Is Australia Friendlier to Libertarianism Than the U.S.?

Sen. David LeyonhjelmAustralian SenateLibertarianism is a thing, the headlines tell us—and that seems to be true now that two libertarian-leaning lawmakers occupy seats in the Senate. Wait...two senators? Yes, two: Senator David Leyonhjelm from New South Wales and Senator Bob Day from South Australia. After their election, The Australian proclaimed them "two home-grown Ron Pauls."

Strictly speaking, Leyonhjelm (at right, above) is the more overtly libertarian of the two, favoring marijuana legalization, lower taxes, same-sex marriage, and smaller government. He was elected as a candidate of the classical liberal/libertarian Liberal Democratic Party. A quote on his Facebook page boasts, "But there are two guiding principles that determine our approach to legislation—we would never vote for an increase in taxes and we would never vote for a reduction in liberty."

Sen. Bob DayAustralian SenateDay has a long history of free-market activism and was a board member of the libertarian Centre for Independent Studies, but he was elected as the candidate (and chairman) of the populist/social conservative Family First Party. Even so, he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, "Libertarianism appeals to the innate desire to be free, to be liberated; people essentially want to be left alone to enjoy the fruits of their labour."

If he can stick to that sentiment, his party affiliation won't matter.

That article quoting Day also noted that "the former policy director of libertarian think tank The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has been appointed Human Rights Commissioner." The IPA has been called out during parliamentary question time as a "sinister" behind-the-scenes player in Australian policy making—specifically, in revising the Racial Discrimination Act to strengthen free speech protections—so it's apparently having an impact.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation piece also included a hopeful note that libertarianism may have appeal across the country's political spectrum:

Cassandra Wilkinson, a former senior adviser to NSW Labor Premier Kristina Keneally, hopes new, Labor-aligned think tanks such as the McKell Institute take classically liberal ideas more seriously. "The poor can least afford the rip offs of markets made inefficient by superfluous government intervention or regulation," she says.

"Any self-respecting leftie would claim ending slavery as a left wing achievement along with ending the rule of man over woman, white over black, straight over gay, adult over child, abled over disabled; and yet ending the rule of government over everybody has become characterised as a right wing fanaticism."

For what it's worth, on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom, Australia currently ranks at number three, behind Hong Kong and Singapore, and well ahead of the U.S. at 12.

Australia's economic freedom score is 82, making its economy the 3rd freest in the 2014 Index. Its overall score is 0.6 point lower than last year, with a gain in investment freedom outweighed by declines in monetary freedom and labor freedom.

Australia also does well on the State of World Liberty Index, which groups the civil liberties portion of the Freedom House score, the economic liberty scores from the Fraser Institute and the Heritage Foundation, and the press freedom scores from Reporters without Borders. The Land Downunder comes in at fourth place, compared to the United States at 19.

So Australian libertarians may have a bit of a head start over their American counterparts. Keep it going, folks.

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  • ||

    O.M.F.G. I just had an alttextgasm.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, that was top shelf.

    Just too bad this article was dropped at a time when ifh isn't here.

  • ||

    We'll have to copy the link and show it to her when she shows up.

  • ||

    ME TOO I LOVE YOU TUCILLE

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    It took me a second, but I got it.

  • Sudden||

    I still don't. Some pop culture reference buried in there?

  • UnCivilServant||

    The song "Land Downunder" I think.

  • Sudden||

    Ah, makes sense that everyone would get a reference to a Men at Work song, since the entire h ampersand r commentariat is men at work (nikki and kristen are honorary men).

  • ||

    I'm guessing you're under 35?

  • ||

    He makes me chunder

  • NoVAHockey||

    better take cover.

  • Sudden||

    I find that oddly arousing.

    And while yes, I am under 35, I do have a reasonable familiarity with early 80's music pertaining to various continents, whether Men at Work or Toto. However I don't often know the lyrics well enough to recognize alt-text references when I see them.

  • ||

    Get in the kitchen and make me a Vegemite sandwich!

  • Swiss Servator, mehr Sprüngli||

    Are you saying he is from Brussels and full of muscles?!

  • Loki||

    I'll belatedly help: here.

