United Australia Party

The United Australia Party (UAP) was an Australian political party that was founded in 1931 and dissolved in 1945. The party won four federal elections in that time, usually governing in coalition with the Country Party. It provided two Prime Ministers of AustraliaJoseph Lyons (1932–1939) and Robert Menzies (1939–1941).

The UAP was created in the aftermath of the 1931 split in the Australian Labor Party. Six economically conservative Labor MPs left the party to protest the Scullin Government's financial policies during the Great Depression. Led by Joseph Lyons, a former Premier of Tasmania, the defectors initially sat as independents, but then agreed to merge with the Nationalist Party and form a united opposition. Lyons was chosen as the new party's leader due to his popularity among the general public, with former Nationalist leader John Latham becoming his deputy. He led the UAP to a landslide victory at the 1931 federal election, where the party secured an outright majority in the House of Representatives and was able to form government in its own right.

After the 1934 election, the UAP entered into a coalition with the Country Party; it retained government at the 1937 election. After Lyons' death in April 1939, the UAP elected Robert Menzies as its new leader. This resulted in the Country Party leaving the coalition, but a new coalition agreement was reached in March 1940. The 1940 election resulted in a hung parliament and the formation of a minority government with support from two independents. In August 1941, Menzies was forced to resign as prime minister in favour of Arthur Fadden, the Country Party leader; he in turn survived only 40 days before losing a confidence motion and making way for a Labor government under John Curtin. Fadden continued on as Leader of the Opposition, with Billy Hughes replacing Menzies as UAP leader. Hughes resigned after the 1943 election, and Menzies subsequently returned as UAP leader and Leader of the Opposition. The UAP ceased to exist as a parliamentary party in February 1945, when its members joined the new Liberal Party of Australia.

United Australia Party
LeaderJoseph Lyons (1931–39)
Robert Menzies (1939–41)
Billy Hughes (1941–43)
Robert Menzies (1943–45)
Founded1931
Dissolved1945
Merger ofNationalist Party
Dissident Labor MPs
Australian Party
Succeeded byLiberal Party of Australia
IdeologyLiberalism
Fiscal conservatism
Economic nationalism
Political positionCentre-right
National affiliationCoalition

History

Background

Joseph Lyons
Joseph Lyons, UAP Prime Minister of Australia 1932–1939
Robert Menzies in 1939
Robert Menzies, UAP Prime Minister of Australia 1939–1941
BillyHughes1945
The veteran Australian politician Billy Hughes led the party following Robert Menzies' resignation during the Second World War.

Joseph Lyons began his political career as an Australian Labor Party politician and served as Premier of Tasmania. Lyons was elected to the Australian Federal Parliament in 1929 and served in Prime Minister James Scullin's Labor Cabinet. Lyons became acting Treasurer in 1930 and helped negotiate the government's strategies for dealing with the Great Depression. With Scullin temporarily absent in London, Lyons and acting Prime Minister James Fenton clashed with the Labor Cabinet and Caucus over economic policy, and grappled with the differing proposals of the Premier's Plan, Lang Labor, the Commonwealth Bank and British adviser Otto Niemeyer.

While Health Minister Frank Anstey supported Premier of New South Wales Jack Lang's bid to default on debt repayments, Lyons advocated orthodox fiscal management. When Labor reinstated the more radical Ted Theodore as Treasurer in 1931, Lyons and Fenton resigned from Cabinet.[1]

