A Conservative Vision for a Richer Liberalism

ChanegChaneg Torres outlines how conservatism can add to the Liberal Tradition.


‘But what is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.’ 
– Edmund Burke

 

What place does conservatism have in the classical liberal tradition? For many, conservatism is seen as merely reactionary; a liability to the electoral success of the liberal tradition, only capable of opposing progress and impotent to provide compelling vision for the challenges of today and the future. I argue that ‘conservatism’ is a disposition toward certain truth claims regarding the nature and end of the individual, the individual’s need for voluntary community and the individual’s relationship to political community. This disposition is necessary for a robust liberalism. It provides liberalism with presuppositions and a vocabulary that has a vision of inherent human dignity at its center and thus gives liberalism sufficient moral grounding and capability to present a compelling vision of the common good.

Classical liberalism has traditionally been understood as the belief in individual liberty. The individual for a liberal possesses natural, inviolable rights prior to any political association, articulated by Locke as ‘life, liberty and property’. Milton Friedman understood it to be ‘the intellectual movement that…emphasized freedom as the ultimate goal and the individual as the ultimate entity in the society. It supported laissez faire at home as a means of reducing the role of the state in economic affairs and thereby enlarging the role of the individual…(the) reduction in the arbitrary power of the state and protection of the civil freedoms of the individual.’ Thus the classical liberal claims that in order to flourish, individuals must be free to associate, voice their opinions and engage in enterprise. Inherent then is a preference for smaller government that gives room for the exercise of individual initiative and exists to protect, rather than to curtail, the liberties of individuals. Smaller government is less capable of coercing individuals into conformity, allowing individuals to pursue their own beliefs and happiness. Indeed, government must be small, because government is made up of flawed individuals who, despite the greatest of benevolence, have the propensity to miscalculate at best, or at worst use the coercive power of the state to impose what they deem to be their anointed vision on those who may find their vision unconscionable. Greater political and economic freedom, then, leads to greater material prosperity and individual wellbeing.

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In Defence of the Establishment

971753_10151574401276107_283040900_nChristopher Rath outlines why the establishment of the Liberal Party exists, and why change from within is the obvious choice for Classical Liberals, Libertarians, and Small Government Conservatives.

The Liberal Party of Australia today is still the John Howard party. The majority of Federal Liberal MPs and Senators served in his Government, most advisers and apparatchiks worked for his Government, and most Young Liberals were inspired to join the Party because of his Government.

 

I joined the Young Liberals in 2006 at the very young age of 16 because I believed in the economic reform being pursued by the Howard/Costello era. I was a “dry” before I knew what the term meant. I was also a “dry” before I knew that there were “wets” in the Party. I thought that “dry” was the only game in town and Party divisions only existed on social issues.

 

This is because by the time the 2000s came along the Liberal Party establishment had become “dry”, with the “wets” a minority of outsiders. The “wets” had been the establishment in the 1970s under Fraser but they lost the long bitter war that was waged in the 1980s and 90s. In fact you could say that Fightback! was the final nail in the “wets” coffin; certainly Howard led a thoroughly “dry” government for over eleven years. If the Party establishment was not “dry” perhaps I would have never joined. After all it was Hawke and Keating rather than Fraser who reduced tariff protection, floated the dollar, and began privatising government assets.

 

I love the Liberal Party establishment because I am bone dry, not in spite of it. My critics in the Young Liberals may call me an “establicon” or establishment conservative as a pejorative, but I wear it as a badge of honour. Being an “establicon” means being “dry”, it means supporting the Premier and Prime Minister, campaigning, raising money, supporting branches to grow, pre-selecting talented men and women, and fostering our best future leaders. It means loving the Liberal Party and our greatest living Australian, John Howard.

