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Moderate Left (Liberal Party of Australia)

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Moderate Left
Social liberalism
Classical liberalism
Economic liberalism
Political positionCentre to Centre-right
National affiliationLiberal Party
Colours     Blue

The Moderate Left[citation needed] is the informal moderate Centrist faction of the Liberal Party of Australia at that tends to be more socially liberal and economically liberal than the Conservative Right faction. The Moderate Left is a broad group of various centre-leaning parliamentarians.

Political views[edit]

The major uniting ideology of Liberal moderates is liberalism. The moderates view the party as a thoroughly liberal party, and believe that Robert Menzies, the party's founder, wished to steer his party away from conservatism, whilst rejecting the idea of democratic socialism, which was supported by the Australian Labor Party.

Moderates argue that conservatism does not appeal to most Australians. Hence, the Liberal Party is never found to be a conservative party, rather it is a pragmatic, mainstream, party of government. Moderates have tended historically to support more strongly social causes such as same-sex marriage, environmentalism, Australian republicanism, as well as government involvement in education, healthcare, and social welfare. Moderates are on a unity ticket with conservatives on issues of gun control, multiculturalism, and border control.

In recent years, party leader Malcolm Turnbull, a moderate liberal, has explicitly stated that the Liberal Party "is not a conservative party".[1] Instead, Turnbull argues that the Liberal Party should occupy the "sensible centre", a position supported by his moderate left colleagues.[2]

During the leadership of John Howard, moderates were largely ostracised from the party, with many accusing Howard of scheming to make the party more conservative. Howard's leadership marked the first time the party shifted to the right.

Throughout Howard's time as Prime Minister, left liberals such as Judi Moylan, Mal Washer, Russell Broadbent and Petro Georgiou often crossed the floor and spoke strongly in favour of more liberal policy positions, particularly on the issue of refugees. Furthermore, moderates like Amanda Vanstone and Peter Costello, among a large number of others, sat in Howard's cabinet.

Former Prime Minister and party leader Malcolm Fraser[3]condemned the rightward political shift that the party made during the Howard years, and publicly supported the efforts of moderates to resume dominance within the party. He and Menzies, as he argues, saw the pursuit of "true liberalism" as the ultimate purpose of the Liberal Party.[4]Thought to be from the conservative side of the party in their time, Menzies and Fraser now appear moderate since Howard's push rightward.

In September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, with the backing of a most moderates, alongside a number of more conservative Liberal members. With Julie Bishop, the moderates took full control of the Liberal leadership. In Australian federal election, 2016, the Coalition successfully retained majority government.

At the state level, factions are most notable in the New South Wales, Victorian and South Australian divisions of the party.

Federal Members of the Moderate Left[edit]

Name Position
Malcolm Turnbull Member for Wentworth Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Liberal Party
Christopher Pyne Member for Sturt Leader of the House and Minister for Defence Industry
Julie Bishop Member for Curtin[5] Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
Trent Zimmerman Member for North Sydney
Russell Broadbent Member for McMillan[6]
Kelly O'Dwyer Member for Higgins Minister for Revenue and Financial Services and Minister for Women
Tim Wilson Member for Goldstein
Warren Entsch Member for Leichhardt
Craig Laundy Member for Reid[7] Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation
David Coleman Member for Banks
Jane Prentice Member for Ryan
Trevor Evans Member for Brisbane
Steven Ciobo Member for Moncrieff Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
Greg Hunt Member for Flinders Minister for Health
Paul Fletcher Member for Bradfield Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities
Ken Wyatt Member for Hasluck Minister for Indigenous Health and Minister for Aged Care
Sarah Henderson Member for Corangamite
Jason Wood Member for La Trobe
John Alexander Member for Bennelong
Julia Banks Member for Chisholm
Ted O'Brien Member for Fairfax
Chris Crewther Member for Dunkley
Jason Falinski Member for Mackellar
Marise Payne Senator for New South Wales Minister for Defence
Jane Hume Senator for Victoria
Arthur Sinodinos Senator for New South Wales
Linda Reynolds Senator for Western Australia
Simon Birmingham Senator for South Australia Minister for Education and Training
Mitch Fifield Senator for Victoria Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts
Dean Smith Senator for Western Australia
Scott Ryan Senator for Victoria President of the Senate
Richard Colbeck Senator for Tasmania
Anne Ruston Senator for South Australia
Amanda Stoker Senator for Queensland

See also[edit]


  1. Ltd, Australian News Channel Pty. "Liberals never a 'conservative' party: PM". Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  2. Malcolm Turnbull said the job of the Liberals was to occupy the 'sensible centre', 11 July 2017, retrieved 4 September 2017
  3. Kenny, Mark (20 March 2015). "Malcolm Fraser: A true liberal Liberal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  4. "Subscribe | theaustralian". The Australian. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  5. "Comment: Rise of the Liberal moderates". News. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  6. "Libs defy PM over detainees – Immigration – Features – In Depth – theage.com.au". The Age. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  7. "Liberal moderates gather for Black Hand, including Ombudsman Kate Carnell". Financial Review. 25 June 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2017.

Further reading[edit]

  • Northcote, J. R. (2016) Menzies: The Shaping Of Modern Australia. Brisbane: Connor Court Publishing. Library catalogue summary: It is impossible to make sense of modern Australia without understanding the achievements of Sir Robert Menzies. Half a century after Menzies left the Lodge, this timely work invites us to think again about the Menzies legacy and the enduring influence of his Liberal philosophy..
  • Fraser, M. and Simons, M. (2015) Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs. Melbourne University Press. Library catalogue summary: In this part memoir and part authorised biography, Malcolm Fraser talks about his time in public life.
  • Crabb, A. (2016) "Stop at Nothing: The Life and Adventures of Malcolm Turnbull". Melbourne: Black Inc. Library catalogue summary: Drawing on extensive interviews with Turnbull, Crabb delves into the young man's university exploits – which included co-authoring a musical with Bob Ellis – and his remarkable relationship with Kerry Packer, the man for whom he was at first a prized attack dog, and then a mortal enemy. She asks whether Turnbull – colourful, aggressive, humorous and ruthless – has changed sufficiently to entrench himself as prime minister. She tells how he first lost, and then won back, the Liberal leadership, and explores the challenges that now face him as the forward-looking leader of a Coalition government.

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