FriedmanProgram14 - The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance


Saturday 3 May – Building 5, Block B, UTS Haymarket; 1 Quay st Haymarket.

8:30                        Registration

Entrance to B Block, Quay St
9:00                        The Politics of Science – Dr Patrick Michaels

ROOM: CM05C.01.31
9:50                        The Meaning of Freedom – Dr Ben O’Neill

ROOM: CM05C.01.31

10:30                     Morning tea

11:00                   Break out sessions:

Young women in politics - Trisha Jha, Rachel Connor, Lara Jeffery

ROOM: Moot Court Room (CM05B.01.02)

The legacy of Milton Friedman  - Dr William Coleman, Dr Alex Robson

ROOM: CM05C.01.31


12:00                     Break out sessions:
Civil society & culture - Helen Rittelmeyer; Chris Ashton; Dr Peter Rohde

ROOM: Moot Court Room (CM05B.01.02)

The coming fiscal crisis - Prof Henry Ergas, Ross Cameron, Simon Cowen

ROOM: CM05C.01.31


13:00                     Extended lunch with sausage sizzle and “speed debating” hosted by Parnell McGuinness & Rachel Connor) - Courtyard

14:30                     Panel Discussion: “New Markets” – Prof. Jason Potts, Jen Buckingham, Leonnie Phillips, Liam Tjia, John Humphreys

16:20                     Free press under fire -  Phorn Bopha

5:00                        Close

19:00                     Gala dinner with Tim Wilson and the Liberty Awards
Building 10,Level 7/235 Jones St, Sydney



Saturday 4 May – Please note different venue for morning sessions

8:30am                 Registration

9:00                        Jeremy Shearmur: “Mickey mouse & Liberty”

Room: Guthrie Theatre, Peter Johnston Building, Building 6 (CB06.03.28)
702-730 Harris St, Ultimo (next door to the ABC)

9:50                        Julie Novak: “size of government & economic growth”

Room: Guthrie Theatre, Peter Johnston Building, Building 6 (CB06.03.28)

10:30               Morning tea & return to Haymarket Campus

11:00                     Break out sessions

Identity politics - Dr Anthony Dillon, Kerryn Pholi, Dr Gary Johns

ROOM: CM05C.01.31
Labour market reform – Prof. Judith Sloan, Graeme Haycroft, The Hon Peter Phelps MLC

ROOM: Moot Court Room (CM05B.01.02)

12:00                Break out sessions:

Activism & Communicating Liberty - Austen Erickson, Jenny Lindsay, Simon Breheny

ROOM: Moot Court Room (CM05B.01.02)
Libertarianism & children Cass Wilkinson, Mark Hornshaw, Ally Morris

ROOM: CM05C.01.31

13:00                Lunch
14:00                Panel Discussion: Three professors discuss tax reform
Professors Sinclair Davidson, Judith Sloan, and Henry Ergas
ROOM: CM05C.01.3

15:00               Afternoon tea

15:30               The Decline of Crime – Helen Dale
ROOM: CM05C.01.31
16:20               A Libertarian In The Senate -  David Leyonhjelm
ROOM: CM05C.01.31
17:00               Close – see you next year!




Tim Wilson

We are privileged to have Tim Wilson come back again this year. At the 2013 Friedman Conference Tim chaired and presented in the nanny state panel discussion, which was probably the reason that he was recently appointed as a Human Rights “Freedom” Commissioner. Of course, the position shouldn’t exist… but if it is going to exist, then Tim is the perfect man for the job.

Until recently, Tim was a director at the Institute of Public Affairs, which is a co-sponsor of this event, and he has been a long-time commentator on Sky News, 3AW, the ABC, the Australian and AFR on topics ranging from climate policy, trade, health, free speech, intellectual property, and the nanny state. He is also a Senior Fellow at New York’s Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, Director of Alfred Health, and a Board member of the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency.

Tim has a Masters of Diplomacy and Trade and a BA from Monash (where he was twice elected Student Union President), among with several other diplomas, certificates and qualifications. He is the recipient of an Australian Leadership Award from the Australian Davos Connection.


Dr Pat Michaels

Pat is currently the director of the Centre for the Study of Science at The Cato Institute. He is most famous as being a “luke-warmist” in the climate debate — where he argues that humans are contributing to global warming but the problem is exaggerated and the government “solutions” are worse than the problem. As a contributing author and reviewer of the UN IPCC, Pat shared in the Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 2007.

