Rod McGarvie: Where do traditional Liberal – or Labor – voters go now?

With the recent Labor-style toppling of our Prime Minister Tony Abbott, many traditional Liberal supporters are now wondering where they put their vote in order to protect their cultural norms and values while supporting responsible financial management of the nation.  Those traditional Liberal supporters are finding it difficult to believe that the Party now rewards those who actively undermined the government and the former Prime Minister. They are shocked that the party can now be painted as being as treacherous as its Labor predecessors. What happened to courage and loyalty in the face of adversity?  Since when do you run from battle when instead of adjusting strategy and tactics, and reentering the fray?

The Family First Party offers a practical option for conservative voters who are now disillusioned with the Liberal party. Liberal voters have had numerous disappointments on the policy front, but have nobly hung in there until now. The back down on amending Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, messing about with the Constitution, avoiding the climate change debate, leaving the job-killing industrial relations juggernaut untouched, weakness on traditional marriage, and not taking the ABC back to its charter obligations, all tested the patience of traditional Liberal voters. 


The two major parties are no longer drifting but rowing to the political left on social issues as there is no sizable conservative party creating a needed counter-balance within parliament. With Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister the left will be celebrating. Many disappointed Queenslanders would have voted for the Palmer United Party (PUP) at the last election thinking it was a conservative party given its origins, but will have found its voting record and policy positions  a lot further to the left than they thought.


The federal senate is dominated by left-of-centre independents and parties, from the far left party of the Greens, the former PUP members, through to the more opportunistic Nick Xenophon. On the senate crossbench, Family First Senator Bob Day is the only consistent voice on both socially conservative and traditional economic principles and values.

Due to the lack of a political counter-balance in the senate, the government has had to negotiate with those on the left to get any part of their policy agenda through. This has been costly to the nation as financial savings to the budget have been sacrificed in the process. Our economy can’t be held hostage by the political left and their big government ideologies. Balance in the senate needs to be restored.


Traditional Liberal party voters are concerned that the new Prime Minister’s left leaning social views will only be moderated until the next election.  They have seen how former Prime Minister Gillard now admits, out of office, that she supports the gay marriage campaign that she opposed as Prime Minister.  The same strategic expediency is at play today.  Voting for the Family First Party in the senate will act as a defiant rejection of any further slide to the left.  We cannot afford it.  Family First holds similar values and policy positions with a number of conservative MP’s in the coalition. Unfortunately, the hand full of conservative coalition senators that fight for our cultural values, are often ridiculed, undermined, and marginalized, even by their own colleagues.  Political correctness is rampant, tolerance is a one-way street and the treatment of conservative voices today signals that, unchecked, the position of Australian public life will be far further to the left, and that will intrude upon Australian and family private life in unthinkable ways.


The breadth of ideas and arguments in the federal parliament is critical to a robust political system. A healthy democracy cries out for a range of solutions for complex times, it demands a diversity of views. With a growing presence in the senate, Family First could play a major role in restoring the political balance in parliament.


For the traditional Labor party voters who want to know someone is looking out for their best interests in the work place and don’t like the idea of their beloved “worker’s” party forcing Labor MP’s into supporting a redefinition of marriage, then Family First is also their best option. The Labor party has been so captured by the ideas of the extreme left Greens that it no longer acts in the best interests of everyday blue collar workers.  Recent anti-family resolutions of Labor’s national conference make the pro-family Labor voter’s hair curl.


Undermining the China Free Trade Agreement and pushing unsustainable renewable energy targets will cost jobs for the many hard working Australians who have faithfully supported Labor for generations. Labor will not get the message and change its ways unless a very powerful signal is sent at the ballot box. If traditional Labor voters deny the party any senators at the next election, Labor will be forced to sit up and listen. When Labor voters are unhappy, they often park their vote with the Greens not realising the Greens are the party that is sucking the very life and soul from their own party.


Voting 1 for Family First in the senate is the tough medicine the major parties need. It will potentially help save the Labor party, shocking its leadership into reconnecting with its traditional support base. Labor needs to re-establish themselves as a party that actually stands for something, and that they really do care for the best interests of the Australian worker and of the nation.


An increased Family First Party representation in the federal senate will give greater opportunity for the government of the day to pass good fiscal and social policy. It will help draw both major parties back toward the true political centre. The most important contribution would be to restore the overall political balance to the parliament and bring the trust and respect back to federal politics.