An ideological whirlwind is about to blow through Canberra. An American evangelist for philanthropy is to address a meeting in Parliament House. He is enthusiastic.
His message is that Australians should dig deeper into their own pockets to give to good causes.
Karl Zinsmeister, once an adviser to president George W. Bush, will tell the people on the hill in Canberra that the American way of generosity can solve many Australian problems.
"I'm encouraging Australians to discover the joy of philanthropy," he told The Canberra Times.
By philanthropy, he means the more structured way of giving - through a will, for example, or a big donation. Putting your hand in your pocket instinctively and giving coins to a beggar may well be generous but technically, it is not philanthropy.
Mr Zinsmeister's fervour for it is unbounded. He said that government had only got bigger and people needed to pick up more of the burden: "The state has been an aggressively growing entity that gobbled up other areas."
He sees benefits in people donating their own money. "It's not the moral goodness about philanthropy, I'll argue. It's the effectiveness."
Australians, he believes are relatively stingy when it comes to generosity towards strangers. Americans, he asserted, are much more generous when it comes to dipping into their own pockets, often in a big, big way towards public institutions like galleries and research centres.
He cites figures showing that the amount Americans part with for good causes is much bigger than the contribution made by Australians.
But other figures, which include time spent volunteering, helping a stranger plus the donation of money, put Australian at number two in a league table of global generosity.
Either way, Mr Zinsmeister will be the star turn at the Philanthropy Meets Parliament Summit at Parliament House.
His message to the politicians and representatives of charities is: "With philanthropy, you can do something for a person that makes a real difference to their life. That's a rare pleasure."
His argument is that philanthropy is much more flexible than state aid. Homeless projects, for example, can be tailored to local needs in a way that a one-size-fits-all government project can't.
He wouldn't be drawn on what the proper boundary should be between the government providing a service from taxes and people providing it out of choice through their personal generosity.
Parents in schools may pay for trips, for example, but the government builds the buildings and pays the teachers. Is that right? Mr Zinsmeister wouldn't commit himself to a view.
But he does think Australians and Americans have very different attitudes.
Australians have grown up with the idea of a welfare state. The United States depends on self-help. "When a storm comes and a tree falls down, you (Americans) don't call the fire department, you do it yourself," he said.
He rejected the idea that relying on personal generosity meant vulnerable people fell through gaps.
He did not accept that there were pockets of deep poverty in the United States, particularly among black people. "It's not correct to say that minorities in the US are languishing. The biggest problem in the US is over-eating."
The chief executive of Philanthropy Australia, which is organising the conference, took a more pragmatic view than Mr Zinsmeister's ideological one.
"We need government obviously and we also need philanthropy," said Sarah Davies. Her organisation is a network of 700 organisations and individuals involved in philanthropy.
She didn't decry a role for government but thought philanthropists offered something government didn't, like risk taking.
"When you are trying to solve really wicked problems, you need to take risks.
"Government's risk tolerance is lower. Government can't be on the bleeding edge. If government spent $10 million on an unproven, risky initiative or venture in a hair-brained way, we would crucify them, quite rightly."
What about the right and proper division between state and personal generosity? "I worry when I hear that it's someone else's job to do something. We should all be involved in building community.
"Putting everything at government's door is lazy and short-sighted."
Ms Davies said there was a vast amount of wealth - $2.4 trillion - to be passed between the "baby boomers" who grew up in the 60s (and who are now nearing that dreaded last exit). She wanted more of them to write generous wills.
On the latest figures, fewer than one in 10 Australians willed some of their wealth to a charity. Charitable bequests accounted for less than 3 per cent of the estates people left.
Ms Davies wants the figures to rise. She hoped the government would "incentivise" people by changing the tax system. Her organisation wants tax advantages for "living legacy" trusts.
Under these, the living person donates an asset to a charity. The charity gets full use after death but the donor gets an income from it in the meantime.
The incentive for the living person is the satisfaction of doing good - but also money.
The donor would get a tax advantage in life - the bigger the donation, the bigger the tax deduction. A big donation from a young person, with years of life, would get a bigger bonus from the Australian Tax Office than a smaller donation from an elderly person. So runs the argument.
By and large, it's fair to say that the left is wary of funding by charities, fearing that relying on philanthropy allows government to get out of its obligations.
And it's fair to say that the right is more in favour of personal generosity - witness Karl Zinsmeister's road from the White House under a Republican to next week's speech on the hill in Canberra. He brings the zeal of the Bush administration to Australian politicians.
There may be an open door.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a devout Christian who once said, "For me, faith is personal, but the implications are social - as personal and social responsibility are at the heart of the Christian message."
Four years ago, Mr Morrison (at the time a former social services minister) made a speech that would have been music to Mr Zinsmeister's ears.
"Generosity I think is very much part of our national fabric, it is the basis upon which our social society I think is sustained not just built.
"It is a generosity that extends beyond our most basic obligations, it is about a willingness to reach out and support those around us."
Hyper-rich Australians do give huge amounts - mining magnate Andrew Forrest decided he and his family would give away $400 million of their fortune to a raft of health research and educational causes.
But Americans do it bigger. Think of Bill Gates' $70 billion for the eradication of malaria.
His pal, Warren Buffett, is leaving the bulk of his $100 billion to good causes.
Both have the same philosophy about (not) leaving money to their children: leave enough so they can do what they want but not so much that they can do nothing.
But Mr Buffett has also called for the rich to be taxed more.
"I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people," he said. "Most wouldn't mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering."
Who should support the neediest - the tax payer under compulsion or the philanthropist out of choice?
Philanthropy Meets Parliament is at Parliament House on September 18 and at Hotel Realm in Barton on September 19.