This is the second instalment in a series on The XYZ providing a brief summary, and some brief opinion, on the policies, pros, and cons of the political parties contesting the upcoming Australian federal election. Please note that this article contains a cut and paste, and slight edit, from the Liberal Democrat’s homepage, outlining their policies. For a more thorough overview, please visit the LDP site itself.
After thinking harder about my previous recommendation to vote Green, I will get serious and offer an alternate for your vote.
Seriously, imagine a government run by the Liberal Democrats
Imagine a government that wants smaller government, wants to eliminate the nanny state and does not tolerate the Politically Correct disease.
That is the Liberal Democrats.
A vote for them is probably a vote for why you read the XYZ. They have Keating’s vote.
From their website direct comes their philosophy and a overview of key policies well worth a read:
The LDP’s philosophy sometimes confuses those who like to apply left and right labels to political ideologies. Free trade is considered to be right-wing while drug legalisation is left-wing. Cutting tax is right-wing but defending civil liberties is left-wing.
However, all of these positions share the common principle of decreasing the role of government. They differ from “left-wing” people who often want the government to control the economy but not our social lives, and from “right-wing” people who want the government to control our social lives but not the economy.
The LDP’s philosophy is broadly described as classical liberal or libertarian, although those are not necessarily precise labels.
Libertarianism can be based on two very different philosophical starting points. Some libertarians believe that free markets and individual freedom should be preferred because they are more moral political systems. Such people argue that it is immoral to take money from people by force and to tell people how to live their lives.
Utilitarian libertarians believe that a small government will lead to better outcomes than a big government. Such people argue that libertarian solutions will lead to greater wealth, less poverty, more diversity and will generally make people happier.
The first philosophical position is concerned with process, while the second is concerned with outcomes. In reality, most libertarians (and most people) care about both.
Acceptance by libertarians of the rights of individuals to pursue their activities, subject to non-coercion of others, does not indicate endorsement of those activities.
Within a small government context, the LDP believes government should fund recurrent activities entirely through taxation and balance liabilities and assets to achieve the equivalent of zero net worth.
The Liberal Democrats support significant tax cuts in conjunction with a major reduction in government expenditure. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) aims to: Substantially cut taxes. Ensure that no government in Australia increases its overall tax take. Ensure limited government, responsible budget management, and a decentralised federation.
Freedom and Civil Liberties
The Liberal Democrats believe that freedom is precious, that our freedom is not conferred by government, that government poses great risks to our freedom, and that the role of government is the defence of freedom. The Liberal Democrats believe in: Freedom of speech and expression. A free media. Freedom of association, assembly..
Limited and Accountable Government
The Liberal Democrats will ensure that governments are restricted as to what they can do and kept accountable through extensive checks and balances. The Liberal Democrats support: constitutional protection of private property, sunset clauses on legislation, bodies established to review and supervise government, protection for whistleblowers, freedom of information..
The LDP supports competitive federalism as it was intended by the founders of the constitution. Would encourage competition between the States in the pursuit of economic growth and development.
Copyright and Patents
The Liberal Democrats support intellectual rights in return for private creative endeavours, but opposes increased restrictions, such as is happening with copyright. The Liberal Democrats also believe that intellectual rights laws need to take into account the changing nature of society and technology.
National defence is a legitimate role of the Commonwealth government. However, unnecessary expenditure on defence contributes to excessive taxation.
The Liberal Democrats believe in constitutional democracy and support voluntary voting, citizens initiated referenda, fixed parliamentary terms, recall elections, constitutional protection of private property and sunset clauses on legislation.
Deregulation and Privatisation
The LDP advocates an immediate end to government ownership of business enterprises including the ABC, SBS, Australia Post, Medibank Private, electricity generation and public transport services. The Liberal Democratic Party opposes the ownership of businesses by governments and the provision of services that could be provided by the private sector.
The LDP does not believe in either subsidising or unfairly taxing any particular source of energy, including nuclear. The energy market should operate in the private sector, competing in an environment of limited regulation which does not seek to pick winners.
The LDP values the natural environment within the context of a prosperous society that provides equal protection under the law and is based on respect for individual freedom, personal responsibility, small government and the defence of private property.
Equality before the Law
All citizens should be treated equally before the law. The Liberal Democrats believe a person’s sex, race, religion or membership of a demographic group should have no bearing on: criminal proceedings and sentencing, access to welfare payments, access to government services, or access to government employment and contracts.
The LDP regards the right to own firearms for sport, hunting, collecting and self-defence as fundamental to a free society. Firearm ownership should be subject to possession of a licence.
