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Conservatism in Australia refers to the political philosophy of conservatism as it has developed in Australia. Politics in Australia has since at least the 1910s been most predominantly a contest between the Australian labour movement and the combined forces of anti-Labour groups. The anti-Labour groups have at times identified themselves as "free trade", as "nationalist", as "anti-communist", as "liberal", “right of centre”, besides other labels. Until the 1990s, the label "conservative" had rarely been used in Australia, and when used it tended to be used by pro-Labour forces as a term of disparagement against their opponents.
In the early 20th century, "Conservatism" was used as a disparaging epithet by detractors of right wing politics and politicians within Australia, often by supporters and members of left leaning movements and parties such as the Australian Labor Party and later the Australian Greens. People on the right called themselves "liberals". That only changed in the late 20th century; John Hirst says that as a significant political movement, conservatism is "a very recent arrival in Australia". John Howard, who became prime minister in 1996, was the first holder of the office to describe himself as a conservative."
In the 21st century the term covers similar political issues as found in other Western democracies. In the early 20th century the liberals had connections with reform movements. However, as Howard has argued, the Liberal Party became the trustee of both the classical liberal and conservative traditions. That is, it combines liberal (market-based, pro-business, anti-union) economic policies with conservative social policies.
Mainstream political conservatism is primarily represented by the Liberal Party of Australia, and its coalition partner, the National Party, which historically was the party of the conservative small farmers and espoused agrarianism. The Liberal Party was formed in 1944 as a successor of the United Australia Party, which had been formed in 1931 as a successor of the Nationalist Party and ideologically similar parties that preceded it. The Liberal Party’s ideology has been described as conservative,liberal-conservative, conservative-liberal, and classical liberal. The Liberal Party tends to promote economic liberalism (which in the Australian usage refers to free markets and small government).
Moser and Catley state, "In America, 'liberal' means left-of-center, and it is a pejorative term when used by conservatives in adversarial political debate. In Australia, of course, the conservatives are in the Liberal Party" [ citation needed ]). Jupp points out that, "[the] decline in English influences on Australian reformism and radicalism, and appropriation of the symbols of Empire by conservatives continued under the Liberal Party leadership of Sir Robert Menzies, which lasted until 1966." Beecher comments that, "across the economic and cultural landscape, Howard proved that the centre of politics in Australia is inherently conservative."(though they are not exclusively found in the Liberal Party
There are also other minor parties which may be perceived to be conservative in orientation on account of some of their policies - and even some are regarded as right wing or extreme right, such as the Democratic Labor Party, One Nation Party, Liberal Democratic Party, Christian Democratic Party, Australian Christians, Yellow Vest Australia (previously called the Australian Liberty Alliance), Rise Up Australia, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, Fraser Anning's Conservative National Party and Katter's Australian Party, although some would not champion the classical liberal approach to economics adopted by the Liberal Party.In the 45th Australian Senate, the Liberal Democratic Party's David Leyonhjelm, the Independent Cory Bernardi, Independent Fraser Anning and the United Australia Party's Brian Burston formerly formed a "conservative bloc".
Some think tanks in Australia have a conservative focus. The Centre for Independent Studies, for example, focuses on classical liberal issues such as free markets and limited government, while the Institute of Public Affairs advocates free market economic policies such as privatisation and deregulation of state-owned enterprises, trade liberalisation and deregulated workplaces, climate change scepticism,the abolition of the minimum wage, and the repeal of parts of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. The H. R. Nicholls Society focuses on industrial relations, and advocates full workplace deregulation, contains some Liberal MPs as members and is seen to be of the New Right. The Menzies Research Centre is an associated entity of the Liberal Party.
Apart from political parties, conservative grass-roots movements have also arisen in Australia in recent years. Q Society of Australia is a far-right anti-Muslim association that works closely with the Australian Liberty Alliance. Some of these may have connections to existing political leaders, such as Senator Cory Bernardi’s Conservative Leadership Foundation(which is dedicated to fostering community based conservative leadership) or explicitly reject party politics in favour of cultural restoration, such as the Sydney Traditionalist Forum and Edmund Burke's Club (which are described as “an association of ‘old school’ conservative, traditionalist and paleoconservative individuals”).
