National Party of Australia – Victoria

The National Party of Australia – Victoria[1] is a political party in Victoria, which forms the state branch of the federal Nationals. Traditionally representing graziers, farmers and rural voters generally. The Victorian Farmer's Union formed in 1914 was the precursor to the Victorian Country Party, later the Nationals.

National Party of Australia – Victoria
LeaderPeter Walsh
Deputy LeaderSteph Ryan
Youth wingYoung Nationals
IdeologyConservatism
Agrarianism
Political positionCentre-right
ColoursGreen and Yellow
Legislative Assembly
6 / 88
Legislative Council
1 / 40
House of
Representatives
3 / 37
(Victorian seats)
Senate
1 / 12
(Victorian seats)
Website
vic.nationals.org.au

The party, commonly referred to as "The Nationals," is presently the junior partner in a centre-right Coalition with the Liberal Party, forming a joint Opposition bench. During periods of conservative government, the leader also serves as Deputy Premier of Victoria.

Name

The candidates sponsored by the Victorian Farmers' Union initially used the same name but in parliament also called themselves the Country Party.[2] In 1927 the VFU was reorganised and renamed as the Victorian Country Party.[3] A separate party, the Country Progressive Party, had been formed in April 1926 but merged with the Victorian Country Party in September 1930, with the combined party now named the United Country Party.[4] "United" was dropped from the name in March 1947.[5] On 24 July 1975 the party changed its name to the National Party, following the Queensland branch who had made the change the previous year.[6] From 1999 to 2003, it was popularly known as the VicNats. In 2003, in tandem with the national party, it adopted the short name The Nationals.

Relationship with Liberals

The party has had a strained relationship with the Liberals for most of the time since the end of World War II. Following the sacking of Country Party leader John McDonald as Deputy Premier by the Liberals in 1948, in March 1949, the Liberals dissolved and formed the Liberal and Country Party, attempting to merge the Liberals and the Victorian branch of the Country Party together.[7] However, this was seen by McDonald as a takeover attempt of the Country Party.[8][9] Six Country MPs defected and joined the new party, which in 1965 became simply known as the Liberals.

While its federal counterpart has been in Coalition with the Liberals and their predecessors for all but a few years since 1923, the Victorian Country (and later Nationals) branch fought elections separately from the Liberals from 1952 to 1989. Even the presence of Victorian John McEwen as federal Country Party leader and the number-two man in the government from 1958 to 1971 didn't heal the breach.

Pat McNamara became leader of the Victorian Nationals in 1988, and two years later reached a new Coalition agreement with the Liberals. The Liberals and Nationals fought the 1992, 1996 and 1999 elections as a Coalition under Jeff Kennett. The Liberals actually won majorities in their own right in 1992 and 1996. Although Kennett thus had no need for the support of the Nationals, he retained the Coalition, with McNamara as Deputy Premier.

However, after the Kennett government's shock defeat in 1999, McNamara's successor as Nationals leader, Peter Ryan, tore up the Coalition agreement. The Nationals stayed on the crossbench until 2008, when they formed a Coalition with the Liberals under Ted Baillieu. The renewed Coalition narrowly won the 2010 state election, but was ousted after one term in 2014. The Coalition arrangement was maintained while the two parties were in opposition.

Leaders of the Victorian National Party

This is a list of the Leaders of the National Party of Australia in Victoria.

Party LeaderStart of TermEnd of TermPremierDeputy Premier
John Allan191719331924 -1927
Murray Bourchier19331935
Sir Albert Dunstan193519451935 -1943,1943 -19451932
Sir John McDonald194519551950 - 1952, 19521947 - 1948
Sir Herbert Hyland19551964
George Moss19641970
Peter Ross-Edwards19701988
Pat McNamara198819991992 - 1999
Peter Ryan199920142010 - 2014
Peter Walsh3 December 2014 (2014-12-03)incumbent

Election results

Note that until the 1960s some seats were uncontested, which can distort the vote shares.