 

Howard was also an “establicon”, from being NSW Young Liberal President in the 1960s to seeking a parliamentary career as quickly as possible. He loved the Party and the establishment more than anyone, perhaps even more than his mentor John Carrick. When he lost the 2007 election and his seat of Bennelong he could have blamed his Treasurer, Cabinet, Parliamentary colleagues or Party machine. Instead, even after he had given 40 years of his life to the Party, 16 years as leader and over eleven years as Prime Minister, he humbly took complete blame for the election loss. In fact he defended and praised the Party on election night 2007- “I owe more to the Liberal Party than the Liberal Party owes to me”.

 

The people I’ll never understand are those who attack the Party or threaten to resign or somehow think that they’re above the Party. They are not. Not even a Prime Minister of eleven and a half years is above the Party. Similarly I’ll never understand those who claim ideological purity as a reason for preventing their party membership. If you don’t like the Party leadership or policies, you should join the party and make a difference or contribution towards promoting your deeply held beliefs. You’re going to have more influence inside the Party than from the sidelines. You’re not going to change the fact that the Liberal Party is the natural Party of government, being in power two thirds of the time since WWII.

 

The Liberal Party establishment is not perfect. Not every Liberal Party policy is perfect. But isn’t it better to get 80% of something than 100% of nothing? Isn’t it better to be pragmatic and win an election than being a purist and let Bill Shorten and the trade unions run the nation? All great right-wing leaders understand the importance of pragmatism and the broad church, but again Howard is the master:

“The Liberal Party of Australia is not a party of the hard Right, nor does it occupy the soft centre of Australian politics. It is a party of the centre Right. It is the custodian of two great traditions in Australia’s political experience. It represents both the classical liberal tradition and the conservative tradition.”

 

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher understood this and similarly they turned their parties into “dry” pragmatic parties built in their own image. Even Turnbull understands the importance of pragmatism and has neutralised the issues of climate change and same sex marriage early on. But he also understands that the establishment today, unlike the establishment under the other Malcolm in the 1970s, is inherently “dry”. This is why he went out of his way in his victory speech to prove his “dry” credentials, careful not to scare away people like me- “This will be a thoroughly liberal government. It will be a thoroughly liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market.”

 

Turnbull’s Ministry is also packed to the rafters with establishment dries, including Mathias Cormann, Paul Fletcher, Arthur Sinodinos, Andrew Robb and Josh Frydenberg. Andrew Robb, the archetypical establishment dry, was an economist, staffer, government relations professional, and the federal director of the Liberal Party responsible for the 1996 campaign that brought the Howard Government to power. As Minister for Trade and Investment he has successfully negotiated three free trade agreements. Similarly Josh Frydenberg is an establishment dry, securing the safe seat of Kooyong after being an adviser to Alexander Downer and John Howard and a Director of Global Banking with Deutsche Bank.

 

So to all of the libertarians, classical liberals and small government conservatives out there, my plea to you is to join the Liberal Party, support the inherently “dry” establishment which now exists, try to make a difference by pushing for your agenda and philosophy within the natural party of government, and understand that in politics a level of pragmatism is required.

 

“Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.” (Otto Von Bismarck)

Christopher Rath is a Young Liberal Branch President and currently works in the private sector. He previously worked as an adviser to state and federal Liberal Parliamentarians and has degrees in economics and management.

Sex Party could help Pauline slip into senate

While Labor seems to be sailing to a fate similar to the original Titanic come September 7, a swirling maelstrom of murky Senate preference deals could provide life jackets to a very mixed bag of Senate hopefuls including Pauline Hanson, writes John Mikkelsen 

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A Cat at a Dog Show

Certain gay rights advocates are calling for what they call ‘marriage equality’, or same-sex marriage, writes Justin de Vere 

National governments in New Zealand and France, as well as certain other countries and states, have recently passed laws legalising this. In doing so, the governments of these places now consider a marriage of a man and a woman to be the equivalent of a similar ceremony ‘marrying’ two men or two women.

