LDP and the media.

Some of you may be aware of the ongoing challenges to the name Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), by the Liberals, Democrats, and the Liberal National Parties, (the LNP is the bastard son of the Nationals and Liberals in Queensland.)

These parties have now appealed the decision by the AEC to accept our name, using the same grounds that were used before. We are of the opinion that this is vexatious and needs to be addressed, as it constitutes abuse of the system. For that reason we have put out the following release.

Media Release                        Issued Brisbane, Tuesday 10th March 2009

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is outraged at the vexatious attempt by the Liberal Party, Australian Democrats and newly formed Liberal National Party (LNP) to challenge its name being registered by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

Queensland representative on the LDP Federal Executive, Mr. Jim Fryar, said today that the LDP had recently convinced the Australian Electoral Commission that it should register the name as the Liberal Democratic Party, despite objections by the those three parties.  

 “That should have been the end of the matter. We are particularly annoyed that the recently formed LNP has joined the other two parties to seek to have the decision reversed.”

 “It is particularly ironic,” he said, “that the LNP which was only federally registered in 2009 should challenge the name of the LDP, which was first registered in the ACT in 2001 and has been fighting elections long before the LNP ever became a glint in Mr Springborg’s eye.”

 “We accept it is reasonable to discourage the use of names designed to confuse voters, but there is no excuse for seeking to use that as a blunt instrument on other parties,” he said.

 “The LDP is confident that our supporters can tell the difference between the words Liberal, National and Democratic, so we do not expect the issue of ‘confusion’ to be relevant. When the LDP was formed careful consideration was given to the name in order to represent the party’s core principles of small government, low taxes and personal freedom and responsibility.” 

 “The LNP’s tactics are reminiscent of the actions of international fast food giant, McDonalds, which in 2006 unsuccessfully attempted to prevent Malcolm McBratney, a partner in Brisbane legal firm McCullough Robertson, from trade-marking his nickname, “McBrat,” which he was using as a sponsorship logo across the shorts of the “Brisbane Irish” rugby union team.” 

 The release was published in AFR’s “rear window” page, and aroused enough interest from the Australian for a reporter to follow up. Unfortunately they didn’t print it. Its nice though to get published somewhere, even if it was stuffed up somewhat. There is more in relation to this over at the LDP blog.

 

24 thoughts on “LDP and the media.

  1. Well, I’ve often thought that the party should have a distinct name. If the AEC does rule in favour of the LNP, it might be time to adopt a name I once suggested- The Gold Party. It’s a pretty colour, and the colour tells people that we would prefer sound money. It also makes for good slogans (“Go for Gold”, “A Golden future”, etc.).

  2. Nicholas – I doubt support for a gold standard has strong support within the LDP executive. Obviously I think a gold standard for Australia would be a great policy in economic terms and I’m always happy to argue for it, however I’m not sure it is a great policy in political terms. Mind you I’m also not convinced that it would be all together bad in political terms. If you can convince the CIS or the IPA to advocate for a gold standard then I’d be more comfortable in saying perhaps the time has come. Although then we need to sort out what you mean by a gold standard as there are some interpretations (ie the ban banking crowd) that I’d fight vigourously against.

  3. why not simply change the name to ” the libertarian party of Australia”…. LPA.

    the other way round doesn’t work… ALP.

  4. TerjeP, the gold standard is only implied in the name, and we could use the name, ‘The Gold Party’, to also imply the golden rule of being treated as you treat others. I can’t see any bad connections to gold. Does anyone have unfavourable impressions of the colour or the metal?

  5. This is not a rights issue, this is a brand confusion issue. What political right do you claim is being infringed? There are plenty of names in the sea.

    If the AEC decides in favour of the LDP, confusion will be obvious at the polling booths and I know people will be there to record that confusion and your name will be challenged again.

    The libertarian party is a great suggestion as it is exactly what you are.

  6. Clinton – The LDP is a Liberal Democratic party which is what the name says. If it was Libertarian in the taditional sense of that term, as opposed to merely Libertarian leaning, then it would have a policy of abolishing income taxes rather than cutting them.

    The AEC already decided in favour of the LDP. Move on.

