|Merged into||Liberal National Party of Queensland|
|Ideology|| Conservatism |
The National Party of Australia – Queensland, commonly known as The Nationals Queensland, was the Queensland state branch of the National Party of Australia until 2008. Prior to 1974, it was known as the Country Party.
Formed in 1915 by the Queensland Farmers' Union and serving as the state branch of the National Party of Australia, it initially sought to represent the interests of the farmers but over time became a more general conservative political party in the state, leading to much debate about relations with other conservative parties and a string of mergers that were soon undone. From 1957 it held power as part of a coalition with the state Liberal Party until 1983 when the Liberals broke away and the Nationals continued to govern in their own right until defeat in 1989. The party formed another coalition with the Liberals that took power in 1996 but was defeated in 1998. After a further decade in opposition, in 2008, the two parties merged to form the Liberal National Party of Queensland.
Throughout their history the Nationals were repeatedly beset by the question of whether or not to merge with other conservative political forces in the state to provide a unified political alternative to the Labor Party or whether it was more important to maintain a distinct voice for the countryside. A third approach, practiced most prominently in the 1970s and 1980s, was to seek to expand the party's appeal to urban Queensland and ultimately make the party the dominant force on the right.
Prior to the First World War a series of efforts were made to give political representation to rural interests but these were slow and limited in scope, with most effort focused on existing parties.Then in the 1915 election dissatisfaction with the Liberal government of Digby Denham led to the Queensland Farmers' Union running its own candidates, five of whom were elected. John Appel, a former minister who had broken with Denham, became the leader of what was now a distinct separate Country Party grouping in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland. The party drew its main strength from farmers in the east of the state and had limited success with graziers in the west. Although the United Cane Growers' Association and then the United Graziers' Association would join with the QFU by 1919 to form the Primary Producers' Union, the party's electoral base would be geographically constrained for the next four decades.
Independence was initially short-lived. Labor had won power at the 1915 election and the opposition forces soon looked to ally. The National Political Council was formed and the Liberals and Country Party came together as the National Party to fight the 1918 election;however the union was short-lived and in July 1920 the Nationalists split with the majority of MLAs reforming a separate Country Party led by William Vowles. A third party, the Northern Country Party emerged as a regional split with the Nationalists. The three parties co-operated in the 1920 state election but were unable to dislodge Labor. The same year saw the formation of the federal Country Party. In 1921 James Hunter won the Division of Maranoa in a by-election, giving the Country Party their first federal member in Queensland.
Over the next few years the Country Party absorbed the Northern Country Party, though its elected members joined with the rump of the National Party who now organised in the state as the Queensland United Party. The United Party won more seats than the Country Party at the 1923 state election, but in subsequent elections fought as separate parties the Country/National Party would consistently win more seats than the other major conservative party.
Arthur Edward Moore became the new leader of the Country Party in September 1923 and then the following April was elected leader of a joint opposition as the Country and United parties sought greater unity. In May 1925 the two parties' organisations merged as the Country Progressive Party but four United MLAs initially sought to revive as the Nationalist Party until December that year when they too joined in what was now named the Country and Progressive National Party. Moore would retain the leadership throughout the existence of the CPNP.The CPNP won power at the 1929 state election but the Moore Ministry would only last one term amidst the challenges of the Great Depression, being defeated in 1932. Following a second defeat in 1935, the CPNP split into separate Country Party and United Australia Party branches.
Ted Maher led the party to further defeats in 1938 and 1941. Then in April of the latter year, the new federal leader of the party Arthur Fadden, MP for the Queensland Division of Darling Downs, sought to merge the Country and United Australia parties. Only in Queensland did this yield much success with the two parliamentary parties forming the Country-National Organisation.Frank Nicklin became the new leader of the party. However the merger was resisted both by some Country Party MLAs and by the extra-parliamentary organisation, with the western division of the Queensland Country Party continuing to operate as a separate body. Former federal MP James Hunter worked hard for demerger, an aim achieved by 1944. A new party constitution allowed co-operation but forbade merger with other parties. Nicklin continued as the head of the separate Country Party which co-operated with the Queensland People's Party, formed by John Beals Chandler out of the UAP remnants, which would later become the Liberal Party of Australia (Queensland Division) in 1949.
