New website for Liberal Democrats (LDP)

LDP websiteThe LDP (my favourite Australian libertarian party) has a new website. I thought you might like to check it out.

It’s blue and gold in colour and in a bold move it gives the Eureka flag pride of place. I like it.

Just for fun and via the magic of time travel you can go back and see what it used to look like in years gone by.

56 thoughts on “New website for Liberal Democrats (LDP)

  1. Looks much better, I think… Yes, the Eureka flag has been used by crazies for some time, inc. union thugs, etc… but it’s an Australian symbol of rebellion, and the colour distinguishes it from others (hopefully).

  2. Well, yellow seems to be the colour of liberty, much like socialists have claimed the red. Look at the Gasden flag and the Anarcho-capitalist banner, both use yellow to great eye catching effect

  3. The new website is a huge improvement, congratulations all round.

    Some policies have not been updated along with the website, unfortunately. That needs to change. There’s still reference to the Kyoto Protocol, and it’s a long-dead issue (and I won’t get into the serious deficiencies with the rest of the global warming policy). The policy on gay rights is hilariously titled “Lifestyle Choices” – it’s not a choice, and it’s not a lifestyle. I could go on, but nothing changes, so why bother?

  4. Yes, I agree- Yellow, as in gold, should be the colour linked to supportors of individuals and individuality! Communitarians are red, Business-parties are blue, so Gold should be our colour!! With Silver as a supplimentary colour.

  5. The thing is that “lifestyle choices” also covers smoking, health and exercise. Maybe it should simply be moved into a separate “Marriage” section?

  6. Jarrah – marriage is a choice. And that remains true regardless of whether you marry a man or a woman. The LDP thinks people should be free to make such choices. So do you. So I don’t really understand your gripe.

  7. The whole “choice vs genetic” thing is oversimplified anyway…

    Though our degree of real choice might be somewhat more limited than we’d like to admit (by genetics, environment, etc), I don’t believe they are set in stone.

    You could take a dozen people with identical genetic code, and they will not necessarily make the same “choice” regarding sexual preference. There may be a genetic predisposition for a particular preference, but choice is still there.

  8. Why are we even discussing this? People are people, end of story. They have the right to enter into a contract with any other adult. Sexual preference, race or class doesn’t matter, they are still people and thereby protected by the same laws

  9. When is the next LDP Qld branch meeting? Couldn’t find it on the new website. Nice design btw. Who designed it?

  10. I believe that sexual preference is more complicated than just genetic factors.

    But calling a policy on gay rights “lifestyle choices” is going to be found offensive by our target audience.

    It’s like calling a firearms policy a “weapons policy”.

  11. Thanks for the new pick-up lines, Shem!
    “Why, yes, that is a mini-nuke in my trousers, And I am glad to see you! Wanta make the Earth move?”

  12. Shem wrote:

    I believe that sexual preference is more complicated than just genetic factors.

    That’s what I was trying to say…

    But calling a policy on gay rights “lifestyle choices” is going to be found offensive by our target audience.

    Good point… we need to market ourselves correctly. I get the “choice” thing – but is “lifestyle” that offensive? What section should it be under?

    Tim Andrews wrote:

    I think many libertarians would take issue also placing abortion under the category of ‘victimless crimes’…

    Yes, I’d be one them.

  13. Tim said:

    “I think many libertarians would take issue also placing abortion under the catagory of ‘victimless crimes’…”

    I’d be one of them, as well. It’s a particularly harsh way to categorise it, even if that is your world view.

  14. Thanks for the favourable (mostly) comments. We appreciate input and suggestions, so I ask, just what heading should
    we have given gay and lesbian marriage if not to “Lifestyle Choices”? Should the abortion subject have been covered as part of “Health Care”, or also “Lifestyle Choices”? Should it be completely eliminated as “none of our business what a women does”?

  15. Some policies have not been updated along with the website, unfortunately. That needs to change.

    It will when someone volunteers to update them. Anyone?