The desire for marriage equality, while superficially a call for justice and an idea whose time has come, is actually a hurtful, destructive, selfish desire which speciously defies logic, abuses ordinary people’s sense of justice, and will cause damage to an ancient social custom that predates government and civilisation and has nothing to do with homosexuality. The politicians who would effect this change would do so not in the best interests of the country they serve, but in the short-term interests of the party they serve.

Read More: http://justindevere.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/a-cat-at-a-dog-show/

Is it me or is it my blue tie?

Torossian

According to Anne Summers, Women should be aware Abbott's blue-tie brigade, we (does that include or exclude men?) should all be aware of men in blue ties. Come election time, September 14, we (does that still include or exclude men?) should vote for a woman simply because a woman can make sure we have more women in our Federal Parliament. You’ve got to love affirmative action.

Summers warns us that if we do not vote for a female PM just because she is female then “Australia will go from having one of the highest representations of women in government in the democratic world to a very ordinary presence when compared with similar countries.” Make sense? Sure it does!

Untitled-12Has Australia ever had an ordinary presence amongst other nations? Didn’t Summers represent the Hawke Labor Government in some sort of a position? I guess those were pretty ordinary times. Nothing was ever done or achieved for women because, of course, women couldn’t do anything or achieve anything by themselves (and, according to her, obviously still can’t). You go sister!

According to Summers, Gillard has four women in cabinet whereas Abbott only has two. But whose counting and why? 

Gillard knows that her days are numbered and is desperate to try anything and at any cost to the Australian people. If this Prime Minister truly cares about Australia and about women in Australia she would do as her Labor counterpart did in NSW (Kristina Keneally) and fight on policy and not on gender.

So does Anne Summers have me trembling at my knees Girls? Not quite! In theory “The ''blue ties'' [can] really empathise with, and develop relevant policies for, the female part of our population.” For all we know Girls your dad or brother could be one of them. Scared yet?

Summers states her final conclusions by bringing it down to two main points: “The Liberal Party website's dropdown menu on policies [which] does not include a women's policy” and that there are too many “blue ties” because “In this day and age, he [Abbott] has selected so few women for his leadership team.” The Liberals may want to bring up the dropdown menu with its IT department. However, if getting into a leadership team is based on whether you wear a blue tie or not then I’m definitely going to start wearing one!

Sadly I must conclude that men around Australia will soon be asking their wives, daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, female colleagues and many more females in their lives: Is it me or is it my blue tie?

Rose Torossian is a freelance writer. She ran as the Liberal Federal Candidate for Fowler during the 2007 Federal election. She also has a Bachelor of Media degree, Master of Arts in International Communication and is currently studying Commercial Law at Macquarie University. She lives by the following quote: “Life isn’t meant to be easy, my child; but take courage – it can be delightful.”

 

Centenary of the 1913 Federal Election

A couple of weeks ago on 31 May 2013 was the centenary of the 1913 federal election, which went unnoticed.  It was one of the most critical elections in Australian history and its story needs to be retold, writes John Ruddick 

Between 1901 and 1910 Australia had eight Prime Ministerships with no party having a majority in either the House or the Senate.  The backdrop to this period of political flux was the seemingly inexorable rise of Labor. 

In 1901 Labor had just 14 seats in the House (out of 75) making it the smallest of the three parliamentary parties.  In 1903 the Labor tally almost doubled to 23 and then strengthened in 1906 with 26 seats.  The election of 1910 saw Labor not only win a clear majority in the House (42) but almost two thirds of the Senate.  It was a historic victory – Labor was the first openly socialistic party to win a national election in the world.

At the following election in 1913 Labor lost office to the Commonwealth Liberal Party by a single seat.  Australia was in its formative years and the election of 1913 is arguable one of our most consequential – it embedded free enterprise but only just. 

Chris Watson served as the first Labor leader from 1901 to 1907.  During Waton’s leadership Labor held the balance of power between the two pro-business parties – the Protectionists and the Free Traders.  Watson was a Labor moderate who aimed to advance the Labor cause through trading the two other parties off against the other. 

