Who Are Australia’s Political Parties And What Do They Want? The Basic Binch Guide


The next federal election is just around the corner and all the Australian political parties will be competing for your vote. The Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal Party of Australia aren’t the only two options in 2022 even though they’re the biggest parties. There are a lot of Aussies who want their vote to count this election so let’s do a quick recap of who the bloody hell wants our votes!

What Are The 4 Major Political Parties In Australia?

Australia has a wide variety of political parties that all represent different political views.

The two parties with the largest number of members are the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal Party of Australia.

Australian Labor Party

The Australian Labor Party was founded in 1901 and is traditionally the more progressive of the two major parties.

Anthony Albanese — who represents the New South Wales electorate of Grayndler — is its leader.

The party currently holds 68 seats out of a possible 151 seats in Parliament’s lower house. 76 seats are required to win government which is why the ALP is currently in opposition.

Labor’s previous leaders include Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and most recently Bill Shorten.

Australian Labor Party Policies

According to Labor’s website, if they were to win the 2022 election they would fund the following social services:

Cheaper child care for families, more affordable housing, women’s safety initiatives including workplace sexual harassment reforms, more funding for the ABC, as well as a boost in cash to apprenticeship and TAFE programs.

They have also pledged to invest in the following infrastructure services:

High-speed fibre internet, a centre for disease control in response to the COVID pandemic, a federal anti-corruption commission, increased investment in the renewable energy sector to boost job creation and cut power bills, initiating a national framework for new Aussie startups and entrepreneurship programs and a new youth engagement model to give young Australians a voice in policy creation.

The Coalition 

The Liberal-National Party (AKA: The Coalition or the LNP) was founded in 1923 and is traditionally the more conservative of the two major parties.

Due to an in-party agreement, the leader of the Coalition is always a member of the Liberal Party of Australia. The deputy leader is always from the National Party of Australia.

The Liberals’ Scott Morrison who represents the NSW electorate of Cook is the current leader. The Nationals’ Barnaby Joyce who represents the NSW electorate of New England is the current deputy leader.

The Coalition holds 76 out of a possible 151 seats in Parliament’s lower house. This majority means The Coalition is the current government of Australia.

Previous leaders of the Coalition include John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

What Is The Coalition?

Each election, the Liberal Party of Australia joins forces with the National Party of Australia.

The Nationals or “Nats” mainly target electorates in rural Australia while the Liberals target inner-city electorates.

Together they create a party known as The Coalition.

Liberal Party of Australia

Liberal Party of Australia (AKA: The Libs) was formed in 1944 and is typically the more conservative of the two major parties. They form part of The Coalition. 

Scott Morrison has been the party’s leader since 2018 and led it to victory at the 2019 election.

Liberal Party of Australia Policies

We’ve had a dig through their website to get a gauge of what social policies they reckon are a priority:

Childcare subsidies, increased mental healthcare funding, pensioner income support, tax cuts for individuals and businesses, and a bill to address religious discrimination.

They also reckon the following infrastructure projects have been front of mind:

Increased defence and military spending, Great Barrier Reef conservation and endangered species protection, increased border operations including reducing drug smuggling and cancelling the visas of criminals, and increased vaccine rollout funding.

National Party of Australia

The National Party of Australia was formed in 1920 and is similar to the Liberal Party in its conservative ideology.

The Nats exclusively target electorates in rural Australia which is why they were originally known as the Australian Country Party.

They are led by Barnaby Joyce and form the other part of The Coalition alongside the Libs.

National Party of Australia Policies

The Nats have been governing with the Libs since 2013 so we also have a pretty good idea of what they’re all about.

The National Party of Australia’s policy page on their website is a direct clone of the Liberal Party’s.

The Australian Greens Party

The Australian Greens Party is another influential political party that tends to advocate for progressive policies.

It doesn’t have as large of a membership or as greater funding as Labor or the Coalition but it does contest many seats each election particularly in the inner city electorates.

Adam Bandt is the leader of the Australian Greens Party. He represents the electorate of Melbourne in Federal Parliament where the Greens hold 1 of the 151 seats.

Due to Australia’s preferential voting system, the Australian Greens Party often give their votes to Labor. However, the two parties are not officially a coalition unlike the Liberal-Nationals.

The Australian Greens Party Policies

According to their website, the Greens will prioritise the following:

A treaty with First Nations people, tax increases for billionaires, a scheme to build one million new homes and tax-payer funded childcare and education.

Right-Wing Vs Left-Wing In Australia Explained

This is what ya gotta know in the plainest terms possible:

Right-wing = conservative.

Left-wing = progressive.

The Coalition (Liberals and Nationals) represent the right wing on most issues.

The Labor Party and the Greens typically represent the left wing.

Of course there are always exceptions to the rule but that’s a whole new conversation. If we really dug deep into it we’d be here for yonks.

Labor Vs Liberal: What Are The Main Differences Between These Australian Political Parties?

At their core, the main difference between Labor and Liberal is that Labor is red and Liberal is blue. JUST KIDDING, calm tf down.

The real big difference is the ideology that informs each party’s decision-making.

Labor reckons the government has a big role to play in people’s wellbeing. In an ideal world they would achieve this by funding education, hospitals, renewable energy, welfare payments, childcare and affordable housing.

See an excerpt from its website below articulating its values.

“Labor has always aimed to, in the words of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam: “Promote equality, to involve the people of Australia in the decision-making processes of our land, and to liberate the talents and uplift the horizons of the Australian people.””

The Coalition reckon the government shouldn’t have as big of a role in people’s wellbeing and instead place more of that responsibility on the individual. Because of this, it’s a fan of tax cuts and deregulation.

“Wherever possible, government should not compete with an efficient private sector; and that businesses and individuals – not government – are the true creators of wealth and employment,” the Liberal Party’s website says.

So there we have it, folks.

Congrats! You made it to the end of the article.

You no longer have to decide your vote according to which of the Australian political parties has the prettiest colours, hottest candidates and most aesthetically pleasing logo.