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Libertarian’s right of reply

After yesterday’s article on libertarianism, I feel it only fair to give them some right of reply.

Libertarians assure us that, under their system, the truly vulnerable would be cared for. The rest of us just need to use the millions we have in superannuation to pay for bad times.

Here is their plan.


The Liberal Democrats will modify the welfare system to foster a culture of independence and civil society without neglecting the genuinely needy.

• Expand the current superannuation savings account system to encompass health, unemployment and disability as well as retirement.

• Make such accounts tax free with respect to contributions, earnings and permitted withdrawals.

• Limit the use of account funds to authorised health, unemployment, disability and retirement expenditure, for the account holder and dependent relatives.

• Require account holders with less than a nominated balance to take out health and income protection insurance.

• Provide the parents of newborn children with a health voucher, paid via a savings account.

• Promote a competitive market among savings accounts providers including transparency with respect to fees, operating expenses and remuneration of trustees.

• Ensure patients are always liable for a co-payment in health transactions funded by insurance.

• Foster a competitive, efficient market for the provision of health, disability and aged care services in which the government is not a provider.

• Promote comparison shopping by requiring health, disability and aged care providers to publish price lists.

• For those unable to accumulate sufficient savings, provide welfare via their savings account as follows:
o Eligibility will be limited to citizens.
o All benefits, both cash and in-kind, will be subject to income and assets eligibility criteria including the family home.
o Catastrophic health insurance must be purchased.
o Education and training payments will be limited to school-aged children.
o Reduced child-related payments will terminate when the child turns 16.
o Rental or rent-to-buy housing assistance (public housing will be abolished with current occupants of existing housing given first option to purchase).
o Age pension will continue but with reduced disincentives to earn additional income and regularly increasing age of eligibility except in instances of impairment causing an inability to work.
o Unemployment payments will involve job search requirements with the maximum payment frozen for the duration of a recipient’s unemployment.
o Disability payments for both the sick and carers will distinguish between those expected to return to work and those who are not, with job search requirements for the former.

• In general, reduce all retained welfare payments by:
o Limiting payment growth to the rate of price inflation.
o Ensuring payments reduce whenever income or assets increase, while ensuring withdrawal rates are gradual.
o Abolishing higher payments for ‘singles’ compared to members of a couple.
o Applying a time limit to all payments, at the expiry of which recipients must reapply if they wish to continue receiving them.
o Promoting a competitive market for home owners to access their equity without moving out.
o Providing an option for recipients to convert age pension entitlements to a lump sum subject to permanently relocating to another country.
o Continue programs that deliver direct, tailored assistance to those with special needs including child welfare, women’s shelters, and care for the homeless, prisoners, refugees and victims of crime.

Anyone see any problems?


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  1. diannaart

    I am fast using up my daily energy quotient, so will limit myself to just one question (although most of the policy sounds like a lot of work to implement – if government cannot do this because it is too small – who will ensure the disabled, the unemployed and other vulnerable people are towing the line? I see an opportunity for Border Force.)

    • Require account holders with less than a nominated balance to take out health and income protection insurance

    I really need some explanation with the above commandment – if people don’t have much money in their accounts “less than a nominated balance” how do they afford health and income protection?

    To quote a rather financially successful politician; “please explain”.

  2. Kaye Lee

    I also wonder how people on welfare will purchase compulsory “Catastrophic health insurance” or how people in public housing will come up with the funds to buy it.

  3. diannaart

    …and just what do they mean by “catastrophic”? Their policies?

  4. Keith

    A libertarian world would be a dream for rip off merchants, there would be less regulation to pull them up.

  5. Christopher

    I expect the insurances are paid via reduced benefits, but someone would be underwriting them.

    I didn’t know that Newstart payment is now to remain constant for entire time of unemployment…

    It just beggars disbelief at the steps being taken. I have some friends on Newstart and they are having hard time with work for dole, job applications, retraining and the other crap outsourced to the ‘job’ agencies. It’s $263 a week, our Fed politicians get $273 a day in Canberra.

    They are going to kill us all, slowly

  6. Florence nee Fedup

    The reason we see the decline in numbers collecting Newstart could be the fact both partners now work. Government policy gives them no choice. This means most of the unemployed, because of one partner’s income would be ineligible for any benefits

  7. Kaye Lee


    These are the policies that David Leyonhjelm’s party of libertarians would like to introduce…not what the government has adopted….yet.