He has previously held the position of President of the American Association of State Climatologists, program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society, and he was a research professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia for thirty years. Pat’s writing has been published in major scientific journals including Climate Research, Climatic Change, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Climate, Nature, and Science. He is the author or editor of six books on climate and its impact, and he was an author of the climate “paper of the year” awarded by the Association of American Geographers in 2004. However, Pat’s research goes beyond environmental issues and he also has an interest in public choice theory and economic development.


Helen Dale

Helen has degrees from Oxford, UQ and Edinburgh and now works in commercial law at a private practice in Edinburgh, where she has a particular interest in start-up finance, angel investing and entrepreneurship. She won the Law Society of Scotland’s annual essay award in 2012 for her paper ‘A Plea in Law for Equal Marriage’ and she writes regularly for The Skeptic.

About 20 years ago she wrote the novel ‘The Hand That Signed The Paper’ under the pseudonym Helen Demidenko. The book won the Miles Franklin Award (among others), and went on to cause significant controversy.


Phorn Bopha

Cambodian journalist Bopha Phorn has a remarkable story of exposing government corruption despite assassination attempts and constant threats. Even if we ignore the fact that she survived a hail of bullets from gunmen with AK47s, Bopha would already deserve respect for being a highly successful young woman in an industry (and country) still dominated by older men.

Not surprisingly, Bopha won the “courage in journalism” award in 2013 and since then she has been a sought after speaker in America and around the world. She continues to work as the “editor at large” at the Cambodia Daily, which is perhaps the most reputable and independent news organization in the country. The Australian Libertarian Society is proud to be the host for Bopha as she tours Australia for the first time.


Dr Julie Novak

Julie is a Senior Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs. She has previously worked for Commonwealth and State public sector agencies, including the Commonwealth Treasury and Productivity Commission. Julie was also previously advisor to the Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Her opinion pieces have been published in The Australian, Australian Financial Review, The Age, and the Courier Mail, on issues ranging from state public finances to social services reform. Her PhD was awarded from RMIT for her research into the growth of government and how that impacts on economic growth. Julie has also been a prolific contributor to Policy Journal, The Drum, Online Opinion, The Punch, and of course the award-winning IPA Review. You can follow Julie on Twitter (@JulieKNovak).


Dr Ben O’Neill

Arguably the Australian version of the magnificent Dr Tom Palmer, we are very pleased that Ben will return to the Friedman Conference for the 2nd time. Ben is a lecturer in statistics and mathematics at the University of New South Wales (ADFA) in Canberra. He holds a PhD in statistics, two Masters degrees (economics & law) and two undergraduate degrees (actuarial studies & law). His scholarly writing has been published in The Mathematical Scientist, International Statistical Review, Journal of Approximate Reasoning, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, Policy Journal, and The Independent Review.

While his academic qualifications are impressive enough, Ben has also been a tireless campaigner for freedom. He is a Templeton Fellow of the Independent Institute, board member of our own Australian Libertarian Society, a presenter at the “Liberty and Society” seminars hosted by The Centre for Independent Studies, speaker at the Australian Mises Seminars, volunteer lecturer in the “Liberty and Free-market Economics” subject run by The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, regular contributor to the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and of course he spoke at the inaugural Friedman conference last year. One of the gentleman-scholars of Australia’s freedom movement and also a powerful and persuasive speaker, we are proud to have Ben as part of the team.

David Leyonhjelm

One of the most exciting events for libertarians in the last year was the election of David Leyonhjelm to the Australian Senate, which is the first time a libertarian party has won a seat in an Australian parliament. David started in politics as a member of Young Labor and campaigned to end military conscription. Later in life he joined the Liberal Party with the intention of promoting economic freedom, though he resigned in disgust following Howard’s anti-shooter laws. David then became Chairman of the Shooters Party in 1999, before shifting to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2005 and helping to turn it into a more professional party.

Outside of politics, David was formally a veterinarian, also has degrees in business and law, and owns an agribusiness consulting company in Sydney. He writes a regular column for the Australian Financial Review and The Land and also writes regularly for Online Opinion.


