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Liberal Democratic Party (Australia)

Liberal Democratic Party
National President Gabriel Buckley
National Treasurer David Leyonhjelm
Founded 2001
Headquarters Dickson, Australian Capital Territory
Ideology Classical liberalism, libertarianism[1]
International affiliation Interlibertarians
House of Representatives
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Politics of Australia
Political parties

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP or Liberal Democrats) is an Australian political party founded in Canberra in 2001. The party's policies are broadly based on classical liberal and libertarian principles.[2] The LDP is a registered party in the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, and Victoria, and is also registered for federal elections with the Australian Electoral Commission. It had one senator, David Leyonhjelm, elected to parliament at the 2013 federal election, and also has four representatives at local government level (one councillor in Victoria, two councillors in New South Wales and one in South Australia).


  • Party name 1
  • Philosophy 2
    • Policies 2.1
  • History 3
  • Emergence 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Party name

Founded as the Liberal Democratic Party in 2001, changes to the Electoral Act by the Howard government forced all parties without parliamentary representation to deregister, and re-register under stricter naming rules.[3] Advised by the Australian Electoral Commission that federal registration under the original name was uncertain given opposition by the Liberal Party of Australia, and lacking the funding to appeal a likely negative finding, in 2007 the party chose to register federally as the Liberty and Democracy Party.[4] However, in 2008 the party successfully applied to the Australian Electoral Commission to change its federally registered name to Liberal Democratic Party.[5] During this period, the party remained registered under its original name in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).[6]


The LDP states it adheres to libertarian, classical liberal, small government and laissez-faire principles coupled with what the party considers as a high regard for individual freedom and individual responsibility.[7]


LDP policies include the following:[8][9][10][11]


  • 2001:
  • 2004:
  • 2005:
    • David McAlary becomes party president.
  • 2007:
    • Holds first national conference.
    • Registers federally, changing its name to "Liberty and Democracy Party" to meet electoral commission requirements.[29]
    • Contests 2007 federal election, winning 17,048 votes (0.14 percent) in the lower house, and 16,942 votes (0.13 percent) in the upper house.
  • 2008:
    • Peter Whelan elected party president.[30]
    • Contests 2008 Gippsland by-election, winning 4.2 percent of the vote.
    • Contests the seat of Molonglo in the 2008 ACT election, winning 0.9 percent of the vote.
    • Applies successfully to the AEC to change its federally registered name to "Liberal Democratic Party".[31]
  • 2009:
  • 2010:
    • January: Former New Zealand Finance Minister Sir Roger Douglas keynote speaker at the 2010 LDP National Conference in Sydney.
    • Contests 2010 federal election, receiving 1.8 percent of the national senate vote,[32] and an average of 1.3 percent across the 21 lower house seats it contested, with a best of 5.52 percent in Gippsland.
  • 2011:
    • January: Radio presenter and former VFL footballer Sam Kekovich keynote speaker at the 2011 LDP National Conference in Canberra.
    • Registered in South Australia.
  • 2012:
  • 2013
    • January: Author and journalist Cassandra Wilkinson keynote speaker at the 2013 LDP National Conference in Sydney.
    • David Leyonhjelm elected to the Senate with a 9.5 percent (+7.2) primary vote polling the third-highest vote in New South Wales after the Liberal/National Coalition and the Australian Labor Party.[34] The result for the LDP in New South Wales was partly attributed to the "donkey vote" with the party occupying first position on a record-size ballot paper.[35]
    • Primary vote of 5.33 percent in Gippsland, the only House of Representatives seat the party contested at the 2013 election.
    • Councillor Clinton Mead is elected by his fellow councillors to be mayor of Campbelltown.
  • 2014:
    • Gabriel Buckley becomes party president.
    • February: Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson keynote speaker at the 2014 LDP National Conference in Sydney.
    • June: Leyonhjelm and Family First's Bob Day announced their intention to vote as a bloc in the Senate on economic issues, but will vote separately on social issues.[36]
    • July: David Leyonhjelm becomes the Liberal Democratic Party's first senator.
    • November: Achieves registration with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC), announces it will field upper-house candidates in the upcoming Victorian state election on 29 November 2014.[37]
    • November: Small business owner Samuel Charlick, the South Australian State President of the LDP, is elected as a councillor for Glenelg Ward in the City of Holdfast Bay, the first LDP representative in that state.
  • 2015:


Prior to the 2012 Ramsay and Port Adelaide state by-elections in South Australia, the polls in The Advertiser newspaper gave the LDP 23 percent and 14 percent of the vote respectively in the absence of Liberal Party candidates. The LDP ended up with votes of 13.3 percent and 7.3 percent respectively. The paper described the LDP as "a hardline libertarian party that demands abolition of government welfare as well as the minimum wage, seatbelts and bike helmets. It backs legalisation of marijuana and increased freedom to access pornography."[39]

