Commonwealth Party (New South Wales)

The Commonwealth Party was a short-lived, urban, conservative political party which was active in New South Wales, Australia in 1943-1944.

Following the defection of Joseph Lyons from the Australian Labor Party to the conservative side of politics in 1931, the opposition Nationalist Party, five dissident Labor MPs and three conservative independent MPs soon merged to form a new party, the United Australia Party (UAP). This unified the mainstream urban conservative forces in Australia but was, in substance, 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 in conservative political forces towards the end of the decade. This was seen most markedly in the deposing of the Prime Minister Robert Menzies federally in 1941 and the NSW Premier Bertram Stevens in 1939. Menzies was succeeded as leader of the UAP by Billy Hughes who led the party to a disastrous defeat at the 1943 federal election. The party's 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 these would eventually coalesce under Menzies into the Liberal Party in August 1945. In NSW the interim parties included the Democratic Party, the Liberal Democrat Party and the Commonwealth Party. The Commonwealth Party quickly merged with the remnants of the UAP and the Democratic Party before the 1944 election. It did not contest any elections.


Smith, Rodney (2007). Against the Machines: Minor Parties and Independents in New South Wales, 1910-2006. Annandale, N.S.W.: Federation Press. ISBN 978-1-86287-623-1. 

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