The Liberal Party welcomes any Australian who shares its values, and would like to participate in the ongoing debate about the best way to achieve these values in the policies of governments.
Much of the discussion and debate within the forums of the Liberal Party is about the best way to achieve the things that Liberals believe are important.
Liberal members of Parliament work to find the best policies for achieving Liberal values in practice.
Among the main values that have motivated Liberals and Liberal governments are:
- A belief in the equal rights and dignity of every person. All people should have equal rights, and equal responsibilities to their fellow citizens. Policy should empower individual people, not limit or sacrifice their interests because of the race, or class or religion to which they belong.
- People should be free to pursue their values and control their own lives, so long as they do not harm others. Everyone is different. Policy must recognize the importance of variety among people, and not assume that everyone is the same.
- Governments exist to protect the rights and dignity of the individual person, and to establish a framework of laws and institutions which empowers individual people so they can achieve their values.
- Governments should help those whose opportunities have been damaged by life's chances and who need assistance. Government assistance should aim to help people back to control over their own lives, and not create dependence.
- People are the best judges of their own interests. Government can never really know what people value for themselves. Policy should find the best ways in which people can peacefully pursue what is important to them. The most peaceful and fulfilling society is the one that best achieves this.
- The family is the principal foundation on which individual lives and a good society are constructed. Policy should foster and strengthen family life.
- Communities are created by people who respect each other and work together to achieve common interests. Governments should empower communities, not try to substitute for them.
- Peaceful voluntary relationships between people in communities contribute greatly to individual fulfillment, and provide the most effective support networks in society for those in need.
- The rule of law. Laws should give the same rights to everyone, and not be used to create special privileges for sections of the community or organisations. Policy should aim to achieve the public interest, not pander to special interests.
- A person charged with an offence is innocent until proven guilty. The law must protect people against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and guarantee speedy justice through an independent judiciary.
- The main source of progress is individual ability and creativity. People should be encouraged to do their best, to realise their potential, and be rewarded for their achievements.
- Free markets regulated by fair and equal laws generally provide the best economic framework to encourage individual enterprise and the opportunities and choices that will enable people to achieve what they want in life, including economic progress, wealth creation and rising standards of living.
- Private property rights defined by fair and equal laws provide the certainty and security required to best encourage enterprise and rising standards of living.
- Private enterprise operating in competitive markets is the most innovative and efficient form of economic organisation. The law should guarantee equal rights to participate in markets for goods and services.
- Freedom of association and freedom of religion are essential elements of a civil society in which people are best able to realize their values. All citizens are free to organise themselves into associations and unions to protect themselves against exploitation and to advance their values. Policy should not make membership of any association or union compulsory.
- Freedom of speech and respect for others provides the best guarantee that false ideas will be replaced by true ideas, that harmful policies will be replaced by beneficial ones, and that ineffective policies will be improved.
- Democratic political institutions provide the best form of government, enabling people to peacefully debate and compromise their differences. The spread of democracy is the best long-term guarantee of a peaceful world.
- The Federal system, based on the division of powers between State and Federal Governments, has provided a decentralisation of authority that protects individual freedoms and allows States to compete to provide the best laws and services to citizens.
- The security of Australia is fundamental to protecting the liberties of Australians and democratic government. Our security is best protected by alliances and co-operative arrangements with friends internationally.
- Australia is one of the world's pioneering democracies providing liberty under law to its citizens. All people in Australia have over-arching responsibilities to respect Australia's democratic institutions, and the principles of equal rights and freedoms that support them.
Statements of Liberal values can never be comprehensive, and the debate about values and the best policies to implement them is never finished.
Make the best use of the opportunity that your membership of the Liberal Party provides! The Liberal Party welcomes and values your contribution.