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Young Liberals

Speak to a Young Liberal about why they are part of the movement and you are sure to hear the words “nanny state” and “socialism” very early in the conversation.

They describe themselves as

“a centre-right, mainstream political organisation with a political philosophy focussed on limited government power, low taxes, individual responsibility, a focus on the family and a strong belief in rewarding initiative and private enterprise.”

Considering membership is limited to 16-31 year olds, I found these to be unusual priorities for young people. Don’t they care about education, the environment, fast NBN, social justice, corporate greed, wars, income inequity, unemployment, affordable housing, discrimination, human rights, climate change – the sorts of things that usually interest and affect the young people of the world?

I decided to find out a little more about what makes them tick. I started by looking online at their national webpage. Under News, the last entry was 19 May, 2013, titled “National pledge for action launched.” It talks about their “latest weapon” to oust Gillard – a social media blitz. Apparently nothing has happened worthy of posting on their page since then.

In their newsletter, “The Young Australian – Summer 2012/13”, they give advice on how to get your facebook page ahead.


“LIKE this if you agree that Gillard is useless!”

Those updates are annoying, right? But they can be very effective. Don’t employ this tactic all the time but try it out at least once with an image or link you are posting and see what kind of response you get. You can also ask questions of your fans, conduct a poll, or prompt your followers to ‘share’ your post. Engagement is critical on Facebook and this is an easy way of doing it, even if it is annoying.

Trying to keep up with the times, I then checked their facebook page to get more recent news and views. Their last post there was February 10, 2014,

“We’ve compiled the real story behind the Griffith by-election results and it’s not pretty for Labor.”

The post before that invites applicants to be flown and accommodated, at party expense, to marginal seats in Tasmania and South Australia.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to build and develop your campaigning skills and have a lot of fun on the way.”

In January, the Young Liberal Movement of Australia held its 2014 Federal Convention in Fremantle, Western Australia. I went to the event page – it was enlightening in a way I am sure they did not intend. Here is a sample of the comments.

In. Pumped.

I am sooooo in!!!!

do I qualify as a young lib im 31????? if so ill be there depending on my wife’s status with the pending birth of the twins,

-you can only come if you out drunk (name deleted).

-come along to the social functions – you’ll have a blast

Can’t wait. Better start organising tables

Will I get a specific birthday function on the 27th?

Question: Is Bundy Rum readily available in Perth or should the QLD delegation just BYO its own?

Like John Farnham I keep promising to say farewell but I just can’t resist the lure of a good convention!

I really hope I win the iPad Mini

When someone finally asked in December if there was an itinerary they were given this

Friday, 24th January

7:00 pm: Welcome to WA Cocktail Party

Saturday, 25th January

10:00 am – 5:00 pm: Conference sessions (with lunch break)

7:00 pm: Gala Dinner

Sunday, 26th January

10:00 am – 12:30 pm: Conference session and AGM

1:00 pm: Lunch event

Monday, 27th January

ALL DAY: Optional informal events to be arranged by the WA Division

In answer to the question “Will the gala dinner be black tie?” they responded

Young Liberal Movement of Australia: As is tradition, Saturday night’s dinner will be black tie and the Victorian delegation, in a fit of self-importance, will ignore the dress code.

Eventually they provided a link to the conference details so I went there in the hope of finding out a bit more about their agenda. There was a lot of information about the cocktail party and the gala dinner – in fact, for a mere $195 you could purchase the “social package” which gave you entrance to the functions without having to bother with the conference sessions. The only information about the actual conference was as follows

Conference Session One will include policy debate and a host of guest speakers from Government and other fields.

Conference Session Two will include policy debate and guest speakers followed by the Movement’s Annual General Meeting.

I have been unable to find anything further about who spoke or what they discussed, other than

“Congratulations to Ben Riley and Chris Browne on their respective elections as President and Vice-President. Thank you to the outgoing President, Tom White, and Vice-President Henry Pike for their hard work steering the organisation over the past 12 months.”

If it was anything like the Liberal National Party Conference in Queensland last year, they come up with some rather disturbing ideas.

At the conference in July 2013, Young LNP state president Hermann Vorster presented three proposals:

  • Reinstate cracker night
  • Random illicit drug testing for long term unemployed and welfare recipients
  • Remove Australian content quotas for free-to-air television

In a rare display of common sense (or perhaps political survival), the state LNP party rejected the second two suggestions, but they briefly considered the first. Mr Vorster urged the government to adopt the policy saying

“I think more than anything this is about sending a message that we don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion of the nanny-state. If something is safe and can be done in a reasonable way and it is in keeping with reasonable expectations, then I guess we ask, as the Young LNP, why not?”

