I don’t have time to read all of this!
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/democraticlabourDLP/
Themes: Fighting the Red Menace. Catholicism. Religious freedom. Better support for people with disabilities. Wage fairness. Family.
With friends like these…
The Group Voting Ticket
The DLP favours conservative parties over less conservative ones, and tends to give the top slots on their ballot to the Liberal Democrats, Australian Country Party, Health Australia the Aussie Battlers, Hudson for North Victoria or the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers. The Transport Matters Party, Derryn Hinch, and the Liberals make it into their top five once or twice, as does Ungrouped Independent Michael Fozard.
At the bottom of their ticket, they are quite consistent: it’s Labor, Socialists, Voluntary Euthanasia, Fiona Patten’s Reason Party and the Greens. They dislike the last two so much that they often scramble or reverse the numbers there, just to be perverse. They really hate Vote 1 Local Jobs, too, which gets the same treatment in the one electorate where it is running, and they aren’t too happy with the ungrouped independents in South-Eastern Metropolitan.
The Australian Liberty Alliance is noticeably missing from both these groups, and tends to lurk at around about 30 on the ballot – well after the people they actually like, but before the Atheist Red Menace of the ALP, the Victorian Socialists and their ilk…
I note that they also seem to be trying to pull an LDP in this election – they are now listed as ‘Labour – DLP’ on the ballot, which should attract a fair share of inattentive Labor voters.
The Body Politic
Policies, Snark, Terrible Theme Songs and Other Observations
I’ve actually learned something random about the DLP today which I didn’t know previously. I was trying to find out who their current leader was (unsuccessfully, I fear), and discovered that not only were they an anti-Communist, Catholic offshoot of the Labor Party (which I knew already), but that they were mostly Victorian and mostly of Irish descent. This isn’t actually very important, but I’m interested to see a high proportion of very Irish names on their candidate list for this election, suggesting that the heritage continues. Which is kind of cool, I think.
Anyway. They have one of the cleverer political slogans out there – ‘Putting YOU back in Labour’. This is smart on lots of levels. It manages to imply that the Australian Labor Party (note the lack of U in Labor) has lost its way, but the DLP is putting it back the way it should be. And the way it should be is with you at the centre. You are important; you are part of the solution; you are the part that the ALP has forgotten.
It also signals that their values are about helping people and helping communities.
On their website, they also have the slogan ‘Labour, the way it should be’, which is less clever, but drives the point home for anyone who missed the pun the first time around.
On their ‘What We Stand For’ page, we are offered – dare I use this expression? – a Manifesto of sorts, divided into five sections.
‘Labour – as it should be’, informs us that:
Our party formally began in 1955 when 51 parliamentarians across Australia put their careers on the line to fight against the infiltration of communism in the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and trade unions. However, our origins are in the original and authentic labour movement prior to this date. We count the members of the ALP prior to 1955, including Prime Minister Ben Chifley, as part of our party’s history.
The ALP has since lost its way. It is union controlled and preoccupied with pursuing radical social agendas, pandering to minority groups and extreme green ideology and has succumbing to political correctness.
Today, the Democratic Labour Party (Labour DLP) is the only political party in Australia that still upholds traditional labour principles, a real labour party for workers affirming the value of human life and committed to preserving, protecting and building on the family.
We believe in a government that will promote social and economic justice, a fair and decent society for families and a sense of national direction that will help to make Australia prosperous, self-reliant and secure.
So what we have here is a party that really is committed to fairness and social justice – but only within certain parameters. Note the ‘fair and decent society’, and the concern about ‘radical social agendas’. One can expect some pretty kind, caring, policies on things like disability and health, welfare, possibly also on refugees. One can also expect fearmongering about safe schools, and concerns about religious freedom.
Their section on Standing Together is actually pretty lovely – they want all members of the community to ‘have the opportunithy to flourish and become the best version of themselves’ because they believe that ‘every person matters’. They want wage justice, and for workers to share in the profits they create. They oppose exploitation of all kinds, and want adequate social security.
Our objective is to build a humane economy – one which exists to serve the people, and not the other way around.
