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Government

Political Parties

Three political parties dominate the Australian parliament: the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the Liberal Party of Australia (LP), and the National Party of Australia (NP). Numerous other parties include the Australian Democrats (DEM) and the Australian Greens (GRN). Traditionally, the ALP was associated with trade unions, the LP was aligned with business interests and supported free enterprise, the NP was more conservative, and the DEM and GRN were more progressive, but these differences have become increasingly blurred. In practice, the Liberal and National parties have so frequently combined in coalition governments and opposition, at both the federal and state levels, that they are sometimes only vaguely differentiated in the public eye; however, their traditional alliance occasionally breaks down. Recent trends suggest some disenchantment with the major parties and a drift toward minor groups and assorted independents.

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