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The Australian Liberal Party is what is called a “center-right” party. This means that it leans more toward a belief in the ideas of classical liberalism and less towards a belief in the principles of social democracy. Let us look briefly at what each of these things means.
Political scientists typically say that political beliefs can be classified on a left-right continuum. On the far left are people who believe in communism. On the far right are fascists. On the left, not very far from the center, are social democrats. These are people who believe that the government should be very strongly involved in running the economy of a country. They believe that the government should do its best to ensure that all people will have relatively equal amounts of wealth and relatively equal standards of living.
On the right, not very far from the center, are liberals like those of the Australian Liberal Party. Liberals believe in having an economy that is relatively free from government intervention. They want the economy to be able to run more or less on its own. They think that taxes and government regulations make it harder to have a strong economy. As the Liberal Party’s website says, they believe in
government that nurtures and encourages its citizens through incentive, rather than putting limits on people through the punishing disincentives of burdensome taxes and the stifling structures of Labor's corporate state and bureaucratic red tape.
Center right parties are typically somewhat more traditional on social issues than center left parties are. As an example of this, Tony Abbott described himself during the recent election campaign as an opponent of gay marriage.
Thus, the Australian Liberal Party is basically a center-right party that believes in less government intervention in the economy and in relatively traditional social values.
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