Watson was PM for an inconsequential four months in 1904 (as a result of a parliamentary realignment, not an election) but when the two other parties patched things up he resigned.  Watson remained as Labor leader but his compromises were increasingly resented by the Labor caucus.

In 1907 Labor elected Andrew Fisher as leader.  Like many of early British Labour leaders Fisher was a devout Christian and a teetotaller and unlike today’s ‘Labor’ leaders had spent two decades actually labouring at the bottom of mines. 

Fisher’s colleagues, political opponents, the press and the public would soon admire Fisher as a man of integrity and conviction.  A contemporary noted Fisher: 

has a kind of Olympian dignity, an unruffled and quite impenetrable calm. 

Fisher was an avowed radical socialist who did not think of hiding it.  When campaigning for the leadership he told Caucus: 

it would be cowardly for the man who believes that nationalisation is a proper principle not to express his views in the House.  We have too long shrunk from maintaining propositions which we clearly believe in.

Fisher had absolute confidence that by boldly declaring socialism a majority of the public would soon agree.  He told the Labor Party conference in 1908: 

In the church, the Parliament, in the streets and newspapers all over the civilized world there are no more sneers and scorn for socialism.  Everyone has this one great question to consider: we are all socialists now and indeed the only qualification you hear from anybody is that he is ‘not an extreme socialist.

In late 1908 Labor under Fisher withdrew its support of Protectionist PM Alfred Deakin.  Such were the hostilities between the Protectionists and the Free Traders that Deakin gave his votes in parliament to support Fisher as PM. 

In this first of his three non-consecutive terms as PM, Fisher knew passing socialist legislation was impossible without a majority … so from 1908 to 1909 Fisher principally used the office of PM, not to legislate, but to travel the nation, give speeches and campaign for socialism at the upcoming 1910 election. 

He spoke of: 

soon having a sufficient number in Parliament to express our views in legislation,” and of “Australia being able to lead the world with Socialistic legislation in such a way that it would be helpful to those great countries of the world with congested populations.

Talk like this soon made the two pro-business parties put aside their differences.  The free-traders had lost the debate over tariffs and with socialism a far greater threat the two merged into the Commonwealth Liberal Party. 

It was now obvious Fisher would be removed as PM as soon as Parliament resumed so Fisher mischievously delayed recalling Parliament for as long as he could.  He extended his tour of the nation and his enthusiastic crowds grew. 

After a six month recess Parliament finally returned and Fisher was voted down as PM immediately.  Fisher asked the Governor General for an election but was denied and Deakin returned as PM.  Deakin however was by now tired and probably suffering the onset of dementia while Labor under Fisher had the momentum.

Prior to the formation of the Commonwealth Liberal Party the Protectionists had cut into the working class vote.  The new political environment of two parties (not three) played into Fisher’s hand.  The electorate had a clear choice – the workers versus the capitalists – and Labor’s primary vote leapt from 36.6% 1906 to 49.9% in 1910 making it easily Labor’s biggest ever swing. 

Fisher was Australia’s first powerful PM and he set about using that power.  An unprecedented 113 pieces of legislation passed easily – almost more than all previous governments combined.  Welfare programs and payments boomed. 

Government money was thrown at the arts and sport.  Taxes were hiked as were the number of public servants … but the power Fisher most wanted was to nationalise monopolies and start government owned businesses to compete with the private sector. 

Fisher feared the High Court would declare such laws unconstitutional … so within a year of winning office Fisher put forth two amendments to the Constitution via referendum.  They sought to take the power over commerce and industrial relations away from the states and give it to the federal government.

The referenda lost 61-39%.  Most politicians would back away from such a rebuff but Fisher had often said he would rather return to labouring in the mines than back down on principle.  Fisher immediately announced he would put the questions again to the electorate … and he raised the stakes.  He added six more socialist referenda and timed the vote to be on the same day as the next federal election in 1913.  Fisher reasoned his personal popularity (which was high) would this time get the referenda passed.