  7. Calling the challenge vexatious is a reasonable line for the LNP to take politically, but I don’t think it’s actually fair comment.

    The Liberal Party (and others) have a perfect right to challenge the AEC decision if they disagree, and given the relative lack of precedent in this area, it is fair enough for them to want to test the issue. If it is genuinely vexatious, the Court will throw the challenge out very quickly, but I expect they will give it full consideration.

    Personally, I’d be surprised if the challenge succeeded, but it will be a useful test case for all current and future political parties, and it is understandable that the Liberal Party would want to test it.

    I don’t think there is sufficient grounds for confusion between Liberal Democratic Party and Liberal Party, or Liberal National Party, but it is a grey area which is worth clarifying, much as I appreciate it would be irritating for the LDP.

    The past use of the name Liberals for Forests was a transparent attempt to imply some sort of association with the Liberal Party. Given the Liberal Party’s own dismal record in trying to dodge electoral laws for their own gain and misuse electoral and other laws to block competition, I have no sympathy for them, but I can none the less understand why the Libs were peeved about Liberals 4 Forests.

    The name Christian Democrats has been accepted legally, and while there’s been the occasionally anecdote about voter confusion, I’ve never seen any substantive evidence to suggest it has cost either party votes on a specific occasion. That being the case, I doubt the Australian Democrats have much chance of successfully arguing against Liberal Democrats. The Liberal Party might have a better chance, especially as they will have compiled more solid evidence alleging a negative impact from times when Liberals for Forests have run. Having said that, I’d still be surprised if they won, but court rulings can be hard to predict, especially when there’s not much precedent.

  8. The solid evidence you refer to in relation to Liberals for Forests has already been dealt with in the AEC review. The LDP submission on this point was essentially accepted.

    the claim that confusion arose as a consequence of the party name “liberals for forests” omits some important details. The “liberals for forests” workers in the 2004 election distributed how-to-vote leaflets using a style and colour scheme almost identical to that of the Liberal Party, with Labor party members or supporters paying for the printing and handing out the leaflets wearing t-shirts in the same colours as the Liberal Party. While minor party preferences determined the outcome in Richmond and Parramatta, no evidence was provided that the similarity in names caused confusion in contrast to the behaviour of party workers in passing themselves off as Liberal Party workers.

    http://www.aec.gov.au/Parties_and_Representatives/party_registration/Registration_Decisions/liberal_democratic.htm

  9. Clinton; Unless the Liberals, Democrats, and the LNP have a far lower opinion of the intellect of their supporters than we have of ours, there is no confusion issue. Liberal Democratic Party is in no way even close to those names, and i doubt that the plaintiffs believe that either.

    we are a party based in the tradition of classical liberalism, philosophically committed to small government, low taxes and personal freedom and responsibility. Face it, there is no way we could ever be confused with any of those parties, nor is there any reason why we would want that.

  10. Andrew; If we were to have called ourselves Liberals for Democracy, their case would probably have my sympathy on the issue. The Liberals for Forests thing was a blatant and deliberate attempt to confuse voters.

    Any perusal of our logo, theme colors, and any other aspect of our public image makes it clear, we in no way resemble the Liberal Party.

  11. “Face it, there is no way we could ever be confused with any of those parties, nor is there any reason why we would want that.”

    Sorry but this isn’t true. One of the major reasons that the party heirarchy likes the name “Liberal Democratic Party” is that they hoped to steal votes from people too stupid to tell the difference.

    Let’s not pretend otherwise.

    Libertarian Party would be a good name except for the fact that “Libertarian” in Australia doesn’t mean the same thing that it means in the US. It usually means “Civil Libertarian” who in the public eye are the weirdo cranks reported in the funny section of the newspaper.

  12. “The solid evidence you refer to in relation to Liberals for Forests has already been dealt with in the AEC review. The LDP submission on this point was essentially accepted.”

    True, but the Court may have a different opinion to the AEC on this point. And I would be surprised if they couldn’t find more examples besides this one. As Jim stated, “The Liberals for Forests thing was a blatant and deliberate attempt to confuse voters” (although perhaps he means the behaviour cited in that AEC quote, rather than their party name in itself.)

