From the 27-30 September 2018, I had the great pleasure of attending the LibertyFest conference thanks to the generous support of the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation.
Arriving on Thursday 27 September, the other Mannkal Scholars and I acquainted ourselves with the speakers and conference attendees at the “Pub Liberty” event. It was there I would meet Andrew Cooper, head of LibertyWorks and the organiser of LibertyFest. Andrew was happy to introduce himself to the other Mannkal Scholars and gladly took photos and engaged in conversation. Following this, on the first day of LibertyFest, Andrew would give an impassioned opening to the conference, perhaps most notably declaring “Taxation is theft!”, but also warning of the threat coercion brings to our liberty.
Following this, on the first day of LibertyFest, Dr Brendan Markey-Towler’s address followed soon after Andrew Cooper’s. Changing quite significantly from the passionate, confrontational speech of Andrew Cooper, Dr Markey-Towler laid out the importance of using diplomacy to win debates. He told of how acting in a confrontational manner can elicit a sense of moral disgust in an opponent which is counter-intuitive to convincing them. Dr Markey-Towler instead argued a more tactful approach so as to win support for liberty.
On the night of 28 September, myself and the other Mannkal Scholars witnessed the great Warren Mundine, a prominent Indigenous Australian figure and former Australian Labor Party President, address the LibertyFest conference.
Warren Mundine proved to be able to capture the crowd with humour and an interesting story. Mr Mundine began by telling the us of his humble beginnings as an Indigenous Australian in a multi-ethnic community in rural northern New South Wales. Mr Mundine then outlined how he worked throughout his youth and early adulthood before becoming involved in politics and activism, even showing an early photo dated from the 1980s of himself at a demonstration in support of indigenous rights. Mr Mundine described how he became involved with the Australian Labor Party, eventually rising to become its President, before abandoning the party for its support of a welfare state that Mr Mundine could see was damaging his community, and opposition to a free market which would have greatly benefitted them.
Attending LibertyFest 2018 in Brisbane proved to be a valuable experience for me that I feel I have greatly benefitted from. The conference has put me deeper in touch with the Australian libertarian community and has equipped me with more knowledge so as to become a better advocate for liberty. I would sincerely like to thank Mannkal for providing me with this amazing opportunity!