Free Minds & Free Markets

David Leyonhjelm Reps Libertarianism Down Under: New at Reason

The first senator from Australia's libertarian party is resigning from national politics, but he isn't leaving government behind.

Matt Roberts/ABC NewsMatt Roberts/ABC NewsThe first senator from Australia's libertarian party, David Leyonhjelm, announced in January that he's resigning from national politics, but he isn't leaving government behind. Instead, he plans to take his fight against the nanny state to the local level.

Leyonhjelm, of Australia's Liberal Democratic Party (the Aussie answer to America's Libertarian Party), was elected to office in 2013 and re-elected in 2016. He spent much of his tenure advocating the right to own guns, marry someone of the same sex, legally smoke marijuana, and be free from unwarranted government surveillance.

After four years of persistent activism at Australia's federal level, Leyonhjelm says "we've definitely gone backwards." A big reason for his disappointment is his country's embrace of American-style tech snooping. But his frustrations don't end there: Even after the Australian Senate made it easier for terminally ill patients to import medical marijuana, the Department of Health continued to threaten people who attempted to do so.

As he explained to Reason's Scott Shackford in January, Leyonhjelm is leaving the Senate to run for state-level office, where he hopes the odds are better for accomplishing freedom-advancing reforms as a lawmaker in New South Wales' Legislative Council, writes Scott Shackford.

Photo Credit: Matt Roberts/ABC News


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