Foundation

The UAP was formed in 1931 by Labor dissidents and a conservative coalition as a response to the more radical economic proposals of Labor Party members to deal with the Great Depression in Australia.[2] Lyons and Fenton's opposition to the economic policies of the Scullin Labor Government had attracted the support of prominent Australian conservatives, known as "the Group", whose number included future prime minister Robert Menzies. In parliament on 13 March 1931, though still a member of the ALP, Lyons supported a no confidence motion against the Scullin Labor government. Soon afterward, Lyons, Fenton and four other right-wing Labor MPs--Moses Gabb, Allan Guy, Charles McGrath and John Price—resigned from the ALP in protest of the Scullin government's economic policies. Five of the six Labor dissidents–all except Gabb–formed the All for Australia League and crossed over to the opposition benches. On 7 May, the All for Australia League, the Nationalist opposition (hitherto led by John Latham) and former Prime Minister Billy Hughes' Australian Party (a group of former Nationalists who had been expelled for crossing the floor and bringing down Stanley Bruce's Nationalist government in 1929), merged to form the UAP. Although the new party was dominated by former Nationalists, Lyons was chosen as the new party's leader, and thus became Leader of the Opposition, with Latham as his deputy.[1] The Western Australia branch of the Nationalists, however, retained the Nationalist name.

Claiming that the Scullin government was incapable of managing the economy, it offered traditional deflationary economic policies in response to Australia's economic crisis. Though it was basically an upper- and middle-class conservative party, the presence of ex-Labor MPs with working-class backgrounds allowed the party to present a convincing image of national unity transcending class barriers. This was especially true of the party leader, Lyons. Indeed, he had been chosen as the merged party's leader because he was thought to be more electorally appealing than the aloof Latham, and was thus better suited to win over traditional Labor supporters to the UAP. Its slogan was "All for Australia and the Empire".

A further split, this time of left-wing NSW Labor MPs who supported the unorthodox economic policies of NSW Premier Jack Lang, cost the Scullin government its parliamentary majority. In November 1931, Lang Labor dissidents broke with the Scullin government and joined with the UAP opposition to pass a no-confidence motion, forcing an early election.

Lyons Government

With the Labor Party split between Scullin's supporters and Langites, and with a very popular leader (Lyons had a genial manner and the common touch), the UAP won the elections in December 1931 in a massive landslide which saw the two wings of the Labor Party cut down to 18 seats between them, and Lyons became Prime Minister in January 1932.[3] He took office at the helm of a UAP majority government. The UAP initially hoped to renew the non-Labor Coalition with the Country Party of Earle Page after coming up four seats short of a majority in its own right. However, the five MPs elected from the Emergency Committee of South Australia, which stood in place of the UAP and Country Party in South Australia, joined the UAP party room, giving the UAP a bare majority of two seats. When negotiations with Page broke down, Lyons formed an exclusively UAP government. In 1934, the UAP lost six seats, forcing Lyons to take the Country Party into his government in a full-fledged Coalition.

The Lyons government followed the conservative economic policies it had promised in opposition, and benefited politically from the gradual worldwide economic recovery as the 1930s went on.

Response to Depression

Lyons favoured the tough economic measures of the "Premiers' Plan", pursued an orthodox fiscal policy and refused to accept NSW Premier Jack Lang's proposals to default on overseas debt repayments. A dramatic episode in Australian history followed Lyons' first electoral victory when NSW Premier Jack Lang refused to pay interest on overseas State debts. The Lyons government stepped in and paid the debts and then passed the Financial Agreement Enforcement Act to recover the money it had paid. In an effort to frustrate this move, Lang ordered State departments to pay all receipts directly to the Treasury instead of into Government bank accounts. The New South Wales Governor, Sir Philip Game, intervened on the basis that Lang had acted illegally in breach of the state Audit Act and sacked the Lang Government, who then suffered a landslide loss at the consequent 1932 state election.[4]

Australia entered the Depression with a debt crisis and a credit crisis. According to author Anne Henderson of the Sydney Institute, Lyons held a steadfast belief in "the need to balance budgets, lower costs to business and restore confidence" and the Lyons period gave Australia "stability and eventual growth" between the drama of the Depression and the outbreak of the Second World War. A lowering of wages was enforced and industry tariff protections maintained, which together with cheaper raw materials during the 1930s saw a shift from agriculture to manufacturing as the chief employer of the Australian economy – a shift which was consolidated by increased investment by the commonwealth government into defence and armaments manufacture. Lyons saw restoration of Australia's exports as the key to economic recovery.[5] A devalued Australian currency assisted in restoring a favourable balance of trade. Tariffs had been a point of difference between the Country Party and United Australia Party. The CP opposed high tariffs because they increased costs for farmers, while the UAP had support among manufacturers who supported tariffs. Lyons was therefore happy to be perceived as "protectionist". Australia agreed to give tariff preference to British Empire goods, following the 1932 Imperial economic conference. The Lyons Government lowered interest rates to stimulate expenditure.[4] Another point of difference was the issue of establishing national unemployment insurance. Debate on this issue became strained with the Country Party opposing the plan. On this issue, deputy leader Robert Menzies and Country Party leader Earle Page would have a public falling out.

