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Libertarianism has been growing by leaps and bounds in Australia, at least in comparison to the level of activity back in 2006 when I first began meeting like-minded folks through the Australian Libertarian Society. There are now at least two annual conferences held each year: the Mises Seminar and the Friedman Conference. This is something that would have been unheard of just 5 years ago.
However the public's unreceptiveness to our ideas can at least partly be attributed to the shortcomings of those selling the message (the Australian Taxpayers Alliance excepted).
In this post, I want to mention a few points about the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Briefly, the problem with the LDP is that they don't who know they are. Are they libertarian? Or a small government version of the Liberal Party?
Recently a friend of mine complained to me about high taxes. Once she started working and saw her money disappear, she became concerned. Prior to this she was apolitical,
In a perfect world, I'd present the LDP as a low-tax alternative to my friend, but it's hard to do this when the party's approach to cutting taxes is so timid. Their "30-30 policy" is flawed both from a strategic standpoint and an economic perspective. It's not good politics, because being more radical (not anarchist, but Ron Paul style) gets votes. Why try to be closer to the mainstream? Labor and the Liberals dominate the centre; it's important to carve out a niche. And it's not good economics, at least according to Murray Rothbard and Henry Hazlitt's criticism of the negative income tax.
I told my friend about the LDP anyway, and I'll vote for them too. But it'd be nice if LDP understood that simple messages are better than complex policies that nobody has the time to read.
Here's a simple message: abolish the income tax. Spending on essential services wouldn't be affected even if we abolished the income tax!
With 'radical' policies, the LDP will also benefit from an energized membership and more donations.
Update: The LDP has dropped the 30-30 policy and shifted to a policy with a $40,000 tax-free threshold. That's an improvement, but we still ought to look into abolishing the income tax.
Whitlam's government was famously and controversially deposed in 1975 in what some argue amounted to a constitutional coup d'etat. The then governor-general, the British queen's representative in Australia, Sir John Kerr -- who occupied a largely ceremonial office -- invoked the rarely-used queen's reserve powers to fire a democratically elected government to resolve a long-standing political deadlock in the country.
Read more at CNN.com.
So you're wondering how to pick a private lawyer. There are a lot of dodgy lawyers out there, with complete disregard for professional ethics and customer service. Here are some tips:
I think LegalAid and Community Legal Centres are fairly competent. So if you can avoid having to fork out for a private lawyer, because the matter is simple, try a free resource first. Essentially a private lawyer will charge a lot of money for doing the same job. However there are instances when you'll need to go with a private lawyer because LegalAid funding isn't available.
In order to be admitted as a lawyer, I have to pass the character test by obtaining a character reference from a list of certain professions, including politicians. Since politicians are almost by definition professional liars, and most lawyers I've met in private practice so far have also struck me as dodgy bastards, I don't really understand this whole character test thing. What exactly does it prove if one liar provides a character reference? And how is anyone supposed to vouch for what really lies deep in someone's heart? Both my girlfriends to date, for example, cheated on me and left me for another man - but I had no way of knowing because they seemed normal at first.
I suppose the character test has some value because it allows for a general impression about someone's sanity to be formed. But in general it seems an inane and politically correct idea.