At the 2013 federal election, LDP candidate David Leyonhjelm was elected to the Senate after polling the third highest vote in the state of New South Wales after the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Labor Party.[40] According to Leyonhjelm, a portion of their vote probably came from their 'first position' on the long senate ballot paper and voters potentially being confused with his party and other contesting parties such as the Liberals, the Australian Democrats and the Christian Democratic Party.[41] However, Leyonhjelm points to the fact that the Liberal Democrats' vote in South Australia, where they were fifth on the ballot, rose 3 percentage points. He also points to the fact that the donkey vote generally only produces swings of +1 or 2 percentage points to the party listed first on the ballot.[42]

Leyonhjelm organised preferences for several different, but closely entwined, political parties seeking election in the Senate, including the Outdoor Recreation Party, Smoker's Rights Party, and the Republican Party of Australia.[43] Australian Sex Party candidate Fiona Patten alleged Leyonhjelm intentionally failed to lodge ticket voting preferences forms, reneging on a preference deal,[44] but Leyonhjelm claimed that there was a mistake entering the AEC fax number.[45] The Liberal Democrats were not involved in Glenn Druery's "Minor Party Alliance" during the election, which assisted in negotiating preference flows between minor parties.[46]

Shortly after David Leyonhjelm's Senate victory, Liberal Democrats councillor Clinton Mead was elected Mayor of the City of Campbelltown in New South Wales.[47]

In 1 July 2014, David Leyonhjelm became the Liberal Democratic Party's first senator.

See also


  1. ^ Bertram, Dean (2013, September 21); "In praise of Australia's Liberal Democrats"; The Spectator.
  2. ^ "LDP philosophy". Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  3. ^ Stephen, Mayne (29 June 2006). "Minor parties deregistered by Howard electoral law changes". Crikey. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Davis, Mark; Jensen, Erik (2007-11-12). "Lots of trash 'n' treasure in micro-party bazaar".  
  5. ^ Mitchell, Alex (2009-02-10). "Tax-hating gun-lovers register political party".  
  6. ^ "Register of political parties". ACT Electoral Commission. 2007-10-15. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  7. ^ "Principles". Liberal Democratic Party. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  8. ^ "Policies". Liberal Democratic Party. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  9. ^ Kroehn, Chantelle; Adam Todd (2007-11-14). "`Local' candidates are anything but".  
  10. ^ "Policies". Liberal Democratic Party. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  11. ^ Bicknell, Graham (2007-11-23). "Soccer should be banned says LDP".  
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "2001 Election - First Preference Results". ACT Electoral Commission. 2005-03-08. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  28. ^ "2004 Election - First Preference Results". ACT Electoral Commission. 2005-02-01. Archived from the original on 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  29. ^ "Party Registration decision: Liberty and Democracy Party". Australian Electoral Commission. 2007-10-03. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  30. ^ "Party appealing to discontented masses". Hills Shire Times (1 - ed.). 2008-04-15. p. 3. 
  31. ^ "The Australian Electoral Commission Website". Australian Electoral Commission. 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  32. ^ "First Preferences by Party".  
  33. ^ Bauche, David (12 September 2012). "Malicki dominates the vote for her sixth term". Hornsby Advocate. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  34. ^ Detours ahead as minor parties claim Senate balance - SMH
  35. ^ Aston, Heath (2 October 2013). "The $1m mistake: senator's poll windfall". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  36. ^ Heath Aston (1 June 2014). "Senate's odd couple quickly form a voting bloc – The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  37. ^ Rose, Danny (5 November 2014). "Lib Dems to stand candidates for Vic poll". The Australian. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  38. ^ 2015 Canning by-election VTR: AEC
  39. ^ Wills, Daniel (20 January 2012). "Female voters save Labor's seat". The Advertiser. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  40. ^ Damien Murphy (2013-09-09). "Detours ahead as minor parties claim Senate balance". Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  41. ^ "NSW sends pro-gun Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm to Senate". 2013-09-09. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  42. ^ "Liberals don't live up to their name, unlike the LDP". The Australian. 1 October 2013. 
  43. ^ Crook, Andrew (22 August 2013). "Revealed: the libertarian Right’s micro-party links". Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  44. ^ Dunckley, Mathew (16 September 2013). "Faulty fax machine blamed in Sex Party spat over Senate seat". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  45. ^ Swan, Jonathan (16 September 2013). "Sex Party points finger at minor rival over preference form bungle". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  46. ^ Dylan Welch (1 April 2014). "Senate voting inquiry prompted by Glenn Druery's election tactics could put end to preference trading" – Retrieved 11 April 2014.
  47. ^

External links

  • LDP official website
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