Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division)
|State Director||Chris Stone|
|Founded||4 January 1945|
|National affiliation||Liberal Party of Australia|
35 / 93
11 / 42
|House of Representatives|
16 / 46(NSW seats)
5 / 12(NSW seats)
|NSW Local Councillors|
184 / 1,480
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.
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.
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. The County Party refused to join in the merger but expressed they would co-operate with the new party. 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. 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. As such, LDP remained a separate party to the Democratic Party.
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". 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. Spooner, who was nominated by the LDP, was appointed as the first chairman on 9 January.
The LDP was willing to support the formation of the Liberal Party and dissolved itself on 15 January 1945, officially joining the Liberal Party. The Democratic Party also supported the formation but held off dissolution until a state branch of the Liberal Party had been fully constituted. 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. However, he withdrew his resignation in March 1945, and announced that all Democratic Party parliamentary members would join the Liberal Party.
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. 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. 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.
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 time that a female leader (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|
|Inaugural holder||Reginald Weaver|
|Formation||20 April 1945|
|Deputy||The 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||Assumed office||Left office||Premier||Reason for departure||Time in office|
|1||Reginald Weaver||20 April 1945||12 November 1945||Death in office||206 days|
|2||Alexander Mair||13 November 1945||20 March 1946||1939–1941||Resignation; Premier under UAP||127 days|
|3||Sir Vernon Treatt||20 March 1946||10 August 1954||Resignation||8 years, 143 days|
|4||Murray Robson||17 August 1954||20 September 1955||Deposed||1 year, 34 days|
|5||Pat Morton||20 September 1955||17 July 1959||Deposed||3 years, 300 days|
|6||Sir Robert Askin||17 July 1959||3 January 1975||1965–1975||Retirement||15 years, 170 days|
|7||Tom Lewis||3 January 1975||23 January 1976||1975–1976||Deposed||1 year, 20 days|
|8||Sir Eric Willis||23 January 1976||16 December 1977||1976||Resignation||1 year, 327 days|
|9||Peter Coleman||16 December 1977||7 October 1978||Loss of seat at 1978 election||295 days|
|10||John Mason||24 October 1978||29 May 1981||Deposed||2 years, 217 days|
|11||Bruce McDonald||1 June 1981||12 October 1981||Loss of seat at 1981 election||133 days|
|12||John Dowd||20 October 1981||15 March 1983||Resignation||1 year, 146 days|
|13||Nick Greiner||15 March 1983||24 June 1992||1988–1992||Resignation prior to no confidence motion||9 years, 101 days|
|14||John Fahey||24 June 1992||4 April 1995||1992–1995||Resignation following 1995 election||2 years, 284 days|
|15||Peter Collins||4 April 1995||7 December 1998||Deposed||3 years, 247 days|
|16||Kerry Chikarovski||7 December 1998||28 March 2002||Deposed||3 years, 111 days|
|17||John Brogden||28 March 2002||29 August 2005||Resignation||3 years, 154 days|
|18||Peter Debnam||1 September 2005||4 April 2007||Resignation following 2007 election||1 year, 218 days|
|19||Barry O'Farrell||4 April 2007||16 April 2014||2011–2014||Resignation||7 years, 9 days|
|20||Mike Baird||17 April 2014||23 January 2017||2014–2017||Resignation||2 years, 282 days|
|21||Gladys Berejiklian||23 January 2017||present||2017–present||3 years, 121 days|
|Party Leader||Start of Term||End of Term|
|Election||Seats won||±||Total votes||%||Position||Leader|
18 / 90
29 / 94
22 / 94
27 / 94
28 / 94
25 / 94
31 / 94
|6||807,868||39.59%||Minority Coalition||Bob Askin|
39 / 94
32 / 96
34 / 99
30 / 99
18 / 99
14 / 99
22 / 99
39 / 109
32 / 99
|7||1,053,100||34.16%||Minority Coalition||Nick Greiner|
29 / 99
20 / 93
20 / 93
22 / 93
51 / 93
37 / 93
35 / 93
- "U.A.P. Dissolved - New Body In N.S.W." The West Australian. 9 November 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
- "Agreement Reached by 3 Non-Labor Parties - C.P. Gives Support, Preserves Identity". The Daily Telegraph. 5 November 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
- "L.D. Delegates Walked Out". The Herald. 24 November 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
- "Labor Haters Won't Talk "Unity" With Menzies At Helm". Worker. 4 September 1944. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- ""Democratic Party" Formed". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 November 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
- "Democratic Party". The Mercury. 10 December 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
- "Mr Mair resigns". Sydney Morning Herald 10 February 1944 p4. Australian National Library. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
- "Election prospects: Discord in opposition". Sydney Morning Herald 24 May 1944 p2. Australian National Library. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
- "Parties will unite". Sydney Morning Herald 26 August 1944 p4. Australian National Library. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
- "Forming the Liberal Party of Australia - Record of the Conference of Representatives of Non-Labor Organisations" (PDF). 16 October 1944. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 November 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
- "Executives Elected By Liberals". The Daily Telegraph. 5 January 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "Mr. W. H. Spooner Elected Chairman Liberal Party". The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate. 9 January 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "Liberal Democratic Party dissolved". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. 16 January 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "Democratic Party". Barrier Miner. 16 January 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "Why Mr. Weaver Resigned". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 March 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "Mr. Weaver to Remain in Liberal Party". Sydney Morning Herald. 6 March 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "The first Liberal for 30 years". The Sun. 11 February 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "Liberal Party - Parliamentary Section Formed". National Advocate. 21 April 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "Change of Name for Parlt. Party". The Daily Telegraph. 21 April 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- "Leaders of the NSW Liberal Party". Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 2 December 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
- Liberal Party of Australia (New South Wales Division) (2009). "Leaders of the Liberal Party – Past and Present". Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
- Parliament of New South Wales. "Former Members Index A-Z". Retrieved 20 September 2019.