Conference Speakers

Conference Speakers - The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance

Tom PalmerKEYNOTE SPEAKER: Tom G. Palmer

Tom G.  Palmer is the executive vice president for international programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and is responsible for establishing operating programs in 14 languages and managing programs for a worldwide network of think tanks. He is also  a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, and director of Cato University, the Institute’s educational arm.

Before joining Cato he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a vice president of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. He frequently lectures in North America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America, India, China and throughout Asia, and the Middle East on political science, public choice, civil society, and the moral, legal, and historical foundations of individual rights.

He has published reviews and articles on politics and morality in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public PolicyEthicsCritical Review, and Constitutional Political Economy, as well as in publications such as Slate, the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesDie WeltCaixingAl Hayat, the Washington Post, and The Spectator of London. He is the author ofRealizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice, published in 2009, and the editor of The Morality of Capitalism, published in 2011. Palmer received his B.A. in liberal arts from St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland, his M.A. in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and his doctorate in politics from Oxford University. Tom Palmer was also one of the original plaintiffs in Parker v. District of Columbia, which enshrined the right of DC Residents to own a handgun in their home.


2Cassandra Wilkinson is a columnist for The Australian and a regular commentator for Sky News Agenda, the Bolt Report and ABC's The Drum . She is also co-founder and President of FBi Radio and previously worked as transport advisor to former New South Wales Premier Kristina Keneally. Wilkinson is the author of Don't Panic - Nearly Everything is Better Than You Think, and has written on Happiness Economics in Happiness [Spinney Press 2008] and on effective programs for the poor in Right Social Justice {Connor Court 2012}.



SincProfessor Sinclair Davidson is Professor in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. He has written extensively on taxation policy in Australia and is a regular contributor to public debate. He has been published in The Age, The Australian, Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald, and Wall Street Journal Asia. He has also published in journals such as the European Journal of Political Economy, Review of Political Economy, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization & the Cato Journal. He also runs the popular libertarian blog



DEricr Eric Crampton is Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Canterbury, where he has taught since 2003. He received his PhD from George Mason University, and has also worked as a post-doc fellow at ZEI. He has been cited frequently in the mainstream media for his work exposing the flaws in pro-nanny-state economics, in particular, debunking the “social cost” of alcohol  , and has also been published in journals such as The Review of Austrian Economics, Constitutional Political Economy, and The Cato Institute. He blogs frequently at





Dr Jeremy Shearmur  is a Reader in Political Theory at the Australian National University and was educated at the London School of Economics. His Ph.D. thesis on Hayek was awarded the Sir Ernest Barker Prize by the British Political Studies Association. After working for eight years as assistant to Professor Sir Karl Popper in the Department of Philosophy, L.S.E., Prof. Shearmur taught philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, Political Theory at the University of Manchester; was Director of Studies at the Centre for Policy Studies in London and was a Senior Research Fellow and Director of Studies at the Institute for Humane Studies, where he also held the title of Research Associate Professor at George Mason University.  Shearmur is the author of Hayek and After and The Political Thought of Karl Popper(both Routledge, London & New York, 1996), was co-editor, with David Gordon, of H. B. Acton's The Morals of Markets and Related Essays (Liberty Fund, 1993), was editor of special issues of journals on privatization and The Philosophy of Karl Popper, and has published widely in social and political philosophy and the philosophy of social science.


gary_johns_150x194pxThe Hon. Dr. Gary Johns  is Associate Professor of Public Policy in the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic University, and a former Minister in the Keating government. He was awarded a PhD in political science in 2001 from the University of Queensland, in 2002 the Fulbright Professional Award in Australian-United States Alliance Studies, Georgetown University in Washington D. C., and in 2003 the Centenary Medal for ‘service to Australian society through the advancement of economic, social and political issues’. He is columnist for The Australian newspaper, the author of numerous papers and the books, Waking up to Dreamtime: the illusion of Aboriginal self-determination, Aboriginal self-determination: the whiteman's dream,  and Right social justice: better ways to help the poor. His forthcoming book is entitled Really dangerous ideas: what does and does not matter. 



