The future of fledgling political party The New Liberals is in doubt after the two major parties joined forces to try to outlaw their name.
The Liberal and Labor parties plan to support legislation that prohibits new players from using their nomenclature to piggyback on branding that they argue has taken decades – up to a century even – to establish themselves in the public mind as parties that are both as bad as each other.
The conservative side of Australian politics argues that by using the word Liberals, TNL is clearly out to steal their intellectual property to boost their electoral fortunes and to confuse voters, or both.
Before he became Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie tried to change the Australian Labor Party’s name to Liberal Lite but lost out in a court challenge from the Liberals.
TNL leader, Sydney barrister Victor Kline, (pictured) told The Bug he would not let the proposed legislation force the party out of existence.
“We’d love to keep the name Liberals because we’re hardly going to win a seat so at the moment we can promote a really decent and commendable portfolio of policies full of honourable and decent objectives that no fair-minded person could possibly disagree with.
“But, sure, one day, we want to be a major force in Australian politics with a chance of winning government so hopefully by then all the compromises and shady deals we’ll have had to make and all the policies discarded to get ahead will have the public thinking we’re just as bad as they are.”
Mr Kline said one option TNL executive was considering was to rename itself slightly to The New Slarebil.
“That’s the exact opposite of the Liberals which is exactly the message we’ve been trying to get across since we began.”