Liberal Democratic Party (Australia)
|Liberal Democratic Party|
|National President||Gabriel Buckley|
|National Treasurer||David Leyonhjelm|
|Headquarters||Dickson, Australian Capital Territory|
|Ideology||Classical liberalism, libertarianism|
|House of Representatives|
|Politics of Australia
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP or Liberal Democrats) is an Australian political party founded in Canberra in 2001. The party's policies are broadly based on classical liberal and libertarian principles. The LDP is a registered party in the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, and Victoria, and is also registered for federal elections with the Australian Electoral Commission. It had one senator, David Leyonhjelm, elected to parliament at the 2013 federal election, and also has four representatives at local government level (one councillor in Victoria, two councillors in New South Wales and one in South Australia).
Founded as the Liberal Democratic Party in 2001, changes to the Electoral Act by the Howard government forced all parties without parliamentary representation to deregister, and re-register under stricter naming rules. Advised by the Australian Electoral Commission that federal registration under the original name was uncertain given opposition by the Liberal Party of Australia, and lacking the funding to appeal a likely negative finding, in 2007 the party chose to register as the Liberty and Democracy Party. However in 2008 the party successfully applied to the Australian Electoral Commission to change its federally registered name to Liberal Democratic Party. During this period, the party remained registered under its original name in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
The LDP states it adheres to libertarian, classical liberal, small government and laissez-faire principles coupled with what the party considers as a high regard for individual freedom and individual responsibility.
- Build a strong economy
- Conceal and carry laws in regards to handguns
- Cease all Commonwealth involvement in health and education
- Restore to the States the power to impose income taxes and other taxes currently reserved to the Commonwealth
- Extensive reduction of taxes and fines, industrial relations regulations, and government spending including welfare, health and defence
- Support of extensive privatisation and deregulation: end government ownership of business enterprises including the ABC, SBS, Australia Post, Medibank Private, electricity generation and public transport services
- Support of a 20% flat rate income tax
- Support of extensive free markets and free trade
- Support of nuclear power
- Support of market over government responses to climate change
- Opposition to industry subsidies including corporate welfare
- Support of competitive federalism and political decentralisation
- Support of citizen-initiated referenda, fixed parliamentary terms, recall elections, and voluntary voting
- A general immigration tariff on all non-humanitarian immigrants from other nations to replace the existing quota system
- Support of free migration agreements with more nations such as the current Australia/New Zealand agreement
- Unauthorised arrivals temporarily detained for health and security checks, transparent process for determining refugee status, community release under bail-like conditions while status is determined
- Support of same-sex marriage
- Opposition to affirmative action
- Support of property owners' rights
- Support of fishing and shooting rights
- Re-legalisation of marijuana use
- Legalisation of assisted suicide
- Abolition of coercive psychiatry
- Opposition to government-funded foreign aid, other than short-term humanitarian relief
- Support of a free and independent Tibet and East Turkestan, and restoring official recognition of the Republic of China
- David McAlary becomes party president.
- Peter Whelan elected party president.
- Contests 2008 Gippsland by-election, winning 4.2 percent of the vote.
- Contests the seat of Molonglo in the 2008 ACT election, winning 0.9 percent of the vote.
- Applies successfully to the AEC to change its federally registered name to "Liberal Democratic Party".
- January: Former New Zealand Finance Minister Sir Roger Douglas keynote speaker at the 2010 LDP National Conference in Sydney.
- Contests 2010 federal election, receiving 1.8 percent of the national senate vote, and an average of 1.3 percent across the 21 lower house seats it contested, with a best of 5.52 percent in Gippsland.
- January: Radio presenter and former VFL footballer Sam Kekovich keynote speaker at the 2011 LDP National Conference in Canberra.
- Registered in South Australia.
- Gained 13.3 and 7.3 percent of the primary vote in the Ramsay and Port Adelaide state by-elections in the absence of Liberal Party of Australia candidates.
- Jeff Pettett was elected as a Councillor to the Ku-ring-gai Council in northern metropolitan Sydney at the New South Wales local government elections, gaining 24 per cent of vote in the absence of Liberal Party candidates.
- Clinton Mead was elected as a Councillor to the Campbelltown Council in southern metropolitan Sydney at the New South Wales local government elections
- January: Author and journalist Cassandra Wilkinson keynote speaker at the 2013 LDP National Conference in Sydney.
- David Leyonhjelm elected to the Senate with a 9.5 percent (+7.2) primary vote polling the third-highest vote in New South Wales after the Liberal/National Coalition and the Australian Labor Party. The result for the LDP in New South Wales was partly attributed to the "donkey vote" with the party occupying first position on a record-size ballot paper.
- Primary vote of 5.33 percent in Gippsland, the only House of Representatives seat the party contested at the 2013 election.
- Councillor Clinton Mead is elected by his fellow councillors to be mayor of Campbelltown.
- Gabriel Buckley becomes party president.
- February: Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson keynote speaker at the 2014 LDP National Conference in Sydney.
- June: Leyonhjelm and Family First's Bob Day announced their intention to vote as a bloc in the Senate on economic issues, but will vote separately on social issues.
- July: David Leyonhjelm becomes the Liberal Democratic Party's first senator.
- November: Achieves registration with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), announces it will field upper-house candidates in the upcoming Victorian state election on 29 November 2014.
- November: Small business owner Samuel Charlick, the South Australian State President of the LDP, is elected as a councillor for Glenelg Ward in the City of Holdfast Bay, the first LDP representative in that state.
Prior to the 2012 Ramsay and Port Adelaide state by-elections in South Australia, the polls in The Advertiser newspaper gave the LDP 23 percent and 14 percent of the vote respectively in the absence of Liberal Party candidates. The LDP ended up with votes of 13.3 percent and 7.3 percent respectively. The paper described the LDP as "a hardline libertarian party that demands abolition of government welfare as well as the minimum wage, seatbelts and bike helmets. It backs legalisation of marijuana and increased freedom to access pornography."
At the 2013 federal election, LDP candidate David Leyonhjelm was elected to the Senate after polling the third highest vote in the state of New South Wales after the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Labor Party. According to Leyonhjelm, a portion of their vote probably came from their 'first position' on the long senate ballot paper and voters potentially being confused with his party and other contesting parties such as the Liberals, the Australian Democrats and the Christian Democratic Party. However, Leyonhjelm points to the fact that the Liberal Democrats' vote in South Australia, where they were fifth on the ballot, rose 3 percentage points. He also points to the fact that the donkey vote generally only produces swings of +1 or 2 percentage points to the party listed first on the ballot.
Leyonhjelm organised preferences for several different, but closely entwined, political parties seeking election in the Senate, including the Outdoor Recreation Party, Smoker's Rights Party, and the Republican Party of Australia. Australian Sex Party candidate Fiona Patten alleged Leyonhjelm intentionally failed to lodge ticket voting preferences forms, reneging on a preference deal, but Leyonhjelm claimed that there was a mistake entering the AEC fax number. The Liberal Democrats were not involved in Glenn Druery's "Minor Party Alliance" during the election, which assisting in negotiating preference flows between minor parties.
In 1 July 2014, David Leyonhjelm became the Liberal Democratic Party's first senator.
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