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A smaller Australian government would mean bigger Australians

By Matthew Lesh - posted Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The United States has a strong small government culture, which at the moment is asserting itself through the Tea Party movement. This culture comes from the ideas on which the US was founded.

There have been a couple of founding ideas in Australia’s history. The earliest was that Britain needed a place to send it convicts, many sentenced for nothing more than stealing a loaf of bread to feed their starving family.

Australia has a second founding when after the Second World War, thousands immigrated to Australia, to escape authoritarian European regimes and find a new life in a safer place.


Yet unlike Americans neither of the ideas underlying these foundations has resulted in a culture of small government.

Every single year government grows by two percent; government will be bigger tomorrow then ever before. Every single day government borrows a 100 million dollars. Yet we sit blindly by and allow our freedoms to slowly diminish, for what is claimed to be the "greater good".

I therefore propose a new way to perceive government success - how much liberty has it returned back to the people? Has its spending decreased over the past twelve months? Has it borrowed less? Are our taxes now lower and more equitable giving us back the right to spend our own money?

Every single tax dollar we pay, whether we like it or not is an admission that the government somehow knows better then us. They, whoever "they" are, somehow know better how to spend our hard earned money than we do.

For right or wrong, we should have the freedom to spend our money how we wish. It's not up to someone else to instruct us.

Across the world governments have slowly learnt the lesson that unrestricted growth, and debt to fund this growth, is not sustainable.


The UK is cutting spending because they have allowed their government to get too big. Some worry that this is immoral. This is misguided. They should be celebrating the increased freedoms and liberty that come out of smaller government.

We as a country need to refocus and understand that bigger, is not better. In a democratic society, power should be with the people not with the government.

In Australia we have created such a bureaucracy, such a large system of government we have come to depend on it.

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About the Author

Matthew Lesh is a 17-year-old high school student from Melbourne. He has a strong interest in politics, economics, technology and youth issues. He tweets like a twit @matthewlesh and has a website located at

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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