According to author Brian Carroll, Lyons had been underestimated when he assumed office in 1932 and as leader he demonstrated: "a combination of honesty, native shrewdness, tact, administrative ability, common sense, good luck and good humour that kept him in the job longer than any previous Prime Minister except Hughes".[4] Lyons was assisted in his campaigning by his politically active wife, Enid Lyons. She had a busy official role from 1932 to 1939 and, following her husband's death, stood for Parliament herself, becoming Australia's first female Member of the House of Representatives, and later first woman in Cabinet, joining the Menzies Cabinet in 1951.[6]

Preparation for war

Defence issues became increasingly dominant in public affairs with the rise of fascism in Europe and militant Japan in Asia.[7] The UAP largely supported the western powers in their policy of appeasement, however veteran UAP minister Billy Hughes was an exception and he embarrassed the government with his 1935 book Australia and the War Today which exposed a lack of preparation in Australia for what Hughes correctly supposed to be a coming war. Hughes was forced to resign, but the Lyons government tripled its defence budget.[8]

On 7 April 1939, with the storm clouds of the Second World War gathering in Europe and the Pacific, Joseph Lyons became the first Prime Minister of Australia to die in office. Driving from Canberra to Sydney, en route to his home in Tasmania for Easter, he suffered a heart attack, dying soon after in hospital in Sydney, on Good Friday.[9] The UAP's Deputy leader, Robert Menzies, had resigned in March, citing the coalition's failure to implement a plan for national insurance. In the absence of a UAP deputy, the Governor-General, Lord Gowrie, appointed Country Party leader Sir Earle Page as his temporary replacement, pending the selection of Lyons' successor by the UAP.[4]

Menzies Government

Menzies Churchill WW21941
Prime Minister Robert Menzies and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1941.

Robert Menzies defeated Hughes for the UAP leadership and became Prime Minister on 26 April 1939.[10] Page refused to serve under Menzies, leaving the UAP with a minority government.

In addition to the office of Prime Minister, Menzies served as Treasurer. The First Menzies Ministry included the ageing former Prime Minister Billy Hughes and the young future Prime Minister Harold Holt.[11] Menzies tried and failed to have the issue of national insurance examined by a committee of parliamentarians. Though no longer in formal coalition, his government survived because the Country Party preferred a UAP government to that of a Labor government.[8]

World War II

The growing threat of war dominated politics through 1939. Menzies supported British policy against Hitler's Germany (negotiate for peace, but prepare for war) and – fearing Japanese intentions in the Pacific – established independent embassies in Tokyo and Washington in order to receive independent advice about developments.[11] Menzies announced Australia's entry into World War Two on 3 September 1939 as a consequence of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland. Australia was ill-prepared for war. A National Security Act was passed, the recruitment of a volunteer military force for service at home and abroad was announced, the 2nd Australian Imperial Force, and a citizen militia was organised for local defence.

Troubled by Britain's failure to increase defences at Singapore, Menzies was cautious in committing troops to Europe, nevertheless in 1940–41, Australian forces played prominent roles in the fighting in the Mediterranean theatre.