  8. Glenn Barry

    Keith – the libertarians would advocate for the right to bear arms as a means of self protection, so there would be no issue just shooting the rip-off merchants as a means of purely self protection of course

    All benefits, both cash and in-kind, will be subject to income and assets eligibility criteria including the family home.

    Difficult to ascertain the actual figures on medical cost related bankruptcies in the US – so the Libertarians are happy to see people out of their home if thing get tough before they are eligible for benefits.

    Have these people seen a single documentary on the working poor in the US and the collapse in the middle class in that country under precisely these sorts of policies?

    If the US is so MUCH closer to their ideal societies, WHY ARE THEY STILL IN THIS COUNTRY – time to go to the promise land

  9. Pierre Wilkinson

    Scary beyond belief, yet looking at Dutton’s homeland security, almost nothing.

  10. paul walter

    Trump’s world.

  11. wam

    No probs just watched SBS nicholas and alexandra and we peasants got a similar deal then???

  12. Matters Not

    Libertarianism – a political/philosophical theory – provides attraction for the enthusiastic few. Its practical ramifications are unknown. No examples available. Same with MMT.

    The land of the make believe?

  13. Phil

    The policy is fundamentally a grab list of sneering authoritarianism that takes the social consequences of a disfunctional economic system and punishes the victims of that system.

  14. John Boyd

    I find it just creepy that they could put forward such a policy.

  15. faithfulsceptic

    No foreign policy (but then, radiation has no odor)
    No environmental policy (but then, CO2 has no odor)
    No policy directly addressing the military industrial security complex (but then, bodies overseas have no olfactory impact in Australia).

    Just welfare policy, as though that is the key to Australia’s problems. Did their noses get shot off in the war?

    I would be interested in libertarian opinions about this set of contradictory statements. What do the people who support the above twaddle really have to be proud of, besides a laughable mythology based on the Chicago School of Economics, and a big chance to funnel preferences toward the LNP?

  16. Jack

    Think of libertarianism as a fringe movement that helps provide balance to our whole political society. There needs to be some element of it so individuals know the importance of self reliance. We will never tip over the edge again and introduce the ‘right to bear arms’, or anything that extreme

  17. Harry

    What a nasty society we would become if these policies were ever put in place. Trouble is, we are well advanced on that road to ruin and despair.

  18. Harry

    Matters Not: Japan is an example where some MMT principles are followed. It has had low unemployment over the past 25 years. It has low interest rates and high public debt (over 220% of GDP) and strong economic growth, real wages are rising


  19. Jaquix

    These so-called ” Libertarians” also always espouse “small government, lower taxes”. But small government never includes axing their own cushy jobs or perks! Do as I say, not as I do, is their mantra. Just another form of the Liberals Dickensian mindset of punish the poor.

  20. bobrafto

    You missed their mantra of ‘taxation is theft’ so what is their policy on this matter?

  21. Kaye Lee


    This is their taxation policy

    Limit the federal government to defence, immigration, basic public services (e.g passport services, regulation of hazardous materials, air and sea transport regulation), and assistance to the least well off.

    Stop all transfers from the federal government to other levels of government, including grants from the pool of GST revenues.

    With the associated savings, cut federal taxes by more than half, through:
    lifting the tax free threshold to $40,000, cutting personal tax rates to a flat 20%, and cutting the company tax rate to 20%; and
    abolishing tobacco, alcohol and fuel taxes, import tariffs, carbon pricing and mineral resource rent taxation.

    Limit state governments to the provision of: police, courts and prisons; fire services; animal control; roads and other transport services; libraries; local amenities; basic public services (eg consumer protection, building standards), means-tested vouchers for health and schooling, and welfare services.

    Replace insurance taxes, taxes on vehicles, stamp duties on property transfers, along with various other nuisance taxes collected at the state level with less inefficient taxes, while ensuring that the overall level of a state or territory’s taxes as a proportion of state GDP declines over time.

  22. Ricardo29

    The odd logical inconsistency there, particularl ythe requirement that taxes as a proportion of GDP decline over time.. while still maintaining the range of services listed? I imagine these policies would appeal to a lot of people who don’t actually think through the implications.

  23. Harry

    Thanks Kaye Lee for your exposition on the taxation policy of the libertarians.

