Liberal and Country Party

The Liberal and Country Party (LCP) was a political party which operated as the state division of the Liberal Party of Australia in Victoria from 22 March 1949 until 6 March 1965.[1] In spite of the name, and the traditional coalition or merger arrangements between the Liberal Party and the Country/National Party in Australia, the Liberal and Country Party was a separate entity from the Country Party, and was actually formed with the aim of eliminating the Country Party from Victorian politics entirely.

The formation of the LCP was triggered by a split in the Liberal–Country coalition. The Liberals had governed Victoria in coalition with the Country Party from 20 November 1947 to 3 December 1948, with Thomas Hollway as Premier and Country leader John McDonald as Deputy Premier. During a series of transport strikes, the moderate Hollway had dealt amicably with the transport unions and the Trades Hall Council, and McDonald heavily criticised his conciliatory approach to the conservative parties' traditional enemies. Hollway forced McDonald to resign as deputy and, in an apparently provocative move, changed the name of the Liberal Party to the Liberal and Country Party, as well as persuading six Country MPs to defect to the LCP in September 1949.[2]

In 1965, the LCP reverted to its original name of Liberal Party.[3] The dropping of the 'and Country' from the name of the party was one of the conditions of the Country Party supporting the government's supply bill in the Legislative Council on 27 October 1964, and the motion to change the name was passed, not without complaint, at a meeting of the party's State Council on 6 March 1965.[4]

Leaders of the Liberal and Country Party

Leader Years Notes
Thomas Hollway 1949–1951 Premier from 1947–1950; Leader of the Opposition from 1950–1951
Les Norman 1951–1952 Leader of the Opposition
Trevor Oldham 1952–1953 Leader of the Opposition
Henry Bolte 1953–1965 Leader of the Opposition from 1953–1955; Premier from 1955–1972


  1. "LIBERAL AND COUNTRY PARTY COMES INTO EXISTENCE". Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954). Burnie, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 23 March 1949. p. 3. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  2. Costar, B. J., 'McDonald, Sir John Gladstone Black (Jack) (1898–1977)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed 22 February 2012.
  3. "Significant Victorian Electoral Events since 1851". Victorian Electoral Commission.
  4. Walker, K. J. (April 1965). "Victoria". Australian Journal of Politics & History. 11 (1): 96. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8497.1965.tb00419.x.

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