Liberal Party of Australia (Queensland Division)

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Liberal Party of Australia (Queensland Division)
Founded 1943 (1943) (as the Queensland People's Party)
Dissolved 2008 (2008)
Merged into Liberal National Party of Queensland
Ideology Liberalism
Liberal conservatism
Classical liberalism
Political position Centre to centre-right
National affiliation Liberal Party of Australia
Colors      Blue

The Liberal Party, originally the Queensland People's Party, was a political party in Queensland, Australia, from the Second World War until 2008. Initially formed as independent body in 1943, it became the Queensland division of the Liberal Party of Australia in 1949. Based predominantly in Brisbane and other cities in Queensland, from 1957 it held power as the junior party in a coalition with the state Country Party, later the National Party, until 1983 when the Liberals broke away and went into opposition. The party formed another coalition with the Nationals that took power in 1996 but was defeated in 1998. After a further decade in opposition the two parties merged to form the Liberal National Party of Queensland.

History

The centre-right in Queensland has a long history of splits and mergers, with much debate over whether to have a single party aiming to cover the whole state or to have distinctive voices for the metropolitan and rural areas. The Liberal Party was formed after a period that had seen three mergers and three splits in the preceding thirty years. Throughout its history it was beset by the question of relations with the Country/National Party until the two merged.

Origins

The state party began in 1943 when John Beals Chandler, the sitting Lord Mayor of Brisbane, was elected to the state parliament as an independent. At the time the conservative forces in the parliament were united as the Country-National Organisation but this was under much pressure to split back into separate rural and urban parties which would happen the following year. Chandler disagreed with the Labor Party's collectivism, instead advocating mass capitalism and class-free politics, and this led him to found the Queensland People's Party. The Country-National Organisation split up the following year, with the urban section once more becoming the state branch of the United Australia Party. However, by then the UAP was in terminal decline at all levels. The Queensland UAP was soon absorbed by Chandler's party.[1] At the 1944 state election the party won seven seats, all in Brisbane. The following year the national UAP was folded into the Liberal Party, which the QPP declined to join in fully but did agree to become the local apparatus for federal elections.[2] Chandler was succeeded as leader in 1946 by Bruce Pie, a fellow Brisbane based businessman, who led the party to an increase to nine seats in the 1947 state election, offering a bold reform policy that at times clashed with the Country Party's aims.[3] However both Chandler and Pie had business concerns, as well as the former's continued local government role, that meant they could not devote all their time to leading the party.[4] Thomas Hiley took over the leadership in 1948 and the following year the party became the Queensland division of the Liberal Party.[5]

Relations with the Country Party remained uneasy for much of the next decade through the leaderships of Hiley and then Kenneth Morris and it was not until 1956 that they were firmly settled.[6][7] Although the party polled between 20% and 30% of the vote over successive elections, it could not elect more than 11 members and was further hampered by the introduction of a malapportionment in 1949 that strengthened both the Labor and Country parties.[8] The party was also almost entirely limited to electoral success in Brisbane, apart from the seat of East Toowoomba/Lockyer where future leader Gordon Chalk had gained the seat in 1947 and followed the rural parts in a redistribution.[4]

Coalition government 1957-1983

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.[9] However, when the state parliament resumed sitting, the Liberal, Country and rump Labor parties combined to block supply, bringing down the Gair government and leading to the 1957 state election at which the Country and Liberal coalition won power after a quarter of a century.[10]

The Liberals were still the smaller of the two coalition parties in the state parliament despite polling more votes, a position that was reinforced when the new government modified the malapportionment to its advantage despite some Liberal opposition.[11] 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.[12] However, for much of the first decade in power relations between the two coalition parties held well, helped by a determination to maintain the relation by Premier and Country Party leader Frank Nicklin and a succession of Liberal leaders including Kenneth Morris, Alan Munro, a brief return by Thomas Hiley and Gordon Chalk. In 1959 a Liberal convention passed a resolution to offer to merge with the Country Party "on any reasonable terms", but the latter rejected both this and a further offer in 1963.[13] However tensions started growing on several fronts, which put pressure on the traditional allocation of seats between the two partners. 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.[14] The 1966 state election saw the Country and Liberal parties stand against each other in eight seats, but none changed between the coalition partners.[15]