The Liberal Democratic Party believes: Aid to foreign countries by the Australian government, other than short term humanitarian relief following natural disasters, should cease. Donations by private individuals to foreign aid projects should neither be encouraged nor discouraged..
The LDP supports free international trade in goods, services and capital. It is a simple fact that Australians benefit from free trade and foreign investment. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is a pro-trade party. In Australia, other small parties hide behind the rhetoric of ‘fair trade’ and protectionist populism.
The LDP supports the legalisation of use, cultivation, processing, possession, transport and sale of cannabis, with protection of minors and penalties for driving while impaired.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) neither supports nor opposes gambling. It considers it to be like any other form of entertainment – a matter of choice for responsible adults.
The Liberal Democrats will drastically reduce government interference in the right of individuals to manage their own health. Policy The Liberal Democrats will: Abolish Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and funding for public hospitals, which will be transferred to non-government ownership. Introduce a medical expenses subsidy for citizens that rises as medical expenses increase..
The Liberal Democrats will deregulate and privatise higher education, while retaining loans for tuition fees. The Liberal Democrats support: removing tuition subsidies; abolishing student income support like Austudy and Abstudy; maintaining income-contingent loans for tuition fees, provided that: a commercial rate of interest is charged.
The Liberal Democrats would increase opportunities to live and work in Australia while carefully guarding access to welfare and citizenship. The Liberal Democratic Party believes the free movement of people, within and between countries, generally contributes to greater prosperity. It believes immigrants contribute a net social and economic benefit to Australia.
Labour Market Regulation
The Liberal Democrats believe Australians should be free to enter employment and service contracts without government interference. The LDP would: Abolish the ban on low paid work, referred to as the minimum wage. Abolish minimum employment conditions, referred to as the national employment standards (while retaining occupational health and safety rules).
Adults must be free to make their own lifestyle decisions, including marriage, without interference by the government or any need for its approval. Policy The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP): Believes private sexual activities and lifestyle choices voluntarily undertaken by adults are not matters for government intervention except to prevent coercion and protect children.
The Liberal Democratic Party believes that the Australian child-care industry is needlessly over-regulated leading to burdensome regulatory compliance costs. These increased costs place out-of-home childcare out of the reach of average families without the assistance of government subsidies.
Money and Banks
The Liberal Democrats believe that inflation is taxation by stealth, that the Reserve Bank should be more accountable, and that banks should be free to fail.
The LDP believes those who choose to use motorcycles and scooters should not be discouraged by government policies. The use of motorcycles and scooters is a matter of individual choice.
The Liberal Democratic Party believes that the ability to easily purchase medicines is a vital aspect of maintaining health and vitality. The availability of treatment options within Australia is currently very tightly controlled both by over-regulation of pharmaceuticals themselves and the monopoly powers granted by government to the Pharmacy Guild.
Police and Crime
The Liberal Democrats believe Peel’s Principles of policing should comprise the basis of all police activities. Policy The Liberal Democrats believe: Repealing victimless crimes and pursuing a more balanced approach to traffic laws will allow more police resources to be used for, rather than against, the public.
Relations With Other Countries
The Liberal Democrats support freedom and democracy at home and abroad. The Liberal Democrats support professional diplomatic engagement together with trade representation (funded on a user-pays basis) to foster bilateral trade. The Liberal Democrats endorse the right of the people of any region to have their own country..
The Liberal Democrats support freedom of religion but oppose government involvement in religion including funding of programs based on religion and efforts to impose religious beliefs on others.
The LDP believes school regulation should be devolved to state level and funded through school vouchers that promote competition between schools and encourage parental choice. The LDP opposes the state-federal jurisdictional duplication in education policy and believes that school funding and regulation should be decentralised and devolved to the state level.
The LDP is neither pro-smoking nor anti-smoking; it is pro-choice. Just as a private individual has the right to dictate whether visitors or guests may smoke in their lounge-room or their car, so too the owner of a bar or restaurant should have the right to determine whether smoking should or should not be permitted..
The LDP believes adults have a right to end their own lives, with or without assistance, and to have access to information to help them do it.
The LDP believes traffic laws should strike a better balance between safety and efficient travel. Australia is a large country in which motor vehicles are a vital means of transport. Our traffic laws need to strike a balance between safety and the need for efficient travel over long distances.
The LDP does not generally support the criminalisation of victimless crimes and seeks to reduce the intrusion of government into these areas. Victimless crime is a term used to refer to behaviour that is illegal but does not violate or threaten the rights of anyone else.
The Liberal Democrats will modify the welfare system to foster a culture of independence and civil society without neglecting the genuinely needy.