3rd Friedman Conference Speakers List

3rd Friedman Conference Speakers List - The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance

download (4)Dr Tom Palmer is the Executive Vice President for International Programs at the Atlas Network, where he has the enviable job of travelling the world and meeting with activists from the liberty movement in East Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and beyond. He is also a Senior Fellow at The Cato Instituteand has held positions at the Institute for Humane Studies and Oxford University (where he received his doctorate in politics). His books include "The Morality of Capitalism", "Why Liberty" and "Peace, Love & Liberty".

In addition to being one of the most engaging and persuasive libertarian speakers in the world and an accomplished author, Tom was a central player in the lawsuit that confirmed the American right to own a gun for self-defence… having previously used a gun to successfully defend himself from a homophobic attack. Dr Palmer is appearing courtesy of the Centre for Independent Studies where he will be a Scholar-In-Residence.

78-goremy-profile_217x217Remy Munasifi is an American stand-up comedian, parody musician, video artist and libertarian activist, whose youtube videos have received over 100,000,000 hits on youtube! Since 2011 he has been a contributor to Reason.TV, with such hits as the "Raise the Debt Ceiling Rap", "Shake It Off: Obama Version", and "Grandma Got Indefinitely Detained at Christmas".

His debut production album entitled The Falafel Album is now available on iTunes


10868100_10154947302215694_8026680869374863234_nSenator David Leyonhjelm was elected to the Australian Senate for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and he was the inaugural winner of the Australian Libertarian Society "Libertarian of the Year" award.

During his short time in parliament, David has successfully blocked an income tax increase, pressured the government to remove torture from their new security laws, voted to remove the carbon and mining taxes, put forward legislation to allow same-sex marriage and medical marijuana, argued passionately against the growing police state, worked with Senator Bob Day to wind back 18C restrictions on speech, and proposed a range of spending cuts that would help bring the budget back into balance.


10933778_10155010637225018_6507531970436299195_nTim Wilson is Australia's Human Rights Commissioner - known more popularly as "The Freedom Commissioner" and a classical liberal public policy analyst. He is one of Australia's most challenging opinion makers drawing on strong philosophical principles, backed up with evidence while maintaining a real-world edge. He delivered the keynote Dinner Address at the 2014 ALS Friedman Conference, and was also the former Director of Climate Change Policy and the Intellectual Property and Free Trade Unit at the Institute of Public Affairs


BPH_Mark_Latham_2_2014-1177x663Mark Latham  will be joining us to speak on "the withering of the state" as well as "understanding poverty".

Mark Latham is a former leader of the federal Australian Labor Party (the youngest leader since 1901). In his earlier political career he built a reputation as a maverick and policy wonk, and after the 2004 election he cemented his position in political folklore by leaving politics and writing The Latham Diaries, which outlines his very blunt opinions of his colleagues and the seedy underbelly of political hackery. In 2005 he lectured at Melbourne University and argued that young people should not join major political parties, in 2010 he famously argued that voters should leave their ballot blank, and in 2013 when the rest of QandA were crying about violence in sport he said that fighting is a normal part of Rugby League and we should "bring back the biff". Listing all of his controversies would require a book.

Since leaving politics Latham has written regularly for The Australian Financial Review and Spectator Australia and has written several books on politics and public policy. In addition to his famous dairy, Latham's books include "Civilising Global Capital" (1998), "Not Dead Yet: What Future for Labor?" (2013), "The Political Bubble: Why Australians Don’t Trust Politics" (2014), and most recently "Latham at Large" (2015) which he discusses below with Alan Jones.

veraDr Vera L te Velde is an economist at the The University of Queensland. Vera has an honours degree in maths and economics from California Institute of Technology and a PhD from UC Berkeley and is a recent arrival to Australia. Her research focuses on behavioural economics, experimental economics, and game theory and her recent papers cover topics such as reciprocity, altruism, social preferences, and social pressure. In recent years behavioural economists have helped paint a more accurate and complex picture about how we make choices. Some commentators have interpreted this new information as a justification for more activist government… in contrast Vera argues that the complexity of life actually strengthens the argument for the free market.



Trish Hepworth is the Executive Officer of the Australian Digital Alliance and also the the Copyright Adviser for the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.

Prior to joining the ADA she has had a diverse career spanning corporate, government and NGO roles in four countries. Highlights include running presentation workshops for Serbian bankers, presenting science shows in Wales and tutoring Tongan lawyers in English law. She holds a BA/LLB from ANU and comes to the ADA from the Department of Immigration, where she held an in-house legal role.


