liberal (adj). open to new behaviours or opinions and willing to discard traditional values; favourable to or respectable of individual rights and freedom

March 13, 2010

The word ‘liberal’ can also come to be a noun describing a person of liberal views, and I think I’ve just wholly re-aligned myself with these views after my routine morning shower.

I don’t know if it came across from my last couple of months of blogging in 2009, but I was pretty much tossing up my choices because they come across as very contradictory.  I’m a member of my university’s Oxfam club, who do wonderful things to help raise funds and, more importantly, awareness of the dilapidating poverty that exists in the Third World (and this is just the base of the cake, we also focus on domestic issues, gender equality, as well as climate change).  I am also a supporter of the Liberal Party of Australia (who are notoriously known for their conservatism).  I suppose I wasnt quite sure why I was a through and through supporter of the Liberal Party, as I didn’t want to delve into the world that was politics, that seemed to hardcore at the time.  My basic response to an inquiry of why I was a Liberal was because my parents own a small business, which was supported by the government, because I didn’t want to be slammed by other comments that would leave me with the lower hand.  I never like being the person that is subordinated in a conversation, I don’t think anyone does.  But since I was a Liberal supporter coming out to a pretty much Labor supporting generation (the young people who voted him into power), I felt very much disinclined to share a lot of my views.  It’s not that I’m ashamed of what I believe in, but rather I would get so much shit for being Liberal from people who I go university with, even within Oxfam who are genuinely nice and caring people. I would get comments that just slam in my face what a shit party the Liberals are for human rights, how their out of touch with society and pretty much putting K. Rudd up there as a demi-God or something.  Something that would eliminate any queries as to why I believe what I believe, because everyone was so caught up with the Kevin 07 and their stimulus packages and playing the blame game.  I would have loved to explain why I believed in the party, but (i) I never got into the politics of it and ultimately felt inept to have a full-on political discussion, and (ii) I rarely had the chance to.

Admittedly, there are some Liberal policies that aren’t that great and need some work.  A lot of work is needed for their social policies.  I think a lot of the copping I get from pro-Laborors stems from these issues, and I really can’t refute them because I too think they’re not up to scratch.  However, I firmly believe that within the Liberal party, there are members who uphold the Liberal traditions its founding fathers administered, one that resonated with the respect for freedom and individual liberty.  I’m not sure how the Liberal party became to be so conservative, as it initially was the progressive party in Australian politics; “Liberalism… stands in contrast to the philosophies of conservatism, socialism and communitarianism” is what Mr. Joe Hockey said very recently at the Grattan Institute.  His speech encapsulates a lot of what I believe government should be for society.  (If you’re interested, I’ve attached a link here).

Labor has its strength- it shrines itself as the party for the working-class, for families.  Their social policies reflect what is the 21st century.  I can’t commend the current government’s efforts in areas of Climate Change and Indigenous peoples of Australia enough.  However, I really don’t side with the over-regulation that is inherent of Labor policies.  Stimulus packages, lowering the legal drinking age, and internet censorship.  These are only a few policies that undermine individual liberty and freedom.  There are definitely other means to deal with these problems, and government regulation is NOT one of them.  I suppose you can kind of see why I’m not a big K. Rudd fan.  In his near-4 year term, I hardly have felt some sort of empowerment  or change as an individual (and this is the guy my generation voted in to see some change!)

I’m currently the secretary of my local Liberal branch, and with the March 2011 election less than 12 months away, I’ve never seen so many committed people to upholding the Liberal values.  Our candidate, Dai Le, is such an independent within the Liberal party and it absolute inspires me to be the individual inside me. She has taught me to stand up for what I believe in, whatever that may be.  Branch members, too, have understood my difficulties of being a uni student and a Liberal supporter, and have taught me be who I am.  These people are the leaders that I look up to, and consequently, they have just re-affirmed my Liberalism for me.  I knew it was always there, but have always questioned it because I was unable to assert exactly how I felt in the environment that I was in.  Obviously, nothing has changed- I’m still going to go into uni tomorrow with K. Rudd lovers.  But I’ll have a strong perspective towards what I believe, and that is what liberalism is: being an individual, so it’s okay to be who you are, it’s okay to not conform and uphold your beliefs and values that make you an individual.

I’m a liberal through and through, not a heretic as many people at uni have dubbed me to be.


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