Liberal Movement (Australia)
The Liberal Movement was a South Australian political party which existed from 1973 to 1976. The LM was initially organised in 1972 by former premier Steele Hall, as an internal group of the Liberal and Country League. When tensions heightened between the LCL’s conservative wing and the LM, it was established in its own right as a progressive liberal party. It succeeded in having Hall elected to the Australian Senate with a primary vote of 10 per cent in South Australia.
About Liberal Movement (Australia) in brief
The Liberal Movement was a South Australian political party which existed from 1973 to 1976. The LM was initially organised in 1972 by former premier Steele Hall, as an internal group of the Liberal and Country League. When tensions heightened between the LCL’s conservative wing and the LM, it was established in its own right, as a progressive liberal party, on 2 April 1973. When still part of the league, it had eleven state parliamentarians. On its own it was reduced to three parliamentarians − Hall and Robin Millhouse in the lower house and Martin Cameron in the upper house. At the 1974 federal election Hall won a Senate seat and David Boundy retained his South Australia seat for the LM. It succeeded in having Hall elected to the Australian Senate with a primary vote of 10 per cent in South Australia. It built upon this in the 1975 state election, gaining almost a fifth of the total vote and an additional member. However, the non-Labor parties narrowly failed to dislodge the incumbent Dunstan Labor government. That result, together with internal weaknesses, led in 1976 to the LM’s being re-absorbed into the Liberal Party of Australia. A segment of the LM did not rejoin the Liberals, but instead formed a new party—the New LM. This party, combined with the Australia Party, formed the nucleus of the Australian Democrats which aspired to a balance of power in the federal Senate and up to four state upper houses for three decades. The New LM and its successor parties gave voice to what is termed’small-l liberalism’ in Australia. Liberalism in Australia represents centre-right of the political spectrum, while Labor represents the centre-left.
The South Australian party system has not deviated from this two-party divide, and all other parties gained negligible representation or influence, until the emergence of smaller parties such as the Australian Democrat in the late 20th century, and the Greens and Family First Party in the 21st century. The establishment influenced the party with its financial backing, while the yeoman proprietary organisation was the most numerous. Only in 1956 did the urban middle class achieve parliamentary representation through Mitcham Millhouse, who was elected to parliamentary seat of Mitcham. He wrote a paper on the ‘Liberal Case for Electoral Reform’, arguing against a fairer electoral system as it was biased against resident voters in the capital city, Adelaide, whether conservative or Liberal or Labor. The party was assimilated back into the conservative side of politics with the formation of the Lib-Country League in 1932. The first Labor party in South Australian was the United Labor Party in 1891, born out of a trade union association that recommended and supported trade unionist candidates. In 1909, the NDL combined with Liberal and Democratic Union and the Farmers and Producers Political Union to form the Liberal Union, later known as the Liberal Federation. In 1910, the ULP transformed into the Labor Party, and has been known by this name ever since. A separate Country Party subsequently emerged, representing rural interests, but this was assimilate back into conservative.
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