    There’s still reference to the Kyoto Protocol, and it’s a long-dead issue (and I won’t get into the serious deficiencies with the rest of the global warming policy).

    Agree that Kyoto is a dead issue now. But what other serious deficiencies? Our policy is simply, no government intervention. If you’re arguing in favour of intervention, you’re talking to the wrong party.

    The policy on gay rights is hilariously titled “Lifestyle Choices” – it’s not a choice, and it’s not a lifestyle.

    The LDP does not support gay rights – it simply says gays shouldn’t be treated any different. And it says marriage is a personal choice that the government shouldn’t have power over. So that seems to make the policy about lifestyle choice.

    I could go on, but nothing changes, so why bother?

    The party is actually very responsive to those who contribute positively.

    I think many libertarians would take issue also placing abortion under the catagory of ‘victimless crimes’

    Those who believe life begins at conception might, but I don’t see how they can claim to be libertarian. By that reasoning, pregnant women are nothing but incubators with no rights.

    I consider it’s a victimless crime up to about 23 weeks. That’s when a foetus is potentially capable of independent survival. That respects the individual rights of both the mother and the baby.

  16. “Those who believe life begins at conception might, but I don’t see how they can claim to be libertarian”
    Um, well, nice to know you’ve excluded Ron Paul et al from the movement! has some good resources on libertarians and being pro-life. Ultimately you might not agree with it, but there is a very valid libertarian argument against abortion, and I think to dismiss it out of hand is not only silly, but will alienate quite a lot of potential supporters.

  17. @David – I’m not convinced life begins at conception either, but I think the 23-week mark is somewhat arbitrary (a newborn baby can’t survive on it’s own either, if left to its own devices).

    Even if you make the case that the rights of the mother not to go through with a pregnancy (it is a life-risking event, after all), outweighs that of the child, you still can’t call it “victimless”.

    I think it’s a necessary evil that abortions remain both legal and safe (up to a point), but that we should consider this as neither a harmless procedure nor a victimless crime, and it should certainly not be funded by the taxpayer.

  18. Sorry guys, but I disagree with your whole premise. A ‘victim’ requires a person. Who is the victim in the case of abortion prior to 23 weeks? Not the mother, as it’s her choice. Not the foetus, because it isn’t a person. Hence, victimless.

    Why 23 weeks? Because from that age a premature baby can survive with modern technology. Maybe it could be a bit earlier or a bit later, but the LFL argument cited by Tim Andrews relies on the assumption that a foetus has equal rights to the mother from conception. I regard that as both scientifically and morally wrong.

    I agree abortions shouldn’t be funded by taxpayers in a privatised medical environment. But there is no reason to treat them differently from other medical procedures.

  19. David, your position surprises me slightly, not least because you rely on the assumption that the government can arbitrarily decide what is, and what isn’t life. Babies under the age of 23 weeks have been born, and if you read the Australian papers last week, there was a case in the UK where a child was born prematurely, with no deformities, at 21 weeks, who survived many hours unaided, and only died because UK Medical Regulations said no assistance could be provided to persons born under 21 weeks. There are solid libertarian arguments for abortion, for instance those based on individual soverignty and self defense, but that isn’t one of them. Similarly, as I noted previously, I find it surprising you call people like Ron Paul, Thomas Woods, Doug Bandow not libertarians.

    Most importantly though, and competly irrespective of the previous arguments, from a political perspective it’s just plain … well… dumb.

    You are needlessly alienating a potential constituency and creating antagonism for no reason whatsoever. If you were to put it under health section, lead with saying the LDP opposes medicare funding for abortions, but supports the (effective) status quo on when abortions are legal, you are saying exactly the same thing, but you may well significantly increase your constituency with freedom-oriented pro-lifers. it doesn’t cost you anything from an ideological perspective, but if you package it this way your political gains are significantly maximised.

    Keeping it the way you have it is needlessly offensive, and will cost you votes that you would otherwise receive. For no reason. It’s as simple as that 🙂

  20. I don’t think we’re going to get much agreement on this – as untimately, it comes down to a definition on when life begins…

    I agree with Tim that, at the very least, it should be moved under health section. Placing it under victimless crimes is unnecessarily antagonistic.

