Democratic Party (1943)

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The Democratic Party was a short-lived, urban, conservative political party which was active in New South Wales, Australia between 1943 and 1945.

In 1931 Joseph Lyons resigned from the Australian Labor Party and together with the opposition Nationalist Party, five dissident Labor MPs and three conservative independent MPs formed the United Australia Party (UAP). This unified the mainstream urban conservative forces in Australia but, in substance, it was largely a continuation of the Nationalists under a new name.

The UAP, in coalition with the Country Party was in power federally and in New South Wales throughout much of the thirties. However, ideological and leadership issues resulted in severe fissures occurring within the conservative political forces towards the end of the decade. These tensions resulted in the party deposing both the NSW Premier Bertram Stevens in 1939 and the Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, in 1941. Menzies was succeeded as leader of the UAP by Billy Hughes who led the party to a disastrous defeat at the 1943 federal election. Its vote was halved to 16% and it lost 11 of its 23 seats. This was the death knell of the party.

In the period between 1943 and 1945 the conservative forces were divided into several small and short-lived parties which would eventually coalesce under Menzies into the Liberal Party in August 1945. In NSW the interim parties included the Liberal Democrat Party and the Commonwealth Party. The Democratic Party was formed by the union of the remnants of the UAP and the Commonwealth Party in January 1944. [1] Its initial leader was the former premier Alexander Mair but he was replaced by Reginald Weaver on 10 February 1944. [2] Weaver led the party to the 1944 state election where it won 19% of the vote and 12 of the 90 seats in the Legislative Assembly. The Liberal Democrat Party fused with it in August 1944 and the party was briefly known as the United Democratic Party before it became the NSW division of the Liberal Party the next year [3]

It was not related to the Democratic Party, a Catholic party which contested the 1922 state election.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Party and Mr Menzies". Sydney Morning Herald 22 January 1944 p1. Australian National Library. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  2. ^ "Mr Mair resigns". Sydney Morning Herald 10 February 1944 p4. Australian National Library. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  3. ^ "Parties will unite". Sydney Morning Herald 26 August 1944 p4. Australian National Library. Retrieved 2009-01-11.