The ALP have moved to the right and the Right have moved into a Hillsong-run mental health facility: Guest Post

Guest post by Alison Wonderland, used with permission. Thank you Ms Wonderland. All submissions welcome.

Winston Churchill once said “If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”

That may have been true in Churchill’s day, but increasingly, the twenty-year-olds are not starting out liberal (British liberal = Australian left), they are starting out in the far-right or the Greens.

The Greens confuse me, they see themselves as centre, but to the rest of the country, they are the far-left, they are the extreme, lunatic fringe. For right-wing media, right-wing shock jocks, and right-wing politicians to categorise The Greens as extreme-left is a useful way of pushing the left to the centre, and the centre to the right. This can be seen on the left-right scale. The Liberal Party of the 80s would be considered to the left of the current ALP.

This shift to the right has resulted in the left with no place to go, unless they move along to the right as well. The ALP are trying to appeal to the right and the Greens are denying they are left. The Left is being left-behind.

The ALP have abandoned their base to in order to chase the votes of a handful of people who will never vote for them. This does not serve the ALP’s future well.

Doug Cameron addressed this in a speech he gave in May 2011. He said

What Labor needs to understand, is that if we don’t deliver on the bread and butter issues that Labor supporters want delivery on, then we can kiss goodbye to a carbon price, we can kiss goodbye to decent treatment of asylum seekers and we can kiss goodbye to government for a long time to come.

It has long been my view that, for example, orthodox free trade policy, and neo-liberal economic orthodoxy in general alienates Labor’s base. This alienation leaves little room for progressive social policy and very little forgiveness for hard, but essential reforms like pricing carbon emissions.

Nowhere is this clearer than on trade policy.

I get emails every week from working people who tell me that having seen free trade policies destroy manufacturing jobs, they are not about to support a carbon tax.

Why would voters, those previously “rusted on” continue to support a party that seems unwilling to fight for them. A party that seems all to eager to embrace the neo-conservative, free-market values that Left-wing voters despise in the Liberal-National Right?

Those of us on the Left, who do not identify with the Neo-ALP, have nowhere to go, and moving to the Right and voting LNP is not the answer.

We can either abandon the the ALP and the Greens and find smaller, even more fringe parties and see another 12 years of LNP rule, the Glorious Fourth Reich. Or we could start to demand that the party that claims to represent us, actually begin to do that.

This is an issue that progressives on the Left in the US have been struggling with in recent years. The comedian Bill Maher summed it up: Democrats Have Moved To The Right And The Right Has Moved Into A Mental Hospital. Or to put it in local terms: The ALP have moved to the right and the Right have moved into a Hillsong-run mental health facility.

Even though many are becoming disillusioned with the parties on the Left, we can never abandon the ideals of the Left, once we do that, we are no better than… a Liberal Party Member.


Bill Maher speaks here about the new Left V Right divide, which is really Centre-Right V Crazy

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