In 1913 Fisher’s opponent was the long term anti-socialist campaigner Joseph Cook.  During the campaign Cook focussed not on attacking Fisher but his eight referenda declaring “Labor wants to get in a position of socialistic supremacy over the whole Commonwealth”.

A hundred years ago Cook defeated Fisher by one seat despite Fisher narrowly winning the popular vote.  All eight referenda were defeated just as narrowly.

Fisher did return as PM for a year at the outset of World War One but the war consumed his agenda and he resigned in mid-1915.  He then lived out his days in London depressed at failing to bring about his socialist utopia in the Antipodes. 

One hundred years ago living standards in Argentina were higher than they were in Australia but today the OECD says Australia is the happiest nation on Earth.  Had Fisher’s Labor Party won one more seat in 1913 that may not have been the case.

John Ruddick is a Sydney based mortgage broker

On a Queensland House of Review


Rsz_1197515_108482069234461_1417439_n (1)March 24, 2012 was a historic day in Queensland's history, writes Michael Smyth

Not only due to the utter devastation for the ALP, but also due to its ushering in of "conservative" rule in this state; a sign that the Right in Queensland has shaken off the spectre of Joh.

Before the apologists of Joh get outraged by such a statement, I want to clarify what I mean.

Joh did some good things for Queensland, but his government was ultimately undone by the shortcomings of some of its members.

Whether you love or hate the memory of Joh is irrelevant. The reason that I cite this is that Joh would not have been able to do so much had there been an upper house.

In 1922, the ALP won a landslide victory and decided to abolish the Legislative Council, a move that was questionable from a constitutional point of view.

This led to the ALP holding government for decades, until the 1950s, when the Coalition parties finally won back the Legislative Assembly. This ultimately led to the Joh era, and the expansion of Queensland, but the issue here is the means by which it was expanded.

Due to the fact there is no Upper House, Joh was able to implement his reforms without any opposition from the parliament.

This sounds good in theory, except when you fast forward to the Beattie and Bligh years (1998-2012), where bad laws were made and such an appalling lack of transparency became so apparent that even Tony Fitzgerald complained about it.

Tony Fitzgerald, for those that don't remember is the guy who ran the Fitzgerald inquiry that exposed corruption in Joh's ministry.

So when the proverbial horses mouth comes out and says something along the lines of Labor makes Joh look vaguely translucent, you know you've got a problem.

Freedom of Information requests were frequently ignored by the Beattie government.

So how do you fix this problem? How do you prevent abuses of power – by either side – in the face of only having a unicameral parliament?

You can't really prevent it, once you've cleared the Legislative Assembly, it goes to Government House for Royal Assent, and under our conventions, it is signed into law.

To prevent Joh happening again, and to prevent Beattie from happening again, an Upper House should be restored as a check and balance of our Westminster system.

It is good for constitutional democracy to have the powerful kept in check by a proportional representation of the people.

QUESTION: Won't this mean that reforms don't get pushed through as quickly if they are obstructed by a recalcitrant Upper House?

ANSWER: Yes, but the payoff is that bad policy gets filtered out, or turned into good policy, by consultation with the other parties. It is not healthy to have one party controlling the political and policy agendas.

QUESTION: Why should we allow the Greens (or any other minor party) representation in the parliament if they don't have enough votes to gain a seat in the Assembly?

ANSWER: Because the way our system works in Australia, as a clone of the old Westminster system, is that the state (or country) is broken up into electorates with a roughly equal number of voters, and then to protect the rights of all citizens there is proportional representation for each State (at federal level), and each group of people who feel a certain way at State level.

QUESTION: Won't this cost us more money?

ANSWER: Everything costs money these days, but realistically speaking, we have not increased the number of State electorates for more than two decades. Surely, when we have the money again, we could easily facilitate a restoration of the Upper House, so that no group of voters can make the claim that the government does not represent them.

However, if money is a concern, and at this time it is, it would be feasible to reduce the number of MPs – even if only for a short time – in order to facilitate the restoration of accountability.