A special War Cabinet was created;– initially composed of Menzies and five senior ministers (RG Casey, GA Street, Senator McLeay, HS Gullet and World War I Prime Minister Billy Hughes).[11] In January 1940, Menzies dispatched potential leadership rival Richard Casey to Washington as Australia's first "Minister to the United States". In a consequent by-election, the UAP suffered a heavy defeat and Menzies re-entered coalition negotiations with the Country Party.[8] In March 1940, troubled negotiations were concluded with the Country Party to re-enter Coalition with the UAP. The replacement of Earle Page as leader by Archie Cameron allowed Menzies to reach accommodation. A new Coalition ministry was formed including a number of Country Party members.[11]

With the 1940 election looming, Menzies lost his Chief of the General Staff and three loyal ministers in the Canberra air disaster.[11] The Labor Party meanwhile experienced a split along pro and anti Communist lines over policy towards the Soviet Union for its co-operation with Nazi Germany in the invasion of Poland; this resulted in the formation of the Non-Communist Labor Party.[12] The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) opposed and sought to disrupt Australia's war effort. Menzies banned the CPA after the fall of France in 1940, but by 1941 Stalin was forced to join the allied cause when Hitler reneged on the Pact and invaded the USSR. The USSR came to bear the brunt of the carnage of Hitler's war machine and the Communist Party in Australia lost its early war stigma as a result.[13]

At the general election in September 1940, there was a large swing to Labor and the UAP-Country Party coalition lost its majority, continuing in office only because of the support of two independent MPs, Arthur Coles and Alexander Wilson. The UAP–Country Party coalition and the Labor parties won 36 seats each.[12] Menzies proposed an all party unity government to break the impasse, but the Labor Party under John Curtin refused to join.[11] Curtin agreed instead to take a seat on a newly created Advisory War Council in October 1940.[12] New Country Party leader Arthur Fadden became Treasurer and Menzies unhappily conceded to allow Earle Page back into his ministry.

In January 1941, Menzies flew to Britain to discuss the weakness of Singapore's defences and sat with Winston Churchill's British War Cabinet. En route he inspected Singapore's defences – finding them alarmingly inadequate – and visited Australian troops in the Mid-East. He at times clashed with Churchill in the War Cabinet, and was unable to achieve significant assurances for increased commitment to Singapore's defences, but undertook morale boosting excursions to war affected cities and factories and was well received by the British press and generally raised awareness in Britain of Australia's contribution to its war effort.[8] He Returned to Australia via Canada and the United States – addressing the Canadian parliament and lobbying President Roosevelt for more arms production.[8] After four months, Menzies returned to Australia to face a lack of enthusiasm for his global travels and a war-time minority government under ever increasing strain.

In Menzies's absence, Curtin had co-operated with Fadden in preparing Australia for the expected Pacific War. With the threat of Japan imminent and with the Australian army suffering badly in the Greek and Crete campaigns, Menzies re-organised his ministry and announced multiple multi-party committees to advise on war and economic policy. Government critics however called for an all-party government.

Menzies resignation

In August, Cabinet decided that Menzies should travel back to Britain to represent Australia in the War Cabinet – but this time the Labor caucus refused to support the plan. Menzies announced to his Cabinet that he thought he should resign and advise the Governor General to invite Curtin to form Government. The Cabinet instead insisted he approach Curtin again to form a war cabinet. Unable to secure Curtin's support, and with an unworkable parliamentary majority, Menzies faced continuing problems with the administration of the war effort and the undermining of his leadership by members of his own coalition. Menzies resigned as prime minister on 29 August 1941, but initially stayed on as UAP leader.

Fadden Government

Following Menzies' resignation, a joint UAP–Country Party meeting chose Fadden to be his successor as prime minister, even though the Country Party was the junior partner in the coalition. Menzies became Minister for Defence Co-ordination.

Curtin GGPrinceHenry Fadden Hughes Menzies
Four Prime Ministers in 1945: Labor Prime Minister John Curtin (left) shares a joke with the Governor General Prince Henry (in uniform) with former Country Party Prime Minister Arthur Fadden, Nationalist Prime Minister Billy Hughes and UAP Prime Minister Robert Menzies.