This is practical Catholic theology at its best, and as far as this informs the DLP’s policies, I’m all for it.
Unfortunately, the next section is ‘Defending Australia from Radical Ideology’, which is about opposing Safe Schools. But I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard it opposed quite like this before. For best effect, the next few paragraphs should be declaimed aloud with maximum dramatic flare, while standing on a chair or a soapbox. Really, try it. You’ll be glad you did.
Today’s Labour DLP continues the fight of its predecessors, because while communism may have fallen, the influence of destructive radical ideology is still alive and well in Australia.
One recent example is the so-called ‘Safe Schools’ Program and related gender programs. It is endorsed and financed by the Victorian ALP Government, which made it mandatory in all Victorian public schools. Advertised as an anti-bullying program, it has a far more sinister purpose. It is ideologically driven, teaching our children a contested and controversial form of gender ideology to further social and political agendas more than anything else. There is now increasing awareness that its ultimate purpose is the social re-engineering of children.
Upon closer inspection, the Safe Schools Program is part of the Marxist quest to destroy traditional structures and values, without you knowing about it and while you pay for it, under the guise of anti-bullying. It comes as no surprise that it was founded by Roz Ward, a seasoned and outspoken Marxist activist.
Of course, the bullying of any child, for any reason, is undesirable and completely unacceptable. However, equally unacceptable is the indoctrination of our children by programs in our schools driven by radical ideologies, used as a platform for Marxist social engineering.
Speaking as someone who once went to an election night party as The Red Under The Bed (I wore a red dress and a hat with a bed stuck on top of it), I am completely and utterly delighted with this rhetoric. I mean, anyone can write a paragraph about the evils of Safe Schools, but it really takes the DLP to uncover its Secret Marxist Agenda. Seriously, this is glorious stuff. Anyone who can use phrases like ‘sinister ideology’ or ‘Marxist quest’ unironically should be treasured.
(And no, I didn’t have to quote that entire section, but I thought you all deserved a treat. Trust me, you’ll want it later.)
But I digress.
The DLP also wants you to ‘Know Your Rights!’, specifically to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience.
Once again, they are very worried about activists and radicals (the ordinary kind, not the special Marxist kind, I regret to say) shutting down free speech.
Labour DLP’s position on free speech is very clear: while we may not agree with what you’re saying, we’ll fight to the end for your right to say it. Opposing an idea should not equate with opposing the freedom with which that idea was expressed.
Hmm. This is one of those things sounds great if you are operating in society in ‘safe’ mode – white or close to it, cis-straight, Christian or agnostic, male – because there is very little that someone can say that poses an existential threat to you. I may be offended and sickened by the ALA’s comments about Muslims, but these comments don’t make me feel viscerally anxious in the same way, say, my Holocaust-denying taxi driver did the other week (that was a fun ride…). Nor do they hurt on the same level that the current horrible business with Ms Raper does.
There’s also the fact that nasty speech very frequently leads to nasty actions, and that when it goes unopposed, it also normalises the racism, sexism, homophobia, or other -ism it is expressing, and gives comfort to people who hold these ideas that it’s OK to hold them.
(And of course in politics, this attitude is generally accompanied by unhealthy levels of excitement about repealing Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.)
Of course, the freedom they are really concerned about is religious freedom. They are quite convinced that ‘is an unjustifiable limitation on freedom of religion to prohibit speech just because it may offend or insult someone’.
For those who don’t have the precise wording of 18C burned into their brains, ‘offend or insult’ comes directly from that section. It’s a constitutional dogwhistle!
Freedom of religion is being attacked in different ways. For example, in Victoria, the ALP Government recently removed the ability for religious organisations to employ all staff who share the organisation’s beliefs. The DLP understands that religion is not confined to religious study classes but indeed touches on all aspects of life. To protect the religious freedom rights of individuals and the groups they comprise, governments and bureaucracies should not make decisions about what is important in the life of the group when they have no commitment to, or proper understand of, the group’s ethos.
The DLP is definitely up for sacking gay teachers, basically.
And then we have freedom of conscience which is of course about abortion.
In Victoria, the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 compels medical practitioners to comply with actions that go against their conscience. They are forced to perform an abortion or be party to it by referring a patient to another practitioner who will.