MURRAY copyIain Murray is the Competitive Enterprise Institute's vice president of strategy. For the past decade with the Institute, he has concentrated on financial regulation, employment and immigration regulation and free market environmentalism. Murray has published several acclaimed books, including Stealing You Blind: How Government Fatcats Are Getting Rich Off of You and The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Won’t Tell You About – Because They Helped Cause Them. His op-eds have appeared in The National Review, The Providence Journal and Fox News. He has appeared on Fox News, CNN Headline News, the BBC and Al-Jazeera, among other broadcast networks.

In addition to his work at CEI, Murray is the visiting fellow at the Adam Smith Institute and board members of the Cherish Freedom Trust and American Friends of the Taxpayers Alliance and advisory board members of Global Britain and Young Britons Foundation.


Helen Dale is Senior Adviser to Senator David Leyonhjelm. Previously, she practised corporate law in Edinburgh, Scotland. She qualified in English law at Oxford University, and in Scots law at Edinburgh University. She is a three-time Institute for Humane Studies Fellow, and writes occasionally for Reason, the Spectator, and the Cato Institute.

Dale is interested in the rule of law, governance, institutional design, and the differences between the British/Australian classical liberal traditions and those of the US. She has detailed knowledge of and experience in parliamentary drafting, and contributed to the Scottish marriage equality legislation. She is presently working on Australia’s Freedom to Marry Bill. Before becoming a lawyer, she was a successful novelist, winning the Miles Franklin Award for controversial bestseller The Hand That Signed The Paper. Rumour has it another book will be published soon...

 11061203_10155309223010018_3834270420317247074_nMick Palmer AO was the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police from 1994-2001, after a lifetime working in the law, both in policing and as a barrister. Since then, he has headed numerous reviews and inquiries for both state and federal governments, and was a director of the Australia 21 think tank.A passionate advocate of drug law reform, we look forward to him joining us to discuss how his experiences convinced him that he was wrong to support a 'tough on drugs' policy, and how we can move forward.




Rebecca Weisser is is a commentator on Australian public affairs, appearing on the ABC’s The Drum and News 24 and on Sky TV’s Paul Murray Live. She writes for The Australian Spectator, The Drum, The Australian, Quadrant and other publications.
She was editor of The Australian's opinion page from 2008 to 2015, leading the national debate on key public policy issues such as climate change, the carbon and mining taxes, the NBN, the RET, deregulation, the nanny state and freedom of speech. She edited the paper's popular column, ‘Cut and Paste’.Prior to working in journalism Rebecca was a career diplomat for almost a decade in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with postings to Vanuatu and Mexico. She has also advised Qantas Airways and the Australian Catholic University on communications and public affairs.


Professor Jim Allan holds the oldest named chair at the University of Queensland School of Law, and has previously taught in New Zealand and Hong Kong, and worked at the Bar in Canada and London. He has had sabbaticals at the Cornell Law School and at the Dalhousie Law School in Canada, the latter as the Bertha Wilson Visiting Professor in Human Rights.

Allan has published widely in the areas of legal philosophy and constitutional law, including in all the top English language legal philosophy journals in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, much the same being true of constitutional law journals as well. Allan also has a sideline interest in bills of rights; he is opposed to them. Indeed he is delighted to have moved to a country without a national bill of rights. He has been actively involved in the efforts trying to stop one from being enacted here in Australia. He also writes widely for newspapers and weeklies, including The Australian, The Spectator Australia and Quadrant. And since arriving here in Australia he has given or participated in more than 65 lectures, debates and talks. His latest book, Democracy in Decline, was published in 2014.

wmdl741wsfrtProfessor Sinclair Davidson is Professor in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, and an Academic Fellow of the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance.

He has written extensively on taxation policy in Australia and is a regular contributor to public debate. His opinion pieces have been published in The Age, The Australian, Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald, and Wall Street Journal Asia. Sinclair has also published in academic journals such as the European Journal of Political Economy, Review of Political Economy, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization and the Cato Journal.

Sinclair regularly writes at http://www.catallaxyfiles.com and is a lecturer in the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance Foundations of Liberty & Free Market Economics Program


 Alex Hawke MP was elected in the 2007 election as the Federal Member for Mitchell. His official bio notes he is "a passionate advocate for reducing the size and scope of government particular." and he previously nominated Atlas Shrugged as his all time favourite book

A vocal critic of Tony Abbott's PPL Scheme, he argued in the IPA Review that the Liberals should dump PPL as an "expansion of the welfare state" suggesting instead "Perhaps we could try giving people back more of their own money through tax reductions and allowing them to plan for their families themselves."  Alex Hawke was also one of only two Liberal MPs to cross the floor and vote against the later-scraped recognition of local government referendum and spoke out against metadata retention proposals arguing at the least they must be subject to warrant.

