Protectionist Party

The Protectionist Party was an Australian political party, formally organised from 1887 until 1909, with policies centred on protectionism. It advocated protective tariffs, arguing it would allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment. It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in the rural areas of New South Wales. Its most prominent leaders were Sir Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin, who were the first and second prime ministers of Australia.

Protectionist Party
Historic leadersEdmund Barton,
Alfred Deakin
Merged intoCommonwealth Liberal Party
IdeologySocial liberalism
Political positionCentre to centre-right
International affiliationNone


Edmund Barton crop
Edmund Barton, the first prime minister of Australia, 1901-1903

The party was initially centred on New South Wales, where its leaders were George Dibbs and William Lyne. It dominated New South Wales colonial politics before federation. It first contested the 1887 New South Wales election.

On the commencement of the Commonwealth of Australia, Governor-General-designate, The 7th Earl of Hopetoun, appointed Edmund Barton (after the Hopetoun Blunder), leader of the Protectionist Party, to head a caretaker government from 1 January 1901 until the election of a Parliament. At the first federal election in 1901, the Protectionists won 31 of the 75 seats in the House of Representatives. Barton was able to form the Barton minority government with the support of the Labour Party led by Chris Watson, which held the balance of power with 14 seats, on the understanding that the Protectionists would implement a number of social reforms desired by Labour. Labour's program, however, was frequently too radical for many Protectionists, creating internal conflict between those who, like H. B. Higgins, were sympathetic to Labour, while conservatives like Allan McLean preferred to support the Free Trade Party.

On 25 August 1903 legislation to set up the High Court of Australia consisting of three judges was finally passed.[1] Barton resigned his party leadership position on 24 September 1903 to be replaced by Deakin who then formed the first Deakin government. Then, on 5 October 1903, Deakin appointed Barton, as well as the party's Senate leader, Richard O'Connor, to be justices of the High Court, before calling the 1903 federal election for December and going into caretaker government mode. At the election, the number of seats won by the Protectionists declined to 26 while Labour's increased to 22, but Labour continued its policy of supporting a minority Deakin Protectionist government.

Alfred Deakin crop
Alfred Deakin, prime minister of Australia 1903-1904, 1905-1908, 1909-1910

After a falling out in April 1904 between Labour's Watson and Deakin, Deakin resigned office. Free Trade leader George Reid declined to take office, leaving Watson and Labour to form its first minority government, which lasted for four months. In August 1904, Reid was able to form a Free Trade government with Protectionist support. Reid's government lasted until 5 July 1905, when the Protectionists and Labour reconciled, and the previous arrangement was restored, with the formation of the second Deakin government. On 12 October 1906, the size of the High Court was increased to 5 justices, and Deakin appointed prominent Protectionists Higgins and Isaac Isaacs to the High Court to get them out of politics, but they were qualified for the judicial position, as they had been lawyers. Higgins was Attorney-General in the Labour government of 1904 (Labour did not have a lawyer to appoint), and Isaacs was Attorney-General in 1905 in the Deakin government. The Free Trade Party recognised that the issue of tariffs had been settled and that the main issue was the Labour resurgence. Before the 1906 federal election, held in December, it changed its name to the Anti-Socialist Party. At the election, the Protectionists, whose protectionist policies were by then redundant, won only 16 seats to Labour's 26, but Labour still led by Watson continued to support Deakin who formed the well known third Deakin Protectionist government.

Labour now under Andrew Fisher withdrew its support of the Deakin government on 13 November 1908 and formed a minority government. The Fisher government passed a large number of its legislation. A scandalised establishment, believing an anti-socialist alliance was necessary to counter Labor's growing electoral dominance, pressured Deakin and Anti-Socialist Party's new leader, Joseph Cook, to begin merger talks. The more liberal Protectionists opposed a merger. The party wound up splitting as a result. The main body, including Deakin and his supporters merged with the Anti-Socialist Party in May 1909 to become the Commonwealth Liberal Party (CLP), popularly known as "the Fusion Party", with Deakin as leader and Cook as deputy leader. The more liberal Protectionists defected to Labour. Deakin and the new CLP now held a majority on the floor of the House of Representatives and the Fisher government fell in a vote on 27 May 1909. Fisher failed to persuade the Governor-General Lord Dudley to dissolve Parliament.[2] The Deakin CLP government was in power for less than a year until the 1910 election, where Labour under Fisher formed Australia's first elected federal majority government, and the first elected Senate majority, winning 42 of the 75 seats in the House of Representatives to the Liberal's 31. Deakin retired from Parliament in April 1913 and Cook took over the Liberal leadership before the calling of the 1913 election. The Liberals under Cook won government in 1913 by a single seat, however Labor retained a Senate majority. Cook called a double dissolution, the first time one would be called. When the Senate rejected a bill twice, Cook called the 1914 election. The election had been called before the declaration of war in August 1914, and the campaign was conducted with the caretaker government going onto a war footing. At the election the Liberals were soundly defeated with another Labor majority in both houses.

