National Party of Australia leadership elections

There have been a number of leadership elections of the National Party of Australia in recent years. In many of these, a single candidate has been elected unopposed.


  • 1920: A vote for the leadership and deputy leadership was held on 25 February 1920, prior to the opening of parliament the following day. William McWilliams was elected party leader and Edmund Jowett was elected deputy leader. Both elections were unopposed, with eleven members voting. Earle Page was elected secretary of the party and party whip.[1]
  • 1921: A vote for the leadership and deputy leadership was held on 5 April 1921. Earle Page replaced William McWilliams as leader. Edmund Jowett did not re-contest the deputy leadership and was replaced by Henry Gregory. Page was replaced as secretary and whip by William Gibson[2]
  • 1922: A vote for the deputy leadership was held on 27 June 1922. William Fleming was elected deputy leader in place of Henry Gregory, who had resigned in February 1922 over policy differences.[3][4]



  • 1990: A vote for the leadership and deputy leadership was held on 10 April 1990, due to the defeat of Charles Blunt at the 1990 federal election. Tim Fischer was elected party leader ahead of four other candidates – John Sharp, Peter McGauran, Garry Nehl, and former leader Ian Sinclair. The results were not formally released, but The Canberra Times reported that Fischer defeated Sharp by 12 votes to 8 on the final ballot, with McGauran the last to be eliminated. Bruce Lloyd was re-elected deputy leader, defeating a challenge from Noel Hicks.[7]
  • 1993: A vote for the leadership and deputy leadership was held on 24 March 1993. Tim Fischer defeated Ian Sinclair to retain the leadership of the party. The margin of the vote was not released and different sources reported different figures. John Anderson was elected deputy leader ahead of five other candidates, including shadow ministers Peter McGauran, John Sharp, and Bruce Scott.[8]
  • 1999: A vote for the leadership and deputy leadership was held on 1 July 1999, following the resignation of Tim Fischer. John Anderson was elected leader unopposed, with Mark Vaile elected as his deputy.[9]


  • 2005: A vote for the leadership and deputy leadership was held on 23 June 2005, following John Anderson's retirement announcement. Mark Vaile was elected unopposed as the new leader, while Warren Truss was elected deputy leader ahead of four other candidates – Peter McGauran, John Cobb, Ian Causley, and De-Anne Kelly.[10] Anderson's resignation as party leader did not take effect until 6 July 2005.[11]
  • 2007: A vote for the leadership and deputy leadership was held on 3 December 2007, following Mark Vaile's resignation and the Liberal-National coalition's defeat at the 2007 federal election.[12] Warren Truss was the only announced candidate and had Vaile's support.[13] At the party meeting, Truss was elected as leader unanimously and Country Liberal Party senator Nigel Scullion was elected as his deputy.[14]


On 11 February 2016, National Party leader, Warren Truss announced his intention to retire at the 2016 federal election would immediately stand aside as Leader of The Nationals. Truss's deputy Barnaby Joyce, was elected unopposed as Truss' replacement, with Fiona Nash as his deputy.[15] Consequently, Joyce was then sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia on 18 February 2016.[16]


On 26 February 2018, the Nationals held a party room meeting at which Barnaby Joyce formally resigned to the backbench. Michael McCormack was seen as the favourite to become leader, and was the only declared candidate as at 25 February. At the meeting he secured the support of a majority of the 21 National Party parliamentarians, seeing off a last-minute challenge from Queensland MP George Christensen.[17][18]


  1. "The Country Party". The Examiner. 26 February 1920.
  2. "The Country Party". The Mercury. 6 April 1921.
  3. "Country Party Meeting". The Age. 28 June 1922.
  4. "Deputy Leader of Country Party". The Mercury. 24 February 1922.
  5. "Sinclair in battle for coalition". The Canberra Times. 24 July 1987.
  6. "Draftees' double ambush". The Canberra Times. 10 May 1989.
  7. "Introducing Tim Fischer". The Canberra Times. 11 April 1990.
  8. Tom Connors (24 March 1993). "'Kind' challenge won by Fischer". The Canberra Times.
  9. "John Anderson elected National Party leader". The World Today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 July 1999.
  10. The Age. 24 June 2005 Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. "The Hon John Anderson MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  12. "Outgoing Vaile resists amalgamation calls". 26 November 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  13. "Truss to nominate for Nats' leadership". 28 November 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  14. "Nationals decide it is a matter of Truss". 4 December 2007. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  15. "As it happened: Barnaby Joyce elected unopposed to Nationals leadership, Fiona Nash deputy". ABC News. Australia. 11 February 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  16. "Ministerial Swearing-in Ceremony". Events. Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  17. McIlroy, Tom (23 February 2018). "Nationals leadership: who could replace Barnaby Joyce?". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  18. Doran, Matthew (26 February 2018). "Nationals pick Michael McCormack as new leader in contested vote against George Christensen". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 26 February 2018.
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