11056068_10155321337420018_5310157105637810170_nRebecca Lawrence is a third year student in UWA’s Bachelor of Philosophy (Hons) program, majoring in Economics and Asian Studies. In 2014, she spent one semester studying language and politics in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and will be returning to Indonesia in 2015 to continue her study there as part of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan scholarship program. Rebecca is also a 2014 Mannkal Economic Education Foundation Scholar, and recently travelled to the Lithuanian Free Market Institute in Vilnius, Lithuania to complete a three month economics internship program. This program allowed her to work with policy analysis from all levels of government – from local municipalities to the European Union.

Rebecca is actively involved in Australian politics, and is the Vice-President of the WA Young Liberals as well as being a member of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation Federal Executive. She has previously worked as a political staffer to a number of State and Federal MP's, and will be shortly starting an internship at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in WA, focusing on the ideas covered in the Federalism White Paper.


Mikayla NovakDr Mikayla Novak is a Senior Research 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. Mikayla 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. Dr Novak is is also an Academic Fellow of the Australian Taxpayers Alliance.



 Simon Cowan is a Research Fellow in the economics program and TARGET30 Program Director for the The Centre for Independent Studiesand has been one of the most vocal and passionate advocates for cutting the size of government on television last year, appearing frequently on the ABC and Sky News. As well as con-ordinating the TARGET30 program which is focussed on government spending, Simon is working on government industry policy and regulation.

Prior to joining the CIS, he practiced Corporate Law for several years at a top tier law firm in Sydney and London after which he joined the NSW Government industry division. He has degrees in Commerce and Law from the University of New South Wales, as well as qualifications in Project Management.


Parnell McGuinness is a founder and director of Thought Broker, which runs Thought Broker's Shaken and Stirred Events in Sydney. She is a communications specialist with 14 years experience writing, editing and translating for a wide range of clients from the Boston Consulting Group to the German Green Party.
Parnell spent five years in the advertising industry and most recently she spent three years managing fully integrated campaigns at a creative advertising agency. She has run an art gallery in Berlin, a series of salons in Sydney and regularly comments in the media.

672338-andrew-nortonAndrew Norton is the higher education program director at the Grattan Institute.

He is the author of many higher education publications, including with David Kemp the government-commissioned Review of the Demand Driven System: Final Report. As a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies until 2011 he wrote several articles and papers on campaign finance law. In the 1990s he was the founder of the CIS Liberty and Society program and is a former editor of the CIS magazine Policy.

10991199_10155087306105018_3960453871563327477_nTerry Barnes has been a long time advocate of introducing price-signals into medicine, and is considered one of the architects of the Medicare co-payment plan, and advocated it be extended to hospital visits. He is a public policy consultant, and his former career in government included senior ministerial advisory roles in federal and Victorian governments. He was senior personal adviser to two federal health ministers, Michael Wooldridge (1993-97) and Tony Abbott (2003-07).

His paper for the Australian Centre for Health Research, which canvassed re-introducing the Hawke government’s co-payment on bulk-billed GP visits formed the basis of the co-payment scheme, and can be read here.


1016019_10152230687263113_2868796488640728403_oMolly Thrasher is the Director of Projects and Founder of Try Freedom Stories, a non-profit dedicated to telling stories of community solutions to social issue problems. She holds a Masters in film production from American University and Bachelors from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Molly has over a decade of experience in video production and public relations. She has consulted for U.S. political campaigns as a communications specialist. Her documentary films include a short on a neighborhood food collection project, one about a global health program in Africa, and a historical piece tracing the beginnings of bluegrass music. She was a contributing author to the textbook Creating Wealth: Ethical and Economic Perspectives with an article called “Try Freedom.”


10991373_10155087855980018_5480728167980411194_nJulian Leeser has been Director Government, Policy and Strategy at the Australian Catholic University since 2012, and was previously Executive Director of the Menzies Research Centre.

Since 2009, Julian has been the conference convener of the Samuel Griffith Society, dedicated to upholding the Australian constitution, and has presented numerous papers on the issue of states rights. He was also National Convener of the "No Power Grab" campaign opposing recognition of local government in the Australian constitution. Julian is also a member of the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance Board of Advisers.