Australia marked two years of war on 7 September 1941 with a day of prayer, on which Prime Minister Fadden broadcast to the nation an exhortation to be united in the ‘supreme task of defeating the forces of evil in the world". With the Pacific on the brink of war, Opposition leader John Curtin offered friendship and co-operation to Fadden, but refused to join in an all-party wartime national government.[14]

Coles and Wilson were angered at how Menzies had been treated, and on 3 October voted with the Opposition in the House of Representatives to reject Fadden’s budget. Fadden promptly resigned—to date, the last time a sitting government has been defeated in the House. Under the prodding of Governor-General Lord Gowrie, who wanted to avoid calling an election given the dangerous international situation, Coles and Wilson threw their support to Labor. Gowrie then duly swore Curtin in as prime minister on 7 October 1941.[14] Eight weeks later, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

On 9 October, Menzies resigned as UAP leader, but not before calling for a partyroom meeting to determine whether the party should form a united opposition with the Country Party or go it alone. His preferred option was the latter, and he had intended to re-contest the leadership if he was successful. However, the party voted 19–12 to form a united opposition under the leadership of Fadden. Although the UAP had been in government for a decade, Menzies' resignation revealed a party almost completely bereft of leadership. With no obvious successor to Menzies, the UAP was forced to turn to the 79-year-old former prime minister Billy Hughes as its new leader.[15] With Menzies out and the aged Hughes seen as a stop-gap leader, UAP members jostled for position.[14]

Demise of the party

Having spent all but eight months of its existence prior to 1941 in government, the UAP was ill-prepared for a role in opposition. Curtin proved a popular leader, rallying the nation in the face of the danger of invasion by the Japanese after Japan's entry into the war in December 1941. Even allowing for the advantages a sitting government has in wartime, the Labor government seemed more effective than its predecessor. Fadden and Hughes were unable to get the better of Curtin. By the time the writs were issued for the 1943 federal election, the Coalition had sunk into near paralysis. At the election, the Coalition suffered a massive defeat and was reduced to only 19 seats nationwide, including 12 for the UAP.

After this election defeat Menzies returned to the UAP leadership, and Fadden handed the post of opposition leader to him as well. However, as the Nationalists had a decade earlier, the party and its organisation now seemed moribund, particularly in NSW. UAP branches tended to become inactive between elections, and its politicians were seen as compromised by their reliance on large donations from business and financial organisations.[16] In New South Wales, for instance, the party collapsed altogether – its replacements included the Democratic Party, the Commonwealth Party, and the Liberal Democratic Party. In Queensland the state party was absorbed into the Queensland People's Party.[17]

Menzies was convinced that the UAP was no longer viable, and a new anti-Labor party needed to be formed to replace it. On 31 August 1945 the UAP was folded into the newly formed Liberal Party of Australia, with Menzies as leader.[18][19] The new party was dominated by former UAP members; with few exceptions, the UAP party room became the Liberal party room.

The Liberal Party went on to become the dominant centre-right party in Australian politics. After an initial loss to Labor at the 1946 election, Menzies led the new non-Labor Coalition of the Liberal and Country parties to victory at the 1949 election against the incumbent Labor government led by Curtin's successor, Ben Chifley. The Coalition stayed in office for a record 23 years.

Electoral performance

Election Seats +/– Votes % Rank Government Leader
1931
34 / 75
Increase 34 1,145,083 36.1 Increase 1st Majority government Joseph Lyons
1934
28 / 74
Decrease 6 1,170,978 32.9 Steady 1st Majority government
coalition with Country Party
Joseph Lyons
1937
28 / 74
Steady 0 1,214,526 33.7 Decrease 2nd Majority government
coalition with Country Party
Joseph Lyons
1940
23 / 74
Decrease 5 1,171,788 30.2 Steady 2nd Minority government
coalition with Country Party
Robert Menzies
1943
14 / 74
Decrease 9 927,049 22.5 Steady 2nd Opposition Billy Hughes

Note: the United Australia Party did not run candidates in South Australia in 1931. The Emergency Committee of South Australia was the main anti-Labor party, but five MPs elected under that banner joined the parliamentary UAP after the election.

