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Mon, Dec. 5th, 2011, 07:51 pm
[Politics] Campbell Newman: A Nat in Lib's clothing?

(A note to any Americans trying to make sense of this: Yes, our major conservative party (except in Queensland) is called the Liberal Party. This causes Americans some confusion. I am told the Liberal Party was once true to its name, but ever since I've paid attention to politics they have been conservative, and apparently lurching further to the right. Unlike in America, we don't consider the term "small ell liberal" to be an insult, but we are getting there when it comes to "large ell Liberals". ;) The National Party was historically Queensland's major conservative party, but merged with the Liberal Party in 2008 to present a unified front in Queensland.)

It is commonly believed that Campbell Newman was appointed leader of the Liberal National Party by the faceless men behind the LNP because as a former Liberal he would appeal to the urban areas you need to gain government nowadays in this State. (In the Federal sphere, the same accusation is often levelled against the ALP's Julia Gillard, althought it's a mystery who she is supposed to be appealing to. ;) ) But if we want to see who is really pulling his strings, it might be instructive to compare his recent railing at the Civil Partnerships Bill and his promise to repeal it to how the then National and Liberal Parties responded to the last great advance in gay rights in Queensland: the Criminal Code and Another Act Amendment Bill 1990, which decriminalised homosexual activity between two consenting adults.

Mr Kevin Lingard made the National Party's position very clear:
I state emphatically that the Opposition believes that homosexual activity between adults is morally reprehensible. ... It believes that the Parliament should not in any way condone or encourage homosexual activity or homosexual life-style. The Opposition believes that this Parliament should not in any way regard a homosexual relationship as the equivalent of marriage. It believes that this Parliament should not give any recognition in law to homosexual couples. It believes that this House should not encourage any homosexual relationship between adults and that any such relationship should be subject to punishment by the strongest possible criminal sanctions.1

Mr Denver Beanland, the then leader of the Liberal Party, however, had a very different tack:
The Liberal Party has long maintained the tradition that, on moral issues, individuals should maintain the right to hold, express and vote in accordance with their individual views. They should not have to subordinate their personal opinions simply to conform with the views of the majority. ... It was one of those occasions when the Parliament functioned as it was originally intended to function—without the constraints of party discipline.2

Labor, then as now, held a conscience vote on the issue. The Liberal Party followed suit. (Tony Abbott would also do well to take careful note of Mr Beanland's admonitions on Liberal Party tradition as well.) But the National Party did not have the slightest hesitation in voting as a bloc against it. It is too long ago for me to find any references, but it would not surprise me if the National Party also swore to repeal it should they regain power in their own right (they never did).

In spite of his origins, it seems that Mr Newman is taking his cue from the historical National Party rather than the Liberal Party.

1 Queensland Hansard 28 November 1990 p. 5474
2 Queensland Hansard 28 November 1990 p. 5483

Mon, Dec. 5th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC)

So was homosexuality a criminal offence in Queensland until 1990? Wow.

Names can be very misleading. And Mr. Lingard is truly a sick man whose words and beliefs threaten basic human rights.
(Deleted comment)

Wed, Dec. 7th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)

It's quite sad that people who promote prejudice and inequality are supported and recognized at all.

Tue, Dec. 6th, 2011 09:06 pm (UTC)

Witchcraft was illegal until 2001, fortune telling until 2005.

Both of those are potential targets for recriminalization under a LibNut state government.

Wed, Dec. 7th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)

I haven't known these things about Australia, always appeared as a very progressive and liberal (in the true meaning of the word!) country.

Tue, Dec. 6th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)

Mr Lingard is still alive. He retired from Parliament in 2009. It would be interesting to see if he's moderated his views since then. He was speaking for his party, remember.

As for Mr Newman, he had earlier claimed he was in favour of gay marriage but not willing to legislate for it. It seems his National Party bosses have since pulled him into line. I have no faith at all in his ability to lead his own party. He's not even a Member of Parliament; his claim to be running as the alternative Premier presupposes he'll win a seat (which admittedly does look a pretty safe bet on the polling).

Wed, Dec. 7th, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)

Some beliefs, especially those negative, and deeply ingrained in a person's mentality. I imagine Lingard being a prejudiced mofo until he kicks the bucket.

Then again, politics makes people say and promote things that they would have even opposed privately. Contrary to my initial belief, Australia doesn't appear to be different in that respect :(

Tue, Dec. 6th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)

Thankyou, well put.

I'm stealing the Beanman quote, I have some "conservative" friends noses to tweak.

Did you see Turnbull on 7:30 report on the topic of Gay Marriage on Monday night, more evidence he's the last sane-ish man in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Liberal/National Party.

Tue, Dec. 6th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)

Malcolm Turnbull for leader of the Liberal Party! I laughed at him when he was opposition leader but now all is forgiven; anything to save us from this train wreck of a prime minister. Even if he was running against Genghis Kahn, I could never bring myself to vote for Tony Abbott.

Tue, Dec. 6th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)

I just want to know how The Right Reprehensible George Pell gets his hand so far up Abbot's arse as to be able to use him as a sock puppet.

Having said that Conroy is apparently Opus Dei, so fanatical devotion to the Pope is amongst the weapons on both sides.

Mon, Dec. 12th, 2011 07:54 am (UTC)

Well, I'm definitely wary of Liberals with a Capital L, but willing to listen, at the very least, to lowercase-L liberals.

I admire Reaganite conservatives and JFK liberals and personally, I'm a cross between the two. But I consider Obama Liberals and Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachman Conservatives as noxious and fanatical as each other.

As for conservatism in the UK, I'm beginning to doubt there is, or ever was, such a thing. You've just got small-L liberals who are just a bit less annoying and damaging than large-L Liberals.