10568924_10155084976355018_8462769005777380993_nKeith Kendall is is a Melbourne barrister and Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at La Trobe University, specialising primarily in tax law. He also researches in other areas of law including law and economics, behavioural law and economics, securities regulation (particularly insider trading), international trade law and federalism.

He has written extensively on fixing the vertical fiscal imbalance in federal-state relations, and in 2013 presented a paper at the Samuel Griffiths Society entitled "The Case for State Income Taxes".


10995618_10155443007580694_248373322304076132_n Dr Ruben Mendez has degrees in law, economics, sociology, philosophy and political science and is currently a Research Fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney. He has previously held positions with Complutense University of Madrid, Universidad de Salamanca, and the Centre for Economic, Social and Legal Research, and speaks fluent Spanish and Italian in addition to English.

His previous research has focused on institutional economics, with influences from such greats as Ronald Coase, Douglass North, James M. Buchanan, F.A. Hayek and Israel Kirzner... with his work published in the European Journal of Political Economy and a series of other international journals.


chris_berg_m1913827Chris Berg is the Policy Director at the Institute of Public Affairs, where he specialises in civil liberties, the political economy of regulation, and media and technology policy He is a weekly columnist with ABC’s The Drum, and has been published all major Australian papers, as well as the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of two books and has edited two others, and his most recent book In Defence of Freedom of Speech: from Ancient Greece to Andrew Bolt, was published in 2012. He is also the editor of 100 Great Books of Liberty (with John Roskam) published by Connor Court Publishing in 2010, and The National Curriculum: A Critique (2011).

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Trisha Jha international relations at ANU and is currently a researcher at The Centre for Independent Studies with a focus on social policy, such as family payments, childcare and education. Her other research interests include feminism, women's issues, trade, and foreign policy.

In 2012 she was a candidate for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the ACT election, and in 2014 she spoke as part of the "young women in politics" panel at the 2nd Friedman Conference. Trisha identifies with theBleeding Heart Libertarians, and she has become one of the unofficial mascots of the Australian Labortarians... though she is quick to say that she doesn't support any of the major parties.

11150253_10155455773190694_5153187359191784751_nDr Ben O'Neill is a lecturer of statistics and mathematics at the University of NSW (ADFA) in Canberra, has degrees in statistics, economics, law and actuarial studies, and has published in the International Statistical Review, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and The Mathematical Scientist, among other journals.

Outside of academia, Ben is a tireless campaigner for liberty -- he is a Templeton Fellow of The Independent Institute, has presented at the "Liberty and Society" seminars run by The Centre for Independent Studies, has spoken at the Australian Mises Seminars, written regularly for the Mises Institute, and contributed to the "Liberty and Free-market Economics" subject run by The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance. I consider Ben to be one of Australia's leading libertarian thinkers and also one of it's most generous and friendly personalities

printThe Hon Dr Peter Phelps MLC is Government Whip in the NSW Legislative Council, and the most outspoken proponent for liberty in the NSW legislative council.

As self described "libertarian trying to stop the government from unnecessarily interfering in peoples’ lives" Dr Phelps is known for his candour, his infamous tweets, and often being the sole voice of reason in NSW State politics!

Prior to entering parliament, Dr Phelps worked as a political adviser to numerous federal Ministers, and holds a PhD from the University of Sydney



Ron Manners headshot_0Ron Manners: Ron Manners is founder and Executive Director of the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, a Perth based free-market think tank.

He is a Fellow of both the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and his contributions to industry and Australia have been marked by several awards including being elected as a “Mining Legend” at the 2005 Excellence in Mining & Exploration Conference in Sydney. In 2010 he was appointed to the Board of Overseers for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

11141210_10155459071565694_7037173910875464394_nDuncan Spender is senior advisor to Senator David Leyonhjelm, and is helping to write the LDP's 2015 alternative budget. He holds degrees in economics and political science from the University of Queensland, and has worked as a senior advisor in the Australian and New Zealand Treasuries for many years.
Duncan was one of the first people to get actively involved in the LDP, and was the deputy leader of the party going into the 2001 ACT election. He co-authored the party's election policy manifesto, which was more detailed than any other party offered, and he spent many evenings (and early mornings) writing press releases and dealing with hostile journalists with calm and equanimity. About 10 years later Duncan rejoined the party and became a member of the national executive, helping to re-write party policies and build the party up to the 5th largest in Australia (measured by Senate vote) with shared balance of power.

