Liberal Party of Australia

Last updated

Liberal Party of Australia
AbbreviationLP [1]
Leader Scott Morrison
President Nick Greiner
Deputy Leader Josh Frydenberg
Federal DirectorAndrew Hirst
Founded16 October 1944;74 years ago (1944-10-16) [2]
HeadquartersRG Menzies House, Cnr Blackall and Macquarie Streets, Barton ACT 2600
Youth wing Young Liberals
Membership80,000 (2014) [3]
Ideology Conservatism
Liberal Conservatism
Classical liberalism
Conservative liberalism
Economic liberalism
Political position Centre-right [4] [5] [6] [7]
National affiliation Liberal–National Coalition
Regional affiliation Asia Pacific Democrat Union [8]
International affiliation IDU
ACRE (regional partner)
Colours     Blue
SloganA Stronger Economy. A Secure Future.
Building Our Economy. Securing Your Future.
House of Representatives
61 / 151
[Note 1]
Senate
29 / 76
[Note 2]
State and territorial governments
3 / 8
State and territorial lower house members
170 / 455
State and territorial upper house members
43 / 155
Website
www.liberal.org.au

The Liberal Party of Australia is a major centre-right political party in Australia, one of the two major parties in Australian politics, along with the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP). It was founded in 1944 as the successor to the United Australia Party (UAP). [9]

Centre-right politics or center-right politics, also referred to as moderate-right politics, are politics that lean to the right of the left–right political spectrum, but are closer to the centre than other right-wing politics. From the 1780s to the 1880s, there was a shift in the Western world of social class structure and the economy, moving away from the nobility and mercantilism, as well as moving toward the bourgeoisie and capitalism. This general economic shift toward capitalism affected centre-right movements such as the British Conservative Party, that responded by becoming supportive of capitalism.

A major party is a political party that holds substantial influence in a country's politics, standing in contrast to a minor party. It should not be confused with majority party.

Politics of Australia

The politics of Australia take place within the framework of a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Australians elect parliamentarians to the federal Parliament of Australia, a bicameral body which incorporates elements of the fused executive inherited from the Westminster system, and a strong federalist senate, adopted from the United States Congress. Australia largely operates as a two-party system in which voting is compulsory. The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Australia as a "full democracy" in 2018.

Contents

The Liberal Party is the largest and dominant party in the Coalition with the National Party of Australia. In two states and territories of Australia the parties have merged, forming the Country Liberal Party of the Northern Territory and the Liberal National Party of Queensland. Except for a few short periods, the Liberal Party and its predecessors have operated in similar coalitions since the 1920s. The party's leader is Scott Morrison and its deputy leader is Josh Frydenberg. The pair were elected to their positions at the August 2018 Liberal leadership ballot, with Frydenberg and Morrison as replacements for Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull respectively, the latter of whom Morrison consequently succeeded as Prime Minister of Australia. Now the Morrison Government, the party had been elected at the 2013 federal election as the Abbott Government which took office on 18 September 2013. [10] At state and territory level, the Liberal Party is in office in three states: Will Hodgman, Premier of Tasmania since 2014, Gladys Berejiklian, Premier of New South Wales since 2017 and Steven Marshall, Premier of South Australia since 2018. The party is in opposition in the states of Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

Coalition (Australia) group of centre-right parties in Australia

The Liberal–National Coalition is an alliance of centre-right political parties that forms one of the two major groupings in Australian federal politics. Its main opponent is the Australian Labor Party (ALP), and the two forces are often regarded as operating in a two-party system. The Coalition has been in government since the 2013 federal election, most recently being re-elected in the 2019 Australian federal election. The group is led by Scott Morrison as Prime Minister of Australia since August 2018.

The National Party of Australia is an Australian political party. Traditionally representing graziers, farmers, and rural voters generally, it began as the Australian Country Party in 1920 at a federal level. It would later briefly adopt the name National Country Party in 1975, before adopting its current name in 1982.

States and territories of Australia first-level subdivision of Australia

The states and territories are the first-level administrative divisions of the Commonwealth of Australia. They are the second level of government in Australia, located between the federal and local government tiers.

The party's ideology has been referred to as conservative, [11] liberal-conservative, [12] conservative-liberal, [13] and classical liberal. [14] The Liberal Party tends to promote economic liberalism (which in the Australian usage refers to free markets and small government). [15] Two past leaders of the party, Sir Robert Menzies and John Howard, are Australia's two longest-serving Prime Ministers.

Conservatism in Australia refers to the political philosophy of conservatism as it has developed in Australia. Politics in Australia has since at least the 1910s been most predominantly a contest between the Australian labour movement and the combined forces of anti-Labour groups. The anti-Labour groups have at times identified themselves as "free trade", as "nationalist", as "anti-communist", as "liberal", “right of centre”, besides other labels. Until the 1990s, the label "conservative" has rarely been used in Australia, and when used it tended to be used by pro-Labour forces as a term of disparagement against their opponents.

Liberal conservatism is a political ideology combining conservative policies with liberal stances, especially on economic, social and ethical issues, or a brand of political conservatism strongly influenced by liberalism.

Conservative liberalism is a variant of liberalism, combining liberal values and policies with conservative stances, or simply representing the right-wing of the liberal movement. It is a more positive and less radical variant of classical liberalism. Conservative liberal parties tend to combine liberal policies with more traditional stances on social and ethical issues. Neoconservatism has also been identified as an ideological relative or twin to conservative liberalism, and some similarities exist also between conservative liberalism and national liberalism.

History

Party foundation

The Liberals' immediate predecessor was the United Australia Party (UAP). More broadly, the Liberal Party's ideological ancestry stretched back to the anti-Labor groupings in the first Commonwealth parliaments. The Commonwealth Liberal Party was a fusion of the Free Trade Party and the Protectionist Party in 1909 by the second prime minister, Alfred Deakin, in response to Labor's growing electoral prominence. The Commonwealth Liberal Party merged with several Labor dissidents (including Billy Hughes) to form the Nationalist Party of Australia in 1917. That party, in turn, merged with Labor dissidents to form the UAP in 1931.

United Australia Party former Australian political party (1931-1945)

The United Australia Party (UAP) was an Australian political party that was founded in 1931 and dissolved in 1945. The party won four federal elections in that time, usually governing in coalition with the Country Party. It provided two Prime Ministers of Australia – Joseph Lyons (1932–1939) and Robert Menzies (1939–1941).

The Commonwealth Liberal Party was a political movement active in Australia from 1909 to 1917, shortly after Federation. The CLP came about as a result of a merger between the two non-Labor parties, the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist Party which most of their MPs accepted. The CLP is the earliest direct ancestor of the current Liberal Party of Australia.