While the party itself disappeared into history, many of its key legislative initiatives, such as the White Australia policy and tariff protection for industry, were maintained by successive Australian governments for a large part of the 20th century. However, Labor could also take credit as many of the bills were passed during the Protectionist-Labour minority governments as part of Labour's agreement for supporting a Protectionist government.

Electoral results

Parliament of Australia

House of Representatives
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1901 185,943 (#1) 36.75
31 / 75
Edmund Barton
1903 214,091 (#3) 29.70
26 / 75
Decrease 5
Alfred Deakin
1906 156,425 (#3) 16.44
16 / 75
Decrease 10
Alfred Deakin
Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
overall seats won
+/– Leader
1901 1,197,723 (#1) 44.86
11 / 36
Edmund Barton
1903 503,586 (#3) 17.53
8 / 36
Decrease 3
Alfred Deakin
1906 369,308 (#3) 12.41
6 / 36
Decrease 2
Alfred Deakin

See also


  1. ^ Judiciary Act 1903
  2. ^ Murphy, D. J. (1981). "Fisher, Andrew (1862–1928)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2011.

External links

Allan McLean (Australian politician)

Allan McLean (3 February 1840 – 13 July 1911) was an Australian politician who served as the 19th Premier of Victoria, in office from 1899 to 1900. He was later elected to federal parliament, where he served as a government minister under George Reid.

McLean was born in Argyll, Scotland, and arrived in Australia as a child. His family settled in the Gippsland region of Victoria, and he eventually acquired a sheep station near Lake Wellington. McLean was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1880 and was promoted to cabinet in 1890, serving under James Munro, William Shiels, and George Turner. He replaced Turner as premier in 1899, but was defeated at the following year's general election. McLean entered the new federal parliament in 1901, as a member of the Protectionist Party. He was a leader of its conservative wing, and in 1904 crossed the floor to become Minister for Trade and Customs in the Reid Government. He was the de facto deputy prime minister. The government was defeated in 1905, and he lost his seat at the 1906 election.

Australian Protectionist Party

The Australian Protectionist Party is a minor Australian political party with protectionist and nationalist policies. The party was registered by the Australian Electoral Commission in January 2011, and went on to contest the 2013 federal election, but was de-registered in June 2015.

Charles Kingston

Charles Cameron Kingston (22 October 1850 – 11 May 1908) was an Australian politician. He was an early radical liberal Premier of South Australia serving from 1893 to 1899 with the support of Labor led by John McPherson from 1893 and Lee Batchelor from 1897 in the House of Assembly, winning the 1893, 1896 and 1899 colonial elections against the conservatives. He was a leading proponent of and contributed extensively on the Federation of Australia, and was elected to the federal House of Representatives with the most votes amongst the seven elected in the single statewide Division of South Australia at the 1901 election, serving under the Protectionist Party, going on to represent the Division of Adelaide at the 1903 election. A radical liberal in state politics, his government introduced such progressive measures as: electoral reform including the first law to give votes to women in Australia (and second in the world only to New Zealand), a legitimation Act, the first conciliation and arbitration Act in Australia, establishment of a state bank, a high protective tariff, regulation of factories, a progressive system of land and income taxation, a public works programme, and more extensive workers’ compensation.

Commonwealth Liberal Party

The Commonwealth Liberal Party (CLP, also known as the Deakin–Cook Party, The Fusion, or the Deakinite Liberal Party) was a political movement active in Australia from 1909 to 1917, shortly after Federation. The CLP came about as a result of a merger between the two non-Labor parties, the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist Party (formerly Free Trade Party) which most of their MPs accepted. The CLP is the earliest direct ancestor of the current Liberal Party of Australia.

First Fisher Ministry

The First Fisher Ministry (Labour) was the 7th ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 5th Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher. The First Fisher Ministry succeeded the Third Deakin Ministry, which dissolved on 13 November 1908 after Labour withdrew their support and Alfred Deakin was forced to resign. The ministry was replaced by the Fourth Deakin Ministry on 2 June 1909 after the Protectionist Party and the Anti-Socialist Party merged into the Commonwealth Liberal Party "fusion" and withdrew their support in order to form what became the first majority government in federal Australian history.

George Turner (Australian politician)

Sir George Turner (8 August 1851 – 13 August 1916), Australian politician, was the 18th Premier of Victoria and the first Treasurer of Australia in the federal Barton Ministry.

