Australian Political Party Manifestos
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The Progressive Party of Australia (PPA)
Party Ideology: Progressivism, ordoliberalism (social liberalism), social market economy
Party Leader: Senator Hillary Clinton (Central Perth)
Party President: Anna Gainey
Founded: 1857 (159 years) as Liberal Party
Youth Wing: Young Progressives
Political position: Centre-to centre-left
International affiliation: European Progressive Alliance
The Progressive Party of Australia was founded in 1857 as the second oldest political party (after the Conservatives) in Australia, started in the Victorian Parliament before federation. The Progressives finished no lower in Federal Parliament elections until 1921, when the Australian Workers' Party (the predecessor to Labor) won their first Government. The Progressives have long been standing as the centrist-centre left alternative to government, and are well positioned as to the left of the Conservatives but to the right of Labor. Since then, there have been Progressive Prime Ministers but they currently are in a struggle to solidify second party status, and usually duke it out with both the Conservatives and Labor for first preference votes.
The key proposals that the progressives are proponents of largely centre around the idea of social liberalism, or the fact that in order to ensure that a free market reaches its full potential, there has to be accurate welfare programmes. Unlike Labor, where the state stops is the economy. While Labor wants many regulations on the economy to ensure that workers are all treated equally. They stand on principles that the Government should be there to help those who need it most while ensuring competition and that Government should promote efficiency in the economy through targeted regulation. This is manifested itself into social market economy beliefs:
Social market economies aim to combine free initiative and social welfare on the basis of a competitive economy. The social market economy is opposed to laissez-faire policies and to socialist economic systems and combines private enterprise with regulation and state intervention to establish fair competition, maintaining a balance between a high rate of economic growth, low inflation, low levels of unemployment, good working conditions, social welfare, and public services.
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The Conservative Party of Australia (CPA)
Party ideology: Liberal conservatism, competitive federalism
Party Leader: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Wentworth)
President: Richard Alston
Deputy Leader: Julie Bishop, MP (Curtin)
Founded: 31 August 1945 (preceded by the United Australia Party)
Youth Wing: Conservative Future
International Affiliation: None
Status: Incumbent (House of Representatives)
The Conservative Party has the heritage of the United Australia Party, which in turn was formed in 1901 after federation from all the state and territory conservative parties. With the New South Wales Conservatives Party being founded in 1840, the Conservative lineage is the oldest in the Commonwealth. The Conservatives have had the distinction of having the two longest serving Prime Ministers in Australian history, Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard. Conservatives have served the longest in government at the Federal Commonwealth level, totalling nearly 50 years, in the 20th and 21st Centuries.
The Conservatives believe in free market solutions to problems more than the Progressives, and firmly believe that they are in a position to help the population (including the poor) by promoting market solutions to problems while shrinking the size of government and minimising regulation of the economy. Strongly tied to human rights and individual freedom, the Conservatives still believe that a safety net should be in place for the vulnerable but it should be minimal and tied to market solutions (welfare-to-work). Lower taxes are seen as key to allowing more of the working and middle class keep their money. The party has a tendency to be more right-libertarian and less traditionalist than most Conservative parties around Europe, and while the mainstream has rejected social conservatism, with the absorption of the National Party in rural areas, the Conservatives have a large faction who are more socially conservative than the mainstream party. Moderate environmentalism and limited welfare state can be a sticking point with some Conservative Parties, but in Australia, the Conservatives have essentially accepted those as 21st Century norms.