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Conservative Politics and Family Essay

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Introduction

Conservative politicians normally place much emphasize on the importance of family that has to be the main unit of community. In their opinion, the disappearance of nuclear families can produce an adverse effect on contemporary Australian society (Zastrow, 2009). However, they can often advocate laws or reforms that often put much strain on many households in the country.

This is the main thesis that should be discussed in this paper. In particular, it is necessary to focus on the attitudes, claims, and actions of conservative politicians in Australia. It is vital to focus on their views about work and employment status because these issues profoundly affect the life of many individuals and families.

So, one should also pay close attention to some of the policies and reforms that conservative parties want to introduce. This discussion can throw light on the conflicting nature of modern-day politics and the principles of conservative ideology that usually resists the transformation of the society and its core values.

Overall, this issue is of great interest to modern sociologists who try to understand how people’s attitudes toward family change and what factors drive this change (Giddens, 2010).

Furthermore, researchers want to understand the structural changes in families. By analyzing the policies of conservative parties, one can better understand social processes within a community. This is why these questions that should be examined in more detail.

The underlying principles of conservative politics

First, it should be noted nuclear family is one of the main issues that are often discussed by political leaders who hold conservative views about the community, its development, and the rights of individuals. In their opinion, a family with heterosexual parents and a child can be regarded as a major source of strength for a person; moreover, it is the most important building block of a society (Zastrow, 2009).

Sociologists note that traditional model of family is no longer the most widespread one, and this argument is relevant to such a country as Australia. For instance, researchers note that the proportion of couples without children gradually increases in the country (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2008: 217).

Furthermore, there are many sole parents (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2008: 217). Conservative politicians believe that these changes can produce an adverse effect on the society, but they usually mention family only when speaking about such contested issues as gender roles, same-sex marriage, legal status of abortion, sex education, and so forth (Zastrow, 2009).

These are the trends that conservative usually oppose (Zastrow, 2009). Very often, they blame liberals or feminists for the so-called decline of the family values (Gilding, 1997). One of their goals is to reinforce laws that help to preserve a conventional nuclear family.

In contrast, sociologists argue that this transformation of family is already inevitable and one should not look at this process from an ethical perspective (The Family in History and Contemporary Society 2012). However, one should keep in mind that conservative politicians avoid speaking about families when discussing economic policies of a state and the financial aid that the government provides to people.

It should be taken into account that conservative ideology is premised on the idea that people should be self-reliant. They should take responsibility for their actions without expecting support of the state (Zastrow, 2009). However, they forget that their reforms or laws can actually harm many households and eventually diminish the role of nuclear families in modern societies, including Australia.

This is one of the main paradoxes that one can observe in the world of politics. It is important to show how these inconsistencies manifest themselves in the reforms or regulations recommended by the leaders of the country.

Some of the reforms advocate by conservative parties

It is possible to discuss several examples illustrating the conflicting nature of conservative politics, especially if one is speaking about the preservation of family. In particular, one can look at the reforms advocated by the Family First Party which had two seats in the South Australian Legislative Council until 2011. The name of this organization suggests that they primarily advocate the welfare of families and their interests.

Nevertheless, the representatives of this party advocated an employment policy that could have an adverse effect on many people. It was supposed to encourage people to seek work, rather than expect welfare benefits (Family First Party 2011). It is supposed to reduce the dependence of Australian people on welfare benefits, such as disability support pensions.

They argue that these individuals should have an opportunity to find a job. In their opinion, this approach can alleviate the strain on Australian economy (Family First Party 2011).

To some extent, this argument is quite acceptable. Nevertheless, the representatives of this party do not say that many people, who receive disability pensions, cannot find employment or it may be difficult for them to cope with their workplace duties.

More importantly, very little attention is paid to the fact that these individuals and their families are dependent on this support provided by the governmental organizations. Without this support, these households can come to the brink of poverty. These issues are usually absent from the rhetoric of the Family First Party.

This is one of the arguments that can be put forward. Nevertheless, they are strictly opposed to the idea of same-sex parenting or abortion. This is one of the paradoxes or inconsistencies that one should not overlook. Their reforms supported by Family First Party do not match their rhetoric and the principles that they postulate.

Additionally, this political organization stresses the idea that too many citizens rely on welfare benefits because they are lone parents. In their opinion, these people need financial assistance mostly because existing employment regulations prevent them from finding a job (Family First Party 2011).