    The fundamental assumption of their ideology, shared to a degree by many on the right is if people cannot support themselves, cannot get work or have low income etc, it is all their own fault. The poor need to be incentivised to get off their bum and get work, any work, and work for peanuts rather than bludging on the taxpayer who so generously funds their laziness and lack of drive and initiative.

    The flip side is that those who have “made it”, who are independent and wealthy became that way through their own efforts and they are therefore entitled to keep their hard- earned instead of having a portion of it taxed away.

    It all self-serving bovine excrement.

  24. diannaart

    Loving this concise analysis of the LDP’s “welfare” policy from Phil, April 4, 2018 at 7:18 am

    The policy is fundamentally a grab list of sneering authoritarianism that takes the social consequences of a disfunctional economic system and punishes the victims of that system.

    That’s the thing about the “rights of the individual” given precedence over everyone – takes a great deal of “nanny-state” measures (AKA authoritarianism) to implement a system which benefits only a very small minority. Small government, hmm?

    Yet libertarians claim to abhor the “nanny-state”.

  25. Kaye Lee


    The really sad part of all this is that this rampant greed, getting away with whatever you can, thinking only of yourself and wealth accumulation, doesn’t make people happy. Look at James Packer and Gina Rinehart for example.

    In my experience, the happiest, most contented people are those who help others. It is wonderfully rewarding. It not only helps others, it helps you feel good about yourself and your small contribution towards making the world a better place.

    Which is why libertarianism is so wrong.

    Sometimes we fall down and need a little help to get back up again. The most inspiring sporting videos I can remember are not about who ran fastest or jumped highest but about those who stopped to help others in need.

    One small act of kindness reverberates around the world like ripples in a pond.

    We need to care more about others, not less.

    Unfortunately, reality shows that we cannot rely on corporations and wealthy individuals to contribute back to the community. They have made it necessary to impose rules because of their own amoral behaviour.

  26. Christine

    This is satire surely? No-one could really believe this could they? What a psychopathic world view! No capacity to “walk a mile in my shoes”.

  27. Kaye Lee


    Satire is impossible nowadays. Even our own wonderful Rossleigh could now be considered a policy adviser or our resident psephologist.

  28. Harry

    Kaye Lee:

    Could not agree more! Selfishness definitely does not make people happy!

    There is and must be a strong and enduring role for social democracy to ensure our national resources are fairly shared, that we have an environmentally sustainable society/economy, that we have an inclusive society instead of the dog eat dog mentality that is evident and growing worse now.

  29. paul walter

    Live and learn. I always take Ross at face value…chillingly accurate.

  30. Rossleigh

    Actually, a few years ago there were times when I wondered if some comedians had read my stuff and were stealing the jokes. More lately, I’ve come to suspect that the Coalition has adapted a number of their policies from my satiric pieces…

  31. paul walter

    Absolutely no doubt Rossleigh, envy pure and simple.

    Beating up on the unemployed?

  32. paul walter

    Unfortunately, no right or propertarian libertarian has contested our assumptions or presented the underlying bases for propertarianism that would need to be introduced to demonstrate from where that viewpoint emanates.

    I mentioned Quiggin earlier as a critic of the likes of Rothbart, Nozick, Rand and the like and could mention also his apparent suspicions of/ for kindred but more elitist Austrian School economics. These form much of the ideological basis for US Right Republicanism as well as most right wing thinking in Australia, eg Leyonhjelm as the most stark example.

    Quiggin is mathematically literate and thus attacks most right political dogmas on the basis of demonstrable logic, but I won’t dwell further on this here beyond saying the gap between the abstract and reality is in human affairs is demonstrated both in the example of Stalinism as to socialism and another kind of developing global epidemic called neoliberalism which is basically Capitalism in disguise and just as madcap.

    The bases for most political conversation always inevitably go back to difficult to demonstrate metaphysics, but put very crudely, we have to speculate. in the absence of a God figure who has presented Him(Her?) self on the six o’clock news with a list of repairs to be made on the basis on irrefutable preconditions we only wonder over involving purpose, meaning and value of life, life before life/after death and so forth.

    Property libertarianism, under attack in these posts, is only one of several libertarianisms that also include left-libertarianism and civil libertarianism that adopt different attitudes to the role of property involving human need, in the end so much goes back to Locke, who validates property, but within a sense of proportion that doesn’ applaud waste or misappropriate resources needed by the community; by others.