A pattern was set in the 1944 state election whereby the Country Party secured fewer votes but more seats than the People's Party; this pattern would continue into the 1970s.Nicklin would continue to lead the party to defeat over five successive elections, but there seemed little prospect of defeating Labour, especially after the introduction of a malapportionment that significantly varied the size of electorates in different zones of the state.
In 1957 the Labor Party in Queensland was engulfed in the split that had been growing in the party across Australia over the influence of communism. The sitting Premier Vince Gair was expelled from the party and led a breakaway Queensland Labor Party that sought to retain office.Gair sought to retain office helming a minority government, and sought backing from the Country Party. Nicklin initially considered offering support to Gair, but then declined when Fadden–by then, de facto federal Deputy Prime Minister–argued there was the opportunity to win power in their own right. When the state parliament resumed sitting, the rump Labor caucuse moved to block supply. Nicklin instructed the Coalition to vote against the government as well, bringing it down. At the 1957 state election, the Country and Liberal coalition won power after a quarter of a century. Due to a large number of three-cornered contests (every QLP incumbent faced a Labor challenger, and vice versa), the Coalition won a solid majority.
Nicklin had a strong working relationship with the Liberal leader Kenneth Morris which would underpin the Coalition's initial years in government, although Nicklin privately found Morris trying at times.In government the two parties sought to tweak the electoral system to their advantage, with the Country Party securing the continuation of the zonal system that would keep them as the larger party despite some Liberal opposition. Later in 1962 the Liberals secured the reintroduction of preferential voting which would allow the non-Labor vote to combine but also in the long term allowed for the two coalition parties to contest seats against one another, while preferencing each other ahead of Labor. The Nicklin Ministry governed over what has been described as "the most tranquil decade of [Queensland's] recent political history", but within the parties tensions were growing over the balance of the Coalition. Brisbane's growth was rapidly spilling onto the Redcliffe Peninsula, and the Gold Coast was also seeing growing urbanisation. Additionally, the Liberals were setting up new branches in traditional Country Party areas. This put pressure on the traditional allocation of seats between the two partners. The 1966 state election saw the Country and Liberal parties stand against each other in eight seats, but none changed between the Coalition partners. In general Nicklin took a relaxed approach to Coalition arrangements that sought to avoid direct confrontation, and this kept the parties together without destructive internal confrontation. Suffering ill health, Nicklin retired in early 1968. He was succeeded by Jack Pizzey, who had served as deputy leader of the party since 1957. However barely half a year later Pizzey died of a heart attack.
Joh Bjelke-Petersen, the sitting deputy leader, was elected leader of the party.Over the next two decades he would dominate the party, government and state, as well as making multiple interventions into federal politics. In contrast to the Nicklin years, Bjelke-Petersen would also preside over a deterioration in relations between the two coalition parties. The first conflict came immediately. Liberal leader Gordon Chalk had been appointed as interim Premier immediately upon Pizzey's death, pending the Country Party choosing a new leader. However, Chalk argued to retain the post, even though the Liberals had seven fewer seats than the Country Party. Bjelke-Petersen threatened to break up the Coalition unless Chalk backed down, and prevailed.