Turner was born in Melbourne: he was the first Premier of Victoria born in the colony. He received a sound education and began work as a clerk in a law office, matriculating in 1872 and being admitted to practise as a solicitor in 1881. He was a founding member of the Australian Natives' Association, an influential lobby group of Australian-born political liberals who campaigned for Australian federation and other causes. He was a member of the town council in St Kilda and was mayor in 1887–1888.

Gus Miller (politician)

Gustave Thomas Carlisle "Gus" Miller (26 November 1852 – 20 October 1918) was an Australian politician.

He was born in Prospect to farmer William Richardson Miller and Catherine Engel. He was educated at St Philip's and Fort Street schools before becoming a journalist. He managed the Monaro Mercury from 1876 and ran the Cooma Express from 1879. Around 1881 he married Emmeline Annie Hewison at Cooma; they would have seven children. In 1889 he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the member for Monaro, representing the Protectionist Party. In 1901, however, he joined the Labor Party, and represented Monaro in that capacity until his death in Marrickville in 1918.

H. B. Higgins

Henry Bournes Higgins KC (30 June 1851 – 13 January 1929), known by his initials, was an Australian lawyer, politician, and judge. He served on the High Court of Australia from 1906 until his death.

Higgins was born in what is now Northern Ireland. He and his family immigrated to Australia when he was 18, and he found work as a schoolteacher while studying law part-time at the University of Melbourne. He was admitted to the Victorian Bar in 1876, and built up a substantial practice specialising in equity law. Higgins came to public attention as a prominent supporter of Irish Home Rule. He was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1894, and represented Victoria at the Australasian Federal Convention, where he helped draft the new federal constitution. He nonetheless opposed the final draft, making him one of only two delegates to the convention to campaign against federation.

In 1901, Higgins was elected to the new federal parliament as a member of the Protectionist Party. He was sympathetic to the labour movement, and in 1904 briefly served as Attorney-General in the Labor Party minority government led by Chris Watson. In 1906, Alfred Deakin decided to expand the High Court bench to five members, appointing Higgins and Isaac Isaacs. Higgins was usually in the minority in his early years on the court, but in later years the composition of the court changed and he was more often in the majority. He also served as president of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration from 1907 to 1921. In that capacity, he wrote the decision in the influential Harvester case, holding that a legislative provision for a "fair and reasonable" wage effectively required a living wage.

James Robert Dickson

Sir James Robert Dickson, (30 November 1832 – 10 January 1901) was an Australian politician and businessman, the 13th Premier of Queensland and a member of the first federal ministry.

John Chanter

John Moore Chanter (11 February 1845 – 9 March 1931) was an Australian politician, farmer and commission agent. He was a member of the Protectionist Party, as well as the Australian Labor Party and the Nationalist Party of Australia.

Chanter was born in Adelaide, South Australia, and was the son of John Chanter and Elizabeth née Moore. He was educated at the Albert House Academy and the Collegiate School of St Peter in Adelaide, as well as at the Model Training Institution when his family relocated to Melbourne in 1856. Chanter was a storekeeper and farmer and in 1878, he became the first secretary of the Victorian Farmers' Union.

In 1881 he moved to Moama, New South Wales, as an auctioneer and commission agent where he was prominent in establishing the Australian Natives' Association in New South Wales, and became its first president in 1900.His political career began in 1885 when he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the Member for Murray. He served the electorate for the three consecutive terms before becoming the Member for Deniliquin in 1894. He held the position of Secretary for Mines in the second Dibbs Ministry from 17 January 1889 to 7 March 1889.

Chanter was noted for his democratic views, and was a supporter of Edmund Barton in the lead-up to the Federation of Australia. In 1901 he was elected to the seat of Riverina in the first Australian Parliament, as a member of the Protectionist Party.

Chanter lost Riverina in 1903 to the Free Trade Party candidate Robert Blackwood, but regained it in the 1904 by-election after a petition to the High Court. Chanter opposed the Fusion of 1909, and (together with Sir William Lyne) he did not join the Commonwealth Liberal Party. Chanter instead joined the Labor Party, declaring his beliefs as closer to Labor than the Commonwealth Liberals. He again lost Riverina to Franc Falkiner, the Commonwealth Liberal Party candidate in the 1913 election, but he regained the seat for Labor in 1914.

As a result of the dispute over conscription in 1916, Chanter left the Labor Party and, together with several other former Labor members, as well as the Commonwealth Liberal Party, formed the Nationalist Party—thus reuniting him with several of his former Protectionist colleagues. He retained Riverina until the 1922 election, when he was defeated by William Killen, candidate for the new Country Party. He was the first Member of the House of Representatives to have been defeated three times in the same seat. He was praised as a local member and, though he rarely contributed to political debate, his views were always held strongly.Chanter married Mary Ann Clark in 1863, and although she died in 1920, she was survived by six sons and four daughters. After his departure from politics, Chanter retired to Caulfield, Victoria, where he died in 1931, and was buried in Brighton Cemetery. One of his sons, John Courtenay Chanter (1881-1962), served in World War I and later became a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing the division of Lachlan for the Labor Party.