Look, I’m pro-choice, but I am absolutely opposed to forcing doctors to perform procedures they are uncomfortable with (outside of emergencies, which I don’t think is what they are talking about here). But in a secular country, you have to make the referral, even if you disapprove. (And don’t worry – your patient knows that you disapprove. Trust me on this.)
The final thing they stand for is Fair Trade, not Free Trade, and this is one of the places where the DLP actually gets it right. Since they refer us to their policy on Trade, I’m going to skip straight to it now.
The thing I find with the DLP is that they have no neutral policies. Their good ones are very good, and their bad ones are very bad, and there is no in between. Once again, I’m grouping policies together by theme where possible.
Economics, Trade and Foreign Affairs
The DLP is generally opposed to the Free Trade Agreement. This is partly about protecting the interests of Australia’s workers and industries, but it’s also about not wanting to trade with countries who mistreat their workers.
The DLP will limit imports from countries where the workers are not provided with basic worker’s rights. At present our domestic markets are flooded with goods produced overseas by companies whose workers do not enjoy safe working conditions, do not receive an adequate basic wage, meal breaks, sick leave, or a myriad of other benefits that Australian industries supply to workers here.
Basically, they want a Fair Trade agreement. And a ‘usefulness test’ for any import of overseas capital.
They also want a Federal Development Bank to ‘provide a source of funding for infrastructure spending by federal and state governments, removing the need for seeking funding in foreign markets.’
The idea is to reduce foreign ownership (of both businesses and land), fund long-term projects, and buy back assets so that they are publicly owned. Also, it would be a safe investment.
On Foreign Affairs, the DLP wants to increase foreign aid, and maintain friendly relations with Indonesia, while requiring them to ‘fully implement the special autonomy provisions enacted by their own laws in 2000 (so far only implemented in Ache) and remove all military personnel from West Papua without delay. After a period of autonomy, a new vote for independence by the indigenous people of West Papua should occur.’
They want us to contribute particularly to humanitarian and development projects in our region, which I think makes sense – what affects our neighbours is likely, in the long term, to affect us (also, as they put it ‘a contented neighbour is a friendly neighbour’). They would like our aid to make use primarily of Australian-made goods and services, thus feeding money back into our community as well.
As far as asylum seekers go:
People who are currently detained and blocked from settlement in Australia should immediately be able to be transferred to the mainland.
The dignity of each person means that it is never right to use human beings as if they are inanimate things. The pain we inflict through the inhumane treatment of one group of people is never a justifiable price for them to pay, for us to send a message to others.
However, they don’t actually want on-shore processing to be an ongoing thing. They want regional processing in open reception centres (ideally in Malaysia or Indonesia), where people have the freedom to come and go, and where status can be determined in a reasonably short period of time. And they want us to take our fair share of refugees – but not more than our share.
On an ongoing basis, Australia should take a fair proportion of the refugees who arrive in our region with an index based on GDP compared to that of neighbouring countries. Some of these people could be skilled migrants who are also refugees and Australia’s skilled migration program could be reduced accordingly. Government investment in regional centres and in infrastructure through setting up industry would create jobs for not only refugees but also other Australians. A faster process of regional processing and allowing people to establish themselves within the community would be far more cost-effective for the nation than the current offshore processing being utilised.
This… is far from the worst refugee policy I’ve read. To be honest, my only real beef with it is that neither Indonesia or Malaysia are signatories to the refugee convention, nor do they have spotless human rights records (to be fair, at this point, neither do we) which means that these aren’t ideal locations for processing. Bring them here, for goodness’ sake.
The DLP wants to increase funding for the military to 2% of the GDP, and create a Coast Guard. They want to reintroduce the ‘volunteer gap year’ program, to recruit young people into the military. They want our military equipment to be made locally. And they want to make sure our troops receive fair wages and proper healthcare, including mental healthcare and programs to help with post-traumatic combat stress.
I’m trying to work out whether the volunteer gap year program is compulsory military (or community) service between school and Uni – basically, does one volunteer for a gap year doing military service, or is it a compulsory gap year in which one must volunteer for something?