Relations deteriorated during the premiership of Nicklin's longterm successor, Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The parties got off to a poor start when the previous premier, Jack Pizzey, died suddenly and Liberal leader Gordon Chalk was appointed as a temporary successor until the Country Party elected a new leader but at first tried to retain the office for himself until Bjelke-Petersen threatened to break up the coalition.[16] Bjelke-Petersen also moved to refine the malapportionment further, now dubbed the "Bjelkemander", which reinforced the Country Party's superior position.[17] However steady urbanisation in the state increased pressure on relations between the parties as traditional Country Party areas turned into Liberal targets. An early conflict came in the Albert by-election in 1970. The electoral district of Albert, based around the Gold Coast, 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, contributing to a challenge against Bjelke-Petersen though he narrowly survived a leadership challenge.[18] There was little electoral change in the 1969 and 1972 state elections, but in the next few years the Country Party became increasingly assertive, changing its name to the "National Party" (a name adopted by its federal counterpart in 1982), standing in more urban seats and increasingly taking on the federal Whitlam government as part of greater assertiveness. The 1974 state election saw the Labor Party routed with both National and Liberal parties picking up seats.[19] With Labor increasingly unviable as a party of government, conflict between the two coalition parties increased as they stood against each other in more and more seats. The Liberals were outpolled by the Nationals at the 1977 state election and subsequently diminished in influence in the cabinet.[19]

In government itself the two parties held together, with the Liberals suffering 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 backbench demands for a stronger Liberal approach, the leadership felt unable to deliver it.[20] At the 1980 state election the Nationals gained further seats at the expense of the Liberals, with tensions building further. The breakdown in relations spilled over in federal politics, leading to the two parties running competing Senate tickets at the 1980 federal election, costing the Coalition a seat and thus its majority.[21] A growing group of Liberal members of parliament 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 Innes, and only narrowly lost by 12:10.[18][22] 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.[23] 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, prompting White to tear up the Coalition agreement and lead the Liberals to the crossbench.[24] The Nationals governed as a minority for a few months until the 1983 state election at which the Liberals were reduced to a mere eight seats. The Nationals were one seat short of an outright majority and soon two Liberals, Brian Austin and Don Lane, switched to the Nationals, supplying them with a majority to govern in their own right.[25]

The long path to merger

Terry White was soon deposed as leader and replaced by the return of William Knox. However the Liberals were unable to recover much ground at the 1986 election which saw the Nationals consolidate their position and win an outright majority. Angus Innes became leader in 1988 as the National government was in decline, but proved unable to make any headway in the 1989 election which saw Labor take power for the first time in over thirty years.

The new Labor government of Wayne Goss dismantled the "Bjelkemander" and as a result Brisbane now elected nearly half the state parliament. Furthermore, the preferential voting system was changed to optional preferencing, making it harder for the Nationals and Liberals to contest the same seats without risking loss to Labor. These changes would have the effect of altering the relationship between the two parties as the Nationals could no longer seek government in their own right but the Liberals initially instead sought to achieve senior status and steadily replaced the Nationals as the main conservative party on first the Sunshine Coast and then the Gold Coast.[26] The Liberals elected their first female leader, Joan Sheldon, who was seen as less hostile to the National Party than Innes,[27] but the parties contested the 1992 election separately and made no real advance. Two months after the election, Sheldon and Nationals leader Rob Borbidge signed a new coalition agreement,[28][29] allowing them to present a united front in the 1995 election.[30] 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, the National-Liberal coalition took power, holding it until 1998.[31]

