The Sixth Annual Friedman Liberty Conference was held over the weekend in Sydney.
The overall theme of the libertarian conference, as you would expect, was promoting small — or in some case no — government, and the importance of taking personal responsibility. It wrapped up Sunday night after looking at topics as diverse as Christianity and Libertarianism to Art, Culture and Propaganda.
The speakers served up some controversial ideas.
Alice Springs Councillor Jacinta Nampijinpa Price gave a unique and personal insight into the difficult issues involved in really closing the gap for Aboriginal people.
Culturally, she pointed out, Aboriginal people have embraced the ‘share economy’, for tens of thousands of years. This meant that whatever you owned you freely shared with your kinsfolk. This was essential to survival in a society that lived from day to day in search of food and water.
Today, she said, ‘it’s a disaster’. This same ‘share economy’ now sees alcoholics and other addicts demanding that their kin fund their addictions. And it discourages people from looking for work.
Price pointed out that what’s needed most is a cultural change.
Critics, she admitted, like to call this ‘assimilation’. But she calls this nonsense. Cultures are always reforming to new realities.
She said it was time for Aboriginal society to take responsibility for themselves. And that the last 40 years of publicly funded work schemes were not the answer.
Nor is simply handing over cash.
When that scheme was first introduced more than 40 years ago, a much higher proportion of Indigenous people were working, she said. And they couldn’t believe that they were being paid to do nothing.
‘Sitting around money’ Price said they called it.
There is no easy solution. But accepting the present reality for what it is, and doing the best to make the most of the opportunities on hand, could do far more than four decades of misallocated welfare.
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