Liberal National Party of Queensland

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Liberal National Party of Queensland
Leader Campbell Newman
President Bruce McIver
Founder Bruce McIver
Founded 2008
Headquarters Brisbane
National affiliation Coalition
Colours Blue
House of Representatives
22 / 150
Senate
6 / 76
Parliament of Queensland
73 / 89
Website
www.lnp.org.au
Politics of Australia
Political parties
Elections

The Liberal National Party (LNP) is a political party in Queensland, Australia. It was formed by the Queensland divisions of the two major parties in Queensland, the Liberal Party of Australia and the National Party of Australia, on 26 July 2008 and contests elections in Queensland instead of the Coalition. It is a full member of the Liberal Party, and has observer status within the National Party.[1]

The "Liberal" part of the party's name derives from the Liberal Party of Australia, the ideology of which is referred to as "Liberalism" in Australia, which is distinct from the "liberalism" in other English-speaking countries, and is often equated in Australia to conservatism, which features strongly in party ideology.

The newly established party won government for the first time at the 2012 state election, winning 78 out of 89 seats, a record majority in the unicameral Parliament of Queensland. Its leader, Campbell Newman, is the Premier of Queensland.

Former New South Wales Federal MP Kay Hull has expressed her disgust with the Liberal name being placed in front of the National name for the name of the merged party in spite of the fact that the Nationals and not the Liberals had been the dominant non-Labor Party in Queensland prior to the merger. [2]

History

On 30 May 2008, an agreement in principle to merge was established between the Queensland divisions of the Liberal and National parties. A plebiscite of members of each party was then conducted with a large majority of respondents favouring the proposed merger.[3]

The background to the merger was the unusual situation in which the National Party and Liberal Party found themselves in frequent competition with one another for seats in Queensland. The Liberal Party (and its predecessors) and the National Party (formerly the Country Party) have been in a coalition at the federal level for all but a few years since 1923. In most parts of Australia the Liberal Party is the larger party, concentrated in urban areas, with the Nationals a junior partner operating exclusively in the bush. However, in Queensland, the urban-rural divide is not as pronounced as it is in the rest of the country. The capital, Brisbane, accounts for just under 45 percent of Queensland's population; in most other states, 60 percent or more of the population lives in and around the state capitals. The National Party had been the senior partner in the non-Labor Coalition since 1924, and thus did not confine itself to rural areas.

Another factor in the merger was a desire to increase the non-Labor side's standing in Brisbane. Since the dismantling of the old zonal electoral system in 1992, Brisbane has elected 40 of the 89 members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland—almost half of the legislature. Consequently, it is extremely difficult to form a government without a strong base in Brisbane. Labor was in government for all but three years from 1989 to 2012 in large part because it won at least 30 seats in greater Brisbane at every election. Even when it was briefly consigned to opposition by the Rob Borbidge-led Coalition, it still won 31 seats in Brisbane. While it was taken for granted that the Liberals needed to improve their standing in Brisbane in order for the Coalition to have any chance of regaining power, a Liberal resurgence would have almost certainly threatened the Nationals' traditional status as senior partner.[4]

The agreement in principle and a draft constitution were considered by separate meetings of the parties held over 26–27 July 2008, and the LNP was created on 26 July 2008. The inaugural conference of the LNP was held following the adoption of the constitution.[3] The two parties had been meeting in adjoining rooms of the Sofitel Hotel in Brisbane. In an emotional scene, the wall between the two meetings was removed after the merger was formally approved.[5]

The formation of the LNP was actually the third attempt to unite the non-Labor side in Queensland. In 1925, the United Party—the Queensland branch of the urban-based Nationalist Party—and the Country Party merged as the Country and Progressive National Party. This party won government in 1929 under former Queensland Country leader Arthur Edward Moore, but was defeated in 1932 and split apart in 1936. In 1941, the United Australia Party and Country Party merged as the Country-National Party, under Frank Nicklin of the Country side. However, this merger only lasted until 1944.

