Next cab off the rank is the Liberal Democratic Party, a party which I always rather dread reviewing, because they are so good at making me angry. The LDP recently gained their first Senate seat through a combination of canny preference trading and a lucky ballot paper draw, which put them in Column A, where many people mistook them for the similarly-named Liberal Party (and yes, there are people who genuinely voted for them, but their primary vote went up by something like a factor of ten, and I don’t think this was due to a sudden philosophical epiphany on the part of this portion of the electorate), so lucky us, we now have a voice for ‘classical liberalism’, also known as libertarianism, in Parliament.
But what does this mean? Well, as it happens, the LDP has created a video, available on the front page of their website, that sets out very clearly what they stand for and why. If you’ve ever wondered what libertarianism is about, it’s actually a very good introduction, I think. I think they do a particularly good job of pointing out that libertarianism isn’t really about being on the right or left side of politics – it sits on a different axis.
The short version, for those who don’t have time for videos, is that the LDP views the government as having no right to interfere with the liberty of individuals, in their work, economic, or private life, and they really don’t like taxation, which they view as the government deciding how to spend your money for you. They make the quite perceptive point that the Liberal Party tends to be in favour of economic freedom, but is inclined to intervene in one’s personal liberties, while the Labour Party tends to be in favour of personal freedom, while being more restrictive about economic matters. And their philosophy is that both of these things are bad – perhaps even equally bad, since they talk about government interference on one’s ‘home, one’s body and one’s wallet’.
And this is where I part company from them, because I feel that these things are qualitatively quite different – and I’m also a believer in the social contract, the idea that people are responsible for each other, and not just themselves, that sometimes our right to personal freedoms are outweighed by the rights of others to live in peace and safety… and while I would not go so far as to say that the LDP disagree with this, they definitely draw the line a lot further away than I would.
But before I get my rant on, let’s have a quick ogle of the Group Voting Tickets, and see what the LDP thinks of the other political parties.
Unsurprisingly, the LDP is fond of parties like the Shooters and Fishers, Voluntary Euthanasia, and the Sex Party, all of whom are fairly big on individual liberty. These parties are found in their top five in nearly every electorate. They also like People Power, possibly because People Power seems to view smart meters as a civil liberties issue (I know. I don’t get it either.), and they quite like the Country Party. What’s more of a surprise is the high preference given to Family First, Rise Up Australia, and particularly the DLP, which is in the top five on all but one ticket. We have already seen that Family First are economic rationalists, and Rise Up Australia is big on their constitutional right to be bigots, but DLP is a bit of a puzzler. While I don’t like the DLP much more than I like the LDP, they are pretty big on getting the government to impose their values on others, which is a long way from the values the LDP espouses. I suspect a purely tactical preference swap, here.
The Liberals are preferenced ahead of Labor in five of the eight regions, but both parties are plaecd near the bottom of the ticket, just above Palmer United, the Greens and the Animal Justice Party. The Basics Rock and Roll Party get to join this happy band in Northern Metropolitan. One gets the idea that they are making a point about Labor and Liberal being much the same. I’m not precisely sure what Palmer United did to annoy them, however – but let’s face it, Palmer United have been doing a fine job of annoying many, many people recently. I’m sure there’s something.