Federal Election 2019: Meet the Liberal Democratic Party

Summary

Website: https://www.ldp.org.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LibDemAus/
Slogans:
Low Taxes. Small Government.
Individual Responsibility.
Themes: Dog-eat-dog libertarians.  Fond of guns and free speech.  Not interested in the environment.  Very much an ‘I’ve got mine’ philosophy.
Electorate:
Upper House: NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA
Lower House: Bean, Calare, Fadden, Fairfax Farrer, Lyne, McPherson, Moncrieff, Parkes, Rankin
Preferences: This lot are way too libertarian to tell you who to vote for, apparently.  Except in NSW, where they like HEMP, Pauline Hanson, Small Business, Science and the Pirates.  Interestingly, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers don’t get a look in – I’d have expected them instead of One Nation.
Previous reviews

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Victorian State Election 2018: Meet the Liberal Democrats

I don’t have time to read all of this!
The Basics

LDP

Website: https://www.ldp.org.au/victoria
Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/LibDemVIC/
Themes: Libertarians.  Free speech, right to bear arms, small government, cutting welfare, privatising everything.

With friends like these…
The Group Voting Ticket

Bizarrely, the most favoured party in the LDP’s top five is the Democratic Labour Party, which on the face of it, should have nothing in common with the LDP’s libertarian principles.  I mean, the DLP has a pretty strong emphasis on both conservative social values and universal access to things like healthcare.  About all they have in common is a desire to repeal 18C.  Sustainable Australia and Transport Matters also appear in the top five six times each, and Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party, the Aussie Battlers and the Shooters and Fishers are also popular.

The Australian Liberty Alliance features twice in their top five, so clearly the LDP has no problem with right-wing nutters.

Left wing nutters are clearly another story, because the bottom of the ticket always runs Animal Justice, the Victorian Socialists, Liberal or Labor (usually mixed up in such a way as to help neither), and last of all, the Greens.

Not, of course, that I am calling the Greens left-wing nutters.  But I’m pretty sure the LDP is.

The Body Politic
Policies, Snark, Terrible Theme Songs and Other Observations

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Meet the Small Parties: Liberal Democratic Party

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.
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Victorian Senate Group B: The LDP – not so much Liberal as Libertarian

I have to admit to a certain trepidation in writing up this party.  My first encounter with the Liberal Democratic Party was three years ago, when I was reading up on all the small parties for the 2010 election, and I had to stop part way through my analysis of their policies because I was getting so angry and upset about their views on healthcare that Andrew started to worry about my blood pressure.  Which is a little ironic, really.

So, thinking of calm blue oceans, let us enter the libertarian paradise that is the Liberal Democratic Party website.

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Politics: Federal Election – Meet the Liberal Democratic Party

Wow, this political party is like every Libertarian I’ve ever seen on a US politics comment thread.

Actually, that’s not fair on America – this lot make the Republican Party look like a bunch of Socialists.

Edited to add: no, it’s really not fair. Having now read most of their policies, I absolutely can’t stand these guys.

I don’t think I’d ever heard of the Liberal Democratic Party before I started writing this series of posts. Having glanced briefly at their website and noted that they are in favour of privatising *everything*, I do not feel that I have lost much by not hearing about them. They are all about small government, deregulation, private enterprise, free trade, and individual rights. An economic free-for-all, in other words, which has worked so well with banking over the last few years. The notion of community or interdependence appears to be a closed book to them. Not surprisingly, I do not find them very appealing.

So, who are they sending their preferences to this election? I suspect I could make a pretty good prediction based on what I have seen of their policies. But it turns out that I’d be wrong, so perhaps I should stop stereotyping and get on with the job (the closer I get to the end of this insane project – and this is my last political party, after which I only have to deal with four independents – the less patience I have, especially with parties I profoundly disagree with, so I am probably being less than fair). Their first handful of preferences go to the Sex Party, Senator On-Line and the Climate Sceptics, the DLP, Building Australia and One Nation. Oh dear. And what is the Sex Party doing in such inauspicious company (truthfully, what it is probably doing is promoting personal freedoms, I’m just bemused at the company it’s keeping). When it comes to major parties, they pick Family First, then alternate Liberal and Labor down the ticket. Not surprisingly, the Communists (Greens, Socialist Alliance and Socialist Equality Party) are at the bottom of the ticket.

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