    I think Libs 4 Forests were trading off the Libs name rather than deliberately trying to confuse voters (in regards to their party name, not the behaviour cited in your quote). A bit of poor form perhaps, but considering behaviours by both major parties over the years, hardly something they’re in a position to complain about.

    In any case, I’m not saying I support the LDP’s name being refused, just that there is a sufficiently arguable case which the Liberal Party (and anyone else) have a right to test in Court. Which is why I don’t think it’s vexatious, although I understand why the LDP might think it is, or would use such a word.

    Just to make it clear, I’m also not suggesting the LDP is deliberately seeking to confuse anyone.

    I suggested four or five years ago that the Australian Democrats should consider trying to change their name to the Liberal Democrats, but there was very little enthusiasm for the idea.

  13. Andrew; I am not as sure as you that the name was not part of the whole plan.

    I can see your point and don’t think that you are suggesting that we are trying to confuse anyone. We will have to agree to disagree on the vexatious issue, being in the firing line does affect your perspective somewhat, but I really think they are doing it simply because they can.

  14. Sorry Sam, I answered Andrew without noticing your comment, I wasn’t being rude. I really think my statement is accurate, especially in the present context of this discussion.

    Seriously, with libertarian being the number one swearword in the lexicon of both the left and the right, (Laissez- faire is a close second) the name Libertarian Party would set us back. The civil libertarian aspect you mention is valid, but the same thing applies in the public perception and the term libertarian is really not well understood other than by us. Mention libertarian and people will switch off, I have taken part in discussions in the Libertarian Reform Caucus where serious arguments are made for changing the party name, and for forming another party separate to the LP.

  15. Nicholas, I don’t think people would take the party very seriously with a spelling mistake in the title. 😉

    Personally I prefer ‘Liberty and Democracy Party’ to ‘Liberal Democratic Party’ – the latter doesn’t really differentiate yourselves much from those two other parties. Kind of sounds like you’re somewhere in between which is clearly not the case. Just the Liberty Party (or Libertarian Party, or Freedom party, etc) would be better and simpler IMO; the Democracy part’s a bit of a distraction.

  16. Greego, people still want to endure hard labour with the Labor Party! Turn a spelling mistake into a branding exercise! And what do you mean, mistake? the way words are spelled in the dictionary is just a group average, with no legal force behind them. I’m being libertarianly creative!
    And I agree that Democracy is not really a libertarian priority. As a minarchist, I would limit democracies to making rules only for public spaces, and would prefer town-hall style democracy to the Federal giant that we have right now.

  17. Bloody Hell; I’m back. some glitch has locked me out for a couple of days. Sorry about that.

    I tend to agree with Greego, I really did prefer LIberty and Democracy Party but on reflection I am happy with the LDP. I feel we should fight for our name, especially if Andrew has his eye on it. 🙂

    Failing this we should probably look at something like the Enterprise Party. Its short and sweet, positive, and says what we are about.

  18. Liberty & Democracy really says it all, No offense Jim but in the late ’80’s I went to a party (Oh dear this is embarrassing) themed the Enterprise Party and it turned out to be a Star Trek convention…please, anything but that.

  19. Jim — I disagree that l4f were trying to confuse people. I think they were trying to say “if you’re a liberal-type who likes the environment more than the Liberals, then vote for us”.

    Sam — I was the person who first chose the name “Liberal Democratic Party” and it wasn’t about trying to confuse people. Similar with l4f, the idea was to say “if you believe in liberal-like economic policy and democrat-like social policy, or if you believe in something that was once called liberal-democracy, then vote for us”. A secondary reason was that I simply wanted to pick a name that sounded professional, and not like a student politics name or a weird group.

  20. John; I guess being up I wasn’t aware of the L4F, until the initial challenges to our name came up, just short of the election. I generally don’t pay much attention to small fringe groups like the Democrats, Greens, Christian Democrats, and such like, preferring to give serious dudes like the LDP my full attention. 🙂

    My opinion is based on what I have read since the event, so perhaps you have a better recollection on this issue. I really have to disagree however with these parties objecting to our use of what is essentially a generic political name worldwide, on the grounds that it combines two other worldwide generic political name-brands, that they happen to be using.

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