The Free Trade Party which was officially known as the Australian Free Trade and Liberal Association, also referred to as the Revenue Tariff Party in some states, was an Australian political party, formally organised in 1887 in New South Wales, in time for the 1887 colony election, which the party won. It advocated the abolition of protectionism, especially protective tariffs and other restrictions on trade, arguing that this would create greater prosperity for all. However, many members also advocated use of minimal tariffs for government revenue purposes only. Its most prominent leader was George Reid, who led the Reid Government as the fourth Prime Minister of Australia (1904-5). In New South Wales it was succeeded by the Liberal and Reform Association in 1902, and federally by the Anti-Socialist Party in 1906. In 1909, the Anti-Socialist Party merged with the Protectionist Party to form the Commonwealth Liberal Party.

The UAP had been formed as a new conservative alliance in 1931, with Labor defector Joseph Lyons as its leader. The stance of Lyons and other Labor rebels against the more radical proposals of the Labor movement to deal the Great Depression had attracted the support of prominent Australian conservatives. [16] With Australia still suffering the effects of the Great Depression, the newly formed party won a landslide victory at the 1931 Election, and the Lyons Government went on to win three consecutive elections. It largely avoided Keynesian pump-priming and pursued a more conservative fiscal policy of debt reduction and balanced budgets as a means of stewarding Australia out of the Depression. Lyons' death in 1939 saw Robert Menzies assume the Prime Ministership on the eve of war. Menzies served as Prime Minister from 1939 to 1941 but resigned as leader of the minority World War II government amidst an unworkable parliamentary majority. The UAP, led by Billy Hughes, disintegrated after suffering a heavy defeat in the 1943 election.

Joseph Lyons 20th-century Australian politician, 10th Prime Minister of Australia

Joseph Aloysius Lyons was an Australian politician who served as the 10th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1932 until his death in 1939. He began his career in the Labor Party, but became the founding leader of the United Australia Party (UAP) after the 1931 party split. He had earlier served as Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928.

Great Depression 20th-century worldwide economic depression

The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.

Lyons Government

The Lyons Government was the federal Executive Government of Australia led by Prime Minister Joseph Lyons. It was made up of members of the United Australia Party in the Australian Parliament from January 1932 until the death of Joseph Lyons in 1939. Lyons negotiated a coalition with the Country Party after the 1934 Australian Federal election. The Lyons government stewarded Australia's recovery from the Great Depression

Menzies called a conference of conservative parties and other groups opposed to the ruling Australian Labor Party, which met in Canberra on 13 October 1944 and again in Albury, New South Wales in December 1944. [17] [18] From 1942 onward Menzies had maintained his public profile with his series of "The Forgotten People" radio talks—similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt's "fireside chats" of the 1930s—in which he spoke of the middle class as the "backbone of Australia" but as nevertheless having been "taken for granted" by political parties. [19] [20]

Australian Labor Party Political party in Australia

The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.

Canberra capital city of Australia

Canberra is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory; 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne.

Albury City in New South Wales, Australia

Albury is a major regional city in New South Wales, Australia. It is located on the Hume Highway and the northern side of the Murray River. Albury is the seat of local government for the council area which also bears the city's name – the City of Albury.

Outlining his vision for a new political movement in 1944, Menzies said:

... [W]hat we must look for, and it is a matter of desperate importance to our society, is a true revival of liberal thought which will work for social justice and security, for national power and national progress, and for the full development of the individual citizen, though not through the dull and deadening process of socialism.

Robert Menzies [21]

The formation of the party was formally announced at Sydney Town Hall on 31 August 1945. [18] It took the name "Liberal" in honour of the old Commonwealth Liberal Party. The new party was dominated by the remains of the old UAP; with few exceptions, the UAP party room became the Liberal party room. The Australian Women's National League, a powerful conservative women's organisation, also merged with the new party. A conservative youth group Menzies had set up, the Young Nationalists, was also merged into the new party. It became the nucleus of the Liberal Party's youth division, the Young Liberals. By September 1945 there were more than 90,000 members, many of whom had not previously been members of any political party. [18]

Menzies era

Sir Robert Menzies, founder of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister 1939-41 (UAP) and 1949-66 Portrait Menzies 1941.jpg
Sir Robert Menzies, founder of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister 1939–41 (UAP) and 1949–66
Sir Robert Menzies, Dame Enid Lyons (the first woman member of an Australian Cabinet), Sir Eric Harrison, Harold Holt (Menzies' successor) and Tom White, in 1946. Menzies Lyons Harrison Holt AAF.jpg
Sir Robert Menzies, Dame Enid Lyons (the first woman member of an Australian Cabinet), Sir Eric Harrison, Harold Holt (Menzies' successor) and Tom White, in 1946.

After an initial loss to Labor at the 1946 election, Menzies led the Liberals to victory at the 1949 election, and the party stayed in office for a record 23 years— the longest unbroken run ever in government at the federal level. Australia experienced prolonged economic growth during the post-war boom period of the Menzies Government (1949–1966) and Menzies fulfilled his promises at the 1949 election to end rationing of butter, tea and petrol and provided a five-shilling endowment for first-born children, as well as for others. [22] While himself an unashamed anglophile, Menzies' government concluded a number of major defence and trade treaties that set Australia on its post-war trajectory out of Britain's orbit; opened up Australia to multi-ethnic immigration; and instigated important legal reforms regarding Aboriginal Australians.

Menzies was strongly opposed to Labor's plans to nationalise the Australian banking system and, following victory at the 1949 election, secured a double dissolution election for April 1951, after the Labor-controlled Senate rejected his banking legislation. The Liberal-Country Coalition was returned with control of the Senate. The Government was re-elected again at the 1954 election; the formation of the anti-Communist Democratic Labor Party (DLP) and the consequent split in the Australian Labor Party early in 1955 helped the Liberals to secure another victory in December 1955. John McEwen replaced Arthur Fadden as leader of the Country Party in March 1958 and the Menzies-McEwen Coalition was returned again at elections in November 1958—their third victory against Labor's H. V. Evatt. The Coalition was narrowly returned against Labor's Arthur Calwell in the December 1961 election, in the midst of a credit squeeze. Menzies stood for office for the last time at the November 1963 election, again defeating Calwell, with the Coalition winning back its losses in the House of Representatives. Menzies went on to resign from parliament on 26 January 1966. [23]

