Monday, May 25, 2009

Will it happen to the Democrats again?

The Australian Democrats could, amongst other things, lay claim to being Australia's first enviromental party. However, they also were a fairly broad church party representing a range of "progressive" causes. In the analysis of its demise a number of potential causes can be identified. One was the agony caused by regular fracturing between the broad progressive causes - usually a fight amongst priorities. The second was the practical problem once a balance of power was achieved of having to make real choices about real issues rather than working in theory.

But a third was the emergence of a single issue environmental party, The Greens. This party was modelled on the party of the same name established in Germany then spreading across Europe.

I've noted the revived Democrats attempt to recreate its niche as the libertarian party. No sooner have they done so than the first vestiges of a new niche party in Europe has emerged.

Sweden is the first country to have outlawed peer-to-peer internet activities that mostly constitute copyright theft. The political response is the launch of a new political party called the Pirate Party.

The question is will this party also morph into an Australian version and steal the Democrats new chosen ground?


HeathG said...

Hi David

You might want to share your definition of 'libertarian' since I'd have thought the LDP ( would be Australia's version of the (US styled) libertarians - not the Democrats.

I'd imagine the Democrats would have better brand recognition than LDP which would work in the favour. Working against them (head to head agaist LDP) is that LDP will appeal more to 'free market' and 'gun' voters, whilst the thE Dems are still going to be battling wiht 'The Greens' for economic centre/left votes.

(Though i really think right and left are not such useful concept when talking about these type sof aprties.

Anonymous said...

Hi David and Heath - the Democrats have always been a progressive centrist party (that veered to the left with disastrous consequences in recent years, and has recovered from that mistake now).

Some Libertarians find the Democrats appealing as they have discomfort with the conservative social policies, but the Democrats have never been a libertarian party in the US style of Libertarian. We are a progressive centrist party with a lot of classic (little l) liberal values.

The greens are far to the left - and the only cross over the Democrats have with them is on Environmental votes, as the Democrats were the first environmental party in Australia.

The opposition to internet censorship is only one policy from a party that is known for having a full policy suite and never has been anything close to a single issue party like the Greens, or the Pirate Party or the Sex Party. As all policies are under review, expect a cascade of policy announcements right through the rest of the year and in to the next election.