10983287_10155324626195018_6188710620101361356_nTopher Field is a Libertarian activist, communicator and film maker. Since 2007 he has tackled subjects spanning water management, climate change, freedom of speech, gun rights and self defence, drug law, and countless others. He has been accused of being a paid shill for an extra-ordinary array of interest groups including 'Big Oil', the Liberal Party, the Greens, and One Nation (do they even exist still?). He would be quite happy to receive any and all of the donations he's been accused of getting from these organisations. You can see his video on the histories of free speech and and taxation at: http://theforbiddenhistory.com/

Since 2012 he has shifted his focus towards infiltrating the entertainment industry with his evil libertarian views.

10685383_10155455301615694_5093012118792428861_nDan Nolan is has made a name for himself as a "muckraker, internet d**ckhead and freedom advocate" who was most recently in the spotlight when Senator Scott Ludlam quoted at length from his handy guide for avoiding state surveillance, and how to leak information without ending up locked in a cage.
Dan has previously made headlines when he created the Paul Keating Insult Generator, and received a very unpleasant phone call from the man himself. He is also the co-creator of the Stop Tony Meow browser extension, which replaces all internet photos of Tony Abbott with pictures of cats. When people aren't writing about him, you can sometimes find Dan writing about others at ABC The Drum or Guardian Australia, where he champions internet freedom.Outside of politics Dan has a degree in Engineering from UNSW, has worked for some of the biggest companies in the country, and is currently the engineering lead of Proxima (enterprise development company) which he co-founded in 2013, and Director of Synthetica Australia (app development company) since 2012.

1378842_10155309579555018_447876246946891214_n Darcy Allan is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, and a PhD Candidate (Economics) at RMIT. At the IPA, his current work focuses on both the relationship between regulation and emerging industries, and the regulation of Australian schools. At RMIT, his PhD dissertation focuses on the ‘Innovation Commons' as an evolving institutional solution to the innovation problem. Darcy previously received First Class Honours on completion of Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance).



Michael J Potter will be joining the conference to critique Thomas Piketty's now-famous book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century".
Piketty's book does not just copy it's name from Karl Marx's magnum opus "Das Kapital" but also the general theme that capitalism is broken and needs to be fixed... presumably by somebody like him. Michael's comments will be based on his published response to Piketty, which is available online here.
Michael has worked at the Commonwealth Treasury, Prime Minister and Cabinet, the National Farmers’ Federation, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and as a political adviser on economic policy. During his career he has been involved with key reforms including the introduction of the GST, water reforms in the Murray-Darling Basin, and the establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office. He has an economics (honours) degree from University of Sydney and a masters of applied economics from The Australian National University, and currently works as the Executive Officer for UnitingCare NSW.11165925_10152700120101744_1865513914_n

 Dan Ryan is a director of The Lion Rock Institute, Hong Kong’s leading free market think tank, and a Director of the newly established Brisbane-based, think tank, The Australian Institute for Progress.

Dan has lived in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong for over 15 years where he worked for international law firms and as general counsel to a technology company in the finance industry. He reads and speaks Mandarin and continues to advise on China-related transactions. He recently returned to Australia to continue the battle for freedom. 

unnamed (1)Jeremy K. Balkin is regarded as an international thought leader on ethics in banking, impact investing, and the strategic engagement of millennials in financial services. He is an entrepreneur, accomplished speaker, and published author of Investing with Impact: Why Finance is a Force for Good. The book makes the case for an ethical transformation of Capitalism; and outlines how millennials will reshape Wall St and corporate America; articulates why finance is a force for good. He has received praise from luminaries including global Lynn Schusterman, Arianna Huffington, Frances Hesselbein and Pope Francis.

The Huffington Post described Jeremy K. Balkin as the "Anti-Wolf of Wall Street" for his work making the case that banking and finance are forces for good. His popular TED talk, "The Noble Cause: Positively influencing the allocation of capital" has been viewed nearly half a million times, and he has been invited to speak at Davos, the United Nations, London School of Economics, Harvard Business School and Yale School of Management.  Jeremy K. Balkin has run five marathons, successfully returned from Mount Everest Base Camp in Nepal, and received the prestigious UNSW Alumni Award for Achievement becoming the youngest recipient in University history. He is designated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and has studied at the UNSW Business School, Financial Services Institute of Australasia, and Harvard Kennedy School. He was born in Sydney, Australia and currently resides in New York City."

 Rod Schneider is co-ordinator of the Queensland "No Curfew" campaign, the former president of the Young LNP, and a former Vice-President of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia. He is a regular on JJJ's Hack, and participated in the SBS Documentary "Go Back To Where You Came From".


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