    I agree abortions shouldn’t be funded by taxpayers in a privatised medical environment. But there is no reason to treat them differently from other medical procedures.

    If it were treated the same as other public procedures, there’d be an 12-month waiting list 😉

  21. As I said, David, even if your world view is that an abortion is a victimless crime, I think it is harsh to categorise it as such on a website that potential supporters with many different views will be looking at to check out the party. I do think it would be better suited under the health section.

    It might be a good idea to move this discussion to the LDP blog if it’s going to continue.

  22. Tim – Ron Paul is closet pro-choice. In practice, he says ‘state rights’. In some states it will likely be legal, so…

  23. I agree with David that in the ideal libertarian medical system abortion shouldn’t be funded by the taxpayer either. But it is the height of purist idiocy, out of all the medical procedures that are funded by taxpayers, to object to the funding of abortions when it is probably one of the few which isn’t a *net* cost to the taxpayer when account is taken of taxpayer funds saved over the long run(because people dumb and feckless enough not to use other contraception don’t end up having unwanted babies). The only reason one would therefore object to the funding of abortions in particular is if one actually believes in the ‘life begins at contraception’ argument so why do people like Fleeced who claim not to nonetheless choose to single out abortions? is it simply because it offends ‘religious belief’.

  24. As for gay rights – I’d just have a new section called homosexuality, or if that’s not inclusive enough ‘alternative sexualities’.

    I would then state that the LDP believes that, provided it is between consenting adults, individual sexual preferences are no-one else’s business, particularly not the governments. As such the LDP is fully supportive by default of equal rights for GLBT people.

  25. @Jason – why do you assume that you have to be religious to decide that life begins at conception? How is that any less arbitrary than imposing, for instance, a 23 week deliniation? or to say it begins at birth?

  26. Alright, scrap ‘religious’. It is in any case a value judgement. I agree that to some extent it’s all arbitrary. That still doesn’t answer my question. Why do libertarians who don’t believe that life begins at conception go out of their way to accomodate the policy conclusions of those who do when there are so many other subsidies which probably cost more in the long run to the taxpayer by subsidising irresponsible or imprudent behaviour?

    Also, for what it is worth anyone who seriously believes life begins at conception should be calling for mothers who terminate pregnancies to be treated no different from other people who commit homcide. And people who suffer miscarriages should be holding funerals. The fact that so few of either group do suggests that the pro-life fetish isn’t even taken seriously by most of those people who profess it. Come on people, of all things in the world to be concerned about, you want to give enough significance to a clump of cells to force people who unluckily used dodgy condoms to raise families?

  27. BTW Tim in the US things may be different but luckily in Australia the percentage of the population who suffer from the fetal tissue fetish is too insignificant to warrant any concern about the LDP ‘offending’ anyone with its reference to abortion as a victimless crime.

  28. To elaborate a bit more
    1) as long as Medicare exists I favour continued funding of abortions. Of all the medical procedures that are funded it is probably one that doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything when looked at over a long term horizon. it would probably pass a cost benefit analysis
    2) Re the pro-life position, it’s the consistency I query.

    People who profess to ban abortions on the basis of life beginning at conception need to ask why they aren’t fully logically consistent in the implications of that value judgement. To be consistent they should be vegans or vegetarians for one thing since a human fetus before 23 weeks (a rough rule of thumb) is no different in its capacities for sentience or independent action than any animal fetus. So it seems the only consistent basis for such concern is that it’s a fetus with human genes. But why should that matter? Why should we apply a rule that anything with human genes regardless of its capacities should be protected from termination? I’m afraid the slippery slope argument doesn’t work here – people can be pro-choice without ending up wanting to kill Jews and Gypsies. We *can* make such rough judgements contra Tim without then conceding that the State has the right to make up anything about who is worthy of protection and who isn’t.