QUESTION: What about the Parliamentary Committee system that has been set up?

ANSWER: The Parliamentary Committee system that was set up merely serves to rubber stamp the government’s decisions. There is also the remuneration aspect of each Parliamentary Committee, and each MP sitting on each Committee. Finally, in regards to committees, it detracts from the representative work that each MP does for their constituents.

The 14 years of Labor government serve as a cautionary tale, to those of us who love liberty.

It is our civic duty as citizens, to ask for accountability from our politicians, instead of waiting every three years to undo any policy that could be put through in the night.

There are people with similar complaints about the incumbent LNP government. We need accountability from our politicians, and accountability that does not come just once every three years.

Michael Smyth is the Queensland Branch Treasurer of the Australian Monarchist League

It’s a good time to be a Conservative in Australia

Rath Pic

Christopher Rath celebrates the successes of conservatism in Australia – and proposes a benchmark on how a future Abbott Government could be judged: 

It’s a good time to be a Conservative in Australia…. And when I say conservative, I refer to contemporary conservatism that is still rooted in the socially conservative tradition of Edmund Burke and the economic liberalism as espoused by Adam Smith. Previously this conservatism had been the driving force behind the Thatcherites, the Reaganites and the Howardites (if such a word hasn't been used then I would be its founder and strongest adherent). 

Obviously I don't mean that Australia is more conservative today than in the 1800s, nor do I live in hope that we can return to 17th century Britain, despite my High Tory ideals at times. However, the culture war seems to have shifted in our favour compared to 2007 and certainly since the dark days of the Keating era.   

Many of my conservative friends are pessimistic about Australia’s future and people that know me would attest that I am certainly not a utopian either. However, of late I have found seven reasons to be optimistic about our great nation.

1. Support for Australia's Constitutional Monarchy is at a 25 year high according to a Roy Morgan poll in June this year. Support for a Republic is now at only 35% and I am sure that the 35% in question all have different preferred models of their République in mind.

2. Non-Government School Students as a proportion of Australian students has increased from approximately 20% in the 1970s to almost 35% today.  Around 90% of these non-Government schools are Catholic or from other Christian denominations.  There is no greater unifying issue amongst conservatives and libertarians than choice in education.     

3. Trade Union membership has collapsed. Trade union membership rates of over 50% of the workforce in the 1950s/60s/ 70s has now declined to a mere 18%. Trade unions not only create unemployment and inefficiency through unrealistic wage demands, they are also the arch nemesis of the Liberal Party and conservatism.    

4. The Catholic Church has largely improved since the 1990s, especially under the guidance of Cardinal Pell. Orthodoxy is slowly supplanting the liberal secular catholicism of the 1970s and 80s. Furthermore, Pentecostalism is on the rise with an explosion in adherents at places like Hillsong. Out of the 238,000 Pentecostals in Australia, three-quarters of them attend church every Sunday, far superseding the poor attendance of other denominations.  The first time that I went to a Pentecostal church in Wollongong they played a 5 minute video clip in defence of marriage by the Australian Christian Lobby. It was very refreshing to be amongst friends.

5. Victory on the climate change debate is now in sight. During the dark days of 2006-2009 conservatives were clearly losing the climate change debate. We were told that our damns would dry up, our crops would die and our seas would displace most of Sydney. We had a Liberal Party under Turnbull that supported an ETS, a Labor Party under a then very popular Kevin Rudd that supported an ETS, the Greens at the pinnacle of their power advocating a virtual return to the stone age with 80% reductions in emissions, 66% of Australians who supported an ETS with only 25% opposing, and if you even hinted at possible inaccuracies in climate change ‘science’ you were censored out of existence or called a ‘climate denier’ as if you were comparable to a war criminal. We can now rejoice that the carbon tax is slowly killing the Gillard Government just as the ETS killed Rudd.     

