In Australia the two major political parties are the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party is always referred to as a Conservative party, not only by it's opponents but by it's supporters as well. As should be obvious considering the name is that it is no such thing.
The Liberal Party is often referred to as a broad church, and it is where Conservative and Classical Liberal thought both reside together, from the 1960's you can include Right-Liberals. But seriously, what do Conservatism and Liberalism, Classical or Right Liberalism have in common?
I'll tell you what we share in common, common enemies. We both oppose Communism, Fascism and Socialism. But when I look at the Liberal Party I don't see much Conservatism. In fact when I look at the founder of the party Sir Robert Menzies, I don't find a Conservative but a Classical Liberal. In his book "Afternoon Delights" he wrote Chapter Twelve "The revival of Liberalism in Australia" on page 286
"We took the name "Liberal" because we were determined to be a progressive party, willing to make experiments, in no sense reactionary but believing in the individual, his rights, and his enterprise, and rejecting the Socialist panacea."
As the man said Liberal, but certainly not Conservative.
Recently we have had a change of leadership within the Liberal Party, from the "Conservative" Tony Abbot to the Liberal Malcolm Turnbull. Whats of particular interest and shows how broad the Liberal Party church is, Mr. Abbot was leader of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and Mr. Turnbull was leader of the Australian Republican Movement, at the same time. Then under Prime Minister Howard they both served as Ministers in the same Cabinet. It's not so much a broad church as an open air meeting!
This change of leadership has meant that Australia has a new Prime Minister, Mr. Turnbull is loved by the media, because as nearly everyone agrees, he would make a great leader of the Labor Party. But that might give the wrong impression of Mr. Abbot, who is always described as a Conservative and it's true he is more Conservative than Mr. Turnbull. But lets have a look at some of the things Prime Minister Abbot supported. He supported the Monarchy and he reintroduced Knighthoods. He said he would get rid of 18C, a section of law whereby you cannot offend people. But didn't. Apart from stopping illegal immigration by sea, something all sensible people are against, he did nothing to end either multiculturalism or mass immigration. Like all Politicians he talked big about creating jobs, but there are still something like 700,000 unemployed, around the same number as when he started. He created free trade agreements with Japan, South Korea and China. Now one of the big selling points to all free trade agreements is that they will create jobs, how come we have 700,000 unemployed?
But my biggest gripe is that Conservative Prime Minister Abbot was a Feminist. Something he was never given credit for, but have a look at this list. His Chief of Staff was a women, and quite a controversial one, he often talked about how bad domestic violence was and wanted more laws introduced to combat it, he wanted a maternal leave scheme that would have benefited those who quite frankly didn't need the Governments money and he saw more women in the workforce than ever before. Wow what an amazing Conservative!
Or maybe we should call him what he always was, a Liberal.
Now everyone agrees that Prime Minister Turnbull is a Liberal, he wants a Republic, he supports homosexual marriage (something Mr. Abbot opposed, even with a Lesbian sister), he is a believer in Climate Change, in fact he supports all the fashionable causes. And the majority of Federal Liberal Parliamentarians voted for this man to be there leader and by default Australia's leader.
Because the Liberal Party is always Liberal and it always will be.
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