Dr Jeremy Shearmur

After his cheeky talk last year about “exporting the elderly”, we are delighted to have Dr Jeremy Shearmur come back to inspire and surprise us. Jeremy is an Emeritus Fellow at ANU, where he has been teaching philosophy and political theory to the next generation of thinkers for over 20 years. Perhaps Jeremy’s biggest claim to fame is that he worked for eight years at LSE with the great Sir Karl Popper. He later went on to write two books and edit a special-issue journal on the philosophy of Popper.

But Jeremy’s contributions to academia and liberalism go far beyond that. He has written and edited several books and too many journal articles to mention, and his academic career has taken him to Edinburgh, Manchester, London, and Washington DC… including a stint as the Director of Studies at the Institute for Humane Studies and a Research Associate Professor at George Mason University. He also might be our only speakers who has inspired his own appreciation society… if you like Jeremy as much as we do, then feel free to like the The The Jeremy Shearmur Appreciation Society too.


Professor Jason Potts

Jason is a professor of economics at RMIT University as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland and an adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. He has written six books and too many journal articles to count, was the winner of the International Joseph Schumpeter Prize in 2000, is an editor of the Journal of Institutional Economics as well as several other journals, and a leader in several emerging fields of economics such as culture and creative industries, evolutionary economics, and innovation in the commons.

He is an expert in problems of economic growth and change and institutional economics, and has had a long standing interest in personal equity finance, being one of the original supporters of the Human Capital Project.

Jason is also a regular contributor to The Conversation, and a regular guest lecturer for the The Centre for Independent Studies “Liberty and Society” seminars as well as The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance subject: “Foundations of liberty and free-market economics”.


Kerryn Pholi

Kerryn came to prominence in 2012 after she wrote an article on ABC’s The Drum website renouncing the privileges she had received for being an Aboriginal woman. That took real bravery, but then after she copped a lot of flack for her views she doubled down and wrote an extended version for Quadrant Magazine, making herself something of a hero in the process.

Kerryn has worked in indigenous research and policy in a number of government agencies and NGOs, and is currently a teacher in Canberra. Her full Quadrant article can be found here.


Professor Judith Sloan

Judith is already well known as one of the most prominent and passionate public advocates for free markets, with frequent media appearances including a regular column for The Australian. She has suffered the fools at Q&A and publicly debated all challengers, including a memorable collision with Professor John Quiggin arranged by the Economic Society of Australia.

Outside of the public eye, Judith juggles several other roles such as Director of the Lowy Institute, Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (University of Melbourne), and Director of the Westfield Group. She has previously served as a commissioner of the Productivity Commission, Director of the National Institute of Labour Studies (Flinders University), deputy chair of the ABC, chair of National Seniors Australia, commissioner of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, and board member of companies including Santos, Mayne Group, SGIO Insurance, and Primelife.


Professor Henry Ergas

You might know Henry from his regular contributions to The Australian, but his day job is Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the SMART Infrastructure Facility (University of Wollongong), as well as a Senior Economic Adviser to Deloitte Australia.

Henry’s CV is more than impressive. He spent 15 years working in Paris for the OECD (where he headed the Secretary-General’s task force on Structural Adjustment), and has held academic positions at Harvard, ENSAE Paris, National University of Singapore, University of Auckland, and Monash. On returning to Australia in the mid-1990s, Henry built a distinguished consulting career with NECG, CRA International and Concept Economics, as well as involvement with government reviews on competition, infrastructure and defense industry policy.


Professor Sinclair Davidson

When asking people who they want to hear at the conference, one of the most common requests is the magnanimous Professor Sinclair Davidson… the “godfather” of Australia’s free-market economists, and the man who takes it as a badge of honour that green-left on ABC TV called him an “evil, bald, fascist gnome”. After a wonderful speech at last year’s conference skewering some cliche arguments for big government, we’re happy to say that he’s coming back to charm us again with his trademark subtlety and tact.

Sinclair is a Professor of Institutional Economics at RMIT University in Melbourne, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Affairs. He has published scholarly works around the world in the European Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Cato Journal, Review of Political Economy, and various other fancy sounding journals you probably haven’t heard of anyway.

