Liberal Party of Australia (New South Wales Division)

Last updated

New South Wales Liberals
Leader Gladys Berejiklian
Deputy Leader Dominic Perrottet
President Philip Ruddock
Founded4 January 1945;76 years ago (4 January 1945)
Headquarters 100 William Street, Woolloomooloo, Sydney, New South Wales
Membership (2019)Increase2.svg 17,560 [1]
Ideology Liberal conservatism [2]
Economic liberalism
Political position Centre-right
National affiliation Liberal Party of Australia
Legislative Assembly
36 / 93
Legislative Council
11 / 42
House of Representatives
16 / 46
(NSW seats)
Senate
5 / 12
(NSW seats)
Local Government
184 / 1,480
Website
nsw.liberal.org.au

The Liberal Party of Australia (New South Wales Division), commonly known as the New South Wales Liberals, is the state division of the Liberal Party of Australia in New South Wales. The party currently governs in New South Wales in coalition with the National Party of Australia (NSW). The party is part of the federal Liberal Party which governs nationally in Coalition with the National Party of Australia.

Contents

Following the Liberal Party's formation in October 1944, the NSW division of the Liberal Party was formed in January 1945. For the following months, the Democratic Party and Liberal Democratic Party joined the Liberal Party and were replaced by the new party's NSW division.

In the 74 years since its foundation the party has won eight state elections to the Labor Party's 13, and has spent 27 years in office (1965 to 1976, 1988 to 1995 and 2011 to the present) to Labor's 46. Eight leaders have become Premier of New South Wales; of those, five, Sir Robert Askin, Nick Greiner, Barry O'Farrell, Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian, have won at least one state election.

History

Background

After the 1943 federal election, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), New South Wales United Australia Party (UAP) and Commonwealth Party began discussions on a merger to form a new party, proposed to be also named Liberal Democratic Party. The LDP (led by Ernest White) and Commonwealth Party were new parties formed a few months prior in April and May 1943 respectively. By November 1943, discussions were almost completed and unity was likely. [3] The County Party refused to join in the merger but expressed they would co-operate with the new party. [4] However, during the unity conference on 24 November 1943, the LDP walked out of the conference as they were not willing to support retaining the secretary of the UAP, H. W. Horsfield, as the secretary of the new party, as well as retaining members of his staff. [5] [6] Instead, during the same conference, the Commonwealth Party and the New South Wales UAP proceeded to merge without the LDP to form the Democratic Party. [7] As such, LDP remained a separate party to the Democratic Party.

The initial leader of the Democratic Party was the former premier Alexander Mair, [8] but he resigned on 2 February 1944 and was replaced by Reginald Weaver on 10 February. [9] [6]

In the lead up to the 1944 state election in May, the LDP party generated publicity disproportionate to its size and the Sydney Morning Herald commented that the Liberal Democratic Party was "a mouse" attempting to "swallow the Democratic Party lion". [10] At the election, the Democratic Party led by Weaver won 19% of the vote and 12 of the 90 seats in the Legislative Assembly. However, the LDP received less than 4% of the primary vote and did not win a seat.

Horsfield, the secretary of the Democratic Party, resigned on 26 July 1944, paving the way for a LDP-Democratic merger again. [6] In August 1944, the LDP, still led by Ernest White, initially agreed to merge with the Democratic Party and the new party to be known as the United Democratic Party. [11] However, two days after federal UAP leader Robert Menzies announced that he was planning to set up a new "political movement with a Liberal policy" at an October conference, negotiations between LDP and Democratic Party broke down and the party merger did not take place. [6]

Founding of Liberal Party

In October 1944, Menzies founded the Liberal Party of Australia during a conference in Canberra as announced in August, attended by LDP and Democratic Party delegates. [12] The New South Wales division of the Liberal Party was formed on 4 January 1945 with a provisional executive appointed, consisting of 20 LDP and Democratic Party members including White, Weaver and Bill Spooner. [13] Spooner, who was nominated by the LDP, was appointed as the first chairman on 9 January. [14]