As Premier, Bjelke-Petersen oversaw rapid economic growth and development in the state, including greater urbanisation. His government pursued uncompromising conservatism, taking an especially heavy-handed line against trade unions and demonstrators, leading to accusations that Queensland had become a banana republic. He especially advocated the notion of Queensland exceptionalism, yielding ever greater electoral success.The Country Party continued to benefit from the electoral malapportionment which continued to be modified throughout their time in government. Nicknamed the "Bjelkemander", it continued to strengthen the Coalition against Labor, reinforcing the conservatives' hold on power. At the same time, it also strengthened the Country Party against the Liberals. However the changing nature of Queensland meant that the rural population was in decline whilet provincial cities were growing, placing the Country Party's position under greater threat. An early conflict came in a by-election for the Gold Coast seat of Albert. The seat had been in Country Party hands since 1936, but over the 1960s saw increased electoral pressure from first independents and then the Liberals. The by-election saw the Country Party vote collapse and the Liberals take the seat. Together with accusations surrounding his financial affairs this placed Bjelke-Petersen under immense pressure and he only narrowly survived a leadership challenge.
Although the 1969 and 1972 state elections saw little change, the next few years would be transformative for the party and its fortunes. The 1972 federal election saw Labor win power nationally for the first time in 23 years under Gough Whitlam. Bjelke-Petersen soon set himself up as one of the most prominent and implacable foes of the Whitlam Government, leading to the Prime Minister calling the Premier "a Bible-bashing bastard... a paranoic, a bigot and fanatical."The Country Party sought greater unity with other opposition groups. It even explored a merger with the state Democratic Labor Party (formerly the QLP), for which the Country Party modified its constitution to allow the possibility. In April 1974 as part of the attempt to expand its appeal into urban areas the party changed its name to the National Party, eight years before the federal party adopted that name. Later that year Bjelke-Petersen called an early election, attacking the federal Labor government. The result saw Labor routed, with their leader Perc Tucker losing his own seat. The party also won its first seat in Brisbane as Bill Lamond gained the electoral district of Wynnum. Subsequently, at the 1977 state election the Nationals outpolled the Liberals for the first time, a position they would maintain for the next twenty years. The party responded to its strengthened position by consolidating its position in the cabinet at the expense of its partner. In parliament the Nationals pushed a number of policies and tactics, overcoming opposition from the Liberal leadership on matters ranging from the abolition of death duties to breaking the convention on mid-term federal Senate replacements by filling a Labor vacancy with Albert Field, a nominal Labor member hostile to Whitlam, which contributed to the latter's dismissal. Bjelke-Petersen did not just hamper Labor federal governments though, with a breakdown in relations with the Liberals leading to the two parties running competing Senate tickets at the 1980 federal election, costing the Coalition a seat and thus its majority.
The Nationals continued to dominate over the Liberals, who suffered increasing division over tactics between the parliamentary leadership, the backbenchers and the extra-parliamentary party. Chalk had retired in 1976, succeeded by William Knox who lasted just over two years before being replaced by Llewellyn Edwards. However, despite demands for a stronger Liberal approach, the leadership felt unable to deliver it.At the 1980 state election the Nationals gained further seats at the expense of the Liberals, with tensions building further. A growing group of Liberal critics dubbed the "Ginger Group" increasingly challenged both their own leadership and the Nationals. In 1982 Angus Innes challenged Edwards for the leadership, despite Bjelke-Petersen declaring he would prefer a minority government to a coalition with an Innes-led Liberal Party, and only narrowly lost by 12:10. Matters boiled over the following year when Terry White, the Liberal Minister for Welfare Services, voted against the government line in a debate on creating a public accounts committee to monitor public spending. This was in line with Liberal policy but against the government position, although White disputed the latter point. White was sacked from the government and successfully challenged Edwards for the leadership, with Innes elected as deputy. Bjelke-Petersen refused to appoint White as Deputy Premier and the Coalition was dissolved. The Nationals governed as a minority for a few months until the 1983 state election at which they won 41 out of the 82 seats available, including several in Brisbane, while the Liberals were reduced to a mere eight. This left the Nationals one seat short of an outright majority. Soon two Liberals, Brian Austin and Don Lane, switched to the Nationals, allowing Bjelke-Petersen to govern in his own right.
