List of Australian Leaders of the Opposition

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In the Australian House of Representatives, the Leader of the Opposition sits at the front table to the left of the Speaker's Chair (on the right-hand side in this photo).

This is a list of Australian Leaders of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition (more commonly Leader of the Opposition),[1] who in Australian Federal Politics is a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives. The position is held by the leader of the party not in government that has the most seats in the House. When in parliament, the Leader of the Opposition sits on the left-hand side of the centre table, in front of the Opposition and opposite the Prime Minister. The Opposition Leader is elected by his or her party according to its rules. A new Opposition Leader may be elected when the incumbent dies, resigns, or is challenged for the leadership.

The Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system and is based on the Westminster model. The term Opposition has a specific meaning in the parliamentary sense, with a formal title of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. It is an important component of the Westminster system, with the Opposition directing criticism at the Government and attempts to defeat and replace the Government. The Opposition is therefore known as the 'Government in waiting' and it is a formal part of the parliamentary system. It is in opposition to the Government, but not to the Crown; hence the term 'Loyal Opposition'.[2]

To date there have been 33 Opposition Leaders, 18 of whom have served terms as Prime Minister.[3] The current Leader of the Opposition is Bill Shorten of the Australian Labor Party, following an election of the new Parliamentary Labor Leader by caucus and ALP members on 13 October 2013. The current Deputy Leader of the Opposition is Tanya Plibersek of the Australian Labor Party, following her election on 14 October 2013 by the Labor Caucus. Tanya Plibersek is the fourth woman to hold the position of Deputy Opposition Leader.

Leaders of the Opposition[edit]

Leader Party Constituency Took Office Left Office Prime Minister
George Reid Georgereid.jpg   Free Trade Party East Sydney (NSW) 19 May 1901 17 August 1904   Barton 1901–03
  Deakin 1903–04
  Watson 1904
Chris Watson ChrisWatsonSepia.jpg   Labour Party Bland (NSW) 18 August 1904 5 July 1905   Reid 1904–05
George Reid Georgereid.jpg   Free Trade Party East Sydney (NSW) 7 July 1905 16 November 1908   Deakin 1905–08
  Anti-Socialist Party
  Fisher 1908–09
Joseph Cook JosephCookPEO.jpg   Anti-Socialist Party Parramatta (NSW) 17 November 1908 26 May 1909
Alfred Deakin AlfredDeakin.jpeg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Ballarat (Vic) 26 May 1909 2 June 1909
Andrew Fisher Andrewfisher.JPG   Labour Party Wide Bay (Qld) 2 June 1909 29 April 1910   Deakin 1909
Alfred Deakin AlfredDeakin.jpeg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Ballarat (Vic) 1 July 1910 20 January 1913   Fisher 1910–13
Joseph Cook JosephCookPEO.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Parramatta (NSW) 20 January 1913 24 June 1913
Andrew Fisher Andrewfisher.JPG   Labor Party Wide Bay (Qld) 8 July 1913 17 September 1914   Cook 1913–14
Joseph Cook JosephCookPEO.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Parramatta (NSW) 8 October 1914 17 February 1917   Fisher 1914–15
  Hughes 1915–23
Frank Tudor Franktudor.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 17 February 1917 10 January 1922  
 
 
 
 
Matthew Charlton Matthew Charlton.jpg   Labor Party Hunter (NSW) 10 January 1922 29 March 1928
  Bruce 1923–29
James Scullin JScullin.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 29 March 1928 22 October 1929
John Latham Johnlatham.jpg   Nationalist Party Kooyong (Vic) 20 November 1929 7 May 1931   Scullin 1929–32
Joseph Lyons Joseph Lyons 1.jpg   United Australia Party Wilmot (Tas) 7 May 1931 6 January 1932
James Scullin JScullin.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 7 January 1932 1 October 1935  
 
 
 
 
 
Lyons 1932–39
John Curtin Johncurtin.jpg   Labor Party Fremantle (WA) 1 October 1935 7 October 1941
  Page 1939
  Menzies 1939–41
  Fadden 1941
Arthur Fadden FaddenPEO.jpg   Country Party Darling Downs (Qld) 7 October 1941 23 September 1943   Curtin 1941–45
Robert Menzies Portrait Menzies 1941.jpg   United Australia Party Kooyong (Vic) 23 September 1943 19 December 1949
  Liberal Party   Forde 1945
  Chifley 1945–49
Ben Chifley Benchifley.jpg   Labor Party Macquarie (NSW) 19 December 1949 13 June 1951  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Menzies 1949–66
Herbert Evatt Hvevatt.jpg   Labor Party Barton (NSW) 1940–58
Hunter (NSW) 1958–60
20 June 1951 9 February 1960
Arthur Calwell Calwell1.jpg   Labor Party Melbourne (Vic) 7 March 1960 8 February 1967
 
 
 
