Meet the classical liberal vagabond

There is a quiet achiever on the liberal/conservative scene, the indefatigable and mercurial Dara Macdonald.

Thinker. Writer. Reader. Freedom enthusiast. Conservative Vagabond. Cocktail maker. Lawyer.

Dara Macdonald is an Australian lawyer and founder. Dara has worked as in-house legal counsel for various national and multinational companies. Last year she took up a year-long research position with Australia’s oldest free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs. Last year she launched a new organisation, All Minus One, a salon to promote a culture of freedom.

Her writing.

24 responses to “Meet the classical liberal vagabond”

  1. Petros Avatar

    She will not be welcome in the broad-church Liberal party. Who does she think she is? Freedom enthusiast? Away, you cut-purse rascal.

  2. WolfmanOz Avatar

    Thanks Rafe.

    I’ve not heard of her before so I’ll check out the links you posted.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle Avatar
    Bruce of Newcastle

    Very good web design but I can’t so easily get a feel for her writing and outlook. The Oz, Hun, Speccie and Substack are all paywalled or register required.

    If a writer writes something that no one reads does it really exist?

    I admit writers need to live, but readers need a taste test also.

  4. Damon Avatar

    Sorry, but there are few writers, even on the Spectator, whose views I would pay to read.

  5. Rafe Champion Avatar
    Rafe Champion

    Good point Bruce, I can read the articles, presumably because I subscribe to The Australian on Line and The Spectator. They are good and they take the line that is popular around here, although I did not see them when they first appeared because I am so focussed on climate and energy issues that I don’t find time to read The Aust or Spectator thoroughly and Dara was not on my radar until I joined the monthly discussion group that she convenes.
    In that context she is impressive in a quiet way which I like because noisy people frighten me:) I have made some good contacts there which is a primary function of the group. She also invites some very substantial figures to lead the discussion.

    Damon I appreciate that we need to be critical of people even when they are on our side. I find little to agree with in The Australian apart from the sports results and the weather but they are the best of a dreadul lot by giving space to some good commentators.
    I am surprised by your negative view of writers on The Spectator, many are very good, both local and foreign although they give space to some Remainers and others who I dont’t agree with all the time, such is life!

  6. Ed Case Avatar
    Ed Case

    Everyone else at the IPA is a Flamer, so what’s her role?

  7. Boambee John Avatar
    Boambee John

    Ed Casesays:
    December 18, 2022 at 5:24 pm
    Everyone else at the IPA is a Flamer, so what’s her role?

    She’s the Spook.

  8. Cassie of Sydney Avatar
    Cassie of Sydney

    Rafe, thanks for this. I first met Dara about five or six years ago, perhaps it was at an IPA function or a Freidman Conference function but I can’t remember. Even since then I’ve been fortunate enough to see and catch up with her at various CIS, IPA and Ramsey functions, and most recently I saw and spoke with Dara at CPAC. Dara is very smart, very personable, very measured, very engaging and very switched on. When I’m confronted by the militant woke, and especially “wokey women”, as I was at that lunch last week and which I wrote about here on the Cat, I need to remember that there are young women like Dara.

    “Sorry, but there are few writers, even on the Spectator, whose views I would pay to read.”

    Damon, whilst I understand some of your frustration, I do think there are good Australian writers and commentators, both in the Australian newspaper, on Sky and in the Spectator who are good spruikers and promulgators for conservative, right of centre and libertarian ideas. We need to support them. Sure, no one is perfect. I have my issues with some at the IPA. I still remain furious with the IPA, mainly John Roskam, for refusing to help Bettina Arndt when she was being lynched back in 2020. I acknowledge the good work that the IPA does but we also need an organisation that is fierce and unapologetic in fighting for free speech. What we need here in Oz is a similar organisation to the Free Speech Union, and in fact one of my last conversations with Dara was about the need to establish such an organisation. As Rafe said above, The Australian newspaper ain’t perfect but my God, reading Janet Albrechtsen’s recent expert dissection of disgusting Higgins travesty has been worth every cent of my subscription. I enjoy the Spectator, both the local writers and the UK ones. I read the US based Powerline, Spiked, Unherd, The Critic and many more. There’s a lot out there, and they need to be supported. The problem with the right is that we don’t do solidarity like the left does and I think therein likes the rub. The left stands together, which ties in with their collective mindset, and whilst we might dismiss this, it works. We on the right need to stand together more. I pay good money to subscribe to the Oz, the Spectator, Quadrant and Sky because firstly I enjoy reading and watching them and secondly, because I want to support them. Supporting the “side” matters.