Menzies came to power the year the Communist Party of Australia had led a coal strike to improve pit miners' working conditions. That same year Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb, and Mao Zedong led the Communist Party of China to power in China; a year later came the invasion of South Korea by Communist North Korea. Anti-communism was a key political issue of the 1950s and 1960s. [24] Menzies was firmly anti-Communist; he committed troops to the Korean War and attempted to ban the Communist Party of Australia in an unsuccessful referendum during the course of that war. The Labor Party split over concerns about the influence of the Communist Party over the Trade Union movement, leading to the foundation of the breakaway Democratic Labor Party whose preferences supported the Liberal and Country parties. [25]

In 1951, during the early stages of the Cold War, Menzies spoke of the possibility of a looming third world war. The Menzies Government entered Australia's first formal military alliance outside of the British Commonwealth with the signing of the ANZUS Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States in San Francisco in 1951. External Affairs Minister Percy Spender had put forward the proposal to work along similar lines to the NATO Alliance. The Treaty declared that any attack on one of the three parties in the Pacific area would be viewed as a threat to each, and that the common danger would be met in accordance with each nation's constitutional processes. In 1954, the Menzies Government signed the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty (SEATO) as a South East Asian counterpart to NATO. That same year, Soviet diplomat Vladimir Petrov and his wife defected from the Soviet embassy in Canberra, revealing evidence of Russian spying activities; Menzies called a Royal Commission to investigate. [26]

In 1956, a committee headed by Sir Keith Murray was established to inquire into the financial plight of Australia's universities, and Menzies injected funds into the sector under conditions which preserved the autonomy of universities.

Menzies continued the expanded immigration program established under Chifley, and took important steps towards dismantling the White Australia Policy. In the early-1950s, external affairs minister Percy Spender helped to establish the Colombo Plan for providing economic aid to underdeveloped nations in Australia's region. Under that scheme many future Asian leaders studied in Australia. [27] In 1958, the government replaced the Immigration Act's arbitrarily applied European language dictation test with an entry permit system, that reflected economic and skills criteria. [28] [29] In 1962, Menzies' Commonwealth Electoral Act provided that all Indigenous Australians should have the right to enrol and vote at federal elections (prior to this, indigenous people in Queensland, Western Australia and some in the Northern Territory had been excluded from voting unless they were ex-servicemen). [30] In 1949, the Liberals appointed Dame Enid Lyons as the first woman to serve in an Australian Cabinet. Menzies remained a staunch supporter of links to the monarchy and British Commonwealth but formalised an alliance with the United States and concluded the Agreement on Commerce between Australia and Japan which was signed in July 1957 and launched post-war trade with Japan, beginning a growth of Australian exports of coal, iron ore and mineral resources that would steadily climb until Japan became Australia's largest trading partner.

Menzies retired in 1966 as Australia's longest-serving Prime Minister.

Holt Government

Harold Holt, Prime Minister 1966-67 Harold Holt 1965 01.jpg
Harold Holt, Prime Minister 1966–67
Prime Minister Harold Holt (second from left), with SEATO leaders in Manila, in 1966. The Liberal Party was in power through much of the early Post-War period in which Australia's allegiances, immigration and trade policies shifted away from reliance on the United Kingdom. CongressBuilding SEATO.jpg
Prime Minister Harold Holt (second from left), with SEATO leaders in Manila, in 1966. The Liberal Party was in power through much of the early Post-War period in which Australia's allegiances, immigration and trade policies shifted away from reliance on the United Kingdom.

Harold Holt replaced the retiring Robert Menzies in 1966 and the Holt Government went on to win 82 seats to Labor's 41 at the 1966 election. [31] Holt remained Prime Minister until 19 December 1967, when he was declared presumed dead two days after disappearing in rough surf in which he had gone for a swim. As of 2018, his body has still not been found.

Holt increased Australian commitment to the growing War in Vietnam, which met with some public opposition. His government oversaw conversion to decimal currency. Holt faced Britain's withdrawal from Asia by visiting and hosting many Asian leaders and by expanding ties to the United States, hosting the first visit to Australia by an American president, his friend Lyndon B. Johnson. Holt's government introduced the Migration Act 1966, which effectively dismantled the White Australia Policy and increased access to non-European migrants, including refugees fleeing the Vietnam War. Holt also called the 1967 Referendum which removed the discriminatory clause in the Australian Constitution which excluded Aboriginal Australians from being counted in the census – the referendum was one of the few to be overwhelmingly endorsed by the Australian electorate (over 90% voted "Yes"). By the end of 1967, the Liberals' initially popular support for the war in Vietnam was causing increasing public protest. [32]

Gorton Government

John Gorton, Prime Minister 1968-71 JohnGorton1968.jpg
John Gorton, Prime Minister 1968–71
John Gorton being sworn in as Prime Minister by Lord Casey on 10 January 1968. Gorton led Australia into the tumultuous decade of the 1970s. Gorton declared himself "Australian to the bootheels" and increased funding for Australian cinema and arts to project a newly assertive Australian nationalism. John Gorton Swearing In.jpg
John Gorton being sworn in as Prime Minister by Lord Casey on 10 January 1968. Gorton led Australia into the tumultuous decade of the 1970s. Gorton declared himself "Australian to the bootheels" and increased funding for Australian cinema and arts to project a newly assertive Australian nationalism.

The Liberals chose John Gorton to replace Holt. Gorton, a former World War II Royal Australian Air Force pilot, with a battle scarred face, said he was "Australian to the bootheels" and had a personal style which often affronted some conservatives.

The Gorton Government increased funding for the arts, setting up the Australian Council for the Arts, the Australian Film Development Corporation and the National Film and Television Training School. The Gorton Government passed legislation establishing equal pay for men and women and increased pensions, allowances and education scholarships, as well as providing free health care to 250,000 of the nation's poor (but not universal health care). Gorton's government kept Australia in the Vietnam War but stopped replacing troops at the end of 1970. [33]

Gorton maintained good relations with the United States and Britain, but pursued closer ties with Asia. The Gorton government experienced a decline in voter support at the 1969 election. State Liberal leaders saw his policies as too Centralist, while other Liberals didn't like his personal behaviour. In 1971, Defence Minister Malcolm Fraser, resigned and said Gorton was "not fit to hold the great office of Prime Minister". In a vote on the leadership the Liberal Party split 50/50, and although this was insufficient to remove him as the leader, Gorton decided this was also insufficient support for him, and he resigned. [33]

McMahon Government and Snedden leadership

William McMahon, Prime Minister 1971-72 McMahon 1971 (cropped).jpg
William McMahon, Prime Minister 1971–72
Billy Snedden, Opposition Leader 1972-75 Billy Snedden 1972.jpg
Billy Snedden, Opposition Leader 1972–75

Former treasurer, William McMahon, replaced Gorton as Prime Minister. Gorton remained a front bencher but relations with Fraser remained strained. The McMahon Government ended when Gough Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party out of its 23-year period in Opposition at the 1972 election.