  29. For the record, I accept David’s qualification that abortion should not be funded in a privatised environment – and concede that I shouldn’t have singled it out in that respect (ie, if it’s legal, it should be treated the same as other procedures)

    However, the issue here is not merely about “offending”. I simply do not believe abortion to be a victimless crime in the same sense as, “riding without a helmet”. Including it under that heading clouds the issue of victimless crimes.

    I don’t understand why categorising it as a health issue is such a problem for people.

  30. I don’t understand why categorising it as a health issue is such a problem for people.

    Simple, pregnancy is not an illness.

    And, it might be OK to define it as a health problem if there weren’t criminal offences involved. You can’t go to jail for having your tonsils removed.

    I don’t give a flying uckf about purist libertarianism, but I find the ‘life begins at conception’ argument to be seriously unlibertarian. Assigning individual rights to an embryo containing a few cells grossly diminishes the rights of women.

  31. Same sex marriage could fit under a “Marriage Policy”. I’m not sure if the LDP wants such a policy but if it did then it would resolve the concern. I think the government should also stop declaring people as married without their consent (defacto marriages declared for welfare purposes) so it is not as if such a policy need only be about same sex marriage.

    I don’t believe the “life begins at conception” argument however obviously life starts at some point. I don’t think abortion is a great thing but I don’t think the state has much to offer by intervening. I do accept that it could be interpreted as somewhat crude to call abortion a victimless crime. Perhaps there could be a policy called “Sex and Marriage” which might cover off this topic at the same time as the marriage issue.

  32. Nobody called it an illness, David – don’t be ridiculous… but it’s clearly a health issue (does it not require medical intervention?)

    I don’t know when life begins – and yes, any date we choose (based on our current knowledge) is somewhat arbitrary. You chose 23 weeks… after this point, you are quite happy to treat women as an incubator – but one day earlier, you believe it to be completely victimless.

    I’ve already said that abortion should remain both safe and legal, despite my personal misgivings… however, I recognise it’s enough of a grey area that calling it “victimless” is going to alienate people… It’s not about “religious whack-jobs”, but libertarian-minded people like myself, Daniel, Tim, etc…

    You’re taking a very “with us or against us” approach on this.

  33. Why do you have to define an arbitary point at which life begins at all? Why not some practical cutoffs depending on circumstance – e.g. up to 12 weeks for any reason, and for serious genetic abnormalities up to the date they can be reliably tested.

    From a libertarian perspective it’s always going to be a balance between a woman’s rights over her own body, and an unborn child’s rights, which don’t suddenly go from absolutely no rights to full individual rights, either at the point of conception or at birth.

  34. “What’s the difference between me and you? You talk a good one but you don’t do what you supposed to do!” – Dre

    Yeah way to talk about the website dipshits. No unneccesary distractions and tangents for this thread.

    That’s it, Jake the Muss is coming in to rock like a fuckin’ Hurricane!

    Pro life libertarians: HAVE A CRY! OMFG the title of the page makes me want to be a little bitch. By the way, the idea is NOT to be caught in davidleyonhjelm’s semantic trap and instead get your valid point across.

    Since when is this the thread to talk about policy anyway? Talk about the website! How awesome/not awesome it is. How to maximise its effectiveness. Faults with the site (not the site content).

    Davidleyonhjelm: Yeah way to deliberately split 0.5% of the population! You don’t have to agree with the pro life libertarians to acknowledge that they have at least a prima facie argument for why libertarianism and being ‘pro abortion’ doesn’t necessarily have to go along. It’s called having a brain. Going ‘derrrrrrr that’s not libertarian derrrrrr’ isn’t a valid argument either mate. You better be an anarchist also otherwise you can shut up about policies that ‘aren’t libertarian’.

    Also, the minor things actually do count. Stupid pissy little things like titles turn people off to the point where they have dismissed the LDP and nothing you can do can bring them back. True example is my step Dad. On the old site the policies page had some sort of ‘intro’ or summary and then you’d click to get the full policy. Anyway the intro didn’t match the actual Traffic laws policy and implied that the LDP wanted to abolish all speed limits. I even clicked through to the policy and showed him how that’s not what the policy was. Too late, the shutters went up. To this day that it is all he thinks about when I mention the LDP.