It seems that this argument is not quite justified, because lone parents have to work in order to support their families, and they usually do so (Family First Party 2011). Nevertheless, the sustainability of these households can be threatened if they are deprived of welfare benefits offered by the state.

This support given by the state is vital for the education of children. Furthermore, in this case the Family First Party does not focus on the connection between family and employment. It is possible to mention such issues as the ability of a person to provide education to his/her children, housing conditions, and so forth.

These are the things that they do not take into account. So, their emphasis on family values is not compatible with their employment reforms.

Certainly, the reform that they suggested was not implemented, but it shows that the Family First Party advocates the principles of conservative politics. Moreover, this example is important because it demonstrates the paradoxical aspects of conservative politics, especially if one is speaking about the welfare of families and work.

According to this approach, an individual should rely only on his/her work, rather than the state. This is one of the main issues that should be considered. From a sociological perspective, their principles are inconsistent with one another because the transformation of families can be explained by economic factors.

For instance, many families choose not to have children because they cannot properly support them (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2008). This is one of the issues that should not be overlooked by conservative politicians who are responsible for the development of laws or reforms.

On the whole, the Family First Party is not the only political organization that supports the political agenda in the interests of families are only declared, but not supported. This is one of the reasons why the Family First Party failed to retain its seats in the Parliament.

It is possible to discuss other cases showing that conservative politics can put an extra burden on families. In this case, close attention should be paid to the laws advocated by Howard Government in Australia. The representatives of this government of also emphasized the interests of families.

Nevertheless, this administration advocated very controversial laws. For example, one can speak about the deregulation of employment relations in the country. Their policy called Workchoice deprives a worker from many rights.

For instance, he/she can be easily dismissed due to structural, economic, or technological reasons (Commerce Clearing House 2010, p. 3). The main danger of this formulation is that it is very vague, and an employer can easily dismiss a worker without providing any detailed explanation (Commerce Clearing House 2010, p. 3). So, it can create many problems for workers.

On the whole, this law does not take into account the termination of employment can produce devastating effects on every individual or family. It can easily ruin nuclear households which are viewed by conservatives as the core unit of society. The problem is that people are reluctant to start a family when if they are not sure of their economic prosperity, especially in the long term.

This reform protected workers only from different forms of discrimination that could be based on gender or race. However, it did not support those people who could lose their employment. This means that these people can be easily terminated, and the company will not have to give them financial aid which is important for preserving many families in Australia. This is one of the most issues that should be taken into consideration.

Similarly, this set of laws requires employers provide workers only with minimum benefits such as parental leave or annual leave (Commerce Clearing House 2010, p. 3). Moreover, this set of regulations enables companies to set only minimum pay scales for employees who have to support their spouses and children. This is the most important limitation of this policy.

Again, this reform is inconsistent from a sociological perspective because the conservative politicians do not see the connections between the transformation of family and the policies of the government.

The disappearance of nuclear family cherished by conservatives can be partly attributed to socio-economic development of a country and the inability of many individuals to ensure the well-being of their children (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2008). This issue is not usually discussed by conservative politicians.

One can also argue that this policy did not give trade unions an opportunity to take part in the negotiations between workers and businesses (Commerce Clearing House 2010, p. 3). In fact, the role of these organizations was reduced to the minimum. Provided that this reform had been fully implemented, trade unions might have completely lost their influence on businesses or large corporations.

It should be noted that these organizations are critical for the protection of employees’ rights. Very often they negotiate better terms and conditions for the workers. In the long time, the rights of many employees could have been violated by private companies. More importantly, the welfare of their families could be threatened. The most important issue is that the welfare of households was not even mentioned in the Workchoice.

This is another detail that should not be overlooked. Therefore, one can argue that conservative politicians in Australia do not consider the interests of nuclear families while developing their strategies and regulations.

This is why their reforms are often criticized by journalists or scholars who urge political leaders to identify the connections between various social processes such as the transformation of families and unemployment.

It should be noted that this situation can be observed not only in Australia, but in many other countries as well. For example, one can speak about the so-called right-to-work laws which are currently adopted in some parts of the United States. These laws do not allow trade unions to take part in the negotiations between employers and workers.