Someone older must have remembered the maimings associated with firecrackers before sales were banned in the 1970s because that proposal was also eventually defeated.

In a further attempt to understand these young people, I engaged in an online conversation with a couple of Young Liberals. The mantra “nanny state” came up immediately and the word socialism was spat with abusive distaste. When asked if they thought that the government should subsidise their very affluent private schools, they responded that their parents pay taxes and they were entitled to the contribution. When asked if they would in future insist on paying the full price for any health procedures or medication they may need, they seemed a little confused. When asked about giving handouts to polluters under the Direct Action Plan’s Emission Reduction Fund, they seemed to know nothing about it

In fact, they were so repetitive, using the exact same phrases, that they could have been one person. Online that may well have been the case, except I find the same phrases repeated everywhere I look.

I am sure there are some very thoughtful, intelligent, caring Young Liberals out there but they are keeping themselves well hidden. Conferences seem to be parties for the privileged, policies are thought bubbles that come straight from the IPA (the home for aging and not-so aging Young Liberals who haven’t cracked a corporate or political job yet), debate is the regurgitation of phrases without understanding or thought, and tactics are more important than truth.

I remember the years from 16 to 30 as a wonderful time full of questioning and learning, passion and protest, caring about causes, searching for truth, as well as plenty of dancing and partying. People cared about each other. We had a weekly charity collection at school where kids would give a few cents and then, at the end of the year, decide what charities to donate the money to. As a school, we sponsored children overseas that were living in extreme poverty. When Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin we immediately collected money and goods to send as we did with the devastating floods in Bangladesh. We visited aged care facilities to do musical performances or help with bingo. As individuals we were challenged to think about what we personally could do to help, not only in times of disaster, but in our everyday lives. We were encouraged to become engaged and assured that we did make a difference.

To the many young people out there who truly care about the future, to those who feel empathy and compassion for their fellow beings, to those who want to make the world a better place for all humanity and the plants and animals that share our planet, to those that believe in tolerance and acceptance of differences, I would urge you to become involved. I can fully understand your disillusionment with our current political circus but, regardless of how much we would like to ignore them, politicians make decisions that affect the direction this country takes and every individual in it. Stand up for what you believe in. If the system is broken then help fix it. We cannot allow the shallow, greedy, and selfish to have the loudest voice and to exploit our country’s wealth for their personal enrichment.


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  1. Dan Rowden

    limited government power – rewarding private enterprise [edit mine]

    Interesting juxtaposition.

    Young Liberals aren’t so much “young people” as we conventionally understand that. They are “propagandists in training”.

  2. Tracie

    I agree Dan Rowden. They have no clear independent thought processes. To them, propaganda is the key, unfortunately.

  3. Terry2

    That is confusing : small government, I think they’re in the wrong organisation – this is the most intrusive government I have ever come across, they want to fiddle with everything and politicise every aspect of our lives.

    Low Taxes & Individual Responsibility: this government is about to lob a tax on to major employers to fund Mr Abbott’s Paid Parental Leave scheme, doesn’t make any sense at all.

    Rewarding Private Enterprise: Well I suppose removing the responsibility of employers to pay the parental leave “gap” i.e. the difference between the minimum wage, as already paid, and normal salary is a reward but one that we end up funding.

    Yesterday the Mad Hatter, in question time, was asked why he was withdrawing the $200 payment to the wives and widows or injured or deceased members of the armed forces : he said we can’t as a nation afford it.

    We are experiencing a bizarre 1984 version of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and it’s going to get worse.

  4. Dan Rowden

    But we can afford pre-marital counselling. You’re right, Terry, it’s all confusing.

  5. MargL

    This makes me feel so sad reading this – what is going on with these people, talk about brainwashing.

  6. mars08

    Let me guess…. it’s only a nanny state if it stops you doing something you REALLY want to do?!!??!??!

  7. Damo

    For a start – the obvious question – what the hell is wrong with these kids that they are even remotely interested in getting involved with this nonsense at his age? Go out, have fun. Get a life…

    Secondly, what possible use have these muppets in politics? In days gone by council lots and politicians were typically drawn from older business and community leaders with (God forbid) some actual life experience, some semblance of how things work and how things are interrelated.

    I feel this kind if early doctrination and career politicians with no semblance of reality are the entire problem we face in today’s western democracies. Their rise has not exactly improved the game has it.

  8. CMMC

    Menzies House is another place where Young Libs spread their joyous tidings.

    Their slogan used to be “There’s room for everyone!”, but thats too Nanny State, I suppose.

  9. scotchmistery

    I read up to the bit where the unnamed moron said “I hope I win the iPad Mini”. At that juncture all became clear. No mention of groping female student leaders in your effort to become prime mincer. No mention of punching holes in walls in the same race. In fact, nothing at all of any substance and the writer was 31.

