Liberal Democratic Party (Australia)

Last updated

Liberal Democratic Party
National PresidentJohn Humphreys
Founded2001;20 years ago (2001)
Headquarters Mount Waverley, Victoria
Ideology Classical liberalism [1]
Libertarianism [2]
Fiscal conservatism [3]
International affiliation International Alliance of Libertarian Parties
Colours  Yellow   Blue
Victorian Legislative Council
2 / 40
Website
ldp.org.au

The Liberal Democratic Party (shortened as LDP, Liberal Democrats or Lib Dems) is an Australian political party founded in Canberra in 2001. The party espouses smaller government and supports policies that are based on classical liberal and right-libertarian principles, [4] such as lower taxes, opposing restrictions on gun ownership, supporting privatising water utilities, increasing the mining and export of uranium and the relaxation of smoking laws. [5] The LDP is a registered party in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia and is also registered for federal elections with the Australian Electoral Commission. As of May 2021, it has two representatives in the Victorian Legislative Council, Tim Quilty and David Limbrick, and elected representatives in some local governments.

Contents

History

The Liberal Democratic Party was founded in 2001 as a political party registered in the Australian Capital Territory. It first contested elections in the 2001 ACT election, receiving 1 percent of the vote. [6] The party also contested the 2004 ACT election, receiving 1.3 percent of the vote. [7]

In 2006, changes to the Electoral Act by the Howard government forced all parties without parliamentary representation to deregister and re-register under stricter naming rules. [8] 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, the party chose to register federally as the Liberty and Democracy Party in 2007. [9] The Liberty and Democracy Party contested 2007 federal election, winning 17,048 votes (0.14 percent) in the lower house and 16,942 votes (0.13 percent) in the upper house.

In 2008, the party successfully applied to the Australian Electoral Commission to change its federally registered name to Liberal Democratic Party. [10] During this period, the party remained registered under its original name in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). [11]

In 2010, the party contests 2010 federal election, receiving 1.8 percent of the national senate vote [12] and an average of 1.3 percent across the 21 lower house seats it contested, with a best of 5.52 percent in Gippsland.

In 2012, the Liberal Democratic Party had its first successful election win. 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. [13] Clinton Mead was elected as a Councillor to the Campbelltown Council in southern metropolitan Sydney at the New South Wales local government elections

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 liberal 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". [14]

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. [15] 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. [16] 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. [17] Leyonhjelm organised preferences for several different, but closely entwined, political parties seeking election to the Senate, including the Outdoor Recreation Party, Smokers' Rights Party and the Republican Party of Australia. [18] Australian Sex Party candidate Fiona Patten alleged Leyonhjelm intentionally failed to lodge ticket voting preferences forms, reneging on a preference deal, [19] but Leyonhjelm claimed that there was a mistake entering the AEC fax number. [20] The Liberal Democrats were not involved in Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance during the election which assisted in negotiating preference flows between minor parties. [21] On 1 July 2014, David Leyonhjelm became the Liberal Democratic Party's first senator.

Shortly after David Leyonhjelm's Senate victory, Liberal Democrats councillor Clinton Mead was elected Mayor of the City of Campbelltown in New South Wales. [22]

In 2015, the Liberal Democrats registered with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), and announced it would field upper-house candidates in the upcoming Victorian state election on 29 November 2014. [23] In 2016, the Liberal Party sought to challenge the name of the party with the electoral commission, but ultimately abandoned the action. [24]

David Leyonhjelm was re-elected with a 3.1 percent (−6.4) primary vote, or 139,000 votes, at the 2016 double dissolution federal election. [25] Gabriel Buckley, the LDP's lead candidate in Queensland, marginally misses out on a seat. [26]

WA elections were held 11 March 2017 where the states first LDP member, Aaron Stonehouse was elected. [22]

In May 2017, former Leader of the Opposition and political commentator Mark Latham left the Australian Labor Party and joined the LDP. [27]

In candidates 2018 Tim Quilty and David Limbrick are elected to the Victorian Legislative Council (state upper house). In the same year, Mark Latham left the party to become the leader of One Nation NSW division. [28]

In 2019, David Leyonhjelm announced that he will be quitting federal parliament in order to contest the New South Wales state election. [29] This resulted in Duncan Spender being sworn in to fill Leyonhjelm's former seat until the next Federal election. [30] David Leyonhjelm did not get elected in the 2019 New South Wales election securing only 0.46 of a seat quota. [31] Duncan Spender also lost their Senate seat in the 2019 election.

In the Victorian Local Government election of 2020 the party fielded 11 candidates state-wide. Two endorsed candidates were elected, Olga Quilty in Wodonga with a 5.83% first preference vote against 18 other candidates and Paul Barker in Torquay with a 11.67% first preference vote against 9 other candidates.

Policies and views

The LDP states that it adheres to classical liberal, small government and laissez-faire principles coupled with what the party considers as a high regard for individual freedom and individual responsibility. [32] LDP supported policies include: [33] [34] [35] [36]

Election results

Federal parliament

Senate
Election yearNo. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats won
No. of
overall seats
+/–
2007 16,9420.13
0 / 40
0 / 76
2010 230,1911.81
0 / 40
0 / 76
Steady2.svg 0
2013 523,8313.91
1 / 40
1 / 76
Increase2.svg 1
2016 298,9152.16
1 / 76
1 / 76
Steady2.svg 0
2019 169,7351.16
0 / 40
0 / 76
Decrease2.svg 1

State parliament

New South Wales

Legislative Council
Election yearNo. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats
+/–
2019 109,7773.24
0 / 42

South Australia

Legislative Council
Election yearNo. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats
+/–
2018 25,9562.47
0 / 22

Victoria

Legislative Council
Election yearNo. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats
+/–
2018 89,4282.50
2 / 40
Increase2.svg 2

Western Australia

Legislative Council
Election yearNo. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats
+/–
2017 23,8481.77
1 / 36
Increase2.svg 1
2021 9,2180.64
0 / 36
Decrease2.svg 1

Political representatives

Current members of parliament

Victoria


Past members of parliament

Australia
Western Australia

Donors

A 2019 report has found that the Liberal Democratic Party has received political donations of over $37,000 from pro-gun groups during the 2011-2018 period. [57]

See also

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