Manage episode 233871998 series 11345
Australia has 2 houses in Parliament: the Lower House (House of Representatives) and the Upper House (Senate).
Currently the party in power, the Liberals have traditionally been the party of lower taxes, less regulation and more free markets. Very supportive of small to medium business. Cynically seen by some as the party of big business.
National Party (the Nats)
Founded in 1920 and called the country party for many years, the “Nats” have traditionally been the party for rural regional areas. The Nationals form coalitions with the Liberals; under a Liberal prime minister, the deputy PM is the “Nats” leader.
Recently the Nationals support has declined, as many people see them as little more than a lapdog for the Liberals.
The coalition between the Liberals and Nationals is called the Liberal National Party (LNP).
Labor (the left)
Founded in the 1890s, and basically the political arm of the union movement. Although often described as a socialist democratic party, Labor has for many years supported causes like fair conditions for workers, increased wages and ending conscription, amongst others.
Despite a significant fall in union membership in the workforce over the years, at least 3 quarters of Labor politicians are ex union members/leaders, and the party has drifted further left while at the same time embracing identity politics.
Starting in 1972 originally on a platform of protecting the environment the Greens are basically the party for “loonies, tree huggers, dole bludgers and any other blight on society you can think of.”
They have a very socialist agenda and are not afraid to show it.
Despite this, support for them has grown, especially as climate change and identity politics have taken centre stage.
For a long time, Australia was used to stable governments, regardless of which side was in power.
Until late 2007, the Liberals under John Howard had been in power for over 11 years.
Before that, Labor under Bob Hawke and later Paul Keating were in power for 13 years. What has happened since could make Australia the laughing-stock of the world.
Nov 2007: Kevin Rudd (Labor) replaces John Howard as PM in a landslide election. Rudd is seen as “new generation” (he was the first Australian politician to capitalise on the millennial vote through social media) and enjoys record support and fawning media coverage for the next 2 years.
This changes with the Liberals electing Tony Abbot as leader in late 2009. His no-nonsense style (for example calling climate change “absolute crap”) quickly energises the conservative vote.
June 2010: Support for Rudd declines over a backflip in climate change policy, so he is dumped as leader and replaced by Julia Gillard.
Although unprecedented in Australian politics, this soon becomes normal practice. Gillard almost immediately announces an election.
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