The economy was weakening. McMahon maintained Australia's diminishing commitment to Vietnam and criticised Opposition leader, Gough Whitlam, for visiting Communist China in 1972—only to have the US President Richard Nixon announce a planned visit soon after. [34]

During McMahon's period in office, Neville Bonner joined the Senate and became the first Indigenous Australian in the Australian Parliament. [35] Bonner was chosen by the Liberal Party to fill a Senate vacancy in 1971 and celebrated his maiden parliamentary speech with a boomerang throwing display on the lawns of Parliament. Bonner went on to win election at the 1972 election and served as a Liberal Senator for 12 years. He worked on Indigenous and social welfare issues and proved an independent minded Senator, often crossing the floor on Parliamentary votes. [36]

Following Whitlam's victory, John Gorton played a further role in reform by introducing a Parliamentary motion from Opposition supporting the legalisation of same-gender sexual relations. Billy Snedden led the party against Whitlam in the 1974 federal election, which saw a return of the Labor government. When Malcolm Fraser won the Liberal Party leadership from Snedden in 1975, Gorton walked out of the Party Room. [37]

Fraser years

Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister 1975-83 Malcolm Fraser 1977 - crop.jpg
Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister 1975–83
Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (second right) and Tamie Fraser (left) with US President Ronald Reagan and Nancy at the White House in 1982. Fraser came to power amidst the divisive 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, but went on to lead Australia into the 1980s. Frasers Reagans.jpg
Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (second right) and Tamie Fraser (left) with US President Ronald Reagan and Nancy at the White House in 1982. Fraser came to power amidst the divisive 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, but went on to lead Australia into the 1980s.

Following the 1974–75 Loans Affair, the Malcolm Fraser led Liberal-Country Party Coalition argued that the Whitlam Government was incompetent and delayed passage of the Government's money bills in the Senate, until the government would promise a new election. Whitlam refused, yet Fraser insisted leading to the divisive 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. The deadlock came to an end when the Whitlam government was dismissed by the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr on 11 November 1975 and Fraser was installed as caretaker Prime Minister, pending an election. Fraser won in a landslide at the resulting 1975 election.

Fraser maintained some of the social reforms of the Whitlam era, while seeking increased fiscal restraint. His government included the first Aboriginal federal parliamentarian, Neville Bonner, and in 1976, Parliament passed the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976, which, while limited to the Northern Territory, affirmed "inalienable" freehold title to some traditional lands. Fraser established the multicultural broadcaster SBS, accepted Vietnamese refugees, opposed minority white rule in Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia and opposed Soviet expansionism. A significant program of economic reform, however, was not pursued. By 1983, the Australian economy was suffering with the early 1980s recession and amidst the effects of a severe drought. Fraser had promoted "states' rights" and his government refused to use Commonwealth powers to stop the construction of the Franklin Dam in Tasmania in 1982. [38] Liberal minister Don Chipp split off from the party to form a new social liberal party, the Australian Democrats in 1977. Fraser won further substantial majorities at the 1977 and 1980 elections, before losing to the Bob Hawke-led Australian Labor Party in the 1983 election. [39]

Federal opposition, state success

Andrew Peacock, Opposition Leader 1983-85, 1989-90 Andrew Peacock.jpg
Andrew Peacock, Opposition Leader 1983–85, 1989-90
John Hewson, Opposition Leader 1990-94 John Hewson 2016 01.jpg
John Hewson, Opposition Leader 1990–94
Alexander Downer, Opposition Leader 1994-95 Alexander Downer.jpg
Alexander Downer, Opposition Leader 1994–95

A period of division for the Liberals followed, with former Treasurer John Howard competing with former Foreign Minister Andrew Peacock for supremacy. The Australian economy was facing the early 1990s recession. Unemployment reached 11.4% in 1992. Under Dr John Hewson, in November 1991, the opposition launched the 650-page Fightback! policy document—a radical collection of "dry", economic liberal measures including the introduction of a Goods and Services Tax (GST), various changes to Medicare including the abolition of bulk billing for non-concession holders, the introduction of a nine-month limit on unemployment benefits, various changes to industrial relations including the abolition of awards, a $13 billion personal income tax cut directed at middle and upper income earners, $10 billion in government spending cuts, the abolition of state payroll taxes and the privatisation of a large number of government owned enterprises − representing the start of a very different future direction to the keynesian economic policies practiced by previous Liberal/National Coalition governments. The 15 percent GST was the centerpiece of the policy document. Through 1992, Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating mounted a campaign against the Fightback package, and particularly against the GST, which he described as an attack on the working class in that it shifted the tax burden from direct taxation of the wealthy to indirect taxation as a broad-based consumption tax. Pressure group activity and public opinion was relentless, which led Hewson to exempt food from the proposed GST—leading to questions surrounding the complexity of what food was and wasn't to be exempt from the GST. Hewson's difficulty in explaining this to the electorate was exemplified in the infamous birthday cake interview, considered by some as a turning point in the election campaign. Keating won a record fifth consecutive Labor term at the 1993 election. A number of the proposals were later adopted into law in some form, to a small extent during the Keating Labor government, and to a larger extent during the Howard Liberal government (most famously the GST), while unemployment benefits and bulk billing were re-targeted for a time by the Abbott Liberal government.

At the state level, the Liberals have been dominant for long periods in all states except Queensland, where they have always held fewer seats than the National Party (not to be confused with the old Nationalist Party). The Liberals were in power in Victoria from 1955 to 1982. Jeff Kennett led the party back to office in that state in 1992, and remained Premier until 1999.

In South Australia, initially a Liberal and Country Party affiliated party, the Liberal and Country League (LCL), mostly led by Premier of South Australia Tom Playford, was in power from the 1933 election to the 1965 election, though with assistance from an electoral malapportionment, or gerrymander, known as the Playmander. The LCL's Steele Hall governed for one term from the 1968 election to the 1970 election and during this time began the process of dismantling the Playmander. David Tonkin, as leader of the South Australian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia, became Premier at the 1979 election for one term, losing office at the 1982 election. The Liberals returned to power at the 1993 election, led by Premiers Dean Brown, John Olsen and Rob Kerin through two terms, until their defeat at the 2002 election. They remained in opposition for 16 years, under a record five Opposition Leaders, until Steven Marshall led the party to victory in 2018.