In Australia however there are some differences in the political landscape in which conservatism exists, compared to what is found in other countries, especially in economics. Australia undertook in the mid-1980s significant economic reforms – faith in markets, deregulation, a reduced role for government, low protection and the creation of a new cooperative enterprise culture - under the centre-left Australian Labor Party and specially under social liberal Paul Keating."
Two national newspapers in Australia, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review , take a conservative stance.Since the 1970s, the Financial Review has advocated economic liberalism in Australia, driving a consistent editorial line favouring small government, deregulation, privatisation, lower taxes and trade liberalisation.
Major conservative regional newspapers include The Daily Telegraph , The West Australian , The Mercury , The Canberra Times , The Advertiser and The Courier-Mail .
The primary conservative magazines in Australia are News Weekly , Quadrant and The Spectator Australia .
On television, a conservative outlook is represented by Sky News Australia.
Newspapers and other publications owned by News Corp have been accused of adopting anti-Labor political positions.[ citation needed ] The publications owned by News Corp include The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Mercury, The Advertiser and The Courier-Mail. Sky News is also owned by News Corp.
Whether Australia should remain a monarchy or become a republic was a contentious issue in the 1990s. It has since not been a priority for the government as of 2019. In 1998 when debate peaked, Howard took the monarchist position favoured by most conservatives. Howard argued that the monarchy had provided a long period of stability and whilst he said there was no question that Australia was a fully independent nation, he believed that the "separation of the ceremonial and executive functions of government" and the presence of a neutral "defender of constitutional integrity" was an advantage in government and that no republican model would be as effective in providing such an outcome as the Australian constitutional monarchy.Despite opinion polls suggesting Australians favoured a republic, the 1999 republic referendum rejected the model proposed by the 1998 convention involving appointment of the head of state by Parliament. Conservatives generally support keeping the current flag (with its British insignia) and are proud of the nation's British heritage.
Traditionally, Aboriginal Australians have been known to predominantly vote for parties of the political left, such as the Australian Labor Party or the Australian Greens.Despite this, there are numerous Aboriginal activists and politicians affiliated with the political right.
Jacinta Price is a well-known conservative activist of Warlpiri descent who stood for the Country Liberal Party (CLP) in Lingiari in 2019. Price has argued against claims of systemic racism against Aboriginals in the criminal justice system, instead arguing that "black-on-black violence" is most pressing in Aboriginal communities.Unlike many Aboriginal activists, Price opposes changing the date of Australia Day, describing the proposal as "virtue-signaling".
Originally a member of Labor, former Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) member Warren Mundine has since shifted toward the political right.Mundine has criticized what he describes as efforts to introduce "critical race theory" in Australian schools, arguing it promotes a victim mentality among Aboriginals.
Conservatism is the aesthetic, cultural, social, and political outlook that embodies the desire to conserve existing things, held to be either good in themselves, or better than the likely alternatives, or at least safe, familiar, and the objects of trust and affection.
The Liberal Party of Australia is a major centre-right political party in Australia, one of the two major parties in Australian politics, along with the centre-left Australian Labor Party. It was founded in 1944 as the successor to the United Australia Party.
A Tory is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved in the English culture throughout history. The Tory ethos has been summed up with the phrase "God, Queen, and Country". Tories are generally monarchists, were historically of a high church Anglican religious heritage, and opposed to the liberalism of the Whig faction. Typically, Tories defend the ideas of hierarchy, natural order, and aristocracy.
Right-wing politics supports the view that certain social orders and hierarchies are inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, typically supporting this position on the basis of natural law, economics, or tradition. Hierarchy and inequality may be seen as natural results of traditional social differences or competition in market economies.
A culture war is a cultural conflict between social groups and the struggle for dominance of their values, beliefs, and practices. It commonly refers to topics on which there is general societal disagreement and polarization in societal values.
Paleoconservatism is a political philosophy and variety of conservatism in the United States stressing American nationalism, Christian ethics, regionalism, and traditionalist conservatism. Paleoconservatism's concerns overlap with those of the Old Right that opposed the New Deal in the 1930s and 1940s as well as with paleolibertarianism and right-wing populism.