Federal Queensland Liberal and National party representatives and senators remained affiliated to their respective parties until after the 2010 Federal Election, with senators retaining their affiliation until the new Senate sat in July 2011.[6]

Currently, 16 of the LNP's 22 federal MPs sit with the Liberals, while six — including federal Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss — sit with the Nationals. In the Senate, LNP Senator Matthew Canavan sits with the Nationals while four sit with the Liberals. While incumbent MPs retained their previous national affiliations, the LNP has worked out an informal agreement with its national counterparts regarding the affiliations of newly elected members. Members who regain seats from Labor will sit with the previous Coalition MP's party — i.e., if the LNP takes a seat off Labor that was previously held by a Liberal, the LNP member will sit with the Liberals. A division of seats was decided upon for new seats or seats that have never been won by the Coalition.[7] In practice, most LNP MPs from Brisbane and the Gold Coast sit with the Liberals, while those from country seats usually sit with the Nationals.

After the July 2008 merger, the party had 25 members in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, the sole chamber of the Parliament of Queensland: 17 originally elected as Nationals, 8 originally elected as Liberals. National Party leader Lawrence Springborg became the merged party's first leader, and remained as Leader of the Opposition. Liberal Party leader Mark McArdle became Deputy Leader of the new party, and Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

The LNP fought its first election as a unified party at the 2009 state election. It managed an eight-seat swing in a house of 89 seats and finished one percentage point behind Labor on the two-party-preferred vote (with optional preference voting). However, it came up 11 seats short of forming government mainly due to winning only six seats in Brisbane. Springborg resigned as leader, later becoming deputy leader under his successor, John-Paul Langbroek.[4][8] Langbroek is from the Liberal side of the merger.

On 22 March 2011, Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman announced that he would seek preselection for the Brisbane-area seat of Ashgrove, a seat with a 7.1 percent Labor majority, and if successful, would challenge Langbroek for the party leadership. Newman, like Langbroek, is from the Liberal side of the merger. Langbroek and Springborg resigned as leader and deputy leader hours later. Under normal circumstances, an LNP MP from a safe seat would have resigned so Newman could get into the chamber via a by-election. However, a by-election could not be arranged.[4] To solve this problem, former Nationals leader Jeff Seeney, who was elected deputy leader at the same time Newman was formally elected leader, became interim parliamentary leader (and hence Leader of the Opposition) while Newman led the party into the 24 March 2012 state election. Seeney agreed to cede the parliamentary leader's post to Newman if he was elected to parliament.[9]

The 2012 state election saw Newman lead the LNP to a landslide victory. The LNP scored a 14.5 percent swing from Labor, just short of 50 percent of the primary vote, and won an additional 44 seats. In the process, the LNP took all but three seats in the Brisbane metropolitan area, in some cases on swings of 10 percent or more. Overall, the LNP won 78 seats to Labor's seven, the largest majority government in Queensland history. Newman won Ashgrove on a swing of 12.7 percent, almost double what he needed to take the seat off Labor. He was sworn in as premier two days later, heading the state's first non-Labor majority government in 23 years.

Party leaders

Leader Term Leader's seat
Campbell Newman 2011–present Ashgrove
John-Paul Langbroek 2009–2011 Surfers Paradise
Lawrence Springborg 2008–2009 Southern Downs

Parliamentary leaders

Leader Term Leader's seat
Campbell Newman 2012–present Ashgrove
Jeff Seeney (interim) 2011–2012 Callide
John-Paul Langbroek 2009–2011 Surfers Paradise
Lawrence Springborg 2008–2009 Southern Downs

Deputy leaders

Deputy Leader Term Deputy's seat
Jeff Seeney 2011–present Callide
Lawrence Springborg 2009–2011 Southern Downs
Mark McArdle 2008–2009 Caloundra

See also

References

  1. ^ LNP Constitution, clauses A.3 and A.4.
  2. ^ A Country Road: The Nationals Episode 2
  3. ^ a b "The Liberal National Party – History". Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Green, Antony. Queensland election preview. Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25 January 2012.
  5. ^ (26 July 2008). Liberal-National merger a win for 'grassroots democracy'. news.com.au. News Limited. Retrieved on 25 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Constitution of the LNP" (PDF). Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Madonna King (18 May 2010). LNP differences a Coalition headache. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  8. ^ By Jessica van Vonderen (2 April 2009). "Langbroek wins LNP leadership: ABC News 2/4/2009". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Newman to head LNP election team". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011. 

External links