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The Difference Between Labor And Liberal?

The debate over the difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party has always been with us.

This is the text of a letter by Robert Corcoran, published in The Age on July 1, 2003:

Rich and Powerful versus The Rest

..What are the fundamental aims of the major parties, and how do they perform?

For a long time it has been obvious that the parties shape election-time policies according to their perceptions of the mood and preferences of voters – and more so with the greater prominence of public-opinion polls.

Significantly, in recent years, Labor has sought to appease the enlarged comfortable stratum of the community, while Liberal governments have taken the opportunity to move further to the right than ever before.

Looking back over the past half-century, to times when popular attitudes were far different from today’s, Labor established the Snowy Mountains scheme and the government airline TAA. And the Liberals continued both, with purported enthusiasm.

But it did not last; nor did the commitment to full employment.

Have the fundamental natures of the parties really changed? Despite temporary modifications in stated policies to try to win elections, both parties, when in government, move in their preferred directions as far as circumstances permit. In plain words, the Liberals are supported by, and favour, the rich and powerful; and Labor acts for the rest of us – when it gets the chance.

Robert Corcoran, Edithvale

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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