The dual aligned Country Liberal Party ruled the Northern Territory from 1978 to 2001.

The party has held office in Western Australia intermittently since 1947. Liberal Richard Court was Premier of the state for most of the 1990s.

In New South Wales, the Liberal Party has not been in office as much as its Labor rival, and just three leaders have led the party from opposition to government in that state: Sir Robert Askin, who was premier from 1965 to 1975, Nick Greiner, who came to office in 1988 and resigned in 1992, and Barry O'Farrell who would lead the party out of 16 years in opposition in 2011.

The Liberal Party does not officially contest most local government elections, although many members do run for office in local government as independents. An exception is the Brisbane City Council, where both Sallyanne Atkinson and Campbell Newman have been elected Lord Mayor of Brisbane. [40]

Howard Government

John Howard, Prime Minister 1996-2007 Image-Howard2003upr.JPG
John Howard, Prime Minister 1996–2007
Prime Minister John Howard with APEC leaders in Sydney in 2007. Howard supported the traditional icons of Australian identity and its international allegiances, but oversaw booming trade with Asia and increased multiethnic immigration. Vladimir Putin at APEC Summit in Australia 7-9 September 2007-18.jpg
Prime Minister John Howard with APEC leaders in Sydney in 2007. Howard supported the traditional icons of Australian identity and its international allegiances, but oversaw booming trade with Asia and increased multiethnic immigration.

Labor's Paul Keating lost the 1996 Election to the Liberals' John Howard. The Liberals had been in Opposition for 13 years. [41] With John Howard as Prime Minister, Peter Costello as Treasurer and Alexander Downer as Foreign Minister, the Howard Government remained in power until their electoral defeat to Kevin Rudd in 2007.

Howard generally framed the Liberals as being conservative on social policy, debt reduction and matters like maintaining Commonwealth links and the American Alliance but his premiership saw booming trade with Asia and expanding multiethnic immigration. His government concluded the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement with the Bush Administration in 2004. [35]

Howard differed from his Labor predecessor Paul Keating in that he supported traditional Australian institutions like the Monarchy in Australia, the commemoration of ANZAC Day and the design of the Australian flag, but like Keating he pursued privatisation of public utilities and the introduction of a broad based consumption tax (although Keating had dropped support for a GST by the time of his 1993 election victory). Howard's premiership coincided with Al Qaeda's 11 September attacks on the United States. The Howard Government invoked the ANZUS treaty in response to the attacks and supported America's campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the 2004 Federal elections the party strengthened its majority in the Lower House and, with its coalition partners, became the first federal government in twenty years to gain an absolute majority in the Senate. This control of both houses permitted their passing of legislation without the need to negotiate with independents or minor parties, exemplified by industrial relations legislation known as WorkChoices, a wide-ranging effort to increase deregulation of industrial laws in Australia.

In 2005, Howard reflected on his government's cultural and foreign policy outlook in oft repeated terms: [42]

When I became Prime Minister nine years ago, I believed that this nation was defining its place in the world too narrowly. My Government has rebalanced Australia's foreign policy to better reflect the unique intersection of history, geography, culture and economic opportunity that our country represents. Time has only strengthened my conviction that we do not face a choice between our history and our geography.

John Howard

The 2007 federal election saw the defeat of the Howard federal government, and the Liberal Party was in opposition throughout Australia at the state and federal level; the highest Liberal office-holder at the time was Lord Mayor of Brisbane Campbell Newman. This ended after the Western Australian state election, 2008, when Colin Barnett became Premier of that state.

After Howard

Brendan Nelson, Opposition Leader 2007-08 BrendanNelson.JPG
Brendan Nelson, Opposition Leader 2007–08
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister 2013-15 Tony Abbott October 2014.jpg
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister 2013–15
Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister 2015-18 Malcolm Turnbull PEO (cropped).jpg
Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister 2015–18

Following the 2007 federal election, Dr Brendan Nelson was elected leader by the Parliamentary Liberal Party. On 16 September 2008, in a second contest following a spill motion, Nelson lost the leadership to Malcolm Turnbull. [43] On 1 December 2009, a subsequent leadership election saw Turnbull lose the leadership to Tony Abbott by 42 votes to 41 on the second ballot. [44] Abbott led the party to the 2010 federal election, which saw an increase in the Liberal Party vote and resulted in the first hung parliament since the 1940 election. [45]

Through 2010, the party remained in opposition at the Tasmanian and South Australian state elections and achieved state government in Victoria. In March 2011, the New South Wales Liberal-National Coalition led by Barry O'Farrell won government with the largest election victory in post-war Australian history at the State Election. [46] In Queensland, the Liberal and National parties merged in 2008 to form the new Liberal National Party of Queensland (registered as the Queensland Division of the Liberal Party of Australia). In March 2012, the new party achieved Government in an historic landslide, led by former Brisbane Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman. [47]

In March 2013, the Western Australian Liberal-National government won re-election while the party won government in Tasmania in 2014 and lost their fourth election in a row at the South Australian election. However, the Victorian Liberal-National government, now led by Denis Napthine, became the first one term government in Victoria in 60 years. Similarly, just two months later, the Liberal National government in Queensland was defeated just three years after its historic landslide victory. The New South Wales Liberal-National Coalition, however, managed to win re-election in March 2015. In 2016 the Federal Liberals narrowly won re-election in July 2016 while the Liberal-affiliated Country Liberals suffered a historic defeat in the Northern Territory and Canberra Liberals lost their fifth election in a row in October 2016. The Liberals fared little better in 2017 with the Barnett-led Liberal-National government in Western Australia also suffered a landslide defeat in March.

Abbott government

Turnbull government

During Turbull's time in office saw tensions between Moderate and Conservative factions within the Liberal Party.

On 21 August 2018 after a week of mounting pressure on Mr Turnbull’s leadership over his handling of energy policy and election strategy. The prime minister used the regular party-room meeting to spill the party leadership in an attempt to head off a growing conservative-led move against him by Conservative Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. MrTurnbull survived the challenge, winning 48 votes to Mr Dutton's 35. A further spill was called by Mr Turnbull, in which he declined to stand and the leadership of the party was decided in favour of Treasurer Scott Morrison, over Mr Dutton.

Morrison government

Turnbull resigned from parliament on 31 August 2018, triggering a by-election in the seat of Wentworth. [48] The Liberals lost the by-election to an Independent, the Coalition also losing its majority in the House of Representatives.