    Hardly any wonder that we have so little faith in the future of this country under the Abbort Murdoch Duopoly.

    Damn. Just realised “duopoly” has 7 letters so they won’t understand anything I’ve written. Oh well.

  10. Don Winther

    “We cannot allow the shallow, greedy, and selfish to have the loudest voice and to exploit our country’s wealth for their personal enrichment.” You’ve summed it up Kaye.

  11. lawrencewinder

    “I am sure there are some very thoughtful, intelligent, caring Young Liberals out there…..” you’re too kind by half.. I wonder if they see anything confusing in a caring relationship? They strike me as having ossified brains and have no sensibility of fairness or flexibility of thought…all little IPA clones.

  12. Anomander

    Products of a religious education.

    They live their lives in an echo chamber where the same outmoded beliefs are recursively reflected back on them by their parents, teachers and role-models, and they are taught to never question.

    Any wonder why Abbott turned out this way?

  13. Kaye Lee

    Thanks Sonia. That was a typo that I will now correct. It was about the Griffith bi-election so yes, it was this year.

    On another note, I found a speech given by Eric Abetz at the conference. Scary stuff and worth the read to hear what our kids are being told.

    “The union movement must provide a national apology for prejudicing the nation’s war effort (WW2), remembering those families who needlessly lost loved ones because of their treasonous activities.

    People killed, people injured, the war effort severely compromised – murder, grievous bodily harm and treason, all at the doorstep of the union movement and all largely ignored.

    Talk about a topic for inclusion in the national curriculum!”

  14. Wayne T

    HOLY WTF???? That truly is a scary piece of propagandist gibberish Kaye! I’ll have nightmares for weeks now. YEESH

  15. Sonia Curtis

    As much as I am against the Libs … in any form or age group, I’d just like to point out a discrepancy in this article. I went to their FB page via the link provided … their last post was 10 February 2014. Not 2013 as claimed here.
    I’m all for finding their weaknesses and exposing them … but please do it factually.
    If you put your cursor over the date of the post, it will show you the FULL date!

  16. Neil

    I think they are just deeply ignorant of 20th century Australian history and as I retired teacher I blame myself.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Indoctrination is hard to overcome. The ignorance is a choice as shown by who they listen to and where they get their information and how they present it. It isn’t so much ignorance as wilful manipulation to justify ideology.

  18. Dawn Whitehand

    You had me until “to those who feel empathy and compassion for their fellow man, ” – what about fellow women? I thought only Liberals used gendered language? I know it may seem a small thing – but it is a big thing…

  19. Tracie

    Neil were you a public or private school teacher? There is a vast difference in how history is taught. I loved history when at school, and sought out information over and above what I was taught, because of teachers who inspired me.

    Please don’t blame yourself. I’m sure you did a fantastic job, while doing your best.

  20. Noplaceforwastedsouls

    These people neither know nor care anything of life. They are the products of stunted, regressive, selfish, unempathic upbringing. They care for no-one but their own kind, and for nothing but the ideology that was pumped into them when they were too young to know to resist. Their lives are, and probably will continue to be, wasted as functional human beings, and their lack of curiosity in the world or their fellow humans will ensure they remain entombed in their universe of dullness. They are not capable of piercing the membrane that entraps them to gain any insight into the realities of the real world, or to experience the beauty of love or the joy of human compassion. They delude themselves that their soulless world and philosophy is the answer to the world’s problems, because deep down they know that they are missing out on a life of colour and inhabit a monochrome desert, and they cannot accept their own human inadequacy. We should look at them with sympathy, for they are pathetic, but regard them as dangerous microbes, because they are toxic in the extreme. The progressive world has no need or place for such wasted souls, and rightly spurns them.

  21. mars08

    Contrast the YL tools to the kids from the Newtown High School Of The Performing Arts…

  22. Matt James

    The anti nanny state, anti socialism ideology of the YLs and as you put it, tactics more important than truth turns into denial whenever issues like funding of private schools which get half? (roughly) their funding from the public purse, and “asked if they would in future insist on paying the full price for any health procedures or medication they may need, they seemed a little confused” just says it all.

    The Liberals have this impossible to comprehend hatred of public health systems. And the reason for that is hands down, without question, always, always, always, public health systems worldwide are vastly more efficient and cost effective than private health systems no matter what country, whether compared to Medicaid, US Medicare, Aust Medicare, UK NHS, private health systems epic-ally fail all the time, especially when their Economic Mecca, their proof of politically superiority, Financial Austerity has a face off, private vs public! And they really hate that, you can see their faces almost explode with anger, time to call in the Bull Heads, how about David Murray? he thinks health is “nice”. As soon as there is some kind of private intervention, especially on the funding side, healthcare starts to take a downward spiral.