5Adam Creighton is economics correspondent for The Australian newspaper. He started his career at the Reserve Bank and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority before studying Economics at Balliol College, Oxford, as a Commonwealth Scholar. He was a senior economic adviser to the federal Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, in 2010 and wrote full-time for The Economist in 2009, and has also worked for the Centre for Independent Studies.




PottsProfessor Jason Potts is a Professor in the School of Economics, Marketing and Finance at RMIT. He has written three books and over 70 articles on the theory of economic evolution. His work focuses on how entrepreneurship and innovation drive economic growth and development.





7Dr Ben O'Neill is a lecturer in statistics at the School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences at the Australian defence Force Academy. He has formerly practiced as a lawyer and as a political adviser in Canberra. He is a Templeton Fellow at the Independent Institute, where he won first prize in the 2009 Sir John Templeton Fellowship essay contest.




Tphelpshe Hon. Dr Peter Phelps, MLC is Government Whip in the NSW Legislative Council. His parliamentary biography describes him as a “ a libertarian with social conservative tendencies, placing him within the 'fusionist' school of conservative political philosophy.” He was previously employed as Chief of Staff to The Hon. Senator Eric Abetz, and has a doctorate in history from the University of Sydney.




15Jennifer’s Buckingham is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies and has has been at the forefront of debate on education matters, with more than a hundred articles in major newspapers and regular radio appearances . She is the author of the policy monographs Boy Troubles  (2000), Families, Freedom and Education (2001), Schools in the Spotlight (2003), and Schools of Thought: A Collection of Articles on Education (2009). Jennifer was schools editor at The Australian newspaper from May 2004 to June 2005.





Bob Day AO is an Adelaide Businessman, National President of Family First, and Director of the Bert Kelly Research Centre. He has also served as National President of the Housing Industry Association, Inaugural President of the Independent Contracts of Australia, Director of the Centre for Independent Studies, Chairman of the Institute of Public Affairs Great Australian Dream Project, Secretary of the HR Nicholls Society, Secretary of the Samuel Griffith Society, and as a Member of the National Work for the Dole Advisory Committee.



10Dr. Michael Keane
is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology at Swinburne University, and is a lecturer in public health at Monash University. Dr. Keane has authored extensive peer-reviewed pieces on the ethical implications of public health policy, his most recent in the Medical Journal of Australia attacking lifestyles taxes, and the overall attempts by governments to regulate behaviour through the tax code. He also serves as scientific adviser to MyChoice Australia, a subsidiary of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.





11Timothy Andrews is the Executive Director of The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. He is a graduate of the University of Sydney, graduating with a Bachelor of Economics (Social Sciences), a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Masters of Public Policy. Whilst studying, he served two terms as Federal President of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation, and in 2007 he was elected to the Board of Management of the HR Nicholls Society, a position he continues to hold today.  He has previously worked for Americans for Tax Reform and was a participant in the Koch Associate Program.



12John Humphreys is Queensland based economist, currently completing his PhD at the University of Queensland. He is Director of the Australian Libertarian Society and Deputy Director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.  John received his economics honours degree from the University of Queensland before going on to work as a Policy Analyst with the Commonwealth Treasury, Consultant with the Centre for International Economics and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies. John is also the founder and President of the humanitarian non-profit Human Capital Project.



13Chris Berg is a Research Fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs. He is a regular columnist with the Sunday Age and Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC's The Drum, covering cultural, political and economic issues. He is an award-winning former editor of the IPA Review. His latest book is In Defence of Freedom of Speech: from Ancient Greece to Andrew Bolt. A monograph, The Growth of Australia's Regulatory State, was published in 2008. 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).



14Tim Wilson is the Director of Climate Change Policy and the Intellectual Property and Free Trade Unit Tim Wilson has worked with the Institute of Public Affairs since 2007. Tim also serves on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's IP industry consultative group as well being a Senior Fellow at New York's Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. He can be seen and heard being outspoken, challenging and thought provoking on 3AW, Sky News and the ABC and pens columns in the The Australian and Australian Financial Review. He has a Masters of Diplomacy and Trade and a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University, a Diploma of Business and has completed Asialink's Leaders Program at the University of Melbourne.


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