    The new website is awesome (it has some bugs though) and the LDP needs to capitalise on it. The website finally gives the impression of a professional outfit and not a bloody rump of incompetents. LET’S NOT SHOW THE PUBLIC THAT THE LATTER IS THE CASE!

    If you ask me, ALS should delete every single comment that isn’t on topic, or commission a piece on libertarianism and abortion and move all the off topic comments there.

    Now, who wants to talk about the website? Anyone?

    I’ll start:

    *Older Press Releases link doesn’t work
    *The link to ‘older newsletters’ works but the links to the actual newsletters don’t.
    *The State links have no content. This looks unprofessional and looks like the Party isn’t doing anything. For the States that are doing something, add content and add it quickly. For the States that aren’t, *shrugs* give some contact info or something.
    * The current events calendar is not up to date. I know for a fact that the ACT division is having a dinner this thursday night the 24th. Again, let’s show people that things are happening.

    Overall: Awesome site, a big improvement. Now use it! Keep it up to date, log activity, log press releases, and use it to springboard onto Facebook and Twitter (these should be no brainers, this is where the new political campaigning happens).

  35. I think the LDP should make more of an effort to engage positively with the potential audience, and avoid telling supporters that they are simply wrong. Even if the policy isn’t changed, or even re-worded, a bit of active listening would improve the people-management part of politics.

    Jarrah actually has re-written policies for the party before on the policy wiki, and was disappointed that his alternative versions were never considered by the exec. I think it was great of him to put in the time previously, and can understand why he is less likely to do it again. I also am not inclined to spend much time on policy given how much is discarded.

    I think these policy debates are a major distraction. There is a very simple solution. Two solutions actually.


    First, we don’t need lots of detail on the policies. Nearly no other micro or minor party gives as much detail as we do… nearly nobody reads it… and when they do it only sparks disagreements and pushes people away from the party. I think we should have one or two short paragraphs explaining the general principle for each policy area (as existed about 4 years ago). And then maybe some more detail for a few key areas that we want to concentrate on. These can then be supplemented by “discussion papers” which allow a range of views, so long as they are libertarian. This allows people who like to write the chance to contribute (increasing their incentive to write), and it sets up the LDP as a place where thinkers can contribute.

    Using an example from the above discussion, I think the current “civil liberties”, “lifestyle choices” and a few others could be put together under “discrimination”. That would then say:

    The LDP does not believe that the government should discriminate for or against any group. This includes discriminating against homosexuals, people of different races and people with different lifestyles.

    However, people must be free to discriminate in their personal lives. The government should not pass any laws that restrict people’s freedom of speech or freedom of association, even if the speech/action is discriminatory. This includes the freedom to set up “men’s only” clubs, “women’s only” gyms, “christian only” schools, “gay only” nightclubs or any other voluntary association.

    No further detail is needed. Then people could write “discussion papers” if they like about whatever issue interests them. And the LDP could provide links to other academic papers of interest on the topics. The LDP becomes a source for research, opens up more opportunities for people to contribute, but doesn’t cause problems by having an overly-prescriptive policy.


    Second, we should embrace competitive federalism, just as Ron Paul did. So many of these issues should have the federal policy of “no federal legislation, that’s a state issue”. And the state policy should often be “we would look at ways to decentralise control of that issue”. Ultimately, if we had many competing jurisdictions in Australia and it was easy to move between them… it doesn’t really matter if one or two want to experiment with some god-awful socialist or fascist crap. This allows us to side-step a lot of the debates that aren’t central to our major themes.


    Jake — join the LDP facebook fan page, get your friends to join, and feel free to spark discussion there.

  36. Jake – I don’t think the ALS should edit out comments just because they are critical of my preferred political party.