The LDP was willing to support the formation of the Liberal Party and dissolved itself on 15 January 1945, officially joining the Liberal Party. [15] The Democratic Party also supported the formation but held off dissolution until a state branch of the Liberal Party had been fully constituted. [16] Weaver and parliamentary members of the Democratic Party were dissatisfied with the Liberal Party executive's attitude towards Democratic Party members and supporters, with Weaver tendering his resignation from the provisional council of the state Liberal Party in February 1945. [17] However, he withdrew his resignation in March 1945, and announced that all Democratic Party parliamentary members would join the Liberal Party. [18]

In the 1945 Ryde state by-election in February, Liberal member Eric Hearnshaw was elected to the New South Wales parliament. As Democratic Party parliamentary members including Weaver at that time had not yet joined the Liberal Party, this made Hearnshaw the first Liberal Party member in the New South Wales parliament. [19] Weaver and other Democratic parliamentary members finally joined the Liberal Party on 20 April 1945, with Weaver becoming the first parliamentary leader of the NSW Liberal Party. [20] On the same day, Albert Reid, independent member for Manly and a former UAP member, also joined the Liberal Party. This brought the total number of Liberal Party legislative assembly members to 14. [21]

Weaver died later in the year in November and he was succeeded by Mair as NSW Liberal Party leader. Mair resigned four months later in March 1946 to contest the Australian Senate, and was succeeded by Vernon Treatt as party leader. Treatt led the Liberal Party opposition in the state parliament for the next eight years.

2011 state election

The Liberal/National coalition won a landslide victory in the 2011 state election, with the Liberal Party winning 51 of the 93 lower house seats, enough for a majority in its own right. Liberal leader Barry O'Farrell opted to retain the coalition. Ever since, the coalition has governed New South Wales under Liberal leaders Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian, winning the 2015 state election and 2019 state election respectively. The 2019 election was significant as it was the first time that the coalition won a third consecutive term in office in New South Wales since the 1971 state election. It was also the first that a female leader (Gladys Berejiklian) led a party to a state election victory in New South Wales, and the first time a non-Labor female leader won a state election in Australia.

Parliamentary party leaders

Leader of the Liberal Party
Incumbent
The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP

since 23 January 2017
Inaugural holder Reginald Weaver
Formation20 April 1945
DeputyThe Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP

The position of leader of the Liberal Party of Australia New South Wales Division is a formal role held by a Liberal member of the Parliament of New South Wales. As the Liberal Party has, since its foundation in 1945, been either the largest or second largest party in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, its leader is usually either the Premier or the Leader of the Opposition, depending on the majority or minority respectively of the party. The current leader of the Liberal Party is Gladys Berejiklian, and the deputy leader is Dominic Perrottet. Both have served in those roles since 23 January 2017. Berejiklian is currently Premier of New South Wales, a post she has held since 23 January 2017.

The role is selected by state members of the parliamentary party, but the position is non-fixed in duration, and is usually only vacated upon resignation, retirement from politics, or a spill motion with the support of the majority of the parliamentary members.

The leader only has a role in a parliamentary context; the party division as a whole is governed by a President and Vice-Presidents, who act on the advice of the party division's Director and Deputy Directors. The division also gathers annually at a State Conference to vote on and develop policy to be used by the party's elected representatives. The majority of the twenty Liberal Leaders resigned after losing elections or were deposed by other parliamentary members.