6. The rise of ANZAC Day, Australia Day and Australian patriotism. The assault on our flag, our history and our public holidays has subsided since the Keating days. 95% of Australians support the statement “The spirit of ANZAC Day (with its human qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice) continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity”.  We should give John Howard most of the credit here.

7. Tony Abbott and the Liberals have won the last 27 newspolls (2PP) and election victory seems almost imminent. Malcolm Turnbull did not win a single newspoll under his leadership; in fact he was so far behind that the Liberal Party would have been reduced to a mere rump in Parliament had he not been replaced as leader and the ETS opposed. 

The future of Australian Conservatism rests largely with Tony Abbott. The Abbott Government needs to be reformist in the tradition of the Howard years and not a squandered opportunity in the mould of the Fraser Government. The following nine indicators and policies would have to be the litmus test issues in determining whether conservatism has succeeded or failed within 5 years- we should view them as our performance indicators:

1. The protection of marriage as an institution between one man and one woman. This is the single most important contemporary issue that conservatives face in Australia today. It is an institution that pre-dates the founding of Australia, the British monarchy and even Christianity itself. If marriage and the family unit are redefined, despite existing for thousands of years and responsible for so much good in society, then conservatives will never be able to credibly argue that they are winning the culture war.

2. Reduction in the size of government.  Most importantly the abolition of government debt together with the carbon tax, mining tax and the student services amenities fee. 

3. A restoration of Howard style immigration policy, similar to the ‘Pacific Solution’. Off shore processing at Nauru and Temporary Protection Visas would have to be reinstated together with a stronger citizenship test not stronger “multiculturalism” (as the left defines it).  

4. The preservation of Australia’s Constitutional Monarchy. This is the tried and tested system that has made Australian democracy the envy of the western world. It isn’t just about defending our history; it’s also about preserving a system of checks and balances that avoids both tyranny and revolution.   

5. Labour market deregulation and the abolition of Fair Work Australia. The Rudd/Gillard system is taking Australia back to a pre-1996 labour market with the sole aim of re-empowering the trade unions. 

6. Victory on the climate change debate and the reduction of the influence, power and votes of the Greens, hopefully to the point where they are as irrelevant as the Australian Democrats. Conservatives who have an environmental conscience need to remember Margaret Thatcher’s words, that global warming is a "marvellous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism".

7. Restoring freedom of speech, which has eroded over recent years on the deplorable grounds of ‘the right not to be offended’. Andrew Bolt, Mark Steyn and the Institute of Public Affairs are doing great work on this.  

8. The abolition of the National Curriculum and tackling the Teacher’s Federation and their indoctrinating agenda head on. The cross-curriculum priorities are Indigenous Australians' histories and culture; Asia and Australia's Engagement with Asia; and Sustainability. There is severe hostility to capitalism and the western world, and such a level of bias that “schools might as well tell students who to vote for”- the title of a recent article by Chris Berg.

9. At least a second term of an Abbott Government with Senator Eric Abetz as Leader of the Government in the Senate. A single term will not be sufficient enough to fix Labor’s mistakes, contain the left and drive a conservative agenda.

It would have been ideal to write extensively on each of the nine performance indicators for success of a new Abbott Government and certainly essays could be written on any individual point mentioned above. However, I though that it was important to start the debate on what conservatives would like to see a new Abbott Government implement or preserve. Only so many articles can be written about the evils of the carbon tax; however, I think that I have been quite realistic in balancing the policies that conservatives would like to see with the pragmatism necessary for any government to stay in power.

We should never compromise our conservative principles, however, we must also not be policy purists, because as Edmund Burke realised, “all government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter”.

Christopher Rath has just completed a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Sydney and has commenced a Masters of Management. He is President of the Throsby Young Liberal Branch and sits on the Federal Young Liberal Executive.   

Christopher Rath has just completed a Bachelor of Economics at the University of Sydney and has commenced a Masters of Management. He is President of the Throsby Young Liberal Branch and sits on the Federal Young Liberal Executive.