The DLP want a school voucher program, which they view as providing equal treatment for all students.
The parents of each child will receive a voucher reflecting the cost to the State of that child’s education, at that child’s year level and special needs. Each voucher would be redeemable at the parent’s choice of education provider, be it state, private or home schooling.
As school voucher plans go, this is more equitable than most, but it still has the effect of funding wealthy private schools at the same per capita rate as public schools in disadvantaged areas, which is a problem. Also, it incentivises sending children to private schools over working to improve State schools. Since a large number of children will always have no choice but to attend State schools, it’s really important that we work to keep these schools at a reasonable standard, rather than making it easier for people to opt out of the system. So I’m not in favour of this one, I’m afraid.
(I feel like, deep in their social-justice-aware hearts, nor would the DLP be, if we didn’t have such a large Catholic school system here…)
The DLP also wants to abolish Safe Schools (which I think we had an inkling of earlier), and replace it with a better anti-bullying program. They cite Yale’s RULER program as a possible option, so I had a quick look at it, and I will say, it looks pretty good. It focuses on developing emotional intelligence in students, teachers, and parents (RULER stands for ‘recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion’).
Don’t get me wrong, I think Safe Schools is a good program. But RULER also looks like a good program, and apparently it is certified free of Marxist ideology by the DLP, so that’s certainly something we all need to take into account…
The DLP would want to pay teachers more and increase funding for TAFEs, to which I say, aye aye, and they are also very big on parental rights, to which I give them a distinct side-eye. Parents do not always know what is best for their children, unfortunately.
They want to raise AusStudy, raise the parental means test threshold to the level of Average Weekly Earnings, and reduce the age of independence to 18. and bring in more Start Up scholarships to help students by textbooks. They do not trust student unions, and would rather provide 30% of student services and amenities fees directly to students.
(Psst, DLP? Student Unions aren’t that sort of Union. You are allowed to like these ones.)
They also suggest having Centrelink counters at university campuses, to make it easier on students with tricky schedules, and to cut waiting queues at other Centrelink offices. This sounds like a practical idea, but for some reason, it also disturbs me. I can’t quite put my finger on why, though.
Unsurprisingly, the DLP thinks that marriage is one man, one woman, no extras or changes to the menu.
We believe that the optimal environment for the flourishing of children is the natural family unit, which consists of both biological parents, who are married to each other with an aspiration for lifelong commitment, and who both play an active and supportive role in the raising of their children. We believe in the rights and duty of parents to discipline their children, and in the rights of children to have both a mother and a father.
The DLP believes that good governance includes supporting care for people who lack the support of family or community. We believe that having access to one’s biological identity is an important right.
The DLP expresses solidarity with women who find themselves struggling with an unintended pregnancy, the abused, the dispossessed, and parents separated from their children.
There is a lot to unpack here. I’m a bit concerned about the ‘rights and duty of parents to discipline their children’, to start with. I haven’t been following Australian parenting and religious politics much, but certainly in the US, a religious organisation talking about discipline of children would ring alarm bells about spanking, or Pearl-style abusive ‘training’ of children.
The ‘rights of children to have both a mother and a father’ also has potential issues. Their policies talk about needing to reform the Family Court, which rings alarm bells, as well as about providing free pre-marriage education for couples, which sounds like a good thing – but put these two together with the aspiration for lifelong commitment, and I think you have the portrait of a political party which is not in favour of divorce.
The line about ‘parents separated from their children’ is also concerning, in this context. The Family Court bends over backwards to make sure both parents get access to their children, even in cases where there are credible allegations of abuse, unfortunately. It may need reforming, but not, I think, in the direction implied here. Has the DLP been infiltrated by the Men’s Rights lobby? Or just misled by them?
I am interested in their solidarity with ‘women who find themselves struggling with an unintended pregnancy, the abused, the dispossessed, and parents separated from their children’. It is a very nice solidarity, but I see absolutely no policies designed to assist them. Unless you count the one about making all adoption open.
Seriously, there is nothing here about family violence, or child safety, or anything like that. And if you are committed to keeping families together, there really needs to be.