    It is easier to understand libertarians when we think of our affection for our personal property ,desires to save for the future and be not dependent on possibly hostile others. Thinking back to hippy times, there used be a rosy glow when folk talked of breaking free of the psychological and moral pollutions of corporatist consumer capitalism and its muddles and getting free of culturally induced hang-ups.

    In the end, a couple of linx, one offering the wiki bio of one Murray Rothbart, the other offering a consideration of different libertarianisms.


  33. diannaart


    I am going to reveal my ignorance upon the subtle distinctions between libertarians here.

    I understood civil libertarians to be just as much into small government as their propertied brethren.

    That the ‘civils’ believe in no censorship at all on anything ever, decriminalisation of drugs (but no support to addicts – it’s their own fault) – basically more into no responsibility compared to those who have others relying upon them such as children, elderly parents and others in need of care. Basically civil libertarianism suits single men and women with no kids or other family or possibly friends because what if one of them gets sick?

    Perhaps I am just too gauche to get it.


  34. paul walter

    Thanks for the comment.

    I don’t think the problem is being “gauche”, but in misunderstanding the main targets of the two groups, not seeing the forest for the trees, but do not be dismayed, at least you saw a tree, which is better than some of the logs we share civilisation with.

    A right libertarian would more likely uphold the rights a property holder in withholding an article in a newspaper, say, whereas a civil libertarian would be against censorship of something that informs as to a dangerous trend in politics. Civil libertarians would be more interested in something like the Dr Haneef case a few years ago, when an innocent doctor of foreign descent was held for weeks by security police without any evidential basis of proof.

    A propertarian would have considered a breach of an FTA rule in the interest of a local community against that of a mining company property holder, say, as more interesting, Civil. You could this as something basically conservative that upholds property even at the expense of science, say.

    Civil libertarians want the to uphold the habeas corpus law of open, evidence-based trials held in public, where evidence pointed to say (possible/probable) poisoning of water resources, thus balancing the needs of others against the property holder..Civil libertarians see more value in community, to my thinking.

  35. paul walter

    Perhaps I should mansplain further.

    JS Mill, the famous liberal philosopher and reformer, was concerned as to the conservative notion that women because of an alleged natural basis, in part based on Scripture, were incapable of thinking logically and were best regarded as property (virtually) of men since their dowries or property were to be managed by a husband or other male guardian. This was some what similar to his take on Slavery.

    He wrote a famous book called “The Subjection of Women”, in the eighteen sixties, seeking reforms that better emphasised the nature of women as equals and people rather than subalterns, rejecting the notion that women were intrinsically through biology and incapable of the sort of independent thinking men were claimed to be capable of. Basically, he recognised the notion of commodification in the form of gender construction and realised that women’s alleged biological inferiority was actually down to social, cultural and educational factors (you could say that Ada Lovelace, who shared Mill’s era who was a brilliant mathematician who invented the first computer was an example for what he was discussing)

    He was opposed on the basis of infringement of property, so he was more, basically, an example of a civil libertarian than aproperty libertarian or conservative.

  36. Rossleigh

    Leyonhjelm is great fodder for satire because, while complaining about those relying on the government for support, he willing takes a salary from the taxpayer and, while complaining about regulations and the “nanny state”, he thinks wind farms should be banned.

  37. paul walter

    Straight out of Dickens, like a lot of them. Ralph Nicklebys, also the likes of Dutton, Erica Betz, Morrison and Turnbull, who take appearance to be an adequate exchange for substance. Charlotte Bronte also satirised the type well in some of books, for example the grim Headmaster of the girl’s school Jane Eyre is banished to by grasping relatives early in that great book.

  38. diannaart


    Interesting, but, I wonder if your idea of a civil libertarian – which appears based upon actual study and/or research, whereas my interpretation is based more upon experience (selfish bastards I have known). I would, therefore, present the possibility
    that your ‘civil’ is more of a humanitarian than a 100% libertarian. I used to believe I was a libertarian many decades ago, but watching the corruption of this ideal over the span of my years, prefer to consider myself humanitarian.

    I saw the case of Dr Haneef as most definitely one of humanitarian need; false imprisonment and racism writ large. A more nuanced case is that of Julian Assange. His imprisonment while affording him escape from winding up in Guantanamo Bay, had the USA been able to extradite, could be construed as of his own making, however, I am sure he would have chosen freedom had he not been trapped by an intransigent British government and a toadying Australian one.

