In Germany they are called the Free Democrats, in the UK the Liberal Democrats and in Canada, the Liberals. In Australia they do not exist. There is not, in this country, a socially and economically liberal political force parading its wares in the political marketplace. But with the Liberal Party’s fault lines widening this week, is now the time for such a party to emerge and who might support it?
The zealous determination by conservatives to destroy a liberal leader in the form of Malcolm Turnbull makes it abundantly clear that the Liberal Party is hell bent on being a right of centre conservative party and that there is no room, except in a token sense, for liberal approaches to issues. This is not a new phenomenon — it has been evident since John Howard took control of the party in 1995. I wrote about in 2003 in What’s Wrong with the Liberal Party?, a book spawned by my own disendorsement from a Tasmanian seat in 2002 because of my public support for better treatment of asylum seekers.