They do have an interesting policy about establishing Child Care Cooperatives, where parents can get training in childcare and band together to be on duty one day in five in exchange for childcare on the other four days. This is something my friends and I used to talk about doing, so that’s interesting. I note that the DLP seems to have a very small-community approach to a lot of things, and this fits in with that.
Pokie Machine laws must be reformed, so that vulnerable people are protected. Not much to say there – either you like it or you don’t! I do.
Another straightforward one. More public housing, and rental rates to be capped, with a lower cap for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. And they want to let first home buyers access up to 5% of their superannuation to assist with the purchase.
Small Business, Employment, and Superannuation
The DLP is very supportive of small business.
The DLP opposes undue and excessive Federal, State & Local Government bureaucracy for small businesses. There must be a net reduction of red and green tape which is hindering the growth of small & family-owned businesses.
Et tu, DLP? Hmm, now I think of it, they don’t have an environment policy, do they? Or a clean energy one, or much of anything like that. Oh dear.
I do think their ideas of letting businesses defer their first year’s income tax for up to seven years is quite good, as is their idea about mentoring programs. I don’t feel at all qualified to judge the rest, so I’ll leave that to you.
The DLP wants to raise the minimum wage and have proper penalty rates and portable leave.
Goodness, and they like unions after all! When did that happen?
The DLP believes in a return to the system that existed under the Conciliation and Arbitration Act to safeguard the following principles that:
- Unions are an expression of the basic right of wage earners
- Union organisation should not be weakened by legislation
- Unions are a necessary foundation of the Conciliation and Arbitration system
The DLP will reintroduce the Conciliation and Arbitration Act with amendments to include preference for unionist clauses with the following conditions:
- That unions do not impose compulsory political levies
- That unions allow members the right to contract without paying political affiliation fees
- That unions establish a voluntary fund from which all donations to political parties are made
That was unexpected. I hope this isn’t a sign of Creeping Marxism…
They have a policy about technological changes and the workforce.
Legislation should be introduced to require employers to give notice of proposals to introduce technological changes; such legislation will provide that no substantial changes affecting the economy of any geographical area and number of workers can be introduced without Government approval. Such approval will require as a priority that the technological changes be so planned and phased as to minimise these effects.
I’m wondering how that works in the real world, though? I mean, what if the government says, nope, you can’t introduce the Spinning Jenny because it will put your factory workers out of a job? Must we continue spinning by hand forever? This is well-intentioned, but poorly thought out, and I am *positive* that the Marxism is now officially creeping.
On superannuation, they want to remove the superannuation guarantee, which disadvantages older workers, and they want the government to fund superannuation benefits for full-time carers, and low-income people. And they want better accounting and transparency in the funds. This all sounds resaonable.
Water and Regional Australia
One day, I am going to figure out what all the water policy stuff is about. I’m just going to note that it always seems to be the most anti-environmental parties who want to build more reservoirs and mutter about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, so when I see the DLP doing the same, I feel suspicious.
They do oppose the trading and commoditisation of water, though, which is good.
They want more decentralisation, and will offer low interest housing loans to immigrant families who move to regional areas. They will also improve infrastructure in regional Australia. They support a nationwide bushfire mitigation plan.
The DLP are a bit all over the place on national identity. They don’t really trust ‘politically-imposed’ multiculturalism but want to foster a ‘cosmopolitan community’.
(Their policies may well drive me to drink. Do you think that’s what they have in mind?)
They also feel that ‘indigenous Australians are entitled to natural justice in their claim for access, and title to, historically authenticated tribal areas. They are further entitled to respect for their cultural heritage and traditions, and protection of their genuine sacred sites and artefacts. Regarding mining and development, Indigenous title should be subject to the same privileges, restrictions and compensation rights that apply to title possessed by non-Indigenous Australians.’
I feel like they are trying to juggle a desire for social justice with a concern about the rights of farmers and small businesses, and not quite managing it.
Their National Population Plan is all about expanding family-based immigration to offset our declining birth rate. We apparently need a growth rate of at least 3%.
Yes, Australia’s most Catholic political party is worried that our rate of population growth is too small. The jokes really write themselves.