Further dissatisfaction within the Liberal Party has seen a number of centrist and economically-liberal candidates announce that they will be nominating as independents in wealthy electorates for the 2019 federal election, with a specific focus on "addressing climate change". [49] [50] [51] [52]

Ideology and factions

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister 2018-present Scott Morrison 2014 crop.jpg
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister 2018-present

The contemporary Liberal Party generally advocates economic liberalism (see New Right). Historically, the party has supported a higher degree of economic protectionism and interventionism than it has in recent decades. However, from its foundation the party has identified itself as an anti-socialist grouping of liberals and conservatives. Strong opposition to socialism and communism in Australia and abroad was one of its founding principles. The party's founder and longest-serving leader Robert Menzies envisaged that Australia's middle class would form its main constituency. [54]

Towards the end of his term as Prime Minister of Australia and in a final address to the Liberal Party Federal Council in 1964, Menzies spoke of the "Liberal Creed" as follows:

As the etymology of our name "Liberal" indicates, we have stood for freedom... We took the name ‘Liberal’ because we were determined to be a progressive party, willing to make experiments, in no sense reactionary but believing in the individual, his right and his enterprise, and rejecting the socialist panacea. We have realised that men and women are not just ciphers in a calculation, but are individual human beings whose individual welfare and development must be the main concern of government ... We have learned that the right answer is to set the individual free, to aim at equality of opportunity, to protect the individual against oppression, to create a society in which rights and duties are recognised and made effective.

Robert Menzies [55]

Soon after the election of the Howard Government the new Prime Minister John Howard, who was to become the second-longest serving Liberal Prime Minister, spoke of his interpretation of the "Liberal Tradition" in a Robert Menzies Lecture in 1996:

Menzies knew the importance for Australian Liberalism to draw upon both the classical liberal as well as the conservative political traditions. He believed in a liberal political tradition that encompassed both Edmund Burke and John Stuart Mill—a tradition which I have described in contemporary terms as the broad church of Australian Liberalism.

John Howard [55]

Throughout their history, the Liberals have been in electoral terms largely the party of the middle class (whom Menzies, in the era of the party's formation called "The forgotten people"), though such class-based voting patterns are no longer as clear as they once were. In the 1970s a left-wing middle class emerged that no longer voted Liberal. [56] One effect of this was the success of a breakaway party, the Australian Democrats, founded in 1977 by former Liberal minister Don Chipp and members of minor liberal parties. On the other hand, the Liberals have done increasingly well in recent years among socially conservative working-class voters. [57] However, the Liberal Party's key support base remains the upper-middle classes—16 of the 20 richest federal electorates are held by the Liberals, most of which are safe seats. [58] In country areas they either compete with or have a truce with the Nationals, depending on various factors.

Menzies was an ardent constitutional monarchist, who supported the monarchy in Australia and links to the Commonwealth of Nations. Today the party is divided on the question of republicanism, with some (such as incumbent leader Scott Morrison) being monarchists, while others (such as his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull) are republicans. The Menzies Government formalised Australia's alliance with the United States in 1951 and the party has remained a strong supporter of the mutual defence treaty.

Domestically, Menzies presided over a fairly regulated economy in which utilities were publicly owned, and commercial activity was highly regulated through centralised wage-fixing and high tariff protection. Liberal leaders from Menzies to Malcolm Fraser generally maintained Australia's high tariff levels. At that time the Liberals' coalition partner, the Country Party, the older of the two in the coalition (now known as the "National Party"), had considerable influence over the government's economic policies. It was not until the late 1970s and through their period out of power federally in the 1980s that the party came to be influenced by what was known as the "New Right"—a conservative liberal group who advocated market deregulation, privatisation of public utilities, reductions in the size of government programs and tax cuts.

Socially, while liberty and freedom of enterprise form the basis of its beliefs, elements of the party have wavered between what is termed "small-l liberalism" and social conservatism. Historically, Liberal Governments have been responsible for the carriage of a number of notable "socially liberal" reforms, including the opening of Australia to multiethnic immigration under Menzies and Harold Holt; Holt's 1967 Referendum on Aboriginal Rights; [59] John Gorton's support for cinema and the arts; [60] selection of the first Aboriginal Senator, Neville Bonner, in 1971; [61] and Malcolm Fraser's Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976. A West Australian Liberal, Ken Wyatt, became the first Indigenous Australian elected to the House of Representatives in 2010. [62]

The Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, stated the following in his 2019 victory speech; [63]

This is, this is the best country in the world in which to live. It is those Australians that we have been working for, for the last five and a half years since we came to Government, under Tony Abbott's leadership back in 2013. It has been those Australians who have worked hard every day, they have their dreams, they have their aspirations; to get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing. To start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids. To save your retirement and to ensure that when you're in your retirement, that you can enjoy it because you've worked hard for it. These are The Quiet Australians who have won a great victory tonight.

The Liberal Party is a member of the International Democrat Union.

Historical female representation

The Liberal Party and its predecessor parties have been the first to directly elect female representatives to the federal and every state and territory parliament nationwide. The first female member of the Australian House of Representatives and member of cabinet, Dame Enid Lyons, was elected in 1943 as a Liberal representing the division of Darwin in Tasmania. The first female representative elected in each state and territory for the Liberal Party or its direct predecessors were, in order of election:

Organisation

The Liberal Party's organisation is dominated by the six state divisions, reflecting the party's original commitment to a federalised system of government (a commitment which was strongly maintained by all Liberal governments bar the Gorton government until 1983, but was to a large extent abandoned by the Howard Government, which showed strong centralising tendencies). Menzies deliberately created a weak national party machine and strong state divisions. Party policy is made almost entirely by the parliamentary parties, not by the party's rank-and-file members, although Liberal party members do have a degree of influence over party policy. [64]

The Liberal Party's basic organisational unit is the branch, which consists of party members in a particular locality. For each electorate there is a conference—notionally above the branches—which coordinates campaigning in the electorate and regularly communicates with the member (or candidate) for the electorate. As there are three levels of government in Australia, each branch elects delegates to a local, state, and federal conference. [64]

All the branches in an Australian state are grouped into a Division. The ruling body for the Division is a State Council. There is also one Federal Council which represents the entire organisational Liberal Party in Australia. Branch executives are delegates to the Councils ex-officio and additional delegates are elected by branches, depending on their size. [64]

Preselection of electoral candidates is performed by a special electoral college convened for the purpose. Membership of the electoral college consists of head office delegates, branch officers, and elected delegates from branches. [64]

List of leaders

The following is a complete list of Liberal Party leaders:

Key:
  Liberal   Labor    Country/National
PM: Prime Minister
LO: Leader of the Opposition
†: Died in office