Leaders

# Leader Term start Term end Deputy
1 Joseph Lyons Joseph Lyons 7 May 1931 7 April 1939† John Latham (to 15 September 1934)
none (15 September 1934 – 5 December 1935)
Robert Menzies (5 December 1935 – 20 March 1939)
none (from 20 March 1939)
2 Robert Menzies in 1939 Robert Menzies 18 April 1939 9 October 1941 none
3 Billy Hughes 1939 Billy Hughes 9 October 1941 22 September 1943 none
(2) Robert Menzies in 1939 Robert Menzies 22 September 1943 21 February 1945 Billy Hughes (to 14 April 1944)
Eric Harrison (from 14 April 1944)

References

  1. ^ a b "Before office – Joseph Lyons – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  2. ^ "Elections – Joseph Lyons – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  3. ^ "In office – James Scullin – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  4. ^ a b c d Brian Carroll; From Barton to Fraser; Cassell Australia; 1978
  5. ^ Anne Henderson; Joseph Lyons: The People's Prime Minister; NewSouth; 2011.
  6. ^ "Enid Lyons – Joseph Lyons – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. 1934-10-24. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  7. ^ "In office – Joseph Lyons – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  8. ^ a b c d e Brian Carroll; From Barton to Fraser; Cassell Australia; 1978
  9. ^ "After office – Joseph Lyons – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. 1939-04-07. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  10. ^ A. W. Martin. "Biography – Sir Robert Gordon (Bob) Menzies – Australian Dictionary of Biography". Adb.online.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "In office – Robert Menzies – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  12. ^ a b c "Before office – John Curtin – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  13. ^ Beaumont, John (1996). Australia's war 1939–1945. Allen & Unwin. pp. 94–95.
  14. ^ a b c "In office – Arthur Fadden – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  15. ^ "After office – William Morris Hughes – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  16. ^ Government Politics Power & Policy, Woodward et al ISBN 0-582-81008-6
  17. ^ John Laverty, 'Chandler, Sir John Beals (1887–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/chandler-sir-john-beals-9724/text17171, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 22 June 2018.
  18. ^ "After office – William Morris Hughes – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Before office – Arthur Fadden – Australia's PMs – Australia's Prime Ministers". Primeministers.naa.gov.au. Retrieved 17 October 2012.

Bibliography

1939 United Australia Party leadership election

The United Australia Party held a leadership election on 18 April 1939, following the death in office of Prime Minister Joseph Lyons on 7 April. Robert Menzies narrowly defeated Billy Hughes – a former Nationalist prime minister – on the third ballot, following the earlier elimination of Treasurer Richard Casey and Trade Minister Thomas White. Another former prime minister, Stanley Bruce, had also been considered a leadership contender, but for various reasons (including his position outside of parliament as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom) he was never nominated. Menzies was not sworn in as prime minister until 26 April.

1941 United Australia Party leadership election

The United Australia Party (UAP) held a leadership election on 9 October 1941, following the resignation of Robert Menzies on the same day. Billy Hughes was elected as his replacement.

Menzies had become UAP leader (and thus prime minister) in 1939, following the death of Joseph Lyons. The UAP initially governed in its own right, but in 1940 formed a coalition with the Country Party under Arthur Fadden. On 29 August 1941, Menzies resigned the prime ministership in favour of Fadden, who had been elected by a joint meeting of the Coalition parties. However, the Fadden Government lasted only 40 days before being defeated on a vote of confidence. John Curtin's Labor Party formed a new government on 7 October, with the Coalition parties forced into opposition.

On 9 October, Menzies called a meeting of the parliamentary UAP. He resigned the party's leadership, but not before calling for a vote to determine whether the UAP should form a joint opposition with the Country Party (with Fadden as opposition leader). After a long debate, a joint opposition was approved by 19 votes to 12, despite Menzies arguing against the proposal. As a result, he did not re-contest the party leadership. There were three candidates – former prime minister and attorney-general Billy Hughes, former army minister Percy Spender, and former external territories minister Allan McDonald. Spender was eliminated on the first ballot, and Hughes narrowly defeated McDonald on the second. The final tally of votes was not released, but some sources reported the margin to be only a single vote. Hughes, who was 79 years old (although claiming to be 77), was viewed as "a stop-gap choice to give time for animosities to cool or a more formidable rival to Menzies to emerge".

