June 15, 2018 Print

The 6th Australian Libertarian Society Friedman Conference was held successfully in Sydney, Australia on May 25 - 27 2018, retaining its title as Australia’s largest gathering of liberty oriented individuals. With a record-breaking 380+ attendees enjoying a range of speakers, panels, and VIP events, the 2018 Friedman Conference remains an event not to be missed for the Australian liberty movement.

“From humble beginnings in 2013, with Atlas Network's support the Friedman Conference has grown to become the biggest pro-liberty event in the Asia Pacific Region,” said Tim Andrews, executive director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. “This year we saw over 380 people, including 100 students, passionate about the ideas of individual freedom & free markets, join together for a vibrant, fun exchange of ideas,” he said. “In contrast to the failed and dying ideas of aging statists, the enthusiasm and energy demonstrates without doubt that ours is the way of the future."


Tim Andrews addressing the crowd during the 6th ALS Friedman Conference.

Co-organized by the Australian Libertarian Society and Atlas Network partner organization the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, the 2018 Friedman Conference included a broad range of domestic and international speakers. Major speakers included Ilya Shapiro (The Cato Institute - USA), John O'Connell (The TaxPayers' Alliance - UK), and Atlas Network’s own Dr. Tom Palmer, Atlas Network's executive vice president for international programs and George M. Yeager Chair for Advancing Liberty. Sessions covered a range of diverse topics such as Communicating Liberty, Rethinking Education Policy, and The Importance of Rule of Law to Economic Development.

“The Friedman Conference is without doubt the pinnacle of the libertarian calendar in Australia,” said Kate Wagstaff, scholarships manager at the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation. Mannkal generously funded a number of student scholarships, enabling young Western Australians to attend the conference. “It was an enriching and immersive experience for our 23 Mannkal Scholars - they were newly inspired by the cause of liberty and had the opportunity to network with true libertarian visionaries,” said Kate. “Our 5 Mannkal staff relished the opportunity to make fantastic new friends within the movement and to connect with old comrades from around Australia and the globe.”


Kate Wagstaff (center right), with Jeffrey Tucker (far left) and Mannkal colleagues Sharni Cutajar (far right) and Eva Christensen (center left)

The Friedman Conference Gala Dinner was held the evening of May 26, where Jeffrey Tucker (American Institute for Economic Research - USA) delivered the keynote speech and several prominent figures in the Australian liberty movement were recognized for their ongoing contributions. The prestigious 2018 Australian Libertarian Society Activist of the Year award recognized Renee Gorman, campus coordinator for the Institute of Public Affairs, for her work advancing free speech on university campuses.

“The 2018 Friedman conference was a wonderful mix of thoughtful intellectualism, an unbridled joyous celebration of liberty and a reunion of old and new friends”, said Renee. “Conferences like this inspire and reinvigorate the attendees to continue the battle of ideas in the wider world. On receiving this award, Renee said: “Winning ‘Libertarian Activist of the Year’ was just icing on the cake for me. I didn’t expect it, but I am overjoyed by the opportunities it opens up for me in the future.”


Renee Gorman, winner of the 2018 Australian Libertarian Society Activist of the Year award.

Atlas Network was a proud sponsor of the 2018 Friedman Conference, which included the provision of funds for dozens of student scholarships that enabled young people from across Australia and beyond to attend and enjoy the proceedings. “Without Atlas Network, conference numbers would be down by 100, as they paid for the student scholarships that allowed so many young people to attend,” said Andrews.

The 7th Australian Libertarian Society Friedman Conference will be held in Sydney, Australia, in May 2019, in conjunction with the 17th World Taxpayers Conference organized by the World Taxpayers Association.