But joking aside, their plan to increase immigration and to encourage immigrants to move to regional and rural areas is quite a good one, and meshes well with their asylum seeker policy.
Health and Disability
The DLP tend to be fairly solid in this area, and seem to be so again. They want more funding for hospitals, more nurses and internships, and more rights for patients:
Patients have the right to be fully informed of their diagnosis, possible treatment, risks and side effects of treatment, benefits and costs of treatment.
Patients have the right to refuse treatment and undertake an advanced medical directive, or nominate a healthcare proxy.
A couple of yellow flags – we already know, of course, that they want doctors to be able to have ‘religious liberty in the provision of their services’, which can be interpreted in some concerning ways (refusal to refer for abortions has been mentioned already; refusal to treat particular classes of patients is another. The latter doesn’t fit with the usual style of DLP Catholicism, but it’s worth noting, because things can change). The other thing I’m a little concerned about is the ‘risks and side effects of treatment’, because I know that this sort of thing has been twisted in some parts of the US to the extent that doctors have to inform women seeking abortion about an increased risk of breast cancer that simply does not exist.
Again, I do not know if this is what the DLP intends, but it would not be inconsistent with their philosophies, as handily stated in their policy on Life
THE DLP SUPPORTS LIFE FROM CONCEPTION TO NATURAL DEATH
Our support can take many forms including providing palliative care, public housing and community reconciliation.
We oppose the exploitation of the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, the disadvantaged and the voiceless.
We oppose palliative care being utilized as a means of euthanasia and we support the right of staff to oppose such practices.
We support the rights of the unborn.
On mental health, the DLP looks pretty good. They want a person-focused approach, with a focus on early intervention and recovery. They want better services for regional areas, and a 24-hour emergency response service for children and adolescents.
Less useful is their belief that misuse of drugs and alcohol can lead to mental health problems. My understanding, from my work some years ago as a telephone counsellor, is that the while the association between drugs and mental health is strong, the causality actually runs the other way – a lot of people try to ‘self-medicate’ their mental health issues with drugs or alcohol, because these can sometimes alleviate or mask the symptoms.
On Disability, the DLP are reliable.
Australians with disabilities want to be in charge of their lives. They want access to meaningful jobs, and they want to be able to do things for themselves where possible.
They want to be able to choose the services they need and not to be dictated to by bureaucrats.
Carers too need to be looked after and the DLP will maintain income support for carers.
The DLP will also encourage the NDIS to look into the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities in residential, institutional and mainstream services.
They want more funding for the NDIS, and for its implementation to be transparent and accountable. They want a better quality of life for both people with disabilities and their carers, and
Families and children with complex disabilities should receive adequate access to respite care options to avoid the incidence of relinquishment of their children into state care.
Oh, yes. I’m really in favour of that one. When I was studying genetic counselling, they took us to one of those long-term care facilities for children with severe disabilities, and while the staff were incredibly loving and affectionate with their patients, it was saddening to learn how many parents had had to relinquish their children not because they wanted to, but because they could only access a certain number of respite care hours per year, and with other children to look after, or with work commitments, it was simply not possible to give their children the round-the-clock care they needed, and the only option was relinquishment.
So yeah, I’m up for adopting that policy as soon as possible.
And that’s it!
I’m sure I’ve said this before, but the thing about the DLP is that they really are very Catholic, in a very consistent way, with both the good and the bad that this entails. So yes, they are pro-life to a degree that I find obnoxious – but the flip side of this is that they recognise that you really then need to support people whose lives are made difficult by illness or poverty. They are anti-Communism, but they are also anti-poverty and pro-worker. They are obnoxious about LGBTQIA+ people… and there’s no real ‘but’ to that one, unfortunately.
This should not be construed as approval of the DLP. While I like some of their policies, there are many others that are extremely problematic. Also, if their group voting ticket is anything to go by, they have kind of terrible friends.
However, from the point of view of predicting which way they will jump on various issues, they are actually very consistent and reliable, which makes them easier to deal with than some of the smaller and stranger parties. It’s pretty much ‘What Would Pope Francis Do?’. And if you understand that, you pretty much understand the DLP.