Closer to home, Sincs has established himself as one of Australia’s leading thinkers on institutional economics, public finance, tax reform and public policy analysis. He is a regular contributor to the public debate, writing for all the major newspapers (Australian, SMH, Age, AFR), policy focussed magazines (Agenda, IPA Review, Policy, Economic Papers, Quadrant), and online publishers (The Conversation, Online Opinion, The Drum, SkepticLawyer). In addition to all of that, he is also the editor-in-chief of Australia’s best libertarian blog ( and a regular guest speaker for CIS Liberty & Society Seminars and the ATA Liberty & Free-Market Economics course.


Dr William Coleman

Keeping with our tradition of attracting the best free-market economists in Australia, we are pleased to have Dr William Coleman join the Friedman Conference for the first time. William is a Reader at the School of Economics of the Australian National University, and has written extensively about inflation, the history of economic thought and the contested position of economics in society. He is currently the editor of ‘Agenda: a Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform’.

His book ‘Giblin’s Platoon: The Trials and Triumph of the Economist in Australian Public Life’ (2006) won the Bruce McComish Prize for Economic History. His other books include ‘Economics and Its Enemies’ (2002); ‘The Causes, Costs and Compensations of Inflation’ (2009); and ‘The Political Economy of Wages and Unemployment’ (2010).


Dr Anthony Dillon

Anthony has a PhD in behavioural sciences (psychology) from the University of Western Sydney, and currently works as a lecturer of health sciences at the Australian Catholic University. His teaching and research focuses on mental health (in particular ADHD), applied psychology and Indigenous health.

He has also had academic appointments with the University of Sydney and the University of Western Sydney, and recently co-edited the book “In Black & White” (2013). His commentary has been published on The Drum, Online Opinion and in a series of controversial articles for the Australian.

Anthony identifies as part-Aboriginal Australian and is actively involved in Indigenous affairs and debates about identity and victimhood. For a preview of the coming discussion, this clip from SBS Living Black gives you a hint of how Anthony approaches identity politics.


Dr Liam Tjia

To complement the many doctors and professors of economics on our speaker lineup, we are very lucky this year to have a practicing medical doctor presenting at the conference. Liam works as a paediatrician at the Mater Children’s Hospital (Brisbane) and Gold Coast Hospital, and has just launched Kids 1st Health – Australia’s first Nurse-led children’s health clinic, and an innovative project that is filling an important niche in the medical market. Outside of the hospital, Liam is also currently a member of two medical expert committees and has been called on as a state witness to provide expert testimony regarding injuries to children.

In academia, Liam has lectured at the University of Queensland, Monash, and Bond University; and has been appointed an examiner both at universities and for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He is in the last days of completing his PhD at the UQ School of Medicine.

With more than 10 years experience working through the public health system, Liam is a passionate advocate for market reform in health policy, with the goal of shifting power from bureaucrats to consumers and reducing anticompetitive regulations. He has a longstanding interest in defending civil liberties, and a more recent passion for online discussion groups where he has become (in)famous for stirring up trouble.


Leonie Phillips

Leonie is Director of Thought Broker, a firm that specialises in communicating complex ideas. She has been promoting and publicizing policy and ideas for fourteen years and has worked at a public policy think tank, in publishing, corporate conferencing, and medical research.

Leonie has run ideas festivals, scientific meetings and political seminars and she produced and presented a weekly radio program on books and writing for four years. She is the co-convenor of the excellent Shaken and Stirred Events (by Thought Broker) and recently completed a post-grad thesis on why Australia is the right place to trial a market in transplantable human kidneys.


Ross Cameron

Ross was the Liberal Member for Paramatta from 1996 to 2004, and he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Family and Community Services and then as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, where he was known for his passionate pursuit of cutting spending and taxation.

After politics, Ross worked as a Senior Consultant for Macquarie Bank and has since pursued several business interests as well as being a regular opinion writer for Fairfax Digital and The Australian. More recently, Ross has become a regular face on Sky News — appearing weekly the Paul Murray Live (Monday nights 9-10pm), PM Agenda (Thursdays 1:30pm) and on Contrarians (Fridays 4-6pm).

Dr Alex Robson

Alex is a Senior Lecturer of Economics, and the Director of the Economic Policy Analysis Program at Griffith University in Brisbane. He holds a MA and PhD in Economics from the University of California, and has previously held academic positions at the Australian National University and the University of Wollongong. His academic writing has been published in journals such as Economic Theory, Economic Affairs, Journal of Australian Taxation, and Public Choice. His book “Law and Markets” was published in 2010.