New Right is a term for various right-wing political groups or policies in different countries. It has also been used to describe the emergence of Eastern European parties after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Liberal conservatism is a political ideology combining conservative policies with liberal stances, especially on economic issues but also on social matters, representing a brand of political conservatism strongly influenced by liberalism.
Liberalism in Australia dates back to the earliest pioneers of the area, and has maintained a strong foothold to this day. Liberalism in the country is primarily represented by the centre-right Liberal Party. The Liberal Party is a fusion of liberal and conservative forces and are affiliated with the conservative centre-right International Democrat Union. Philosophical liberals are often called a "small-l liberal" to distinguish them from members of the Liberal Party.
The Republican Party in the United States includes several factions, or wings.
Centre-right politics or center-right politics, also referred to as moderate-right politics, lean to the right of the political spectrum, but are closer to the centre than others. From the 1780s to the 1880s, there was a shift in the Western world of social class structure and the economy, moving away from the nobility and mercantilism, toward the upper class and capitalism. This general economic shift toward capitalism affected centre-right movements, such as the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, which responded by becoming supportive of capitalism.
Conservatism in the United States is a political and social philosophy which characteristically shows respect for American traditions, republicanism, and limited federal governmental power in relation to the states, referred to more simply as limited government and states' rights. It typically supports Judeo-Christian values, moral universalism, American exceptionalism, and individualism. It is generally pro-capitalist and pro-business while opposing trade unions. It often advocates for a strong national defense, gun rights, free trade, and a defense of Western culture from perceived threats posed by communism, socialism, and moral relativism.
Conservatism in North America is a political philosophy that varies in form, depending on the country and the region, but that has similar themes and goals. Academic study into the differences and similarities between conservatism in North American countries has been undertaken on numerous occasions. Reginald Bibby has asserted that the primary reason that conservatism has been so strong and enduring throughout North America is because of the propagation of religious values from generation to generation. This connection is strongest in mainstream Protestantism in the United States and both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in Canada.
The 1989 Queensland state election was held in the Australian state of Queensland on 2 December 1989 to elect the 89 members of the state's Legislative Assembly. This was the first election following the downfall of seven-term premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen at the end of 1987.
Fiscal conservatism is a political and economic philosophy regarding fiscal policy and fiscal responsibility advocating low taxes, reduced government spending and minimal government debt. Deregulation, free trade, privatization and tax cuts are its defining qualities. Fiscal conservatism follows the same philosophical outlook of classical liberalism.
John Winston Howard is an Australian former politician who served as the 25th Prime Minister of Australia (1996–2007) and Leader of the Liberal Party. His nearly twelve-year tenure as Prime Minister is the second-longest in history, behind only Sir Robert Menzies, who served for eighteen non-consecutive years. He has also been the oldest living former Australian Prime Minister since the death of Bob Hawke in 2019.
Nyunggai Warren Stephen Mundine is an Australian Aboriginal leader and politician. He was the National President of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), but quit the party in 2012. Mundine was appointed chairman of the Coalition government's Indigenous Advisory Council by then-prime minister, Tony Abbott. Mundine was the Liberal Party's unsuccessful candidate for the marginal seat of Gilmore on the south coast of New South Wales in the 2019 Australian federal election.
Paternalistic conservatism is a strand of conservatism which reflects the belief that societies exist and develop organically and that members within them have obligations towards each other. There is particular emphasis on the paternalistic obligation of those who are privileged and wealthy to the poorer parts of society. Consistent with principles such as duty, hierarchy and organicism, it can be seen an outgrowth of traditionalist conservatism. Paternal conservatives support neither the individual nor the state in principle, but are instead prepared to support either or recommend a balance between the two depending on what is most practical.
This timeline of modern American conservatism lists important events, developments and occurrences which have significantly affected conservatism in the United States. With the decline of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party after 1960, the movement is most closely associated with the Republican Party (GOP). Economic conservatives favor less government regulation, lower taxes and weaker labor unions while social conservatives focus on moral issues and neoconservatives focus on democracy worldwide. Conservatives generally distrust the United Nations and Europe and apart from the libertarian wing favor a strong military and give enthusiastic support to Israel.
The Liberal Party of Australia has an ideology in line with liberal conservatism and is therefore right of centre.
Most conservative newspapers, namely the Australian Financial Review (owned by the Fairfax group) and especially the Australian