Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division)
LeaderGladys Berejiklian
PresidentPhilip Ruddock
State DirectorChris Stone
Founded4 January 1945
HeadquartersEast Sydney
National affiliationLiberal Party of Australia
Legislative Assembly
35 / 93
Legislative Council
11 / 42
House of Representatives
16 / 46
(NSW seats)
Senate
5 / 12
(NSW seats)
NSW Local Councillors
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.

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.[1] The County Party refused to join in the merger but expressed they would co-operate with the new party.[2] 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.[3][4] 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.[5] As such, LDP remained a separate party to the Democratic Party.

The initial leader of the Democratic Party was the former premier Alexander Mair,[6] but he resigned on 2 February 1944 and was replaced by Reginald Weaver on 10 February.[7][4]

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".[8] 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.[4] 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.[9] 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.[4]

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.[10] 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.[11] Spooner, who was nominated by the LDP, was appointed as the first chairman on 9 January.[12]

The LDP was willing to support the formation of the Liberal Party and dissolved itself on 15 January 1945, officially joining the Liberal Party.[13] The Democratic Party also supported the formation but held off dissolution until a state branch of the Liberal Party had been fully constituted.[14] 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.[15] However, he withdrew his resignation in March 1945, and announced that all Democratic Party parliamentary members would join the Liberal Party.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19]

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
Incumbent
The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP

since 23 January 2017
Inaugural holderReginald 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[20][21] Assumed office[22] Left office[22] 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

Deputy leaders

Party Leader Start of Term End of Term
Athol Richardson 1945 1945
Vernon Treatt 1946 1946
Walter Howarth 1946 1954
Robert Askin 1954 1959
Eric Willis 1959 1975
John Maddison 1975 1977
John Mason 1977 1978
Bruce McDonald 1978 1981
Jim Cameron 1981 1981
Kevin Rozzoli 1981 1983
Rosemary Foot 1983 1986
Peter Collins 1986 1992
Bruce Baird 1992 1994
Kerry Chikarovski 1994 1995
Ron Phillips 1995 1999
Barry O'Farrell 1999 2002
Chris Hartcher 2002 2003
Barry O'Farrell 2003 2007
Jillian Skinner 2007 2014
Gladys Berejiklian 2014 2017
Dominic Perrottet 2017 present

Election results

Election Seats won ± Total votes % Position Leader
1947
18 / 90
Increase6 470,485 29.60% Opposition Vernon Treatt
1950
29 / 94
Increase11 604,428 37.51% Opposition Vernon Treatt
1953
22 / 94
Decrease9 432,739 27.94% Opposition Vernon Treatt
1956
27 / 94
Increase5 594,740 35.11% Opposition Pat Morton
1959
28 / 94
Increase1 603,718 35.35% Opposition Pat Morton
1962
25 / 94
Decrease3 671,716 34.85% Opposition Bob Askin
1965
31 / 94
Increase6 807,868 39.59% Minority Coalition Bob Askin
1968
39 / 94
Increase4 831,514 38.47% Coalition Bob Askin
1971
32 / 96
Decrease7 799,801 35.74% Coalition Bob Askin
1973
34 / 99
Increase2 843,325 33.85% Coalition Bob Askin
1976
30 / 99
Decrease4 978,886 36.29% Opposition Eric Willis
1978
18 / 99
Decrease12 754,796 26.98 Opposition Peter Coleman
1981
14 / 99
Decrease4 775,463 27.62% Opposition Bruce McDonald
1984
22 / 99
Increase8 967,395 32.17% Opposition Nick Greiner
1988
39 / 109
Increase17 1,147,613 35.80% Coalition Nick Greiner
1991
32 / 99
Decrease7 1,053,100 34.16% Minority Coalition Nick Greiner
1995
29 / 99
Decrease3 1,121,190 32.84% Opposition John Fahey
1999
20 / 93
Decrease9 927,368 24.82% Opposition Kerry Chikarovski
2003
20 / 93
Steady0 944,888 24.72% Opposition John Brogden
2007
22 / 93
Increase2 1,061,269 26.94% Opposition Peter Debnam
2011
51 / 93
Increase29 1,602,457 38.58% Coalition Barry O'Farrell
2015
37 / 93
Decrease14 1,545,168 35.08% Coalition Mike Baird
2019
35 / 93
Decrease2 1,307,982 32.15% Coalition Gladys Berejiklian

See also

References

  1. ^ "U.A.P. Dissolved - New Body In N.S.W." The West Australian. 9 November 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Agreement Reached by 3 Non-Labor Parties - C.P. Gives Support, Preserves Identity". The Daily Telegraph. 5 November 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  3. ^ "L.D. Delegates Walked Out". The Herald. 24 November 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "Labor Haters Won't Talk "Unity" With Menzies At Helm". Worker. 4 September 1944. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  5. ^ ""Democratic Party" Formed". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 November 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Democratic Party". The Mercury. 10 December 1943. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Mr Mair resigns". Sydney Morning Herald 10 February 1944 p4. Australian National Library. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
  8. ^ "Election prospects: Discord in opposition". Sydney Morning Herald 24 May 1944 p2. Australian National Library. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
  9. ^ "Parties will unite". Sydney Morning Herald 26 August 1944 p4. Australian National Library. Retrieved 11 January 2009.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Executives Elected By Liberals". The Daily Telegraph. 5 January 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Mr. W. H. Spooner Elected Chairman Liberal Party". The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate. 9 January 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Liberal Democratic Party dissolved". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. 16 January 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Democratic Party". Barrier Miner. 16 January 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Why Mr. Weaver Resigned". Sydney Morning Herald. 7 March 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Mr. Weaver to Remain in Liberal Party". Sydney Morning Herald. 6 March 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  17. ^ "The first Liberal for 30 years". The Sun. 11 February 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  18. ^ "Liberal Party - Parliamentary Section Formed". National Advocate. 21 April 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Change of Name for Parlt. Party". The Daily Telegraph. 21 April 1945. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  20. ^ "Leaders of the NSW Liberal Party". Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 2 December 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ a b Parliament of New South Wales. "Former Members Index A-Z". Retrieved 20 September 2019.