1943 United Australia Party leadership election

The United Australia Party (UAP) held a leadership election on 22 September 1943, following the resignation of Billy Hughes. Robert Menzies, the party's former leader from 1939 to 1941, was elected as his replacement, defeating three other candidates – Thomas White, Allan McDonald, and Percy Spender.

All for Australia League

The All for Australia League was a minor Australian political party that operated in New South Wales in 1931. The party was established in February 1931. It represented an alternative to the existing conservative parties the United Australia Party and the Country Party, and was generally seen as more right-wing than either. Gordon Bennett was prominent in the League. The party declined after 1931. It dissolved in February 1932 when it merged with the Nationalists to establish the New South Wales division of the United Australia Party.

Athol Richardson

Athol Railton Richardson (15 May 1897 – 22 May 1982) was an Australian politician and judge. Richardson represented the Electoral district of Ashfield for the United Australia Party and the Liberal Party from 11 May 1935 until 5 February 1952.

Australian Labor Party split of 1931

The Australian Labor Party split of 1931 was caused by severe divisions within the Australian Labor Party over their economic response to the Great Depression in Australia. Amidst intense disagreement between economically conservative and radical elements of the party, two senior ministers in the Scullin Labor government, Joseph Lyons and James Fenton, resigned from Cabinet in January 1931. Lyons, Fenton and their supporters would subsequently merge with the conservative opposition Nationalist Party of Australia to form the new United Australia Party, led by Lyons with the last Nationalist leader, John Latham, as his deputy.In March 1931, the Labor Party split on the left as well, when Eddie Ward, a supporter of radical anti-austerity Premier of New South Wales Jack Lang, won a by-election, and was refused entry to the Labor caucus, resulting in six Lang supporters forming a Lang Labor party on the crossbench. In November, the United Australia Party and Lang Labor succeeded in defeating the Scullin government, resulting in the 1931 federal election in December. The election resulted in a landslide victory for the United Australia Party and the election of Lyons as Prime Minister.While Lang Labor would eventually be largely reabsorbed into the Labor Party, the United Australia Party continued to be the main conservative force in Australia until replaced by the Liberal Party of Australia in 1945.

Australian Party

The Australian Party was a political party founded and led by Billy Hughes after his expulsion from the Nationalist Party. The party was formed in 1929, and at its peak had four members of federal parliament. It was merged into the new United Australia Party in 1931, having never contested a federal election.

Bertram Stevens (politician)

Sir Bertram Sydney Barnsdale Stevens (2 January 1889 – 24 March 1973) was an Australian politician who served as the 25th Premier of New South Wales, in office from 1932 to 1939 as leader of the United Australia Party (UAP).

Stevens grew up in Sydney and was an accountant and public servant before entering politics. He was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly at the 1927 state election, as a member of the Nationalist Party. In 1929, he was appointed state treasurer under Thomas Bavin, serving until his party lost the 1930 election. In 1932, Stevens was elected as the inaugural leader of the state branch of the UAP. He became premier later that year, following the dismissal of Labor's Jack Lang, and subsequently led his party to victory at the 1932, 1935, and 1938 elections. Stevens was ousted in 1939 and replaced by Alexander Mair. He made an abortive attempt to enter federal politics at the 1940 election, and thereafter played little part in public life.

Billy Hughes

William Morris Hughes, (25 September 1862 – 28 October 1952) was an Australian politician who served as the seventh Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1915 to 1923. He is best known for leading the country during World War I, but his influence on national politics spanned several decades. Hughes was a member of federal parliament from Federation in 1901 until his death, the only person to have served for more than 50 years. He represented six political parties during his career, leading five, outlasting four, and being expelled from three.

