Is the government truly the ‘paramount’ owner of land in Australia?

This is a post I found on the Peter Spencer support group at Agmates and the Author has agreed to its cross posting here. An interesting discussion has ensued over there and I am sure that some of you might become interested in getting involved. (Note the links he has given.)

By Alex Davidson

I often hear my betters sagely telling me that I don’t really have a leg to stand on over concerns that the government is taking something that doesn’t belong to it when it imposes controls upon the use of private land, because, they say, the government is really the ‘paramount owner’ of all land in Australia, and it is only through the government’s good grace that any of us have any ownership rights at all.

When I first came across this idea some years ago, I was quite shocked. So that means we are living in some sort of defacto communist society, not one based upon private property rights and freedom, as I had naively assumed?

Since then I have come to the conclusion that the whole concept of the government as paramount owner is a lot like an urban myth, repeated over and over again by collectivists, environmental fundamentalists, some judges, and the big government crowd, in the hope that it will eventually stick and be accepted as common law, if it isn’t already.

What I haven’t found is a reasoned argument to support it. Instead, it appears that the first claims of Australian governments to ‘own’ land in Australia are merely that – claims – and do not withstand the true test of ownership as arising from homesteading or contractual exchange. (For more on this point, see here, here, and here.)

Furthermore, whenever I go to publications on Australian property law, I invariably find they are written by authors who seem very sympathetic to the ideas of Marx & Proudhon in regard to property. Where are those who argue that property and ownership do not arise from government, and that taking property without consent is theft?

Social Libertarianism, & The Heart Of Freedom

With the recent discussion created over Amy’s post, Confessions of a Bleeding Heart Libertarian, (the comment thread of which, in my opinion, contained some of the best debate I’ve read on the ALS blog for quite some time – personal abuse notwithstanding!), I thought it would be appropriate to post some thoughts on the precise intersection of political and societal ‘power’ structures, and the appropriate libertarian beliefs on these.

I’ve actually been meaning to write about this for quite some time, but was never able to fully elucidate my views, no doubt a product of the political schizophrenia that characterizes many of my political viewpoints. Fortunate, Reason Magazine came to the rescue the other week, with a debate entitled “Are Property Rights Enough?”, thus saving me from the task of actually writing about it.

Reason poses the question: “Libertarians traditionally have viewed coercion, especially when institutionalized in the form of government, as the main threat to freedom. But cultural pressures outside the state also can restrict people’s ability to live as they please. Is that another limit on liberty worth criticizing, or is it a function of voluntary choices?”

Continue reading

Libertarians on the radio

Changes in my routine mean that I now listen to the radio more than I used to. So it was interesting to discover Counterpoint, a radio program, that whilst not necessarily libertarian does manage to presents a number of libertarians guests. I had certainly heard of Counterpoint but I hadn’t listened to it before. Ironically it is on the government funded ABC.

Their most recent libertarian guest was discussing seasteading. And before that they had one discussing the US Freedom Festival.

LDP and the media.

Some of you may be aware of the ongoing challenges to the name Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), by the Liberals, Democrats, and the Liberal National Parties, (the LNP is the bastard son of the Nationals and Liberals in Queensland.)

These parties have now appealed the decision by the AEC to accept our name, using the same grounds that were used before. We are of the opinion that this is vexatious and needs to be addressed, as it constitutes abuse of the system. For that reason we have put out the following release.

Media Release                        Issued Brisbane, Tuesday 10th March 2009

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is outraged at the vexatious attempt by the Liberal Party, Australian Democrats and newly formed Liberal National Party (LNP) to challenge its name being registered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). Continue reading

John Stossel: Reason.tv interview.

A really good interview with Stossel giving his views on many of the important issues of our time. This is the first part which is close to ten minutes, and for those who have more time on their hands, the second part is great as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIkkHt2s-0k

 At around the seven minute mark, a point is made that I haven’t seen made in a long time, possibly since I read, (I think) “The Incredible Bread Machine,” back in the 70s:

Interviewer; … like you can pass a minimum wage law and go and interview the happy employee of Burger King who just had her wage boosted but you can’t interview the person that doesn’t know that he wasn’t going to get hired.

 Stossel; That’s part of it, its certainly hard to show the people who are hurt by government programs that take two cents from everyone or prevents a job from being created, you can’t take a picture of that. But that’s not just television, I think intuitively its hard to get, intuitively the minimum wage makes sense, we want to help poor people raise the minimum wage, its hard for people to understand to understand how that hurts people. …