Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tony Abbott a better fit in the DLP?

For the last month or so I've been wondering if Tony Abbott is politically closer to the Democratic Labor Party than he is to the Liberal Party. After all they have many things in common:
  • A conservative Catholic outlook on life
  • A lack of commitment to, or rejection of, the traditional Liberal Party preference for individual rather than collective bargaining
  • A rejection of neo-liberal economic policies
  • A role in the running of unions
If Tony Abbott had joined a political party some forty years ago, would it have the Liberal Party, or might he have sort out the DLP?

According to Phillip Coorey in Abbott must stick to values: Costello Peter Costello might well be asking the same question. Indeed, Peter Costello reports in Liberals must protect values of freedom and choice that:
Over that time, most of the DLP membership slipped away. Some went back to the Labor Party - their home before the split which led them to form their own party in the 1950s. Some joined the National Party and many joined the Liberal Party. In his recent memoir, the Coalition finance spokesman and former federal director of the Liberal Party, Andrew Robb, tells of working for the DLP at elections in the 1960s. Tony Abbott also worked closely with the DLP in his student days.
Mr Costello then goes on to write
The Liberal Party was also fiercely anti-communist. It didn't have a significant Catholic membership and Catholics in senior positions in the parliamentary party were the exception rather than the rule. The fact that many of the old DLP supporters were able to find a home in the Liberal Party indicates how it widened its appeal, at least in terms of religious background. Most senior players in the federal Coalition today were educated in the Catholic school system - the leader, the leader of the house, the shadow treasurer, shadow attorney-general and finance spokesman. This development is a credit to that education system and also, I think, to the leadership of the Catholic Church which has managed to retain the orthodoxy of its flock as the Protestant churches have drifted into theological liberalism and political trendyism.
I think Mr Costello might be showing his Baptist roots in that last sentence. Mr Costello then goes on to look at the statements of National Senator Barnaby Joyce on protectionism and against free trade, inferring that Senator Joyce might also be politically closer to the DLP.

So, it seems that the Liberal Party, at least at the Federal level, is now run by the DLP.

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