However the coalition faced a strong threat from the rise of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party that challenged on issues such as multiculturalism, gun ownership and native title. One Nation's appeal resonated well the Nationals' heartland of rural and regional Queensland. The Coalition also suffered a backlash against the introduction of gun control laws after the Port Arthur massacre.[32] At the 1998 election the Coalition lost much support to One Nation and fell from power.[33] The election also saw the Liberals poll more votes than the Nationals for the first time in over a quarter of a century despite the latter winning more seats and this outcome would recur for the next decade. However they remained behind in seats and conflicting approaches to One Nation voters and transfers meant the two parties were undermining each other's approach.[30] At the 2001 election, the Coalition only suffered a two-percent swing. However, the Liberals were all but wiped out in Brisbane, falling to only one seat there, that of leader David Watson. They only won two other seats in that election,[34] those of Shelton and Bob Quinn, who replaced Watson as leader after the election. This was easily the worst showing for the urban non-Labor party in Queensland since it adopted the Liberal banner.

The next seven years saw the Liberals in the awkward position of having been incredibly weakened by both the Nationals and Labor but also facing a potentially easier route to senior status over the Nationals, as the latter had been almost wiped out on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts with the Liberals starting to retake the seats. The party made only limited advances at the 2004 and 2006 elections. While it seemed increasingly likely the Liberals would be the larger party in any future coalition government, it also presented the awkward question of which party leader would be Premier, a question that Bruce Flegg, who replaced Watson as leader in 2006, struggled to answer. [21] A proposal was made in 2005 to merge the two parties but this provoked much opposition, including from the federal governing coalition.[35] Following the federal defeat in the 2007 election and the proposal was revived, and in July 2008 under leader Mark McArdle the party agreed to merge with the Nationals as the Liberal National Party, with McArdle as the merged party's deputy leader.[21] The merged party has full voting rights with the Liberal Party and observer status with the National Party, even though at the time more of its elected members were former 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 Liberals[36] and Nationals.[37]

John-Paul Langbroek, from the Liberal side of the merger, took over the leadership following the resignation of founding leader Lawrence Springborg. It was the first time in 84 years that the non-Labor side in Queensland had been led by someone aligned federally with the Liberals or their predecessors. Langbroek gave way in 2011 to another former Liberal, Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, who led the party to a record landslide victory in 2012, including all but three seats in Brisbane. The LNP was rolled out of office after only one term in 2015.

Brisbane city government

As well as state elections, the Liberals also regularly contested the elections for the City of Brisbane, the largest local authority in Australia.[38] The position of Lord Mayor of Brisbane was made a directly elected one in 1982, with the Liberals first winning the post in the 1985 election with Sallyanne Atkinson. The party also won a majority on the council and held both in the 1988 election.[39] Following Atkinson's defeat in the 1991 election, the Liberals did not win the mayoralty again until the 2004 election when Campbell Newman won the post but with a Labor majority on the council.[39] Newman was re-elected in 2008, this time with a Liberal majority on the council.[40]

Leaders

Leader Date started Date finished
John Beals Chandler 26 October 1943 7 March 1946
Bruce Pie 8 March 1946 2 February 1948
Thomas Hiley 3 February 1948 9 July 1949
(Becomes the Liberal Party) - -
Thomas Hiley 9 July 1949 12 August 1954
Kenneth Morris 17 August 1954 23 August 1962
Alan Munro 23 August 1962 28 January 1965
Thomas Hiley 28 January 1965 23 December 1965
Gordon Chalk 23 December 1965 13 August 1976
William Knox 13 August 1976 6 October 1978
Llewellyn Edwards 9 October 1978 9 August 1983
Terry White 9 August 1983 3 November 1983
William Knox 3 November 1983 31 January 1988
Angus Innes 31 January 1988 13 May 1990
Denver Beanland 13 May 1990 11 November 1991
Joan Sheldon 11 November 1991 23 June 1998
David Watson 23 June 1998 28 February 2001
Bob Quinn 28 February 2001 7 August 2006
Bruce Flegg 7 August 2006 4 December 2007
Mark McArdle 6 December 2007 26 July 2008
(Merged into the Liberal National Party of Queensland) 26 July 2008 present