Following further modification to the "Bjelkemander", the party went on to win an outright majority at the 1986 state election; it was to be the party's best ever election result and the only time in the whole of Australia that the Nationals have won majority government in their own right. Federally another Labor government had been elected in 1983 and Bjelke-Petersen turned his fire not only on Prime Minister Bob Hawke and the programme of the Hawke Government but also on the federal opposition led by John Howard and Ian Sinclair. A "Joh for PM", later "Joh for Canberra", campaign began in 1987, but it ultimately fizzled out with Bjelke-Petersen not standing in the 1987 federal election. Nevertheless, the campaign succeeded in temporarily breaking up the federal Coalition. Due to the ensuing number of three-cornered contests, Labor won a third term, while the Nationals lost seats in Queensland.Amidst all this, accusations of corruption in the Queensland Police led to an inquiry being commissioned in Bjelke-Petersen's absence. The Fitzgerald Inquiry led to significant political damage within the party, undermining Bjelke-Petersen's authority, The party began to turn on him, with ministers going as far to openly oppose him at cabinet meetings. Eventually in November 1987 the Nationals deposed Bjelke-Petersen in a party-room coup, replacing him with Mike Ahern.
Ahern served as Premier for nearly two years, during which time the party continued to be riven by infighting between supporters and opponents of Bjelke-Petersen and by continued revelations from the Fitzgerald Inquiry. He tried to implement a more consultative approach to governing, but this was not enough to stop the party's standing in the polls from tailing off. The Nationals entered 1989 facing a statutory general election later that year, and with polls suggesting that they would be roundly defeated.
In hopes of buying more time, Russell Cooper, a National Party traditionalist, successfully challenged Ahern for the leadership. However, Cooper was unable to stem the growing anger at the revelations about the massive corruption in the Bjelke-Petersen government. Cooper waited as long as he could, finally calling an election for 2 December. At that election, the Nationals were thrown from office on a massive 24-seat swing, ending 32 years in power.
The new Labor government of Wayne Goss dismantled the "Bjelkemander" and as a result Brisbane now elected nearly half of the legislature. Furthermore, the voting system was changed from full preferencing to optional preferencing, making it harder for the Nationals and Liberals to contest the same seats without risking loss to Labor. As a result, the Nationals faced a much tougher route back into government and the next two decades would see renewed strong debate over relations with the Liberals, with the latter party initially instead seeking to achieve senior status and steadily replacing the Nationals as the main conservative party on the Sunshine Coast and then the Gold Coast.Cooper stood down as leader in 1991 to be succeeded by Rob Borbidge, but despite the major changes to the electoral distribution the outcome of the 1992 election was much the same as 1989. By late 1992, the two parties had reformed the Coalition and presented a united front in the 1995 state election. The initial results saw Labor retain power with a one-seat majority, but this was overturned when the result in one seat was declared void and the Liberals won the subsequent by-election. With the support of an independent, Borbidge became premier, holding it until 1998.
During Borbidge's premiership the party faced a strong challenge from the rise of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party that challenged on issues such as multiculturalism, gun ownership and native title which were well received in the Nationals' heartland of rural and regional Queensland. The Nationals faced a sharp backlash against the introduction of gun control laws after the Port Arthur massacre.At the 1998 election the Coalition lost much support to One Nation. The election also saw the Nationals poll fewer votes than the Liberals for the first time in over a quarter of a century despite winning more seats, an outcome that would recur for the next decade. Borbidge held out hope of staying in office after leakage of Coalition preferences delivered seven seats to One Nation that would have otherwise gone to Labor, leaving Labor one seat short of a majority. However, this depended on the support of both independents in the chamber, and one of them threw his support to Labor, ending what proved to be the last National-led government in Queensland.
Borbidge continued to lead the Nationals, but was unable to get the better of Beattie even after One Nation imploded and an inquiry ended the careers of several Labor MPs. The Coalition went into the 2001 state election in a state of near-paralysis. At that election, the Coalition suffered a small two-percent swing against it. However, its support in Brisbane all but melted, and it fell to only one seat in the capital. Borbidge retired from politics soon afterward.
