Politics: Federal Election – Meet the Democratic Labor Party

Moving along the ticket, we come to that hardy perennial, the Democratic Labor Party.

When I first encountered the DLP, two elections ago, I think, I was rather boggled by their combination of really nice, sensible social justice policies, and their hair-raisingly, frothing-at-the-mouth reactionary policies on matters such as homosexuality and feminism. I was informed by the more knowledgeable that they were actually the Catholic spin-off from the Labor party back in the 1970s. This does make a certain amount of sense of their weirder ways, but I still find it a bit mind-boggling.

Anyway, let’s see what they have for us this time…

As is traditional, we will start with their Senate ticket. I regret to say that they preference the Christian Democratic Party ahead of anyone else, and also give the Shooters and Fishers high priority. After that, it looks to me as though they are cherry-picking from all over the ballot, but leaning mostly towards the right – one member from the Carer’s Alliance, one from One Nation, one from Building Australia, a Climate Change Sceptic, and so forth. One lone liberal lurks near the top, above the Family First bloc; Antony Thow of the ALP gets surprisingly high billing (inclining me to be very suspicious of the honorable Antony), but on the whole, their preferences look like they will end up with the coalition. You will be unsurprised to learn that they particularly dislike the Secular Party, the Sex Party and the assorted communists. The Liberal Democrats also get no love, which is interesting, because I’m sure I’d been told that they were pretty much the same as the DLP. Maybe that’s the problem…

Their policies are headed up by the fun stuff: the DLP wants to protect marriage, which in this case means absolutely no gay marriage, or even civil partnerships, no adoption by gay couples and (though they skirt around this a bit) no no-fault divorce. Apparently, divorce is too easy, and this is harmful to children.

I probably shouldn’t start off by being sarcastic, but I’d like to note that the paragraph about defending marriage from those nasty gay people occurs straight after the following introduction:

Legislative measures that will uphold and protect the inalienable and fundamental rights of every person – to life, to the essential liberties of conscience, to equal treatment under the law, to the ownership of property and to a livelihood that enhances the dignity and security of each person

I’m guessing that they don’t view homosexuals as people. The jury’s out on whether women get to be people, but I have my doubts.

Oh, here we go. Women who stay at home to look after the kids should not be disadvantaged. Good show. Also, “We believe that women should have a true choice about whether or not to work at home with their children or to go outside the home for other work. A real choice would mean that women should not be forced into institutional paid work because of financial necessity. A reorganization of the tax system (including income-splitting for example,) would go some way to providing financial fairness when making such decisions.”

I mostly like this, and I’d be very interested to see how this tax system would work, except… is it just me, or is there an implication here that women would only choose not to stay at home with the children through financial necessity (it’s a true choice, you understand, but there is only one *right* choice)? Though I do give them points for the phrase ‘work at home with their children’, which acknowledges that childcare *is* work in its own right. Similar language is used in their policy on childcare – the assumption is that women would, if possible, choose to stay home with their children, and they want to establish financial equality for families where this occurs (with an early education care benefit).

It goes without saying that the DLP is anti-abortion (which should be criminalised if it isn’t already, and prosecuted), anti-euthanasia (but pro- increased palliative care funding), and anti-embryonic stem cell research. In fact, they want to establish an office called the Advocate for the Unborn Child.

I have to say, this does give me the chills ever so slightly.

Under ‘Constitution and Democratic Rights’, their first policy is about protecting the right to peaceful protest. I approve of this. They also have a lot of policies that amount to decreasing public money spent on electoral advertising or elections generally, something which I can also get behind (especially given the quality of the ads). They want to protect Constitutional checks and balances, and to bring back the Upper House in all states (DLP is largely based in QLD, in case you couldn’t tell), and they want referendums on *everything*.

They also want to ban ‘how to vote’ cards and posters within 400 metres of polling places. I’m not sure what I think of this, or how it would play out; my gut feeling is this would affect the smaller parties – of which the DLP is one – more negatively than the larger ones.

On the other hand, they advocate ‘vigilance against proposals for a Bill of Rights’, and I just can’t think of any good justification for that. They also want to remove the powers of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, which again fills me with doom. In fact, at this point, they have officially become scarier than Family First in my book, largely because they seem to have thought things through *far too well*.

Oh, and hello, they want to abolish the Federal Government in favour of State Governments (I thought only the USA went in for States’ Rights), and also they want out of the UN.

And, just for kicks, they want to protect the flag. I find this fairly entertaining, because Australia really doesn’t go in for USA-style patriotism, and that’s what this sounds like.

They have policies about water conservation which sound OK, except when they randomly go off about not liking privatisation or globalisation – mind you, I do tend to agree with them, but I don’t see how this relates to water conservation.

Globalisation returns in their policy about Finance and Trade. They still don’t like it. In fact, they advocate “Opposition to “globalism” as foreign interference in our social, legal and economic decision-making by supranational bureaucracies and cartels”. Tone-wise, this sounds eerily like the Communist rhetoric from the SEP. Actually, I don’t understand very much of their finance and trade policy. I suspect this is because it doesn’t make sense but perhaps it is actually because I am only a woman and really would rather be staying home looking after my children and letting wiser, male, heads run things.

Yeah, I’ve kind of taken against this lot…

Oh, and they want to establish a Federal Development Bank (apparently, Federal programs do have some uses after all), which sounds like an interesting idea, except that I am now ideologically opposed to anything they say just on principle.

Actually, I take it back – they seem to be opposed to off-shore processing of refugees, because they think that East Timor has enough problems without adding in refugees. But I’m not sure what they think we *should* be doing with refugees, and I suspect I wouldn’t like it anyway.

This lot have definitely moved further to the right in the last six years – back then, they had a whole slew of policies on things like disability and refugees and carers and I think even education which I actually liked (and which have since totally disappeared). Now, they seem to have become more insular, verging on paranoia about the corrupt outside world, and their anti-gay rhetoric is right up front and centre (if you know what I mean, and I think you do).

I don’t like them one bit.

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