Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 53

National Party (Australia) - Africa, Asia, Australasia/Oceania, Europe, North America

coalition largest conservative liberal

The third largest party in Australia since 1920, originally named the Country Party. It grew out of rural dissatisfaction with the way governments had favoured urban areas, and concern over loss of population to the towns. The party is conservative in social matters, generally favours policies of free trade and low tariffs, and supports government public expenditure. Since 1923 it has been in coalition with the Conservative Party. The National Party achieved its greatest success when it governed with the Liberal Party nationally (1949–72). It has been most dynamic in Queensland under Premier Johannes Bjelke-Peterson (1968–87), where it has governed in its own right since 1983 (in a coalition with Liberals from 1992), the only state where this has happened. In 1988, the party claimed the largest membership of any Australian political party (140 000), but attracted the lowest vote of the three largest parties (11·5%) in the 1987 national election. A National/Liberal coalition continued, 1987–96.

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