The Friedman Conference is an event held every year by the Australian Libertarian Society and the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. The event is conducted in order to bring together the biggest and brightest minds in the libertarian sphere, where they give their thoughts regarding the modern sense of entropy faced by so many in the current political climate.
The 2017 gathering managed to attract names such as Ezra Levant, Senator David Leyonhjelm, Senator Malcom Roberts, Professor Michael Munger, Nick Gillespie, Senator Cory Bernardi, former vice presidential candidate Judd Weiss, and Trump’s former economic policy advisor Darren Brady Nelson. The amalgamation of academic superstars can be found on the web page to the momentous event. The event is the biggest pro-liberty gathering in the Asia-Pacific region, and I managed to get in to report on the proceedings for Being Libertarian.
Comprehensive lectures were given on a range of topics from modern to classical theories regarding the wacky world of politics, in which some of the older freedom-fighters came face-to-face with the newer generations of the movement.
One of the most energized and exciting panels of the conference was the one which found itself subject to the most controversy though; the accumulation of rising figures in the realm of alternative media. The Age, a heavily left-wing Australian publication, managed to infiltrate and misrepresent the sentiments of the speakers. Whilst The Age may have simply ignored the context of the comments made on the panel, we here at Being Libertarian pride ourselves upon journalistic integrity in research and after having read the article, I decided to reach out to those who found themselves subject to what ultimately amounted to defamation of character.
“Well there you have it. Mainstream media selectively quoting and dishonestly characterizing an event. To be clear: I was quoting @juddweiss on making libertarianism sexy, and 3 of us on the panel identify as gender-fluid panhuman, so super disappointing to see The Age assuming our gender. Bigots.”
The nature of Ross Cameron’s speech was also very much directed at Fairfax media, who he cited as being prone to mischaracterize those in the media.
“His job is to take a hundred photos of Mark Latham and me to make us look like fuckwits.”
He then invited the reporter to come towards the front and snap a picture of himself giving a Nazi salute so that they can leave the event and let the libertarians enjoy themselves. This comment was met to endless cheers of adulation and mass praise of the Australians in the room, as the sentiment of a biased media (best expressed through the controversy of The Age article) rung true to many that felt as if their cause was misrepresented.
The brightest members of academia were also the kindest at Friedman ’17. It goes without saying that whilst The Age may view us as being “outsiders” or not, reflective of the “cool” culture, I refer you to the great Judd Weiss: “We are, we have been, and we should be about being the weird and interesting alternative.”
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