The next seven years saw a string of leaders - Mike Horan, Lawrence Springborg (twice) and Jeff Seeney - come and go with little further advancement in the 2004 state election. In 2005 Lawrence Springborg and Liberal leader Bob Quinn publicly explored merging their parties to present a fully united alternative to Labor, but by 2006 the plan was declared dead and buried.The parties again lost the 2006 state election. Following federal defeat in the 2007 election and Springborg's return to the leadership the proposal was revived, and in July 2008 the parties agreed to merge as the Liberal National Party, with Springborg as the merged party's first leader. Although the new party was dominated by former Nationals, an agreement with its federal counterparts gave it full voting rights with the Liberals and observer status with the Nationals.
The merged party has so far lasted a decade, but from time to time calls are made for the parties to demerge from both Liberalsand Nationals.
|Leader||Date started||Date finished|
|John Appel||13 July 1915||1918|
|(Merged into the National Party)||1918||18 July 1920|
|William Vowles||18 July 1920||27 September 1923|
|Arthur Edward Moore||27 September 1923||12 May 1925|
|(Merged into the Country and Progressive National Party)||12 May 1925||5 March 1936|
|Arthur Edward Moore||5 March 1936||15 July 1936|
|Ted Maher||15 July 1936||27 April 1941|
|(Merged into the Country-National Organisation)||27 April 1941||1944|
|Frank Nicklin||1944||17 January 1968|
|Jack Pizzey||17 January 1968||31 July 1968|
|Joh Bjelke-Petersen||8 August 1968||26 November 1987|
|Mike Ahern||26 November 1987||25 September 1989|
|Russell Cooper||25 September 1989||9 December 1991|
|Rob Borbidge||10 December 1991||2 March 2001|
|Mike Horan||2 March 2001||4 February 2003|
|Lawrence Springborg||4 February 2003||18 September 2006|
|Jeff Seeney||14 September 2006||29 January 2008|
|Lawrence Springborg||21 January 2008||26 July 2008|
|(Merged into the Liberal National Party of Queensland)||26 July 2008||present|
5 / 72
|1918||Did not contest as separate entity||-||-||-||-||-||-|
18 / 72
13 / 72
|1926 - 1935||Did not contest as separate entity||-||-||-||-||-||-|
13 / 62
14 / 62
12 / 62
14 / 62
20 / 75
15 / 75
16 / 75
24 / 75
26 / 78
26 / 78
27 / 78
26 / 78
26 / 82
39 / 82
35 / 82
35 / 82
41 / 82
49 / 89
27 / 89
26 / 89
29 / 89
23 / 89
12 / 89
15 / 89
17 / 89
Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen was an Australian conservative politician. He was the longest-serving and longest-lived Premier of Queensland, holding office from 1968 to 1987, during which time the state underwent considerable economic development. He has become one of the most well-known and controversial figures of 20th-century Australian politics because of his uncompromising conservatism, political longevity, and the institutional corruption that became synonymous with his later leadership.
The Joh for Canberra campaign, initially known as the Joh for PM campaign, was an attempt by Queensland National Party premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen to become Prime Minister of Australia. The campaign was announced in January 1987 and drew substantial support from Queensland businessmen and some conservative politicians. The campaign caused a split in the federal Coalition. It did not attract widespread support and collapsed in June 1987. The Australian Labor Party, led by Bob Hawke, went on to win by an increased majority in the 1987 federal election, gaining its highest-ever number of seats. Bjelke-Petersen came under increasing scrutiny as the Fitzgerald Inquiry gained traction, and was forced out of politics altogether in December 1987.
Robert Edward Borbidge is a former Australian politician who served as the 35th Premier of Queensland from 1996 to 1998. He was the leader of the Queensland branch of the National Party, and was the last member of that party to serve as premier. His term as premier was contemporaneous with the rise of the One Nation Party of Pauline Hanson, which would see him lose office within two years.