Outside of academia, Alex also served as an economic advisor to the Hon Malcolm Turnbull when he was shadow treasurer and leader of the opposition back in 2008; and has also held consulting positions as a Director at Deloitte Access Economics and Senior Economist at Concept Economics. Alex’s oped articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal Asia, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Courier Mail, The Australian Financial Review, and The Canberra Times. He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.


John Humphreys

John is currently a Visiting Lecturer of economics at the University of Queensland, where he is (supposedly) finishing his PhD. He has written for the Policy Journal, Agenda, Economic Analysis & Policy, Quadrant, IPA Review, Spectator, and most major Australian newspapers and online publishers… and has been a guest speaker at events in Hong Kong, Chicago, Jakarta, Washington DC, and around Australia.

Outside of his day job, John is also the founder and Managing Director of the Human Capital Project, a non-profit finance provider for poor students in Cambodia. His other current roles include Executive Director for the Economic Society of Australia, Deputy Director of the Australian Taxpayers Alliance, Research Director for the University of Management and Economics (KPC) in Cambodia, and of course the founder and President of the Australian Libertarian Society. In his non-existent spare time he is also a recreational pilot, professional scuba diver, and Justice of the Peace.

John started his working life at the Commonwealth Treasury, and then moved on to the Centre for International Economics where he did consulting work for the World Bank (among others) and published two books on trade. While in Canberra, John founded the Liberal Democratic Party and was the leader for the first five years until he was able to convince more competent people to take over. More recently, John was a Research Fellow for the Centre for Independent Studies, a disendorsed Liberal National Party candidate, and an elected member of the UQ Senate.


Dr Jenn Buckingham

Last year we had an entertaining speech by Ms Jen Buckingham… but this year we are delighted to be the first ever host for Dr Jen Buckingham now that her PhD has been finalized. Jennifer is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, where she has worked for 15 years promoting market reform in education and family policy; she was also the schools editor at The Australian newspaper from 2004-05.

She has written several books including Families, Freedom and Education (2001), Schools in the Spotlight (2003) and Schools of Thought (2009). In addition to her books and public speeches, Jen has published over a hundred articles in major newspapers.


The Hon Dr Gary Johns

Gary was the Labor MP for Petrie (north Brisbane) for nine years, and was a Minister in the Keating government. More recently, you may know him from his articles in The Australian, appearances on the Bolt Report, or his many books, including “Waking up to Dreamtime”, “Aboriginal self-determination: the whiteman’s dream”, “Right Social Justice” and “Really dangerous ideas”.

After politics Gary continued to focus on public policy, earning a PhD in political science from the University of Queensland in 2001, working as a senior fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, and later working as an Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic University and then a visiting fellow at the QUT business school. He is currently in the process of setting up a new venture to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the charitable sector. From 2002-04 Gary was an Associate Commissioner at the Productivity Commission, and in 2003 he received the Centenary Medal for “service to Australian society through the advancement of economic, social and political issues”.

Cassandra Wilkinson

By popular demand, Cass will be returning to the Friedman conference to share her wit and wisdom. After working as an advisor to NSW Treasurer Michael Costa and NSW Premier Kristina Keneally, Cass went on to work for various non-profits until her recent move to the Centre for Independent Studies.

She is the author of “Don’t Panic – Nearly Everything is Better Than You Think” (2007) and has been a regular commentator for Sky News Agenda, The Bolt Report, ABC’s The Drum and The Australian newspaper. Cass spoke at the 2008 Battle of Ideas on internet censorship, presented at the inaugural 2009 Festival of Dangerous Ideas about the virtues of capitalism, and has written about happiness economics, effective giving, and free-range children. At the first Friedman conference she spoke about being a libertarian in the Labor Party and about problems with the nanny-state. In the non-profit sector she is most famous as the founder and president of FBi FM radio, but she also holds positions with Music NSW and the Human Capital Project.


Jenny Lindsay

Jenny is the General Manager at the Centre for Independent Studies, which has been producing high quality research and writing about classical liberal ideas since 1976. Before coming to the CIS, Jenny earned a BA from UNSW and then owned and operated several small businesses.

