Shepherd sends them a cheque.

Meanwhile the NSW government has decreed all venues have to remove external signage that advertises gambling — because apparently we don’t possess the free will to resist the siren call of a garish room filled with flashing lights and jangling, beeping machines.

Still on gambling, the federal government has banned the use of credit cards for online casinos and sports betting, saying that the move is to prevent people falling into debt.

I have to say that the CIS might approve of this move, if we could do the same to the government and take away their credit card … the one that sees them gambling our money on useless programs, pointless projects … and virtue-signalling campaigns designed to make the progressives feel good about how they are pointing the moral way for the rest of us.

Because, of course, the government credit card doesn’t see the government falling into debt – and that’s because it’s not them that pays the bill … it’s us.

And what’s being added to our bill is the  quarter of a billion dollars the government intends to spend to support its new ban on recreational vaping, announced this year.

Be in no doubt that our nursemaids in Canberra are already thinking of ways to burn more of our money in the coming year. But now it’s time to announce the winners of this year’s crop of Nannies …

Third place goes to the call to remove coal, oil and gas sponsorship from sport and culture events. Perhaps Chris Bowen can convince teams and venues to display pictures of electric cars instead. Which is about as close as most Australian drivers want to get to an EV, it seems.

Second place goes to the ban on vaping, which joins a long conga line of things we are not allowed to enjoy because somebody else doesn’t like it and thinks it’s bad for us. Let’s see if banning vapes is going to push people — particularly young people — back to good old tobacco.

Fear not … the nannies are already onto it, with calls for Australia to follow the UK and progressively ban smoking altogether by raising the legal age for smoking every year.

New Zealand had planned to ban anybody born after 2009 from buying cigarettes, but one of the first actions taken by their new — more sensible — government was to overturn this draconian move.

And now we come to first place. The 2023 Nanny Award goes to Comms Declare, with its proposal to ban ads for utes and SUVs.

You would think that that one would be impossible to top, but I fear we’ll soon see calls to ban ads for other vehicles … with claims that two-door hatchbacks are a dangerous gateway drug that will lead car addicts to eventually end up mainlining Mack trucks.

We wait to see what the new crop of Nanny State proposals in 2024 will bring.

In the meantime, on behalf of all us at the CIS, I wish you a Merry Christmas, and encourage you to enjoy the party season while you can — before the government bans parties, too.

Peter Kurti is Director of the Culture, Prosperity and Civil Society Program at the Centre for Independent Studies. This piece is from his speech in announcing the 2023 Nannies.

Photo by Rodolpho Zanardo.