And now the Festival of Ungrouped Independents comes to a close, and we return our attention to parties that actually have a chance of being elected. God help us all. Quite literally in this case, because the next party in my Carnival of Tiny Parties is the right-wing Christian party, Family First.
Family First’s slogan is “Strong Families. Strong Values. Strong Australia.”
(you have no idea how much I want to parody this slogan.)
They then unpack this slogan to explain to us that “A job, a home, your finances under control, a safe neighbourhood to live in, a secure retirement and a few of life’s small pleasures… contribute to healthy families”. And when they say families, they are talking about extended families. But probably not gay families.
We are told that values are the foundation of a nation, with the values in question including “telling the truth, living within your means, hard work, respect, courtesy, compassion, courage, generosity”. Lots of good, conservative values there, with just a teensy bit of potential for judgment (living within your means, for example, sounds good until you’ve been so poor that your income simply does not cover rent, food and bills any more – and then it just becomes a judgment on why didn’t you plan better).
Under Strong Australia, we start with this:
Anything not based on economic reality is doomed to failure. Whether it’s farming, mining, tourism or small business, it is a truism that capital goes where it is made welcome and stays where it gets looked after.
Definitely positioning themselves as a voice of economic rationalism here, I would think. I worry a bit about capital going where it is made welcome – this can become an argument for lower wages awfully easily. To do them justice, Family First does at least pay lip service to a need to understand “how ‘barriers to entry’ to getting a job causes unemployment.”
So we have the introduction to our themes, but before we hear the entire symphony, let us take a brief pause to find out what Family First thinks of the other instruments in the orchestra. Preferably before my metaphor gets completely out of control (I’m doing a lot of singing this weekend, and it’s taking over my brain…).