The Australian Libertarian Society (ALS) is a central portal for information about the libertarian movement in Australia.
Active since 2000, the ALS supports free-markets, individual liberty and the promotion of peaceful, voluntary interaction between people. The aim of the ALS is to bring together the many different strands of libertarian thought spread through Australia, including objectivisists, Rothbardians, classical liberals, anarcho-capitalists, moderates, pragmatic libertarians, Austrian economists, free-marketeers, and anybody else who believes in freedom.
The main activities of the ALS are: to arrange events, the largest of which is the Friedman Conference; provide a forum for libertarians to discuss and debate ideas; collate information about libertarian events, groups and important issues in Australia; publish occasional articles or submissions to government; and to support other organisations and projects that share a libertarian agenda. One of the main projects of the ALS is to support the Australian Students for Liberty, which has hundreds of members and branches in universities across Australia. The ALS also hosts the original “australian political quiz“.
John Humphreys (President) is an economist and the Managing Director of the Human Capital Project.
Tim Andrews is the Executive Director of the Australian Taxpayers Alliance.
Austen Erickson is the President of Australia & New Zealand Students for Liberty.
Rachel Connor is Vice President of Australia & New Zealand Students for Liberty.
Frank Redpath is the web guy.
The Australian Libertarian Society (ALS) was founded by John Humphreys in January 2000, and is an organisation dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and shrinking the size of government. Since 2013, the ALS has hosted the annual Friedman Conference, which is Australia’s largest libertarian event of the year and includes the presentation of the annual Liberty Awards. Previous speakers have included international guests such as Dr Tom Palmer (USA), Dr Eric Crampton (NZ), Phorn Bopha (Cambodia), and Dr Pat Michaels (USA)… as well as prominent Australian thinkers such as Prof Judith Sloan, Cass Wilkinson, Chris Berg, Dr Ben O’Neill, Dr Mikayla Novak, Tim Wilson, Helen Dale, Senator David Leyonhjelm, Dr Peter Phelps MLC, Prof Sinclair Davidson, Dr Jen Buckingham, Dr Jeremy Shearmur, Prof Henry Ergas, and many others.
The role of the ALS has evolved over the years. Early on, members were involved in pro-trade protests (which got national media coverage), a radio debate on JJJ, publishing discussion papers and a newsletter (2000-2002), contributing to the Celebrate Capitalism campaign, and hosting the Canberra libertarian dinners.
In January 2003, on its three year anniversary, the ALS moved to its new online home at http://www.libertarian.org.au, and started a blog with continuous commentary on current affairs, public policy and libertarian issues. In 2006 the ALS blog merged with the “Thoughts on Freedom” blog, which had been set up by Sukrit Sabhlok. The blog was discontinued in 2012 and debate was shifted to the ALS discussion group on facebook. When the blog was active it published articles by Helen Dale, John Humphreys, Duncan Spender, Sukrit Sabhlok, Terje Petersen, Dr Peter Rohde, Andrew Russell, Kirk Fletcher, Rafe Champion, Chris Vinall, David Leyonhjelm, and many others. Some articles from the ALS were also published at the online men’s magazine “get frank“.
The ALS has run occasional projects, including the “peace project” during 2003 which argued against the invasion of Iraq. In 2006 the ALS set up the “Kyoto campaign” which argued against drastic policy action on climate change, also co-sponsoring the 2nd, 3rd and 4th International Conference on Climate Change hosted by Heartland, and supporting the Stop Gillard’s Carbon Tax website. The ALS also contributed a speaker to the inaugural Festival of Dangerous Ideas (2009) and is an Associate Supporter of The International Coalition Against Prohibition.
In 2004 the ALS helped to coordinate several candidates at the federal election, running as independents (NSW Senate) or candidates for the “liberals for forests” (Queensland & Victoria Senate), or the “Outdoor Recreation Party” (Eden-Monaro, in NSW). The candidates in Queensland and Victoria helped to prevent the election of extra Green Senators. Since the federal registration of the Liberal Democratic Party, the ALS has not been directly involved in politics.
Since 2010 the ALS has run semi-regular “Friedman dinners” in Brisbane, which have included speakers such as Prof Jim Allan, Prof Jason Potts, the Hon Peter Reith, Prof Judith Sloan, Dr Jonathon Crowe, Dr Tom Palmer, Prof Deirdre McCloskey, Brendan O’Neill, and the Hon Dr Gary Johns.