Australian Liberal Party defies cultural takeover, trapping party on the outer, by Michael Sexton, who is the author of several books on Australian history and politics. The best summary article on modern Australian politics in recent years.
The Liberals face some significant present and long-term disadvantages in the Australian political system, particularly at the national level.
One of these disadvantages is that the Liberals are largely considered unfashionable and almost disreputable among the politically correct class that dominates most public and private institutions.
For most of the country’s political history the non-Labor parties were considered the respectable side of politics and until the 1980s they usually won federal elections.
Robert Menzies, Liberal leader and PM from 1949 to 1966.
But in the past 30 years the politically correct class has taken control of most of the media, universities and schools, almost all cultural institutions, the boards of many public companies and even major sporting bodies. The members of this class generally would not stoop to involvement in party politics but their views on questions such as border security, power generation and freedom of speech mean that they are broadly unsympathetic to the Liberals. Because this group controls so much of the public debate in Australia, it is the Coalition that has become the less fashionable and less respectable alternative. …
The notion of the Liberals being unfashionable appears to have had a particular impact on young people. There seems to be a view in this group that joining the Young Liberals is somewhat akin to becoming involved with a fringe religious cult, whereas signing up with Young Labor or the Greens is socially quite acceptable. …
Party finances too:
In terms of personnel on the ground during election campaigns, the Liberals cannot compete with the numbers Labor can assemble from the union movement and supporting groups such as GetUp! In addition, the financial contributions to Labor from its union affiliates are substantial and steady.
It might be thought that these could be matched by contributions to the Liberals from the business community but, as already noted, many large corporations are no longer sympathetic to the Liberals and, in any event, are keen to hedge their bets by contributing to both sides of politics.