John Perry (1845–1922)

John Perry (13 July 1845 – 10 May 1922) was an Australian politician.

He was born in Sydney; his father, also John Perry, was a bank clerk. He attended public schools at Surry Hills and Fort Street, and in 1861 began working for Watkins and Leigh, an importing firm. By the 1870s he was a sugar cane grower, also running a store at Alstonville. On 13 November 1870 he married Susan McAuslan Alston, with whom he had a son. In 1889 he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for Richmond, belonging to the Protectionist Party. He transferred to Ballina in 1894, back to Richmond in 1904, and to Byron in 1913. During that time he served as Minister for Public Instruction, Labour and Industry (1899–1904), Colonial Secretary (1904), Secretary for Mines (1907–1908) and Minister for Agriculture (1908–1910). After the collapse of the Protectionists' successor, the Progressive Party, in 1904, he joined the Liberal Party, along with most of his remaining party colleagues. Perry retired in 1920 and died at Pittwater two years later.(1849–1935).

Lyne ministry

The Lyne ministry was the 29th ministry of the Colony of New South Wales, and was led by the 13th Premier, the Honourable Sir William Lyne, KCMG, MLA.

Lyne was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1880 as member for Hume, serving in the Jennings and Dibbs ministries. prior to assuming leadership of the Protectionist Party. The ministry covers the period from 14 September 1899 until 27 March 1901, when Lyne was elected to the first federal Parliament. Lyne was succeeded by his Protectionist Party colleague, John See.

Progressive Party (1901)

The Progressive Party was an Australian political party, active in New South Wales state politics. The question of tariff policy which, had created and divided the Free Trade Party and Protectionist Party in New South Wales in the 1890s, became a federal issue at the time of federation. Deprived of their main ideological difference, the two parties were recreated as the Liberal Reform Party aligned with the federal Free Trade Party and the Progressive Party aligned with the federal Protectionist Party. The Progressive Party collapsed in 1907, leaving the Liberal Reform Party as the main anti-Labor Party.

In 1919, the Farmers' and Settlers' Association and the Graziers' Association founded a new Progressive Party, which won metropolitan and rural seats in the 1920 election.

Protectionist Party (Sweden)

The Protectionist Majority Party of the Upper House (Swedish: Första kammarens protektionistiska majoritetsparti) was a political party in Sweden, founded in 1888. It was a conservative and protectionist party. Two politicians from this party, Gustaf Åkerhielm and Christian Lundeberg, served as Prime Minister of Sweden. In 1912 the Protectionist Party became part of the National Party.

Reid Ministry

The Reid Ministry (Free Trade) was the 4th ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 4th Prime Minister, George Reid. The Reid Ministry succeeded the Watson Ministry, which dissolved on 17 August 1904 after the Protectionist Party withdrew their support and Chris Watson was forced to resign. Due to having to rely on the Protectionists to retain office, half of the ministry was forced to accommodate conservative Protectionists - leading to the government to sometimes be referred to as the Reid-McLean Ministry. The ministry was replaced by the Second Deakin Ministry on 5 July 1905 after the Protectionists withdrew their support and returned to office with the support of the Labour Party.

See ministry

The See ministry was the 30th ministry of the New South Wales Government, and was led by the 14th Premier, the Honourable Sir John See, KCMG, MLA.

See was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1880 as member for Grafton, serving in the Dibbs and Lyne ministries, prior to assuming leadership of the Protectionist Party. The ministry covers the period from 28 March 1901 until 14 June 1904, when failing health and the death of his wife in March 1904 compelled him to retire. See was succeeded by his Protectionist Party colleague, Thomas Waddell.

Watson Ministry

The Watson Ministry (Labour) was the 3rd ministry of the Government of Australia, and the first national Labour government formed in the world. It was led by the country's 3rd Prime Minister, Chris Watson. The Watson Ministry succeeded the First Deakin Ministry, which dissolved on 27 April 1904 after Labour withdrew their support and Alfred Deakin was forced to resign. The ministry was replaced by the Reid Ministry on 17 August 1904 after the Protectionist Party withdrew their support over the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.

William Henry Groom

William Henry Groom (9 March 1833 – 8 August 1901) was a publican, newspaper proprietor, and member of the Parliament of Queensland and the Parliament of Australia.

William Schey

William Francis Schey (1857–1913) was an Australian politician.

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