#Party leader [22] [23] Assumed office [24] Left office [24] PremierReason for departureTime in office
1 Reginald Weaver 20 April 194512 November 1945Death in office206 days
2 Alexander Mair 13 November 194520 March 19461939–1941Resignation; Premier under UAP 127 days
3Sir Vernon Treatt 20 March 194610 August 1954Resignation8 years, 143 days
4 Murray Robson 17 August 195420 September 1955Deposed1 year, 34 days
5 Pat Morton 20 September 195517 July 1959Deposed3 years, 300 days
6Sir Robert Askin 17 July 19593 January 19751965–1975Retirement15 years, 170 days
7 Tom Lewis 3 January 197523 January 19761975–1976Deposed1 year, 20 days
8Sir Eric Willis 23 January 197616 December 19771976Resignation1 year, 327 days
9 Peter Coleman 16 December 19777 October 1978Loss of seat at 1978 election295 days
10 John Mason 24 October 197829 May 1981Deposed2 years, 217 days
11 Bruce McDonald 1 June 198112 October 1981Loss of seat at 1981 election133 days
12 John Dowd 20 October 198115 March 1983Resignation1 year, 146 days
13 Nick Greiner 15 March 198324 June 19921988–1992Resignation prior to no confidence motion9 years, 101 days
14 John Fahey 24 June 19924 April 19951992–1995Resignation following 1995 election2 years, 284 days
15 Peter Collins 4 April 19957 December 1998Deposed3 years, 247 days
16 Kerry Chikarovski 7 December 199828 March 2002Deposed3 years, 111 days
17 John Brogden 28 March 200229 August 2005Resignation3 years, 154 days
18 Peter Debnam 1 September 20054 April 2007Resignation following 2007 election1 year, 218 days
19 Barry O'Farrell 4 April 200716 April 20142011–2014Resignation7 years, 9 days
20 Mike Baird 17 April 201423 January 20172014–2017Resignation2 years, 282 days
21 Gladys Berejiklian 23 January 2017present2017–present4 years, 155 days

Deputy leaders

Party LeaderStart of TermEnd of Term
Athol Richardson 19451945
Vernon Treatt 19461946
Walter Howarth 19461954
Robert Askin 19541959
Eric Willis 19591975
John Maddison 19751977
John Mason 19771978
Bruce McDonald 19781981
Jim Cameron 19811981
Kevin Rozzoli 19811983
Rosemary Foot 19831986
Peter Collins 19861992
Bruce Baird 19921994
Kerry Chikarovski 19941995
Ron Phillips 19951999
Barry O'Farrell 19992002
Chris Hartcher 20022003
Barry O'Farrell 20032007
Jillian Skinner 20072014
Gladys Berejiklian 20142017
Dominic Perrottet 2017present

Election results

ElectionSeats won±Total votes %PositionLeader
1947
18 / 90
Increase2.svg6470,48529.60%Opposition Vernon Treatt
1950
29 / 94
Increase2.svg11604,42837.51%Opposition Vernon Treatt
1953
22 / 94
Decrease2.svg9432,73927.94%Opposition Vernon Treatt
1956
27 / 94
Increase2.svg5594,74035.11%Opposition Pat Morton
1959
28 / 94
Increase2.svg1603,71835.35%Opposition Pat Morton
1962
25 / 94
Decrease2.svg3671,71634.85%Opposition Bob Askin
1965
31 / 94
Increase2.svg6807,86839.59%Minority Coalition Bob Askin
1968
39 / 94
Increase2.svg4831,51438.47%Coalition Bob Askin
1971
32 / 96
Decrease2.svg7799,80135.74%Coalition Bob Askin
1973
34 / 99
Increase2.svg2843,32533.85%Coalition Bob Askin
1976
30 / 99
Decrease2.svg4978,88636.29%Opposition Eric Willis
1978
18 / 99
Decrease2.svg12754,79626.98Opposition Peter Coleman
1981
14 / 99
Decrease2.svg4775,46327.62%Opposition Bruce McDonald
1984
22 / 99
Increase2.svg8967,39532.17%Opposition Nick Greiner
1988
39 / 109
Increase2.svg171,147,61335.80%Coalition Nick Greiner
1991
32 / 99
Decrease2.svg71,053,10034.16%Minority Coalition Nick Greiner
1995
29 / 99
Decrease2.svg31,121,19032.84%Opposition John Fahey
1999
20 / 93
Decrease2.svg9927,36824.82%Opposition Kerry Chikarovski
2003
20 / 93
Steady2.svg0944,88824.72%Opposition John Brogden
2007
22 / 93
Increase2.svg21,061,26926.94%Opposition Peter Debnam
2011
51 / 93
Increase2.svg291,602,45738.58%Coalition Barry O'Farrell
2015
37 / 93
Decrease2.svg141,545,16835.08%Coalition Mike Baird
2019
35 / 93
Decrease2.svg21,307,98232.15%Coalition Gladys Berejiklian

See also

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