No.LeaderPortraitTerm of OfficePositionPrime Minister
1 Robert Menzies Portrait Menzies 1941.jpg 21 February 1945 [65] 20 January 1966 LO1945–1949 Curtin
Forde
Chifley
PM 19491966 Menzies
2 Harold Holt Harold Holt 1965 01.jpg 20 January 1966 19 December 1967 PM 19661967 Holt
vacant 19 December 1967 9 January 1968 McEwen
3 John Gorton JohnGorton1968.jpg 9 January 1968 10 March 1971 PM 19681971 Gorton
4 William McMahon McMahon 1971 (cropped).jpg 10 March 1971 20 December 1972 PM 19711972 McMahon
5 Billy Snedden Billy Snedden 1972.jpg 20 December 1972 21 March 1975 LO 19721975 Whitlam
6 Malcolm Fraser Malcolm Fraser 1977 - crop.jpg 21 March 1975 11 March 1983 LO 1975
PM 19751983 Fraser
7 Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg 11 March 1983 5 September 1985 LO 19831985 Hawke
8 John Howard John howard.jpg 5 September 1985 9 May 1989 LO 19851989
(7) Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg 9 May 1989 3 April 1990 LO 19891990
9 John Hewson John Hewson 2016 01.jpg 3 April 1990 23 May 1994 LO 19901991
LO 19911994 Keating
10 Alexander Downer Alexander Downer.jpg 23 May 1994 30 January 1995 LO 19941995
(8) John Howard Image-Howard2003upr.JPG 30 January 1995 29 November 2007 LO 19951996
PM 19962007 Howard
11 Brendan Nelson BrendanNelson.JPG 29 November 2007 16 September 2008 LO 20072008 Rudd
12 Malcolm Turnbull Turnbull.JPG 16 September 2008 1 December 2009 LO 20082009
13 Tony Abbott Prime Minister Tony Abbott.jpg 1 December 2009 14 September 2015 LO 20092010
LO 20102013 Gillard
LO 2013 Rudd
PM 20132015 Abbott
(12) Malcolm Turnbull Malcolm Turnbull PEO (cropped).jpg 14 September 2015 24 August 2018 PM 20152018 Turnbull
14 Scott Morrison Scott Morrison 2014 crop.jpg 24 August 2018 IncumbentPM 2018present Morrison

Federal leaders by time in office

NoNameTerm beganTerm endedTime in officeTerm as Prime Minister
1 Sir Robert Menzies 21 February 194520 January 196620 years, 333 days(UAP 1939–41), 1949–66
(8) John Howard 30 January 199529 November 200712 years, 303 days1996–2007
6 Malcolm Fraser 21 March 197511 March 19837 years, 355 days1975–83
13 Tony Abbott 1 December 200914 September 20155 years, 287 days2013–15
9 John Hewson 3 April 199023 May 19944 years, 50 days
8 John Howard 5 September 19859 May 19893 years, 246 days
3 Sir John Gorton 10 January 196810 March 19713 years, 59 days1968–71
(12) Malcolm Turnbull 14 September 201524 August 20182 years, 344 days2015–2018
7 Andrew Peacock 11 March 19835 September 19852 years, 178 days
5 Sir Billy Snedden 20 December 197221 March 19752 years, 91 days
2 Harold Holt 20 January 196619 December 19671 year, 333 days1966–67
4 Sir William McMahon 10 March 19715 December 19721 year, 270 days1971–72
12 Malcolm Turnbull 16 September 20081 December 20091 year, 76 days
(7) Andrew Peacock 9 May 19893 April 1990329 days
11 Brendan Nelson 29 November 200716 September 2008292 days
14 Scott Morrison 24 August 2018Incumbent293 days2018–present
10 Alexander Downer 23 May 199430 January 1995252 days

Totals for leaders who served multiple non-consecutive terms:

Federal deputy leaders

#NameStateTerm startTerm endDurationLeader(s)
1 Eric Harrison New South Wales 21 February 194526 September 195611 years, 218 days Robert Menzies
2 Harold Holt Victoria 26 September 195620 January 19669 years, 116 days
3 William McMahon New South Wales20 January 196610 March 19715 years, 49 days Harold Holt
John Gorton
4 John Gorton Victoria10 March 197116 August 1971159 days William McMahon
5 Billy Snedden Victoria18 August 197120 December 19721 year, 124 days
6 Phillip Lynch Victoria20 December 19728 April 19829 years, 109 days Billy Snedden
Malcolm Fraser
7 John Howard New South Wales8 April 19825 September 19853 years, 150 days Malcolm Fraser
Andrew Peacock
8 Neil Brown Victoria5 September 198517 July 19871 year, 315 days John Howard
9 Andrew Peacock Victoria17 July 19879 May 19891 year, 296 days
10 Fred Chaney [lower-alpha 1] Western Australia 9 May 19893 April 1990329 days Andrew Peacock
11 Peter Reith Victoria24 March 199013 March 19932 years, 354 days John Hewson
12 Michael Wooldridge Victoria13 March 199323 May 19941 year, 71 days
13 Peter Costello Victoria23 May 199429 November 200713 years, 190 days Alexander Downer
John Howard
14 Julie Bishop Western Australia29 November 200724 August 201810 years, 268 days Brendan Nelson
Malcolm Turnbull
Tony Abbott
15 Josh Frydenberg Victoria24 August 2018Incumbent293 days Scott Morrison
Notes
  1. From 23 May 1989 to 24 March 1990 (305 days), Wal Fife occupied the unique position of "Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Representatives". This was because Fred Chaney was a member of the Senate during that time; it was necessary to elected a temporary House-only deputy for procedural reasons. [66] [67]

Current state and territory parliamentary leaders

State Lower House Seats
NSW Parliament
35 / 93
VIC Parliament
21 / 88
QLD Parliament
14 / 93
WA Parliament
14 / 59
SA Parliament
25 / 47
TAS Parliament
13 / 25
Territory Assembly Seats
ACT Parliament
11 / 25
NT Parliament
2 / 25
State/ TerritoryLeaderNotes
SA Steven Marshall Premier of South Australia since March 2018
TAS Will Hodgman Premier of Tasmania since March 2014
VIC Michael O'Brien Leader of the Opposition of Victoria since December 2018
QLD Deb Frecklington Leader of the Opposition of Queensland since December 2017
NT Gary Higgins Leader of the Opposition of the Northern Territory since September 2016
ACT Alistair Coe Leader of the Opposition of the Australian Capital Territory since October 2016
NSW Gladys Berejiklian Premier of New South Wales since January 2017
WA Liza Harvey Leader of the Opposition of Western Australia since June 2019

1 Queensland is represented by the Liberal National Party of Queensland. This party is the result of a merger of the Queensland Division of the Liberal Party and the Queensland National Party to contest elections as a single party. Graphic shows seats that would be held by Liberal Party if the two conservative parties are to split.

