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Previous Names: none, but sometimes referred to as The Liberal Democratic Party
Slogans: Getting elected to get out of your way.
Themes: Get the government out of your business
Electorates: Upper House: Eastern Victorian, North Eastern Metropolitan, Northern Metropolitan, Northern Victorian, South Eastern Metropolitan, Southern Metropolitan, Western Metropolitan, Western Victorian
Lower House: Caulfield, Frankston, Hawthorn, Lara, Narre Warren North, Narre Warren South, Ovens Valley
Preferences: The Liberal Democrats were a part of Glenn Druery’s alliance, and it shows in their preferences, which are a jumble of other alliance members – and the Companions and Pets Party, although not always. The only real consistency appears in the lower reaches of the tickets, where Vic Socialists, the Greens, Reason, the ALP and the Coalition are always last. If for some reason you feel that you absolutely must vote for this party, please vote below the line.
Previous Reviews: 202220192018 (VIC) — 2014 (VIC) — 20132010

Policies & Commentary

Earlier this week, I complained about parties who are running in this election, but who have not bothered to actually do anything about it other than mount a slate of candidates. The Liberal Democrats are not such a party. While their policies do not differ significantly from those that they took to the federal election, they’ve at least at the good sense to figure out how they apply to Victoria. Sadly, what that mostly means is that many of these policies use the pandemic, and in particular the Andrews Government’s response to it, as a jumping off point, with more than a little alarmism thrown in.

The LibDems have nine policies, grouped into three trios, not always logically:

Honest Government
Leading off their policies is a call for a Bill of Rights for Victorians, although no real detail is provided about what rights exactly would be enshrined in Victoria’s constitution, other than some vague mention of rights being abridged in the pandemic. Which, to be fair, they were, in the name of the common good. Which is not a good the LibDems care much about.

Under Emergency Powers and Safeguards, they intend to protect democracy and the rights of Victorians by introducing safeguards to emergency powers legislation. Broadly, these safeguards will include:

  • independent review of all emergency powers directions
  • transparency of relevant advice and human rights compatibility assessments
  • detention review rights; and
  • penalties for lawmakers who breach the safeguards.

This is all actually pretty sound – it is certainly clear that we do need to put more thought into our emergency response processes, and safeguards against over-reach are a necessary part of that. However, it’s still lacking in detail – who will provide the independent review, for example.

Similarly, they also want Give Integrity Bodies Real Teeth, which is, again, something that’s hard to argue with, given the assorted corruption scandals that have plagued both the Liberal and the Labor parties in this state in recent years.1I’m not saying that there’s necessarily anything to any of these scandals, mind – but I am saying that these things need to be better investigated than they currently are. Their proposals here are increased funding, increased accountability and harsher punishments, and unusually, they also specifically want this to apply to the police force as well.

Treat Victorians Like Adults
The three policies under this are:
Unlock Victoria – which means “open up National Parks to all kinds of exploitation.”
End the Nanny State – which is vague, but mostly means laws against ‘victimless crimes’ (and the LDP believes that, for example, not wearing a mask in the pandemic was a victimless crime), although they do specifically mention legalising cannabis and raising speed limits where safe to do so.
School Choice – which means introducing a US style voucher system (because the LDP has never met a US policy disaster it didn’t think we should have our own version of), as well as allowing schools to opt out of the National Curriculum, more control for parents in local schools, and support for independent education models such as co-ops, home schooling and micro-schools.

A Prosperous Victoria
This section starts off strong, with Affordable Energy, which basically means boo to renewables and yay to fossil fuels. And nuclear power (see above, under School Choice). Fast-track 1 Million New Homes might at first sound like the LDP cares about the homeless, but it’s actually about handouts for developers, including removing planning red tape and making rezoning easier. They also want to scrap Stamp Duty. Not a word hear about making rents affordable, this is entirely policy written for property developers. Finally, we have Debt and Deficit, in which the LDP’s solution is the same blunt instrument they wanted in the Federal election, 10% reduction in spending for every government department, and 1% additional cut each year until the State debt is repaid. Never mind that population increases alone will drive up government spending, making this a pipe dream at best They also want to scrap the Suburban Rail Loop, which is apparently the most expensive and least-scrutinised rail project in Victoria’s history – they are at least half-right there, and it isn’t the scrutiny half, although in fairness, there does seem to have been a little unseemly haste on this project. Oddly, they don’t seem to have been nearly so exercised about the East-West Link2You remember, the trucking funnel eight years ago, so this is probably part of their general mad on against ‘public’ anything.

Catherine noted in past reviews that the Liberal Democrats’ policies basically amount to opting out the social contract and tearing down the institutions of government. The LibDems are singing a slightly different song these days, but it’s still the same old band playing the same old genre. Basically, if you want Australia to be more like the USA, this is the party for you. If you don’t, keep looking.