    On censorship, the increasingly secretive nature of our federal government is alarming for humanitarian reasons – Dutton is freakin’ scary. However, I would protect innocents from some more of the licentious nature of free expression – as you would be aware (I hope, I also hope you understand me a little better now).

    For human beings to flourish they require freedom from bullies (religion, autocrats and the like) and support from family, friends and a progressive political system and equality of opportunity irrespective of background.

    I am running out of that magic elixir, energy while my fingers are hitting all the wrong keys and my brain refusing to do anything at all.

    Ciao for now.

  39. paul walter

    Naturally I disagree with you concerning Assange. Democracy cannot breathe in a vacuum and the oxygen is to do with information not censored out because it is inconvenient to politicians.. A civil libertarian would recognise the misuse of the law to thwart justice in Assange’s case.

    Let’s say, given you do get the implications of Dr Haneef, how critical the role of civil libertarianism, its philosophy and approach is, in keeping the underlying basis of democracy in place, in preventing vested interests from destroying individuals for conveniences sake.

  40. LOVO

    The libertarian movement is dead and will remain that way for all time to come for one simple but profound reason: It has no soul. No empathy.. and no humane heart. 😤
    “It is difficult to think of a more un-Christian sentiment, to boldly proclaim you are not your brother’s keeper and hold the poorer half of the nation in contempt. That is the ultimate moral argument against Libertarianism. “What would Jesus do?” says the popular evangelical slogan. Jesus would never have been a libertarian, nor preached small government or free market fundamentalism.”

    The Moral and Practical Failures of Libertarianism and Small Government Conservatism

  41. diannaart


    I get the Haneef case because it is a clear case of denial of human rights, not because it is related, in your opinion, to civil libertarianism.

    I find your comments, “given you do get the implications of Dr Haneef, how critical the role of civil libertarianism, its philosophy and approach is, in keeping the underlying basis of democracy in place, in preventing vested interests from destroying individuals for conveniences sake” condescending and an attempt at appropriation of my humanitarian concerns. We can arrive at the same destination from different directions, Paul – not because I can grasp your concepts, but because I can think for myself!

    Assange – If I had been in his shoes facing probable deportation to the USA, I would’ve done the same thing. Maybe I’m a bit more of a “libertarian” that way – he has done nothing more than whistle-blow, very cleverly – some has been beneficial and some hasn’t. However, it is about all about freedom of speech – something libertarians bang on about – but apparently only in special circumstances, ie, Haneef but not Assange. I would never claim Assange is an innocent victim, but he has been completely left out to dry by his own country, in fact, I am quite sure I wouldn’t particularly like Assange if I met him. My personal feelings are not the point. However, I do understand why some people think he should let himself be arrested – if I thought he would be treated reasonably and fairly, I would agree.

  42. Kaye Lee

    I have mixed feelings about Assange. I agree he has shown how devious our governments are and that is a good thing but I think he became a tool, fed leaks by one government or group to damage another. If you are continually expected to come up with new stuff, it leaves you vulnerable to manipulation.

  43. jimhaz

    I’ve turned off Assange – all ego, no responsibility..

  44. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    I do believe he has/is being played by the Russians, however this is no excuse for his detention. There are way more dangerous, devious people who are free to cause any degree of mayhem they choose – all in the name of free speech of course… I do not expect him to be unscathed as a result of his long confinement and now he has no internet due to pressure applied to the Ecuadorian government by the British and USA.

    It is not just; it is an infringement on human rights and the right to free speech.

    @ jimhaz

    “All ego, no responsibility” Riiight, we never get much of that going on anywhere, what a freak he is. 😛

    If you were in Assange’s place I am sure you would happily allow the USA to arrest you for a crime that is not even named, spend the rest of your life detained for no actual crime – whistle-blowing is not deemed a crime. His actions are, in fact, protected by the First Amendment of the American constitution.

  45. Glenn Barry

    Curiously no libertarians made their case with a lucid explanation of their beliefs, I wonder why that is?

  46. paul walter

    Interesting comments, some of them.

    Jimhaz I can think of a stack of politicians, capitalists and other figures who would never be get out of jail if the you applied the same judgement to them as you do Assange.

  47. helvityni

    Assange has done his time, Mal can sort this one out with his friend Donald…

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