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
1917 none 21,183 6.13
4 / 65
4 3rd Crossbench
1920 John Allan 64,500 14.41
13 / 65
9 3rd Crossbench
1921 John Allan 45,348 14.01
12 / 65
1 3rd Crossbench
1924 John Allan 43,961 11.97
13 / 65
1 3rd Crossbench
1927 John Allan 62,218 8.13
10 / 65
3 3rd Crossbench
1929 John Allan 55,876 8.83
11 / 65
1 3rd Crossbench
1932 John Allan 83,519 12.33
14 / 65
1 3rd Coalition
1935 Murray Bourchier 115,064 13.71
20 / 65
6 2nd Coalition
1937 Albert Dunstan 89,286 11.35
20 / 65
0 2nd Minority government
1940 Albert Dunstan 109,626 14.06
22 / 65
2 1st Minority government
1943 Albert Dunstan 123,902[1] 14.39
25 / 65
5 1st Minority government
1945 Albert Dunstan 163,940 18.67
18 / 65
7 2nd Opposition
1947 John McDonald 177,698 14.92
20 / 65
2 2nd Coalition
1950 John McDonald 128,537 10.64
13 / 65
7 3rd Coalition
1952 John McDonald 85,843 8.34
12 / 65
1 2nd Opposition
1955 Herbert Hyland 122,999 9.53
10 / 66
2 3rd Crossbench
1958 Herbert Hyland 127,228 9.30
9 / 66
1 3rd Crossbench
1961 Herbert Hyland 102,184 7.14
9 / 66
0 3rd Crossbench
1964 Herbert Hyland 132,067 8.76
10 / 66
1 3rd Crossbench
1967 George Moss 136,126 8.65
12 / 73
2 3rd Crossbench
1970 George Moss 107,011 6.40
8 / 73
4 3rd Crossbench
1973 Peter Ross-Edwards 113,029 5.96
8 / 73
0 3rd Crossbench
1976 Peter Ross-Edwards 144,818 7.10
7 / 81
1 3rd Crossbench
1979 Peter Ross-Edwards 119,385 5.61
8 / 81
1 3rd Crossbench
1982 Peter Ross-Edwards 111,579 4.97
8 / 81
0 3rd Crossbench
1985 Peter Ross-Edwards 174,727 7.29
10 / 88
2 3rd Crossbench
1988 Pat McNamara 188,776 7.76
9 / 88
1 3rd Crossbench
1992 Pat McNamara 204,525 7.83
9 / 88
0 3rd Coalition
1996 Pat McNamara 184,419 6.69
9 / 88
0 3rd Coalition
1999 Pat McNamara 135,930 4.80
7 / 88
2 3rd Crossbench
2002 Peter Ryan 125,003 4.30
7 / 88
0 3rd Crossbench
2006 Peter Ryan 153,299 5.17
9 / 88
2 3rd Crossbench
2010 Peter Ryan 213,492 6.75
10 / 88
1 3rd Coalition
2014 Peter Ryan 185,619 5.53
8 / 88
2 3rd Opposition
2018 Peter Walsh 167,625 4.77
6 / 88
2 3rd Opposition
1 In 1943 the party reconciled with the breakaway Liberal Country Party. The two parties notionally fielded separate candidates but formed a single block; the table shows the combined result for the parties. The Country Party received 112,164 votes (13.03%) and 18 seats, the Liberal Country Party, standing as the Victorian Country Party, 11,738 votes (1.36%) and 7 seats, 6 of them unopposed.

See also

  • Category:National Party of Australia members of the Parliament of Victoria

References

  1. "Current register of political parties". Australian Electoral Commission. 22 March 2017. Archived from the original on 2 June 2018.
  2. Costar, Brian (2006). "John Allan: The first agrarian". In Strangio, Paul; Costar, Brian (eds.). The Victorian Premiers, 1856-2006. The Federation Press. p. 196n. ISBN 9781862876019.
  3. "THE NEW FOR THE OLD V.F.U. BECOMES V.C.P." Wodonga and Towong Sentinel. Vic. 25 March 1927. p. 2. Retrieved 13 November 2013 via National Library of Australia.
  4. J. B. Paul, 'Dunstan, Sir Albert Arthur (1882–1950)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dunstan-sir-albert-arthur-6055/text10357, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 7 July 2018.
  5. "26 Mar 1947 - LIBERAL-CP POLL TALKS - Trove". Trove.nla.gov.au. 26 March 1947. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  6. Davey, Paul (2006). The Nationals: The Progressive, Country and National Party in New South Wales 1919 to 2006. The Federation Press. p. 453. ISBN 9781862875265.
  7. "Plans for United CP-Lib Party". The Argus. 5 February 1949. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  8. Brian Costar (1985). "National–Liberal Party Relations in Victoria". In Hay, P. R. [et al.] (ed.). Essays on Victorian Politics. Warrnambool: Warrnambool Institute Press.
  9. Ian Hancock (2002). John Gorton: He Did It His Way. Hodder. ISBN 0733614396.
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