But the main reason that most people would know Jenny is through her vital role in running the hugely successful Liberty & Society seminars offered by the CIS. The L&S seminars provide a unique conference program for university students and young professionals to immerse themselves in classical liberal ideas, and it has been influential in shaping the minds of many current and future leaders. It is likely that many people who come to the Friedman conference this year (including the organizers) will be CIS Liberty and Society Alumni, and they will all confirm that the program is one of the most powerful tools for promoting liberal thinking in Australia.


Mark Hornshaw

Mark is a lecturer in economics and entrepreneurship at the University of Notre Dame in Sydney. He received his MBA from the Sydney Graduate School of Management, and he has practiced what he preaches by founding and managing a number of small businesses throughout his career. In 2007 he was awarded the “People’s Choice Award” at the Westpac Sustainable Business Awards (Western Sydney).

Mark brings his entrepreneurial spirit home after work hours: he is a home educator with six kids, is involved in various “kid-friendly” businesses, and has helped his children to start many of their own small businesses. He spoke at the 2013 Friedman conference about free-market education and has also spoken at the Mises Seminar about home schooling, free thinking, and childhood entrepreneurship. We are pleased to have Mark back with us this year, and look forward to hearing his unique and insightful perspectives about how to ensure your children go beyond listening, and are actually learning.


Helen Rittelmeyer

Helen is a Policy Analyst with The Centre for Independent Studies, where she is a part of their Social Foundations Program and recently published an important paper on the future of charities and non-profits in Australia. Before 2012 Helen was living on the wrong side of the pacific — over in the USA, where she graduated from Yale and worked as an associate editor of National Review. She was (and still is) a regular contributor to debates about culture, religion and freedom; and her writing has been published in The American Spectator, Weekly Standard, New York Post, National Review, and American Conservative, as well as blogging at First Things.

While her politics are generally libertarian, Helen still prefers to call herself a conservative and is something of an expert on fusionism between the two schools of thought. Fusionism is an issue that is often misunderstood to mean a compromise between the two positions, but the real meaning is something much more powerful, as you will learn when you come and hear Helen speak.


Austen Erickson

If you want to learn the art of political persuasion, then you should listen to Austen. Growing up in the USA, Austen holds a Masters in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University and is currently doing his PhD at UNSW on the same topic. But for a man who loves numbers, he has a gift for words and also putting words into action as one of Australia’s leading young libertarian activists.

Not only is Austen the Program Director for the Australian Taxpayers Alliance and a board member of our own Australian Libertarian Society, but he is also the organizer for Liberty on the Rocks Sydney (and helped start LOTR in other cities), is the inaugural President of the Australian Students for Liberty, as well as being the co-founder and President of UNSW Students for Liberty.


Dr Peter Rohde

Peter has an impressive CV, with a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Queensland (2007) and a long list of publications. His academic career has taken him to Oxford, Max-Plank Institute, Paderborn, UQ and now to Macquarie University where he works as a postdoctoral research fellow. In his own words: “My research interests include quantum computing, quantum information theory and quantum optics. In particular, I have focussed my research efforts on liner optics quantum computing, the spectral structure of photons, photo-detection and photon engineering, the characterization of photons, cluster state quantum computing, quantum fault tolerance issues, and, more recently, quantum random walks and their application to implementing quantum algorithms.”

Outside of science, Peter has a long-standing interest in advancing civil society. In 1999 he won the Armidale Young Citizen of the Year Award for his community work, he has been involved in community radio and several charities and youth politics, was the founder of the Laughing Society, and currently volunteers as a lifeline telephone councillor. He is also a stand-up comedian, electro music DJ, drummer and mountain climber.


Trisha Jha

Trisha is a policy analyst at the Centre for Independent Studies, where she writes on social issues, family policy, and middle class welfare, including publishing at ABC’s The Drum.

She recently graduated from ANU with a BA in international relations, and she previously ran as a candidate for the Liberal Democratic Party in the 2012 ACT election on a civil liberties platform. Trisha identifies as a “bleeding heart libertarian” and is 22 years old.


Rachel Connor

Rachel is the youngest leader of a registered political party in Australia, as the President (and 2013 lead QLD Senate candidate) of the Smokers’ Rights Party. She has a degree in international studies (development & french) and is currently completing a masters in development economics at the University of Queensland. While studying, Rachel also did stints as an intern for the United Nations (New Delhi office) and has volunteered in Peru, south India and Vanuatu.

