December 26, 2006


Who is supporting the rise of social conservatism? (Daniel Donahoo, 22 December 2006, Online Opinion)

Is it possible that the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party is contributing more to the rise of socially conservative, family-driven politics than John Howard and the Liberals?

Recent election results in Victoria suggest that it is Labor who has been responsible for electing representatives of Family First and the Democratic Labor Party who have run anti-abortion, family-focused campaigns. And, former Labor premiers Cain and Kirner are expressing their disappointment.

The election of Family First’s Steve Fielding to the Senate in the 2004 Federal election and the recent results in Victoria where Peter Kavanagh of the DLP was elected to the Upper House demonstrates just how far the Australian Labor Party has moved to the right. Its members are stranded between a desire to support the idealism of the Greens and the need to appeal to comfortable, consumer-driven middle Australia.

The reality is, that in trying to present an alternative opposition and be competitive, they have been drifting right for more than a decade. The result, in this game of tug and war, is the Liberals are having the greater long-term political impact.

Paul Austin in The Age, (December 14, 2006) rightly pointed out that democracy is not in trouble just because the DLP have got a seat in the Victorian parliament after 20 years. But, we should be troubled by Labor parties who preside over significant surpluses and don’t use them to adequately improve the health and well-being of our society. So powerful has the pull of neo-capitalism been, Labor runs the economy more conservatively than the conservatives.

It's certainly conspicuous that in Britain, which has a semi-serious third party, and when America had its only recent viable third party candidacy, the leaders of Labour and the Democrats ran to the Right of the "conservative" parties.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 26, 2006 8:05 PM

There it is. I know that a little more than a month ago someone right here on these pages commented to the effect that were the Democrats to lose the baby-killers and the gun-grabbers it could be a whole new ball game.

And how should we view this? For the pro-life and RKBA activists, is is the smell of napalm in the morning.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 26, 2006 9:05 PM

This probably isn't about third parties as such; more about the proportional-representation systems that the Australian Senate and the upper house (Legislative Council) of the Victoria state parliament both use. I'm sure if we had a similar system, we'd have some Right-to-Life Party members in every state legislature in the Union, and probably a smattering of Communists, too.

Posted by: Random Lawyer at December 26, 2006 10:28 PM


I've been stating that for a while, in different ways.

First, while no one wants to see alternatives cost "constervatives" seats, the fact is that Rs deserve to lose seats when one can call their faux conservativism into question.

Second, there is rarely a downside to 3rd party "top-of-the-ticket" challenger. I'd trade Gingrich in 94 over the poltroon Bush in 92 any day of the week.

The worst downside of this trend in the US is the horrific draw of the increasingly disfunctional 2-party system. With the Dems getting "better" on abortion and guns, the nation is drawn more deeply into protectionism and nativism.

If there ever was a time for the nation to produce another "new" party, this is it.

Neither the Rs or the Ds have the necessary centrism it takes to truly lead the nation. The R's are about to radically reject "Bushism" and the Dems have already rejected "Clintonism" (as has Clinton).

The center isn't holding, and a Dobbsian/TaxEating beast is marching toward Washington to be born.

Posted by: Bruno at December 27, 2006 12:20 AM

Conservatism wins when the party of the Left is conservative.

Posted by: oj at December 27, 2006 7:08 AM