Higgins, Bradfield, & Freedom

To continue in the vein of promoting sound discourse and solid political debate, please find below a guest post by David Leyonhjelm, Treasurer of the Liberal Democratic Party, on the upcoming Higgins & Bradfield byelections. Whether you agree with it or not, I think it is certainly worth all true Liberals reading:

The outcome in the Bradfield and Higgins by-elections on Dec 5 is not in doubt. Both are safe Liberal seats and with Labor not standing, a win by the Liberal candidate is a foregone conclusion.

Of more interest is the interpretation the Liberal party seeks to place on its victory. Will there be any lessons that may be relevant to its quest to return to government?

Among the eclectic group of minor party and independent candidates, there is one party that stands out – the Liberal Democrats (LDP).

Describing itself as the true liberals, it is Australia’s only consistently ‘small l’ liberal party. The LDP’s policies include low taxes, reduced regulation, less government interference and an end to the nanny state. It opposes the Emissions Trading Scheme on the grounds that it will increase taxes as well as being bad policy, irrespective of opinions on human contribution to global warming.

Liberal voters who would like to nudge the Liberal Party in the direction of genuine liberalism can help send a message by voting 1 for the LDP and 2 for the Liberal Party. If enough voters choose this option, the Liberal Party will be obliged to reconsider some of its less than liberal policies. Who knows, it might even regain its enthusiasm for individual choice and personal responsibility.

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13 Responses to “Higgins, Bradfield, & Freedom”

  1. adam Says:

    Tim. I’m not sure that really contributed to any debate. It’s basically an ad.

  2. John Humphreys Says:

    Adam — It would contribute to the debate if anybody responded. Though it seems like such an obvious point made by David that perhaps nobody can think of a rebuttal.

  3. B. P. M. Says:

    I already vote that way at every election.

    The only reason I haven’t actually joined the LDP is because from what I’ve seen, the LDP is hostile to pro-lifers and religious libertarians.

  4. Tim Humphries Says:

    I think the LDP could really make a positive contribution. If given a chance they could enhance the Liberal Party.

    I believe it was John Humphreys who said here or in another forum that the aim of LDP representation both in the lower and upper house would be to water up legislation rather than watering it down.

    It would encourage more free-market approaches, so it can’t be all bad.

  5. Ross Grove Says:

    I’m disappointed Timothy. Disappointed.

  6. Jake the Muss Says:

    This is how I vote anyway and I have done since 2004. I’m a member of both Parties now so you know, whatevs.

    Ross: Yes thank you for that intellectual contribution but maybe you could actually grow the testicles and make a reasoned argument. I do enjoy my 99% strike rate when it requires more than ‘you are a dickhead’ for me to put forward a better argument than my opponent.

    Beccy: I haven’t seen this (prob haven’t taken notice). Can you elaborate?

    I’d like to hear some of the Victorians on this issue. A lot of them take a very negative attitude towards the LDP.

  7. Shem Bennett Says:

    Jake- from my experience with MULC members Victorian Liberals see themselves as having the most liberal state division. That somehow encourages them to think that a more liberal Liberal Party is possible without external stimulus.

    I guess it’s also hard to support the LDP if you have aspirations within the Liberal Party and think it’s the best vehicle for liberal reform.

    Kelly O’Dwyer is not a liberal candidate. She’s a free market conservative. Leaps and bounds ahead of Clive Hamilton, sure. But also miles behind Isaac Roberts.

    Given the inevitability of a Liberal victory I really think that people should take opportunities like this by-election to stand up for what they believe in. Look at the platforms and campaigns of both parties and the beliefs of the candidates. Who do you agree with more? Vote based on that.

  8. B. P. M. Says:

    Jake: The LDP is explicitly pro-‘choice’, and in the Thoughts on Freedom blog there was a post about a month ago where the comments were essentially bagging out religious people and pro-lifers, and a lot of the comments came from LDP members. The implications were almost a) religious pro-lifers aren’t welcome in the LDP and b) religious pro-lifers can’t be considered libertarians.

    I’m in that bloody awkward position where the Liberals do not fit my view on any single issue because they’re big government conservatives, but the LDP aren’t really a good fit either because of my religious beliefs and views on life issues. There’s no party in Australia that adequately represents me, though the LDP is likely the closest.

  9. John Humphreys Says:

    The ALS is not the LDP… and the comments of individual members are not necessarily indicative of the party. There are pro-life people in the LDP, and at the ALS.

  10. Jake The Muss Says:

    Well I guess to the extent you would, if you at all do, want to criminalize abortion I’d prob question that as well but I guess as naturally punchy I don’t mind a bit of Barney. As John said though, ALS and ldp aren’t exactly the same thing.

  11. B.P.M. Says:

    B.P.M.

    You are right and wrong. The LDP is quite explicitly pro-choice. However it does not seek to make those that disagree or who are religious unwelcome. Some examples:-

    Stewart Glass – he ran as an independent candidate for the Federal Senate in 2007 on the SA ballot. He is a pro-life Morman. Whilst I don’t think he has joined the party he has been a regular and welcome attendant at LDP meetings in SA.

    Steven Clancy – in 2007 he was the LDP lead candidate for the Federal Senate on the Victorian ballot. He has been involved with the party from it’s very early days. He is a deeply commited Christian. He was on the federal executive when I was and I never noted any hostility towards him on the basis of his religion.

    I’d be more than happy to have pro-life LDP candidates run as federal level if they believe that abortion laws (like murder laws) should remain a state issue. An anti-abortionist running as a state LDP candidate would make me a bit uncomforable and would contradict the parties policy platform but if they were a good candidate I’d live with it. Of course it isn’t my decision anyway as I’m no longer on the executive.

    The LDP isn’t a clone factory. It will always have people that are on some issues in some ways at odds with the party position (either for reasons of principle or for reasons of political tactics).

    Joining the LDP allows the LDP to get registered for state elections (it is already registered for federal elections). It is not a matter of selling your soul or giving up your principles. All joining says is that you would like this party to be registered so that people can vote for it. If the Electoral Commission rings you they are not going to ask you if you agree with the parties policies on abortion. They are not going to question your religious faith. Nor does the LDP practice thought control. If you join the LDP is not going to send the boys around to stick a mind probe into your brain so that you suddenly agree with the LDP on everything.

    I eat Weet Bix but it hasn’t turned me into a Seven Day Adventist. You can join the LDP without becoming a pro-choice atheist.

  12. TerjeP (say tay-a) Says:

    Oops. I had a typo brain fart thingo. The post above was by me not by B.P.M.

  13. John Humphreys Says:

    I’d be delighted to see a pro-life libertarian candidate run for the LDP. I think it’s absurd for a small party to insist on 100% acceptance of party policy. For my mind, the important point should be that a person is broadly libertarian… and BPM clearly is a libertarian.

    Though, like Terje, it’s not up to me. I stopped being President five years ago and left the executive one year ago.

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