2 The Northern Territory is represented by the Country Liberal Party, which is endorsed as the Territory division of the Liberal Party.

Past state premiers and territory chief ministers

Australian Capital Territory Years
Trevor Kaine 1989–1991
Kate Carnell 1995–2000
Gary Humphries 2000–2001
New South Wales Years
Sir Robert Askin 1965–1975
Tom Lewis 1975–1976
Sir Eric Willis 1976
Nick Greiner 1988–1992
John Fahey 1992–1995
Barry O'Farrell 2011–2014
Mike Baird 2014–2017
Queensland Years
Sir Gordon Chalk 1968
Campbell Newman 2012–2015
South Australia Years
David Tonkin 1979–1982
Dean Brown 1993–1996
John Olsen 1996–2001
Rob Kerin 2001–2002
Tasmania Years
Sir Angus Bethune 1969–1972
Robin Gray 1982–1989
Ray Groom 1992–1996
Tony Rundle 1996–1998
Victoria Years
Ian Macfarlan 1945
Thomas Hollway 1947–1950
Sir Henry Bolte 1955–1972
Sir Rupert Hamer 1972–1981
Lindsay Thompson 1981–1982
Jeff Kennett 1992–1999
Ted Baillieu 2010–2013
Denis Napthine 2013–2014
Western Australia Years
Sir Ross McLarty 1947–1953
Sir David Brand 1959–1971
Sir Charles Court 1974–1982
Ray O'Connor 1982–1983
Richard Court 1993–2001
Colin Barnett 2008–2017

Federal presidents

R.G. Menzies House, the Liberal Party's national headquarters, in the Canberra suburb of Barton RG Menzies House June 2012.JPG
R.G. Menzies House, the Liberal Party's national headquarters, in the Canberra suburb of Barton
Shown in chronological order of presidency

Federal election results

House of Representatives

ElectionSeats won±Total votesShare of votesPositionParty Leader
1946
15 / 76
Increase2.svg151,241,65028.58%Opposition Robert Menzies
1949
55 / 121
Increase2.svg401,813,79439.39%Majority gov't (LP-CP) Robert Menzies
1951
52 / 121
Decrease2.svg31,854,79940.62%Majority gov't (LP-CP) Robert Menzies
1954
47 / 121
Decrease2.svg51,745,80838.31%Majority gov't (LP-CP) Robert Menzies
1955
57 / 122
Increase2.svg101,746,48539.73%Majority gov't (LP-CP) Robert Menzies
1958
58 / 122
Increase2.svg11,859,18037.23%Majority gov't (LP-CP) Robert Menzies
1961
45 / 122
Decrease2.svg131,761,73833.58%Majority gov't (LP-CP) Robert Menzies
1963
52 / 122
Increase2.svg72,030,82337.09%Majority gov't (LP-CP) Robert Menzies
1966
61 / 124
Increase2.svg92,291,96440.14%Majority gov't (LP-CP) Harold Holt
1969
46 / 125
Decrease2.svg152,125,98734.77%Majority gov't (LP-CP) John Gorton
1972
38 / 125
Decrease2.svg82,115,08532.04%Opposition William McMahon
1974
40 / 127
Increase2.svg22,582,96834.95%Opposition Billy Snedden
1975
68 / 127
Increase2.svg283,232,15941.80%Majority gov't (LP-NP) Malcolm Fraser
1977
67 / 124
Decrease2.svg13,017,89638.09%Majority gov't (LP-NP) Malcolm Fraser
1980
54 / 125
Decrease2.svg133,108,51237.43%Majority gov't (LP-NP) Malcolm Fraser
1983
33 / 125
Decrease2.svg212,983,98634.36%Opposition Malcolm Fraser
1984
45 / 148
Increase2.svg122,951,55634.06%Opposition Andrew Peacock
1987
43 / 148
Decrease2.svg23,175,26234.41%Opposition John Howard
1990
55 / 148
Increase2.svg123,468,57035.04%Opposition Andrew Peacock
1993
49 / 147
Decrease2.svg63,923,78637.10%Opposition John Hewson
1996
75 / 148
Increase2.svg264,210,68938.69%Majority gov't (LP-NP) John Howard
1998
64 / 148
Decrease2.svg113,764,70733.89%Majority gov't (LP-NP) John Howard
2001
68 / 150
Increase2.svg44,244,07237.40%Majority gov't (LP-NP) John Howard
2004
74 / 150
Increase2.svg54,741,45840.47%Majority gov't (LP-NP-CLP) John Howard
2007
55 / 150
Decrease2.svg204,546,60036.60%Opposition John Howard
2010
60 / 150
[Note 1]
Increase2.svg53,777,38330.46%Opposition Tony Abbott
2013
74 / 150
[Note 3]
Increase2.svg144,134,86532.02%Majority gov't (LP-LNP-NP-CLP) Tony Abbott
2016
60 / 150
[Note 1]
Decrease2.svg143,882,90528.67%Majority gov't (LP-LNP-NP) Malcolm Turnbull
2019
61 / 151
[Note 1]
Increase2.svg13,989,43527.97%Majority gov't (LP-LNP-NP) Scott Morrison
  1. 1 2 3 4 Including the 17 LNP MPs who sit in the Liberal party room.
  2. Including the 3 LNP Senators who sit in the Liberal party room.
  3. Including the 16 LNP MPs who sit in the Liberal party room.

Donors

For the 2015–2016 financial year, the top ten disclosed donors to the Liberal Party were: Paul Marks (Nimrod resources) ($1,300,000), Pratt Holdings ($790,000), Hong Kong Kingson Investment Company ($710,000), Aus Gold Mining Group ($410,000), Village Roadshow ($325,000), Waratah Group ($300,000), Walker Corporation ($225,000), Australian Gypsum Industries ($196,000), National Automotive Leasing and Salary Packaging Association ($177,000) and Westfield Corporation ($150,000). [68] [69]

The Liberal Party also receives undisclosed funding through several methods, such as "associated entities". Cormack Foundation, [70] Eight by Five, Free Enterprise Foundation, Federal Forum and Northern Sydney Conservative forum are entities which have been used to funnel donations to the Liberal Party without disclosing the source. [71] [72] [73]

See also

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Further reading