Holt 1966–67
Gough Whitlam Whitlam1955.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 8 February 1967 2 December 1972
  McEwen 1967–68
  Gorton 1968–71
  McMahon 1971–72
Billy Snedden Billy Snedden.jpg   Liberal Party Bruce (Vic) 2 December 1972 21 March 1975   Whitlam 1972–75
Malcolm Fraser John Malcolm Fraser 1977.jpg   Liberal Party Wannon (Vic) 21 March 1975 11 November 1975
Gough Whitlam Whitlam1955.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 11 November 1975 22 December 1977   Fraser 1975–83
Bill Hayden Bill Hayden on 29.5.1990.jpg   Labor Party Oxley (Qld) 22 December 1977 3 February 1983
Bob Hawke BobHawke(cropped).jpg   Labor Party Wills (Vic) 3 February 1983 11 March 1983
Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Party Kooyong (Vic) 11 March 1983 5 September 1985  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hawke 1983–91
John Howard John Howard May 2006.jpg   Liberal Party Bennelong (NSW) 5 September 1985 9 May 1989
Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Party Kooyong (Vic) 9 May 1989 3 April 1990
John Hewson No image.svg   Liberal Party Wentworth (NSW) 3 April 1990 23 May 1994
  Keating 1991–96
Alexander Downer AlexanderDowner.jpg   Liberal Party Mayo (SA) 23 May 1994 30 January 1995
John Howard John Howard May 2006.jpg   Liberal Party Bennelong (NSW) 30 January 1995 11 March 1996
Kim Beazley Ac.kimbeazleynew.jpg   Labor Party Brand (WA) 19 March 1996 11 November 2001   Howard 1996–2007
Simon Crean Simon Crean - WEF 2010.jpg   Labor Party Hotham (Vic) 11 November 2001 2 December 2003
Mark Latham Ac.marklatham.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 2 December 2003 18 January 2005
Kim Beazley Ac.kimbeazleynew.jpg   Labor Party Brand (WA) 28 January 2005 4 December 2006
Kevin Rudd Kevin Rudd DOS cropped.jpg   Labor Party Griffith (Qld) 4 December 2006 3 December 2007
Brendan Nelson BrendanNelson.JPG   Liberal Party Bradfield (NSW) 3 December 2007 16 September 2008  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rudd 2007–10
Malcolm Turnbull TurnbullZoom.jpg   Liberal Party Wentworth (NSW) 16 September 2008 1 December 2009
Tony Abbott Tony Abbott - 2010.jpg   Liberal Party Warringah (NSW) 1 December 2009 18 September 2013
  Gillard 2010–13
  Rudd 2013
Chris Bowen (interim) Cbowencrop.jpg   Labor Party McMahon (NSW) 18 September 2013 13 October 2013   Abbott 2013–
Bill Shorten Bill Shorten DSC 3004.JPG   Labor Party Maribyrnong (VIC) 13 October 2013 Incumbent

Deputy Leaders[edit]

Leader Party Constituency Took Office Left Office Leader
Gareth Evans Gareth Evans University of Melbourne.jpg   Labor Party Holt (Vic) 19 March 1996 October 1998   Beazley 1996–2001
Simon Crean Simon Crean - WEF 2010.jpg   Labor Party Hotham (Vic) October 1998 11 November 2001
Jenny Macklin Jennymacklin.JPG   Labor Party Jagajaga (Vic) 11 November 2001 18 September 2006   Crean 2001–2003
  Latham 2003–2005
  Beazley 2005–2006
Julia Gillard Julia Gillard 2010.jpg   Labor Party Lalor (Vic) 4 December 2006 3 December 2007   Rudd 2006–2007
Julie Bishop Julie Bishop official portrait.jpg   Liberal Party Curtin (WA) 3 December 2007 18 September 2013   Nelson 2007–2008
  Turnbull 2008–2009
  Abbott 2009–2013
Tanya Plibersek Tanya Plibersek 2011 (cropped).jpg   Labor Party Sydney (NSW) 14 October 2013 Incumbent   Shorten 2013–

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Denotes an Opposition Leader who had previously been Prime Minister.
  2. ^ Denotes an Opposition Leader who later became Prime Minister.
  3. ^ Gough Whitlam refused to use the title Leader of the Opposition between the dismissal of his government in November 1975 and the first meeting of the new parliament in February 1976. During the election campaign in December 1975 he styled himself as the Leader of the Majority in the House of Representatives.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maiden, Samantha (18 November 2010). "Altar egos clash over Wills and Babykins". The Australian. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Jaensch, Dean (1997). The Politics of Australia. Melbourne: MacMillan Education Australia. p. 100. ISBN 0-7329-4128-8. 
  3. ^ "A House for the nation". Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  4. ^ Gough Whitlam. "Whitlam Speeches – 1975 Election Policy Speech". Whitlam Dismissal. Retrieved 2006-04-12.