Welcome to the Liberal Democrats – Australia’s only classical liberal (or libertarian) political party, and the only party that truly believes in shrinking the size of government.
The liberal tradition does not fit easily into the usual left-right spectrum. In Australia the Liberal Party (sic) has borrowed the word, and yet they pursue an uninspired big-government-conservative agenda. At the same time, in the USA the word “liberal” has been co-opted by the political left, and in the UK the term has evolved to mean something close to centrist. So what do we mean?
For the Liberal Democrats, the word “liberal” is more than just a convenient label. It is our philosophy and our reason for existing. We use the term in the classical sense of meaning “live and let live”, where people have the freedom to live their own lives as long as they respect the rights of other people to do the same. This covers traditionally “left-wing” causes such as drug law reform, same-sex marriage, and protection of privacy; and it also includes notionally “right-wing” issues such as the freedom to work, trade & invest without excessive taxes and burdensome regulation. This mix of policies may look awkward at first glance, but the consistent theme is individual liberty and scepticism of government.
A bit over 20 years ago a small group of young Canberra libertarians got together at the Kingston Hotel and outlined our plans to launch a new political party. Flash forward to this year and that small group had become a national network of thousands of members, with several important electoral victories under our belt, and playing an important role in the Australian liberty movement. It was a moment worth celebrating, and thank you to everybody who came along to our 20th birthday celebration in Canberra earlier this month.
Long-form interview by Dave Pellowe from his show “Pellowe Talk”. We discuss ideas such as the negative income tax, my charity work in Cambodia, reforming the minimum wage, libertarian politics, and the culture war.
Published in The Canberra Times on 27 October 2019 under the title “Truth is, not all tax cuts are created equal”. Written in my capacity as Research Associate at the Centre for Independent Studies.
TREASURY’S flawed tax model has caused the government to underestimate the benefits and overestimate the budget cost of their long-term tax reforms. This has influenced the government to pursue the wrong tax policy and delay a lever that could give productivity a much-needed boost.Their static tax model – which assumes people don’t change their behaviour at all in response to cuts – has led to the government’s structural reforms being estimated to cost $90 billion more than they actually will, and to be scheduled much later than they should be.
In reality, people respond to different tax rates in a number of ways. They may decrease their amount of saving and/or investment, shy away from new ventures, change how much they work, pursue tax minimisation schemes – or even be tempted into tax evasion.