  • DEG||

    The alt-text is fucking awesome.

  • Drake||

    But are they pure believers in open borders? or should we shun them?

  • Lord Humungus||

    apparently only if you're UKIP, who aren't Cosmotarian enough.

  • CE||

    No country with a gun ban can ever be considered libertarian.

  • ||

    New Zealand is up there, too. And they have skiing there, unlike Oztralia.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    And fantastic hunting and fly fishing.

  • ||

    I bet real estate in the south near Queenstown is expensive as hell, though.

    After a little research, though, if I ever take an antipodal ski trip, it will be to Chile. Better snow.

  • Sudden||

    Actually, I hear Columbia has the best.

  • ||

    *snort*

    (pun intended)

  • BakedPenguin||

    You forgot this.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Wife and I looked at NZ as a winter place (our winter). The biggest drawback for us was the dog quarantine period (a month).

    Chile is the best deal so far.

  • ||

    Let me know if you get down there...I'm curious how an introverted gringa like me would fare on a solo ski vacation in South America. Those people are social as hell. I hear Valle Nevado is one big party.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    We went to Argentina (Bariloche area) back in 04. Absolutely loved it...right up to the point we were stopped at a military checkpoint in the middle of nowhere...paperz pleez! Found out later they passed a law banning Americans (specifically) from buying property within 50km of the Andes.

    Chilean politics are supposedly much better.

  • Paul.||

    I skimmed the article. Parliamentary system down undah? Yeah?

    That's the only way I can see Glibertarians getting a foothold. You get a percentage of the vote, you get a percentage of the seats.

  • Sudden||

    "But there are two guiding principles that determine our approach to legislation—we would never vote for an increase in taxes and we would never vote for a reduction in liberty."

    Of course, this is a bit redundant, as increased taxes are a reduction in liberty.

  • Warren's Strapon||

    Some people need libersplaining.

  • ||

    Encouraging...but I am waiting until they liberalize their gun laws before I get too excited.

  • ||

    Exactly. How can I get excited about moving down there when I can't even have a pump-action shotgun to fend off the roving gangs of bikies?

  • Lord Humungus||

    hey...

  • Sudden||

    Well, in the states you can't get a gun if you're a felon. And as we all know, Australia is nothing but a penal colony littered with felons. Ergo, no guns.

  • ||

    Nice.

  • Brett L||

    QE fuckin D

  • ||

    And Canada (Quebec) whores! Les filles du roi!

  • Tak Kak||

    Is Australia Friendlier to Libertarianism Than the U.S.?

    Yes. Also, no.

    Depends on what you're interested in.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Don't the Aussies have real gun control, carbon caps, and single-payer healthcare?

    Fake libertarian Neal Boortz (a Georgia problem) threatened to move there when Obama won.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    As opposed to a real libertarian like yourself, right shit stopper?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I readily admit scoring only 94% on the LP Purity Test. I am certainly not worthy to join your fine clique.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You aren't worthy to wipe my ass.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I generally dislike any interaction with the troll. But I do approve of the previous message.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    You gotta score a 97 to be worthy to wipe my ass.

  • Sudden||

    94%? That seems a stretch, maybe 92%....

  • Cdr Lytton||

    So he missed 8%?

  • ||

    What the hell does that even mean you crazy shithead?

  • Loki||

    Yeah, I keep seeing him make that claim, but is there an actual Libertarian Party "purity test" that one can actually take? I always thought that was just a running joke in libertarian circles alluding to the whole "no true scottsman" tendencies that many libertarians have.

    I suspect that the moronic troll saw it mentioned one time, didn't get the joke, and decided to start claiming to have scored "94%" (He should have claimed 8%, that would be more believable) in a pathetic attempt to bolster its libertarian street cred.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I only get a 91.

  • nipplemancer||

    I got a 160.

  • Loki||

    Damn, I only got a 103.

  • Zeb||

    Stupid 3:00 squirrels.

  • Loki||

    Yeah, I've seen that before, and it explicitly says "just a form of entertainment, hopefully thought-provoking."

    But shithead keeps refering to "the LP Purity Test" as if it's some official test sponsered by the Libertarian Party. I guess this answers my question. I was probably right that dumbass troll just didn't get the joke.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I'm guessing the one posted is what he's it's talking about.