  37. Jake — the fan page was only just made today. 🙂

    What we need is a few rabble-rousers to stir things up, and get the conversation flowing. What? Did you just volunteer? Thanks.

  38. The essential thing to remember is that ALL efforts on the website update are by volunteers. The LDP doesn’t get handouts ar any government grants (and would refuse them anyway!). There will be improvements made based on these and others comments, but it takes time and money. Right now the priorities are getting enough NSW members to get registered before March 2010, so we need several hundred NOW! Also, we need to find a suitable candidate for byelection in Bradfield. Anyone come to mind?

  39. Peter – I don’t think it would be wise for the LDP to reject funding if it was elligible. Even though it should stridently oppose taxpayer funding of political parties.

  40. I say we channel it all out to charity groups which feed the homeless or something. If we’re going to take it, we may as well use it for political gain

  41. John: What the hell was I member of then? I really shouldn’t join every group on offer. Did you used to have a group? I’m not one for page v group semantics.

    Terje: I 100% agree with you which is probably why my argument WASN’T that they should be deleted because they were critical, it was that they should be deleted because they were ridiculously off topic and more than that, derailing ON TOPIC discussion.

    Peter and Terje: I remember this discussion happening before. I get the whole ‘if its on offer oh well/hey im just getting my taxes back’ argument but there’s only so far one can take that before you are the whore of babylon.

  42. “If you’re arguing in favour of intervention, you’re talking to the wrong party.”

    You mean like your preference for international intervention?

  43. Touche Jarrah. There was no need to produce a defence policy. It has only given more reasons for people to shy away from the party, and personally I find it very disappointing.

    We would be much better served by LESS detailed policies so that we can allow the naturally diverse range of libertarians to feel more comfortable in the party.

  44. Putting aside John’s quite valid point that the party might be better off with less, and less detailed, policies, I’m not sure exactly how the defence policy (which I don’t believe has been finalised) can be characterised as interventionist. In my mind the key points were:

    1) Absolute opposition to conscription, under any circumstance.
    2) Replacing almost the entire full time army with a part time citizens militia, and encouraging cadets and other voluntary participation
    3) Raising a french legion style force that would be for hire to approved causes, including potentially privately funded ones.
    4) Selling off the surface navy and replacing it with submarines.

    None of which I see as overly interventionist or a fundamental betrayal of libertarian values. Not aboslute pacifism either, but then there aren’t any actual pacifists on the exec at the moment. But if someone will point out a big problem with a particular part of the policy I will attempt to amend it.

    To John’s more general less is more point, yeah, perhaps. Personally I feel we need some policy detail in some areas. There are arguments both ways for it, maybe we can have a spirited discussion about it in the coming months in the run-up to the national conference in January, and the party membership can instruct the exec on how to handle the issue.

  45. Policy detail helps keep candidates on message during elections, assuming the candidates actually read the policies. As a candidate John probably wouldn’t feel the need to have such support structures but I don’t think he is the typical candidate. When I was a candidate I felt I could speak with more authority on issues because I had the policies behind me.

    My view is that the policies simply need ongoing refinement both in terms of presentation, structure and in terms of being current. I actually think the current set of policies is quite good and I would not suggest abandoning the current level of detail. Where the party supports a position it should say so loudly enough for those that agree to notice, but gently enough that those that disagree are minimally offended. If it has no clear position on an issue it should stay quite. Once the LDP is registered for elections in more states (ie beyond the ACT / NT) then I think delegating policy to state branches will make more sense. Until then I think it is academic.

  46. I like what the ACT party has done in New Zealand.

    They have a very short description and benefit, and then a click through to a more detailed position.

    I don’t necessarily think the level of detail is a huge problem, but having short digestible chunks (including the goal we want to achieve, et c) might be more palatable to both members and potential supporters.

  47. Jarrah – I was waiting for some response to my above comment. The LDP exec plans to finalise the Defence policy next week – so seriously if you (or anyone) want to make more comment or suggestion on it, I am all ears. As I said above, I really don’t see it as either interventionist or in any way un-libertarian, but I’m very open to input.

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