Election results

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
1944 John Beals Chandler 124,437 24.72
7 / 62
Increase 3 Steady 3rd Opposition
1947 Bruce Pie 160,623 25.73
9 / 62
Increase 2 Steady 3rd Opposition
1950 Thomas Hiley 188,331 29.91
11 / 75
Increase 2 Steady 3rd Opposition
1953 Thomas Hiley 129,633 21.30
8 / 75
Decrease 3 Steady 3rd Opposition
1956 Kenneth Morris 164,116 25.07
8 / 75
Steady 0 Steady 3rd Opposition
1957 Kenneth Morris 162,372 23.23
18 / 75
Increase 10 Steady 3rd Coalition
1960 Kenneth Morris 178,567 24.03
20 / 78
Increase 2 Steady 3rd Coalition
1963 Alan Munro 183,185 23.76
20 / 78
Steady 0 Steady 3rd Coalition
1966 Gordon Chalk 203,648 25.49
27 / 78
Steady 0 Steady 3rd Coalition
1969 Gordon Chalk 201,765 23.68
19 / 78
Decrease 1 Steady 3rd Coalition
1972 Gordon Chalk 201,596 22.23
21 / 82
Increase 2 Steady 3rd Coalition
1974 Gordon Chalk 324,682 31.09
30 / 82
Increase 9 Increase 2nd Coalition
1977 William Knox 274,398 25.22
24 / 82
Decrease 6 Steady 2nd Coalition
1980 Llewellyn Edwards 316,272 26.92
22 / 82
Decrease 2 Decrease 3rd Coalition
1983 Terry White 196,072 14.88
8 / 82
Decrease 14 Steady 3rd Crossbench
1986 William Knox 230,310 16.50
10 / 89
Increase 2 Steady 3rd Crossbench
1989 Angus Innes 331,562 21.05
8 / 89
Decrease 2 Steady 3rd Crossbench
1992 Joan Sheldon 356,640 20.44
9 / 89
Increase 1 Steady 3rd Crossbench
1995 Joan Sheldon 410,083 22.74
14 / 89
Increase 5 Steady 3rd Opposition
1998 Joan Sheldon 311,514 16.09
9 / 89
Decrease 5 Steady 3rd Opposition
2001 David Watson 294,968 14.32
3 / 89
Decrease 6 Steady 3rd Opposition
2004 Bob Quinn 398,147 18.50
5 / 89
Increase 2 Steady 3rd Opposition
2006 Bruce Flegg 442,453 20.10
8 / 89
Increase 3 Steady 3rd Opposition