The Bjelkemander was the term given to a system of malapportionment in the Australian state of Queensland in the 1970s and 1980s. Under the system, electorates were allocated to zones such as rural or metropolitan and electoral boundaries drawn so that rural electorates had about half as many voters each as metropolitan ones. The Country Party, a rural-based party led by Joh Bjelke-Petersen, was able to govern uninhibited during this period due to the 'Bjelkemander' and the absence of an upper house of Parliament.
Theo Russell Cooper is a former Australian National Party politician. He was Premier of Queensland for a period of 73 days, from 25 September 1989 to 7 December 1989. His loss at the state election of 1989 ended 32 years of continuous National Party rule over Queensland. He has 4 children, 12 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.
The Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP) is a major political party in Queensland, Australia. It was formed in 2008 by a merger of the Queensland divisions of the Liberal Party and the National Party. At a federal level and in most other states, the two parties remain distinct and operate as a Coalition. The LNP is a division of the Liberal Party of Australia, and an affiliate of the National Party of Australia.
The 1989 Queensland state election was held in the Australian state of Queensland on 2 December 1989 to elect the 89 members of the state's Legislative Assembly. This was the first election following the downfall of seven-term premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen at the end of 1987.
The 1987 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 11 July 1987, following the granting of a double dissolution on 5 June by the Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen. Consequently, all 148 seats in the House of Representatives as well as all 76 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Australian Labor Party, led by Prime Minister Bob Hawke, defeated the opposition Liberal Party of Australia, led by John Howard and the National Party of Australia led by Ian Sinclair. This was the first, and to date only, time the Labor party won a third consecutive election.
The Country and Progressive National Party was a short-lived conservative political party in the Australian state of Queensland. Formed in 1925, it combined the state's conservative forces in a single party and held office between 1929 and 1932 under the leadership of Arthur Edward Moore. Following repeated election defeat it split into separate rural and urban wings in 1936.
Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland on 1 November 1986 to elect the 89 members of the state's Legislative Assembly. It followed a redistribution which increased the number of seats in the Assembly from 82 to 89.
Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland on 22 October 1983 to elect the 82 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.
Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland on 29 November 1980 to elect the 82 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.
Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland on 12 November 1977 to elect the 82 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.
The Queensland Labor Party (QLP) was a political party of Queensland, Australia formed in 1957 by a breakaway group of the then ruling Labor Party Government after the expulsion of Premier Vince Gair. In 1962 the party became the Queensland section of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP). The party continued to hold seats in the Queensland state parliament until 1972, then suffered a collapse in its vote and wound itself up in 1978.
The ginger group, in Queensland politics was a group of Liberal Party MLAs during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, who despite nominally being a part of the government, were opposed to some of the policies of their senior coalition partner, the National Party. Initially a small informal grouping within the Liberal Party, the group came to wield greater and greater power within the Liberal partyroom, culminating in Terry White's successful leadership challenge in 1983, and the party's subsequent defeat and loss of influence at the 1983 election.
Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland on 17 May 1969 to elect the 78 members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland.
The Country-National Organisation was a short-lived conservative political party in the Australian state of Queensland during the Second World War.
The Liberal Party of Australia , branded as Liberal Queensland, was the Queensland division of the Liberal Party of Australia until 2008.
The United Australia Party was the short-lived Queensland branch of the national United Australia Party in the 1930s and 1940s. Based around Brisbane, it spent the entire of its history in opposition, merging in 1941 into the Country-National Organisation. When that party separated in 1944, the remnants of the UAP joined the Queensland People's Party which in 1949 became the Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party was a political party in the Australian state of Queensland in the early 20th century. It combined the main non-Labor forces, the "Kidstonites" of William Kidston and the Conservatives of Robert Philp, similar to the federal Commonwealth Liberal Party whose fusion it preceded. The Liberals held government from their formation in 1908 until defeat in 1915 after which they combined with other elements in the state to form the National Party.