  9. duncanm Avatar

    substack articles are free.

  10. WolfmanOz Avatar

    Cassie of Sydney says:
    December 18, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Ditto !

  11. Gabor Avatar

    Supporting the “side” matters.

    It does and is the most important aspect of belonging to a party.
    Except it doesn’t work when the members value individualism more.

  12. DrBeauGan Avatar

    I read a few things she wrote by following your link. She has a lively mind, and a disposition to think about things, which is engaging. On the downside, she’s very young.

    That’s a fault that time will cure.

  13. Rafe Champion Avatar
    Rafe Champion

    Quite right DrBeau, time will test her resilience, she will need a strong support network if she runs into trouble with the cancel culture.
    Thanks Cassie, You could have introduced us, how come she only got on my radar when she invited me to join her group?
    As for encouragement and support, I have got big on the need for coaching and mentoring and I have started talking to people at IPA and CIS about doing more of it. I started talking to some of Ron Manners’ young people when I was over there a few years ago but coaching at long range didn’t get off the ground.

  14. Dot Avatar

    Good luck kid.

    We are living in interesting times.

    Hopefully you don’t come to the attention of the authorities.
    Hopefully you don’t get what you are looking for.

  15. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare Avatar
    Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    I pay good money to subscribe to the Oz, the Spectator, Quadrant and Sky because firstly I enjoy reading and watching them and secondly, because I want to support them. Supporting the “side” matters.

    Yes, keeping up with the conservative mainstream can cost money but it is worth it for all the reasons Cassie mentions. We subscribe to the IPA, Quadrant, Spectator, Australian, Foxtel/Sky, I support Catallaxy and some other conservative sites with occasional donations, and read across a range of freely available conservative sites. My husband spents more time trawling across this range than I do. I have familial commitments he doesn’t have. Also, I read books of all sorts; he is very selective in what books he reads and reads fewer than me. The Cat has a very good ‘new book’ sidebar list.

    My conclusion: you can’t keep up with everything and aggregator sites (sometimes Catallaxy) can help you to fall less behind than you otherwise might. One caution is that being ‘politically aware’ can become stressful, overloading; stillness and withdrawal for a recharge is sometimes necessary.

    Sites allowing comments are one means of widening the input group, enabling further discussion. Thanks for the link to Dara MacDonald, another young gun. Bookmarked.

  16. Chris M Avatar
    Chris M

    Never trust or vote for a lawyer or journalist.

  17. Rafe Champion Avatar
    Rafe Champion

    Generally true Chris, but think of the New York police force, as someone once said, there are some good apples in every barrel!

  18. Zyconoclast Avatar

    Everyone else at the IPA is a Flamer, so what’s her role?

    Douse the flames?

  19. m0nty Avatar

    Everyone else at the IPA is a Flamer, so what’s her role?

    Apparently she’s the Madam.

  20. Petros Avatar

    Murdoch allows a small proportion of true conservative voices. The majority are the usual MSM claptrap. He knows how to keep the newspapers going by keeping enough people happy. I choose not to fund his empire.

  21. Cassie of Sydney Avatar
    Cassie of Sydney

    “Apparently she’s the Madam”

    Fuck off you despicable and vomitous piece of shit. I know Dara. How would you like your wife or daughter referred to as a “Madam”.

  22. Heathen Avatar

    Dara might well be bright. But she is hardly a legal scholar. Her current job is writing contracts for Otis lifts. All of her roles have been junior.

  23. Rafe Champion Avatar
    Rafe Champion

    As someone noted, she is young and if she continues to grow and maintains her productivity for forty or fifty years she has a good chance of getting a Lifetime Libertarian Service award with a $55 plaque like I achieved this year!

  24. Heathen Avatar

    Congrats Rafe. I am sure you earned that. I hope you won’t mind if I admit to some scepticism over some libertarian values of some of those often appearing in these columns. Some people seem rather keen to foist their own religious, social and even cultural prejudices down everyone’s throat. But I suppose they don’t claim to be libertarian.

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