See also

References

  1. ^ John Laverty, 'Chandler, Sir John Beals (1887–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/chandler-sir-john-beals-9724/text17171, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 22 June 2018.
  2. ^ Hughes, Colin A. (1980). The Government of Queensland. University of Queensland Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0702215155.
  3. ^ Paul D. Williams, 'Pie, Arthur Bruce (1902–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/pie-arthur-bruce-11392/text20355, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 22 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b Hughes, Colin A. (1980). The Government of Queensland. University of Queensland Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0702215155.
  5. ^ Manfred Cross, 'Hiley, Sir Thomas Alfred (Tom) (1905–1990)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/hiley-sir-thomas-alfred-tom-12634/text22763, published first in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 22 June 2018.
  6. ^ Fitzgerald, Ross (1984). From 1915 to the Early 1980s: A History of Queensland. University of Queensland Press. p. 100. ISBN 9780702217340.
  7. ^ Stevenson, Brian "Frank Nicklin and the Coalition Government, 1957-1968", in Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland volume 13 issue 11: page 404
  8. ^ Fitzgerald, Ross (1984). From 1915 to the Early 1980s: A History of Queensland. University of Queensland Press. p. 138. ISBN 9780702217340.
  9. ^ B. J. Costar, 'Gair, Vincent Clare (Vince) (1901–1980)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/gair-vincent-clare-vince-10267/text18159, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 20 June 2018.
  10. ^ Murphy, Denis Joseph (1980). "The 1957 Split: "A Drop in the Ocean in Political History"". In Murphy, Denis Joseph; Joyce, Roger Bilbrough; Hughes, Colin A. Labor in Power: The Labor Party & Governments in Queensland 1915-1957. University of Queensland Press. pp. 514–515. ISBN 978-0702214288.
  11. ^ Stevenson, Brian "Frank Nicklin and the Coalition Government, 1957-1968", in Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland volume 13 issue 11: page 405
  12. ^ Stevenson, Brian "Frank Nicklin and the Coalition Government, 1957-1968", in Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland volume 13 issue 11: page 408
  13. ^ Hughes, Colin A. (1980). The Government of Queensland. University of Queensland Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0702215155.
  14. ^ Stevenson, Brian "Frank Nicklin and the Coalition Government, 1957-1968", in Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland volume 13 issue 11: pages 407-408
  15. ^ Stevenson, Brian "Frank Nicklin and the Coalition Government, 1957-1968", in Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland volume 13 issue 11: pages 409-411
  16. ^ Rae Wear, 'Chalk, Gordon William (Chalkie) (1913–1991)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/chalk-gordon-william-chalkie-15168/text26356, published online 2014, accessed online 20 June 2018.
  17. ^ Coaldrake, Peter (1989). Working the System: Government in Queensland. University of Queensland Press. pp. 28–54. ISBN 978-0702222306.
  18. ^ a b Whitton, Evan (1989). The Hillbilly Dictator: Australia's Police State. ABC Enterprises. pp. 19–20. ISBN 978-0733302886.
  19. ^ a b Lunn, Hugh (1987). Joh: The Life and Political Adventures of Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen. University of Queensland Press. pp. 199–214. ISBN 978-0702220876.
  20. ^ Hughes, Colin A. (1980). The Government of Queensland. University of Queensland Press. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-0702215155.
  21. ^ a b c Antony Green (2008-07-30). "The Liberal-National Party - a new model party?". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  22. ^ Wear, Rae (2002). Johannes Bjelke-Petersen: the Lord's premier. University of Queensland Press. pp. 164–165. ISBN 978-0702233043.
  23. ^ Coaldrake, Peter (1989). Working the System: Government in Queensland. University of Queensland Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-0702222306.
  24. ^ Wear, Rae (2002). Johannes Bjelke-Petersen: the Lord's premier. University of Queensland Press. pp. 165–169. ISBN 978-0702233043.
  25. ^ Koch, Tony (2010). A Prescription for Change: The Terry White Story. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 978-070223742-3.
  26. ^ Antony Green (2012-03-24). "Election Preview - Queensland Votes 2012". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  27. ^ Roberts, Greg (12 November 1991). "Beanland dismissal fails to health Bitter QLD Lib split". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 7.
  28. ^ Roberts, Greg (21 September 1992). "Call for merger of opposition". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 4.
  29. ^ Roberts, Greg (23 November 1992). "Opposition links up to counter Qld Govt". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 5.
  30. ^ a b Antony Green. "Queensland 2006/07 State Election". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  31. ^ "Borbidge remembers his time as premier, even if the LNP doesn't". Brisbanetimes.com.au. 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  32. ^ "It took one massacre: how Australia embraced gun control after Port Arthur". The Guardian. 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  33. ^ "Former premier's US talk show appearance goes viral". Smh.com.au. 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  34. ^ "2001 Queensland Election". AustralianPolitics.com. 2001-02-17. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  35. ^ "Queensland coalition merger plan dead". Abc.net.au. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  36. ^ Michelle Grattan (2016-11-21). "Brandis says Queensland Liberal National Party merger could be revisited". Theconversation.com. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  37. ^ "Queensland election: LNP merger 'was a mistake'". The Australian. 2017-11-26. Retrieved 2018-06-20.
  38. ^ Antony Green. "Election Preview - 2012 Brisbane City Council Election". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  39. ^ a b Antony Green. "Election Preview - 2008 Brisbane City Council Election". ABC. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  40. ^ Antony Green. "2008 Brisbane City Council Election". ABC. Retrieved 2018-06-22.

Bibliography

  • Coaldrake, Peter (1989). Working the System: Government in Queensland. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 978-0702222306.
  • Fitzgerald, Ross (1984). From 1915 to the Early 1980s: A History of Queensland. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 9780702217340.
  • Hughes, Colin A. (1980). The Government of Queensland. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 978-0702215155.
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