Liberal–National party merger
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A merger of the Liberal and National political parties in Australia, has been used in a coalition federally between 1996 and 2007 and now from 2013 as a result of the 2013 Federal Election. There is currently one formal coalition government in New South Wales (as well as informally in Western Australia). There has been an ongoing debate for decades due to the demise of the National vote. It is argued that the decline in the vote is due to the decline in the rural population as well as National Party policies becoming increasingly indistinguishable from Liberal Party policies. Such a merger would also likely see the involvement of the Country Liberal Party, given that it is affiliated with both parties. In July 2008 the majority Nationals and minority Liberals in state politics in Queensland merged to become the Liberal National Party of Queensland, led by Lawrence Springborg.
|This article needs to be updated. (May 2008)|
Merger plans came to a head in May 2008, when the Queensland state Liberal Party gave an announcement not to wait for a federal blueprint but instead to merge now. The new party, the "Liberal National Party", has a self-imposed deadline of late July for party registration. Queensland Liberal Party president Gary Spence has been accused by some in his party of misleading the public about his party's level of support for the merger. Queensland Liberal Party members are participating in a postal ballot, starting on 27 May and ending on 23 June. If a majority is achieved, a constitutional convention would be held in July to approve the new party, and would be finalised by way of formal agreement between the parties' two federal executives. See Liberal National Party of Queensland.
In Queensland, the only state where the Nationals were the dominant coalition partner in state politics, following Lawrence Springborg's re-election to the National leadership, support emerged especially from the National side for a merger of coalition parties in an attempt to address the declining National/rural vote and Labor's current domination of all levels of government.
In the 1980s, former Nationals MP Peter Nixon undertook a review of the party and "concluded it should seriously consider amalgamating with the Liberals". Former Nationals leader Doug Anthony wrote not long afterwards: "Any objective and rational National Party member who read this report would have to accept that amalgamation was the only realistic course. Regrettably there are still too many who don't want to read it and who don't want to face reality, that the role of a specialist party looking after the needs of rural people is in decline."
At the 2007 federal election, the Nationals' vote declined to 5.49 percent, with the party winning only 10 of 150 seats. This was the lowest level of National Party representation achieved in the Australian Parliament. This included only one of the seats the Australian Electoral Commission classifies as provincial, Hinkler in Queensland, compared to four held by the Liberals and 16 by Labor. The election result of 2007 was indicative of a declining trend of support for the Nationals. The party's parliamentary representation has fallen with each of the last four Australian elections between 1998 and 2007, and the party's vote in this period has never exceeded 6%, compared to an average voting result of 8-11% for the Nationals, over the earlier two decades.
Country/National electoral results
|Federal results in the Lower House since 1919|
|House Seats||11 of 75||14 of 75||14 of 75||13 of 75||10 of 75||16 of 75||14 of 74||16 of 74||14 of 74||7 of 74|
|House Seats||11 of 74||19 of 121||17 of 121||17 of 121||18 of 122||19 of 122||17 of 122||20 of 122||21 of 124||20 of 125|
|House Seats||20 of 125||21 of 127||23 of 127||19 of 124||20 of 125||17 of 125||21 of 148||19 of 147||14 of 148||16 of 148|
|House Seats||19 of 148||16 of 148||13 of 150||12 of 150||10 of 150||6 of 150||9 of 150||10 of 150|
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- AdelaideNow... Libs, Nats vote on state merger[dead link]
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