Private rights a public concern

Private rights a public concern

Senator Elect David Leyonhjelm has a great piece in The Land on the assault on private property rights.

While much of the public debate regarding the assault on private property rights focuses upon environmental regulation, a similar case exists when it comes to the nanny state, which David sets out excellently:

An issue that has raised few property rights concerns, notwithstanding its implications, is the introduction of plain packaging of cigarettes. This legislation, supported by both sides of politics, has largely destroyed the brands of the tobacco companies, which are highly valuable intellectual property.

The legislation was challenged in the High Court, but it decided that the constitution allowed the government to destroy property values without paying compensation as long as the government made no pecuniary gain from it.

Thus a future government is free to impose obligations on land owners that reduce or remove entirely the value of their property, without paying compensation, provided it does not benefit itself.

Another private property issue attracting little attention is the ever-expanding range of rules governing what is and is not permitted on certain property.

An excellent example is smoking. Clubs, pubs and restaurants, all privately owned property, are denied the right to allow smoking on their premises. A property owner who decided it might be commercially attractive to allow smoking and was happy to erect signs warning patrons so they could choose whether to enter, would be prosecuted.

A similar tendency is now being seen with alcohol. Governments are increasingly dictating when privately owned premises may serve alcohol, to whom, and how much.

 Click HERE to read the article in full



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