As a rule, these regulations enable companies to set lower wages for the workers who cannot be represented by any organization or association (Cook, 2005). Therefore, they limit the opportunities available to many families, for instance, one can mention the education of children or healthcare. In those parts of the United States, where the right-to-work laws are implemented, workers usually earn lower wages (Cook, 2005).

This is the main trend that should be kept in mind by sociologists who study the structural changes of families. As a rule, those people, who advocate the right-to-work laws, argue that family values should be the top priority for every society. This case demonstrates the conflicting nature of conservative politics.

To a great extent, it shows that conservative political leaders overlook the connections between the transformation of family and social or economic development of a country. Such a view on family and community is at best very inaccurate.

This is one of the main points that can be made and policy-makers should be aware of this risk in order to ensure the sustainability of the community. This argument is applicable to Australia and many other countries.

It is worth mentioning that conservative politicians adhere to several principles when they develop laws regarding work or employment. First of all, it implies that the government should not interfere into the activities of businesses and their negotiations with workers (Zastrow, 2009).

Conservatives normally argue that this intervention can stifle economic life within a country and prevent businesses from achieving growth (Zastrow, 2009). Some of these principles can be accepted because extensive regulation of economic activities can indeed ruin many opportunities. Nevertheless, this laisser-faire policy usually deprives workers of any power.

Furthermore, conservative ideology usually diminishes the role of trade unions because these institutions cannot boost the economic growth of a country. Yet, the supporters of this ideology forget that in such an environment, individuals are less likely to start a family or have children because of their socio-economic insecurity. Thus, the principles of conservatism can be very conflicting at least from sociological perspective.

Discussion

These examples suggest that it is difficult to create a divide between family and employment. Policy-makers and legislators should take into account their employment policies can have long-lasting implications for many families in Australia. This argument is particularly relevant to people who cannot find a job due to some reasons.

In many cases, these people are dependent on the financial assistance provided by the state. Conservative politics emphasizes the importance of nuclear family, its composition, and gender relations. However, the supporters of this policy often overlook the effects of governmental actions on the welfare of politics.

It is possible to identify a certain patter in the decisions of conservative politicians. They usually advocate the principles of non-intervention. This means that the government should limit its intrusion into various aspects of human life, for example, economic relations.

However, they reject this principle when they approach various family issues, such as the right of homosexuals to adopt children or abortion. Very often, they blame feminist or liberals for the alleged decline of family. However, they do not discuss the impact of policies and reforms on families. One can mention that many families decide not to have children because they do not have the means to do it.

This is one of the points that are omitted from the conservative rhetoric. Additionally, one should take into account that sociologists do not believe that a conventional nuclear family will not return to its golden age (The Family in History and Contemporary Society).

This trend can be accounted by different factors such as changing perspectives on marriage or children. But one should not overlook the effects of policies implemented by the state, especially the laws related to work and employment.

Conclusion

The transformation of the modern family has attracted much attention of journalists, sociologists, and policy-makers. One of the most debated issues is the preservation of the so-called nuclear family. This issue is of great importance to conservative politicians who argue that the welfare of families is critical for the sustainability of the family.

Nevertheless, some policies and reforms advocated by conservative parties can only harm many families. This trend is relevant to Australia and many other countries.

In case, one can speak about the inconsistencies of conservative ideology according to which the government should not intrude into the economic life of a country, but at the same time, it can implement laws that adversely affect the family lives of citizens and their families. This is the main paradox that can be observed.

Certainly, one cannot underestimate the importance of family for the society, but leaders of the country should develop policies that really match their rhetoric about family values. Unfortunately nowadays, legislators can disregard the factors that can ruin many families.

Reference List

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). 2008 Year Book Australia No. 90. Melbourne: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Commerce Clearing House. (2010) Australian Fair Work Act 2009 with Regulations and Rules. Melbourne: CCH Australia Limited.

Cook. S. (2005). Freedom In The Workplace: The Untold Story Of Merit Shop Construction’s Crusade Againist Compulsory Trade Unionism. Washington: Regnery Publishing.

Giddens, A. (2010). Sociology: Introductory Readings. New York: Polity.

Gilding, M. (1997). Australian Families: A Comparative Perspective. Melbourne: Longman.

The Family First Party. (2010). ‘Employment policy’, 13 December. Web.

The Family in History and Contemporary Society. (2012). Melbourne: The University of Melbourne.

Zastrow, C. (2009). Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare: Empowering People. New York: Cengage Learning.

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