Freedom to Choose Conference

Welcome to Freedom to Choose 2019:
Demythologising Australia’s Federation Episode

The 2019 Freedom to Choose (FTC) conference is the tenth in a sequence of annual conferences devoted to exploring the effectiveness of free-market policies. There is a focus on placing free-market ideas in their historical context and the role economists should play in policy formation. The invited conference speakers are encouraged to adopt a critical, scholarly and non-ideological stance when considering these issues. Dissent is encouraged both from the floor and the podium.

This year’s FTC, Demythologising Australia’s Federation Episode, considers the wisdom of Australian Federation. Few would dispute that ‘1901’ is the paramount event of Australia’s political history. The integration that year of the six bodies politic of the Australian landmass into a single state is the foundational fact of Australian political existence. From that year, it seems, all else flows: 1901 is ‘the fateful date’.

Almost all the history written of the Federation episode deems the event to have been a piece of progress. It was natural in nature, virtuous in provenance, and for the good in its effects. Almost all the history of Federation amounts to, at bottom, a giving of thanks for Federation. It is this contented stance that the 2019 FTC seeks to contest.

Demythologising Australia’s Federation Episode will air and argue the notion that Federation was premature; bordering on the gratuitous; tainted rather righteous in its origins; and substantially noxious in its results: quickly legislating, for example, for racially based immigration barriers, compulsory arbitration, and tariff walls; as well as depriving aboriginals of the vote; replacing voluntarism with conscription as the basis of the defence forces; eroding democracy and parliamentarism in Australian politics; and pinioning the country with a Constitution that was encumbering and anti-federal.

The 2019 FTC conference will gather scholars and thinkers to challenge the uncritically laudatory stance of almost all historiography of Australia’s Federation episode. It aspires to voice a ‘new history of Federation’ by airing criticisms, doubts, and disappointments about this foundational chapter.

The conference is specifically designed for undergraduate, honours and postgraduate students, but all interested parties are welcome. Forums will also be provided at the conference in which students can interact with established economists to discuss the wisdom of pursuing honours and postgraduate qualifications in the discipline of economics, as well as careers in economics generally.

It is to be held on Friday 22 November, 2019 on the Fremantle Campus of The University of Notre Dame, Australia. The invited speakers include Dr William Coleman, Henry Ergas, Dr Zachary Gorman, Greg Melleuish, Dr Peter Phelps and Richard Pomfret.

REGISTRATION

Please register with

Conference Administrative Officer
The  University of Notre Dame Australia
19 Mouat Street (PO Box 1225)
Fremantle WA 6959
Tel: +61 8 9433 0925
Email: businessconferences@nd.edu.au

William Coleman
Moderator and Organizer of Theme and Speakers for 2019
Australian National University, 
Email: william.coleman@anu.edu.au

For further details, please contact:

Gregory C. G. Moore
Co-Chair of the Conference Committee
The University of Notre  Dame, Australia
19 Mouat Street (PO    Box 1225)
Fremantle, Western Australia  6959
Tel: +61 8 9433 0914
Email: greg.moore@nd.edu.au

George Kailis
Co-Chair of the Conference Committee
The University of Notre  Dame, Australia
19 Mouat Street (PO    Box 1225)
Fremantle, Western Australia  6959
Tel: +61 8 9433 0960 
Email: george.kailis@nd.edu.au

The conference is kindly sponsored by the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation and The University of Notre Dame, Australia.