  • Zeb||

  • brokencycle||

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    106. I'm a minarchist, not an anarcho-capitalist, so I didn't max it out.

  • David Emami||

    131 here. Thanks for pointing to the test, I've never seen it before.

  • Paul.||

    They do that, which is why I was initially going to comment with one word in response to the headline: "no".

    Fake libertarian Neal Boortz (a Georgia problem) threatened to move there when Obama won.

    By the way, we were supposed to lose a lot of douchebags if Bush got elected a second time. Shit, he's been elected four times and everyone's still here.

  • Brett L||

    I'm trying to find an exit strategy after his fifth win that is acceptable to my wife. So far, no good.

  • SIV||

    Day has a long history of free-market activism and was a board member of the libertarian Centre for Independent Studies, but he was elected as the candidate (and chairman) of the populist/social conservative Family First Party.

    SoConzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!11!1!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Not only does Australia have awful gun laws, their farmers have a protectionist grip on certain markets like you wouldn't know. You cannot import bananas because of 'biosecurity'. That's the ostensible reason.

  • David Emami||

    So basically they're California, but with a much better business climate, and cooler animals.

  • GILMORE||

    THEY NEED TO SHIP MORE HOT REDEADS OVER HERE FOR US TO BE SURE

  • BakedPenguin||

    This. 'Give us your poor, huddled ginger lasses yearning to breathe free...'

  • Paul.||

    Oh RedHeads... wouldn't they just burst into flames in Australia?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Exactly why they're poor and huddled, and yearning to breathe free.

    C'mon Paul.

  • Paul.||

    Redeads? Is that like another word for Zombies?

  • Sudden||

    Back to your previous comment, we ought not import those. That was supposed to be our chief export in 2000 and 2004

  • SugarFree||

    Dead zombies, Paul.

    Alive
    Dead
    Undead
    Redead

  • Paul.||

    Strangely, this makes perfect sense.

  • Zeb||

    Well, what the fuck else would it be?

  • GILMORE||

    OY! I's spake-ing Ohstaylian there mate.

    REED'EAD. See? So's they understand.

  • UnCivilServant||

    I second Gilmore's proposal.

  • NoVAHockey||

    I just zoned out thinking about redheads for like 5 mins. thanks.

  • Warren's Strapon||

    Put me down for a couple.

  • Loki||

    They should include hot brunette dancing hurdlers too. Just to be extra sure...

    Also, this should go withour saying, but daywalkers only, please. They can keep the freckled freaks down there.

  • Zeb||

    I really can't imagine anything more attractive and appealing than that right there. Not only is there no room for doubt that she is hot and sexy, she looks so genuinely happy and excited to be where she is.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Do you have a license for that shrimp? Or that Barbie? No? Then I'm afraid you'll have to waltzing Matilda with me.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    *go* waltzing Matilda

  • The Last American Hero||

    They still have a monarch, so no. As long as a society accepts the idea that certain people are due homage because of who mommy or daddy was, they can't be very libertarian.

  • UnCivilServant||

    That seems to extend to this country as well with our political and celebrity dynasties. While "Unofficial", it's still too prevalent.

  • Sudden||

    One could even argue that our lack of an official figurehead monarch has resulted in the sad reality of multiple unofficial monarchs.

  • Sudden||

    On a side note, I recently watched Breaker Morant for the first time. Highly recommended for those who haven't seen it.

  • Brett L||

    Back when you could make a complex movie about all the sides being wrong.

  • JFree||

    Of course libertarians have an advantage in Australia. Once you cross the equator, last is first and left is right and down is up.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    USA? USA? USA?

  • William of Purple||

    GOOD EYE MIGHT

  • WC Varones||

    Australia is a bunch of Safety Nazis:

    http://www.wcvarones.com/2005/.....bored.html

    ... and they also have a very collectivist mindset ("we're all in it together").

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    I'm taking this one all the way to the Prime Minister. [turns around] Hey! Mr. Prime Minister! Andy!

  • RishJoMo||

    Dude that makes no sense at all man.

    www.EliteVPN.tk

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