About ALS

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 objectivisistsRothbardiansclassical liberalsanarcho-capitalistsmoderatespragmatic libertariansAustrian economistsfree-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“.

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  • Committee

John Humphreys (President) did his PhD at the University of Queensland, and is currently the Managing Director of the Professional Research Institute of Management and Economics (PRIME) and President of the Human Capital Project (HCP).

Tim Andrews has a Masters degree from the University of Sydney, and is the founder and Executive Director of the Australian Taxpayers Alliance (ATA), and board member of the H.R. Nicholls Society.

Austen Erickson did his PhD at the University of NSW, and holds positions with the Liberal Democrats and the ATA.

Kerrod Gream is President of Australia & New Zealand Students for Liberty.

Frank Redpath is the web guy who values his privacy.

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  • Mission

Work with like-minded groups and people to build a strong and vibrant Australian libertarian community, and provide information and resources to people interested in libertarian ideas.

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  • History

The Australian Libertarian Society (ALS) was founded by John Humphreys in January 2000, after a year of research and preparation. From the beginning, the ALS has been 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 the largest annual libertarian event in the Asia-Pacific region, and since 2014 has included the presentation of the annual Liberty Awards.

The conference has attracted prominent and powerful speakers, including international guests such as Dr Tom Palmer (USA), Dr Eric Crampton (NZ), Phorn Bopha (Cambodia), Park Yeonmi (North Korean defector), Herve Novelli (France), Julie Borowski (USA), and Dr Pat Michaels (USA)… as well as prominent Australian professors Jason Potts, Judith Sloan, Sinclair Davidson, Jim Allan, Phil Lewis, and Henry Ergas… politicians such as David Leyonhjelm (LDP, Senator), Dr Peter Phelps (Liberal, NSW MLC), Dr Gary Johns (Labor, former minister), Alex Hawke (Liberal, federal MP & assistant minister), Mark Latham (Labor, former federal leader), Fiona Patten (Sex, Vic MLC), Dom Perrottet (Liberal, NSW Finance Minister), Sam Dastyari (Labor, Senator), and James Paterson (Liberal, Senator)… and other prominent thinkers including Cass Wilkinson, Chris Berg, Ben O’Neill, Mikayla Novak, Tim Wilson, Jeremy Shearmur, Simon Cowen, Trisha Jha, Andrew Norton, Helen Dale, and Parnel McGuinness.

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” group blog. Blog authors included Helen Dale, Terje Petersen, David Leyonhjelm, John Humphreys, Duncan Spender, Frank Redpath, Sukrit Sabhlok, Peter Rohde, Andrew Russell, Rafe Champion, Chris Vinall, Kirk Fletcher, and many others. Some articles from the ALS were also published at the online men’s magazine “get frank“.

In 2012 the blog was shut down and the forum for discussion was shifted from the blog to the ALS discussion group on facebook, which remains the largest libertarian discussion forum in Australia. The ALS footprint on facebook also includes half a dozen smaller discussion groups with niche interests such as crypto-currencies, anarchy, seasteading, drug law reform, Labortarians, and free speech.

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.

 

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