The Demise of the Australian Democrats

Several recent events surely spell the end of the Australian Democrats. Three in particular come to mind: their electoral decline of the last few years; the announced retirement of one of their leading stars; and their continued war against religion.

The first two are a matter of the public record. Electorally, they have been in deep decline for the past several years. Their percentage of the vote, and their number of sitting members, continues to go downhill. Thus many observers have been predicting the end of the Australian Democrats in the very near future.

The nail was driven in the coffin this week when their main player, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, announced that she would not stand at the next election. Her announcement certainly signals the beginning of the end for the party.

The way she described her exit from politics is worth examining for a moment. Her decision to retire is certainly good news for her family. Of course, as a committed feminist, she had to put a spin on this move: “This is not about giving up work for family,” she said. Instead, it is about “giving my family priority at this particular stage”. Of course most people would read that latter comment as, well, giving up work for family.

But never mind. The outcome is the same either way. Increasingly people are realising that women can have it all, but not necessarily at the same time. A successful career and a successful family are both full-time commitments.

Such a common-sense position has long been anathema to the feminists, but reality has a good way of breaking into ideology. The truth is, perhaps no one – neither man nor woman – can successfully juggle two full-time careers simultaneously. Fortunately for her family, the mother and wife in Stott Despoja took precedence over the feminist in her.

The third and final indication that the Democrats are facing oblivion is their obsession with attacking religion, especially the conservative, evangelical Christian variety. This point is worth discussing at length.

According to the Australian Democrats, there is religion, and there is religion. The Democrats in particular, like the secularists in general, are actually quite duplicitous here. Neither one really hates religion so much. It is just one sort of religion that both can’t stand.

As many are aware, earlier this year the Democrats launched a survey on God and Government. But it did not go the way they anticipated, so they decided not to release the survey results. Turns out that the majority of respondents said that religion is important, and political life should not be a religion-free zone.

Undeterred, they have just released their discussion paper on separation of church and state. It is a very revealing document. It makes it clear that the Democrats are still determined as ever to see religion (read: Bible-based Christianity) eliminated from the political sphere.

For example, they are terribly worried that in “the last 10 years the line between religion and government in Australia has become more blurred.” The Democrats make it clear that they are really concerned about conservative religious influence, especially that of “Evangelicals and Pentecostals”.

Indeed, to further clarify this point, they conclude their paper by reiterating their chief concern: “the growing influence on public policy, particularly the neo-conservative religious right”.

That has always been the case. Our secular Democrats, like all good secularists, do not really mind religion, if it is the right sort. And that right sort is a this-worldly, leftwing religion, that looks indistinguishable from the Melbourne Age or Canberra Times editorial policy.

I have documented this case elsewhere. This is true of most secular humanists. The clearest indication is just to look up their various web sites. They say straight out that what they detest is the Religious Right. As but one example, consider this quote from unbelief.org: “The groups we refer to as the Religious Right are Christian fundamentalists, usually associated with the conservative evangelical Protestant movement. This is not to say that Christianity is the only belief system that harbours fundamentalists, but right-wing Christian lobby groups currently present the most significant problem.”

The Democrats discussion paper is full of some real gems, including the idea that Parliamentary representation should be limited to the religious makeup of society! But given that the overwhelming majority of Australians are religious, and only a tiny fraction are secularists or atheists, just what are they proposing here?

Probably the overwhelming majority (if not all) of the current sitting Democrat state MLCs and federal Senators are secularists, agnostics or atheists. Should, therefore, the majority of these be forced to resign, to better reflect the surrounding, religious, society?

Again, they really do not mind leftwing religion. They even admit to this in their discussion paper: “Historically the traditional churches in Australia have had strong social justice traditions which have made them more sympathetic to leftist political parties. Traditional churches play a valuable role in Australian society.”

No such praise for the “Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches” in Australia. Instead we are warned that they have an unhealthy influence on the political process. The Democrats’ double-standards here are quite apparent.

The bottom line is this: the Democrats are radical left-wingers. Nothing wrong with that. In a democracy all sorts of political views are allowed. But as lefties, they cannot stand conservative religion, because it cramps their style, their radical agenda to remake Australian society in their own image.

Of course the Democrats are welcome to push their own secular agenda. But they need to stop this nonsense about some theocratic takeover of Australia. We have had a secular takeover of Australia going on for some years now, aided and abetted by the Democrats.

By consistently attacking religion, and especially Christianity, the Democrats are simply showing how out of touch they are with the majority of Australians. Indeed, the Democrat’s secular jihad puts them at odds with most Australians who do profess some form of religious observance.

The result of all this is their assured decline into political oblivion.

[1001 words]

3 Replies to “The Demise of the Australian Democrats”

  1. Bill,

    Sorry to disagree with you but the Democrats are not lefties. But to fundamentalist like you, everyone who does not tow the neo-conservtive line are lefties…

    Oh well, The Democrats started as a middle of the road party with a strong libertine streak. Before Don Chipp founded the Democrats he was a minister in the Gorton Liberal Government responcible for censorship. He removed most of the bans on the importation of books in to Australia.

    He called on the other get libertine element at the time, the Australia Party. With the rements of the old Liberal movement in South Australia, Chipp formed the Democrats.

    I am a proud member of the Greens. We alwasys had problem wiht the democrats because they were truely small ‘l’ liberals and not from the Labor side of politics.

    If you interested in the origins of the Greens, I suggest you look at the 1984 Federal ALP policy debate on the three uranium mines policy. It took seven years from there but ,,,,

    The rest as they say is history…

    Michael Boswell, Perth 

  2. Thanks Michael
    But of course it might be more accurate to say that you consider the Democrats to be moderates because of your own radical leftwing views.
    And thanks, but I am quite familiar with the policies of the Greens, which is why I am so worried about them.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  3. Thanks Bill,
    To enforce the Democrats line about limiting church goers in parliament, they should propose that on entry to beginning of parliament, each parliamentarian swear, “I did not attend or step inside a church over the parliamentary recess”
    (Oh, but I did attend a wedding in a church, and oh yes a funeral service a few weeks ago… and yes, I did light a candle and say a prayer some months ago on the anniversary of the death of my mother… please forgive me Democrats, for I have sinned against you and the parliament….can I come in now?)

    Rick Brouwer, Victoria

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