    So the Libs and the Reps (except some who have been brave enough to embrace single payer) in denial of this set about to eat away at it, bit by bit, year after year, slowly and relentlessly all the time knowing private health is a tough sell which means time to pull out the dirty tricks and go into stealth mode, fly under the radar, beep, beep, beep. But you cant get away from nanny if you’ve go a tumor. You have one of 2 choices, either the nanny state or the nanny corporation and they cannot stand facing up to private health insurance being nanny corp. Few of the LIBS would have the cash for a liver transplant in the states (I would estimate the bill around 700THUOSAND to 1MIL, total, but need to confirm).

    AAV in the UK, link below, have a great article on Tory socialism, the Tories are socialists with a big S, more socialist than most people reading this. But its socialism for the rich, they need this so bad their socialism must prevail. As the funds start to run dry private health insurers are beginning to demand more power, power they must have in order to protect themselves from being hung in public for robbing and destroying poor peoples health funds for decades, useless money guzzlers they are. The Tories have begun a last resort for them, operation code red, Save Our Socialism.

    Private Health Insurance: High in cost and low in equity | OCCASIONAL PAPER

  23. jasonverra

    To whom it may concern,

    This is the third and perhaps final request for you guys to get your shit together and organise a direct link to Facebook and Twitter!!!!! If this current article does’nt illustrate the importance of having these functions to get your message out then what will? Please set up a facebook page or link…..something user friendly so more people can read these great informative articles!!!

    Kind Regards,


    Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 00:46:28 +0000 To:

  24. PB (@philipb20)

    There was a time when I thought that the young Libs were an intellectual movement inspired by Ayn Rand. No doubt you’ve read the quote about the two books that can blight a bookish seventeen year old’s life. However, this article supports my current opinion that the young Libs are nothing more than a bunch of selfish, privileged little shits.

  25. whatismore

    Apart from the terminology , they haven’t changed since I was at Uni in the 70’s. Same arrogant dags.

  26. Royce Arriso

    Of the same ilk are the dewy-eyed young things at the IPA who write bumfluff for The Age, The Drum etc. Boy, have this mob swallowed textbooks of theoretical exactitude. Apparently you just get your ideas acted upon and we all–no sorry, that’s just some of us–proceed toward broad sunlit uplands with mathematical precision. It’s the old puddle-deep, crap-by-numbers certitudes of traditional conservatism grafted onto the characteristically neo-con total abscence of concern for the Greater Good. Or maybe they are projecting onto others their own reliance on weasel words–‘flexibility’, ‘reform’, ‘all boats rise’ etc–and imagine GG to be code for the dreaded Socialism. Either way, these young Keepers Of the Flame seem rather less bright than they no doubt consider themselves to be.

  27. Stephen Tardrew

    I love the term personal responsibility which can be used to blame people for all the bad shit in their lives through lack of effort.

    Ken Greenfield’s book “The Myth Of Choice” challenges the whole personal responsibility dogma from a well researched academic perspective.

    As you can imagine there was a tirade of negativity from the right wing reviews which lacked any rationality or logical consistency.

    Jinathan Haidt’s book “The Righteous Mind” is a religious counter with pseudo factually research based in some weird equivalence of left and right in which, somehow, the right come out as winners. I was once a progressive and am now converted bullshit conservative.

    Both books came out of so called respected academic institutions. Book one is Fact. Book two is magical thinking in which empirical facts are distorted.

    Young liberals can’t even challenge demonstrably faulty logic because they are not trained in critical thinking or logic. As for their leaders rejection of science what chance has rationality go?

    Personal responsibility is the great fallacy that is a core value of conservative drivel that can be easily challenged empirically. Soundbites like socialism are redefined to mean everyone who gets services is sponger and that given hard times it is your personal responsibility to rise above it regardless of circumstances. This is part of right wing pathology. If it is antithetical to the evidence it is irrational and illogical; and if it is illogical it is a lie; and if it is a lie it is pathological.

    Damn how do you convince nut cases that they are nutty.

  28. CMMC

    I here they want Uluru sold off as an iron ore deposit.

  29. scotchmistery

    Thank you Sonya, well picked up the thing about the date.

    Also, very much enjoyed your solidly thought out response to the rest of the very informative article and particularly your excellently researched facts, which also added greatly to the debate. Hope to hear much more from you in the same vein on this topic over the next few days.

  30. paul walter

    I find it hard to think of a group that aggravates me more than these noisy, imbecilic, spoiled preppies acting out their middle class conditioning at the expense of the real world and real people.

    Must ALL the world be subject a sort of composite Chrissie Pyne Golem?

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