Rachel is also the founder and President of the UQ Students for Liberty, the Vice-President of the Australian Students for Liberty, the secretary of the Human Capital Project, was previously the Communications officer for the UQ Association of Postgraduate Students, and has had her writing published at Menzies House. She is 21 years old.


Lara Jeffery

Lara is Director of MyChoice Australia, a grassroots activism organisation which opposes the nanny state and supports personal liberty. At the end of 2013 Lara helped coordinate a nation-wide smokers protest to highlight excessive tobacco excise and prohibitive restrictions on individual choice.

She is studying a bachelor of media at the University of New South Wales, where she is President of UNSW Students for Liberty, as well as being Treasurer for Australian Students for Liberty and an Associate Editor for Menzies House. She has previously worked with Americans for Tax Reform and Young Americans for Liberty. She is 22 years old.


Simon Breheny

Simon is the Director of the Legal Rights Project and the Editor of FreedomWatch at the Institute of Public Affairs. His writing has been published in The Australian, SMH, Herald Sun, the Punch, Canberra Times and various other mainstream publications… and he has also been a regular contributor to radio and TV debates about the virtues of freedom and the rule of law.

He has also appeared as a witness to give expert evidence before the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications, NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice, Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

At university, Simon was elected President of the Melbourne University Law Students’ Society, and this year he was elected as the President of the Victorian Young Liberals. As one of the rising stars of the freedom movement, we are delighted to have Simon join the conference.


Graeme Haycroft

The ALS has been hosting Friedman Dinners in Brisbane since 2010. Our first guest speaker in that series was Graeme Haycroft, and we are very happy that Graeme has agreed to come down to Sydney this year to join the Friedman Conference.

Graeme has spent a lifetime working in industrial relations and was the man who set up Haycroft Workplace Solutions, a leading provider of workplace consulting and management that has nearly 2000 workers on the payroll. He is chair of the Liberal National Party’s labour market policy committee, active in the HR Nicholls Society, is a regular commentator on labour market issues, and has published his thoughts in such places as the IPA Review, Courier Mail and Online Opinion. But Graeme’s most important contributions have come through what he has done, not what he has written or said.

In the 1990s Graeme famously fought the Australian Workers’ Union to set up sub-contracting for shearers in Charleville, and went on to battle the CMFEU in helping to set up union-free high-rise construction sites. When the Howard government allowed Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), Graeme was instrumental in creating the most widely copied template in the country, and his business helped set up about 30,000 agreements. Lately, Graeme has been working on a exciting new project with the potential to fundamentally change the role and power of unions in this country, while improving services for workers. He is not waiting for politicians to act; he is changing the system himself… and after years of planning he is finally ready to show us how.


Ally Morris

This year will include a panel discussion about the nexus between libertarian philosophy and parenting… and we are delighted to have the always cheeky and colourful super-mum Ally Morris join the panel. Ally has a Bachelor of Science (electrical) from UTS: University of Technology, Sydney, though she prefers to call it 3/4 of an engineering degree instead. But her real education comes from being a full time mother of three small and wildly disobedient boys as well as coping with one mildly disobedient husband.

In addition to parenting and finishing her studies, Ally also helped run a Montessori playgroup for low-income families and volunteers as a breastfeeding counsellor for the Australian Breastfeeding Association, in between family holidays to South-East Asia and hustling unsuspecting victims with her bridge skills.


Chris Ashton

Chris has a degree in theology, a masters in church history, and is completing another masters at Sydney University’s US Studies Centre. He is an elder in the Presbyterian Church of Australia, for whom he also works; and also dabbles in politics, working part-time for a state MP. He has written on freedom of religion and education for the Spectator and for Online Opinion, on the New Testament for a theological journal called the Briefing, and was previously the Religion Editor for Menzies House.

His masters thesis was on the Rev. J. Gresham Machen, an American Presbyterian theologian who was kicked out of his denomination for being too theologically conservative. At the same time, however, Machen was a libertarian who – and this was unusual for conservative Christians at the time (and still is) – opposed the nanny state and big government. He campaigned against prohibition, jay-walking laws, and the creation if a federal department of education.

Chris is sympathetic to ending the war on drugs and has argued for marriage deregulation, but he thinks that where the libertarian rubber really hits the road is when it comes to his kids – not only what they can do, but what they are allowed to think, to say, and to learn. His dream is to start a school in the tradition of Machen which “maintains liberty and propagates the gospel.”


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