Political Misnomers – The Australian ‘Liberal’ Party

19 Apr

Misnomer: –noun
a misapplied or inappropriate name or designation.

Liberal: – –adjective
1.
favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
2.
free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.

Welcome back to West Coast Left. Actually, it should be the other way around, a big welcome back to this blog to the wonderful Internet once again.

It’s been a while, yet vacationing and domestic duties would be taking the greater part of my time as of late, so therefore I have really put this blog on the back burner of so many other things which have positioned themselves to the forefront as of late.

My first post back is one in which I very briefly touched on in my previous blog of a few years ago: Super Simmo. Yes, the blog which infamously cost me employment at one of WA’s more conservatively run catholic private schools, and the blog which ultimately led me to my own freedom in my career and up a path of control of my own life and freedom to express my views publicly.

The issue I am discussing today is one that most would find inconsequential. Yet, I find it one of great significance in today’s political landscape, and ultimately, identity politics in Australia.

The problem which has been evident for many years now is the fact that the Australian Liberal Party are called so.

How can a political party, a major national political party, call themselves Liberal if their views are counter to that adjective? How can a party, who’s members identify heavily with nationalism, conservatism and protectionism be named Liberal?

It is a great misnomer, one that would cause great embarrassment amongst those of us who are politically charged and sufficiently educated.

The Liberal party, has at the moment, employed as their leader an icon of Australian conservatism. Tony Abbott is not a progressive and clearly not an advocate of personal freedoms and liberties. He supports a bottom line of policy based on religious belief which could in turn effect legislation if his party were to ever form government again under his leadership.

In the sane world, Liberal is a word which describes those of us who are progressive in our thought, opinions and actions. Those of us without bigotry or prejudice. It describes those in our society who support freedoms and liberties. Those who advocate the assistance of government to those at need or who are sick.

This is a liberal.

Tony Abbott is quite possibly, one of the farthest from that description right now in mainstream Australian politics.

So why does he lead the Liberal Party? Why has this party, or perhaps, HOW has this party been able to hang on to this name for so long? Even with a long line of recent men at the helm – John Hewson, Alexander Downer, John Howard, Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull (actually, Malcolm is one of the few MP’s in the party with slightly progressive opinions. One such being the republican issue) the party has still kept its name.

Here’s a brief explanation of HOW they have remained known as the liberal party.

Since the party was formed after the 1943 federal election after the destruction of the United Australia Party, the Liberal party, who has historically held a coalition with the National Party when in government, the Liberal party identified themselves as economic liberalists. Economic liberalism is not the same as being a liberal, as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were also quite the economic liberalists, however I would dare anyone to even call them remotely progressive.

The party has always identified socially with the conservative ideology. They have leaned towards the old policies of the now non-existent Australian Protectionist Party. There has always been a nationalist undertone to their ideals and their governmental policy-making. Their number of government coalitions with the Nationals – a slightly more right-leaning party, have produced more border control measures and have made it significantly more difficult for legitimate refugees to gain asylum and start a new life in Australia.

Social conservatism is the best way to describe the Australian Liberal Party. And despite their economic liberalism, this does NOT in fact, make them liberals in the slightest way.

At a time when the economy as we know it is completely wrecked beyond control because of the compounded greed induced by capitalism, a party’s name should reflect what are the REAL issues plaguing society: The climate, health, peace beyond our reach, and the needs of the many.

If a party’s name were fairly based on that party’s agenda, then the Australian Liberal Party would more realistically be known as the Australian Conservative Party.

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One Response to “Political Misnomers – The Australian ‘Liberal’ Party”

  1. Peter Spicer-Wensley June 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Simon,
    the correct political term for Tony Abbott is self-flagellating dickhead idiot.
    And that’s on a good day…
    PeterSW

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