Hughes was born in London to Welsh parents. He emigrated to Australia at the age of 22, and became involved in the fledgling labour movement. He was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1894, as a member of the New South Wales Labor Party, and then transferred to the new federal parliament in 1901. Hughes combined his early political career with part-time legal studies, and was called to the bar in 1903. He first entered cabinet in 1904, in the short-lived Watson Government, and was later Attorney-General in each of Andrew Fisher's governments. He was elected deputy leader of the Australian Labor Party in 1914.

Hughes became prime minister in October 1915, when Fisher retired due to ill health. The war was the dominant issue of the time, and his support for sending conscripted troops overseas caused a split within Labor ranks. Hughes and his supporters were expelled from the party in November 1916, but he was able to remain in power at the head of the new National Labor Party, which after a few months merged with the Liberals to form the Nationalist Party. His government was re-elected with large majorities at the 1917 and 1919 elections. Hughes established the forerunners of the Australian Federal Police and the CSIRO during the war, and also created a number of new state-owned enterprises to aid the post-war economy. He made a significant impression on other world leaders at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, where he secured Australian control of the former German New Guinea.

At the 1922 election, the Nationalists lost their majority in parliament and were forced to form a coalition with the Country Party. Hughes' resignation was the price for Country Party support, and he was succeeded as prime minister by Stanley Bruce. He became one of Bruce's leading critics over time, and in 1928, following a dispute over industrial relations, he and his supporters crossed the floor on a confidence motion and brought down the government. After a period as an independent, Hughes formed his own organisation, the Australian Party, which in 1931 merged into the new United Australia Party (UAP). He returned to cabinet in 1934, and became known for his prescient warnings against Japanese imperialism. As late as 1939, he missed out on a second stint as prime minister by only a handful of votes, losing a UAP leadership ballot to Robert Menzies.

Hughes is generally acknowledged as one of the most influential Australian politicians of the 20th century. He was a controversial figure throughout his lifetime, and his legacy continues to be debated by historians. His strong views and abrasive manner meant he frequently made political enemies, often from within his own parties. Hughes' opponents accused him of engaging in authoritarianism and populism, as well as inflaming sectarianism; his use of the War Precautions Act 1914 was particularly controversial. His former colleagues in the Labor Party considered him a traitor, while conservatives were suspicious of what they viewed as his socialist economic policies. However, he was extremely popular among the general public, particularly ex-servicemen, who affectionately nicknamed him "the little digger".

Eric Harrison

Sir Eric John Harrison (7 September 1892 – 26 September 1974) was an Australian politician and diplomat. He was the inaugural deputy leader of the Liberal Party (1945–1956), and a government minister under four prime ministers. He was later High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1956 to 1964.

Harrison was born in Sydney and left school at the age of 13. He served with the Australian Army during World War I, and after the war's end became the manager of a textile factory. Harrison was elected to the House of Representatives in 1931, representing the United Australia Party (UAP). He served briefly as Minister for Interior in 1934, under Joseph Lyons, and returned to the ministry in 1938. Over the next three years he held positions in the governments of Lyons, Earle Page, Robert Menzies, and Arthur Fadden.

In 1944, Harrison replaced Billy Hughes as deputy leader of the UAP. When the new Liberal Party was formed the following year, he was elected to the same position. In Menzies' second government, Harrison held various defence-related portfolios. He was also made the inaugural Leader of the House in 1951. Harrison left politics in 1956 to become High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. He retired in 1964, and suffered from Parkinson's disease in later years. His daughter, Shirley Walters, followed him into politics, becoming the first woman to represent Tasmania in the Senate.

George Pearce

Sir George Foster Pearce KCVO (14 January 1870 – 24 June 1952) was an Australian politician who served as a Senator for Western Australia from 1901 to 1938. He began his career in the Labor Party but later joined the National Labor Party, the Nationalist Party, and the United Australia Party; he served as a cabinet minister under prime ministers from all four parties.

Pearce was born in Mount Barker, South Australia. He left school at the age of 11 and trained as a carpenter, later moving to Western Australia and becoming involved in the union movement. He helped establish the Labor Party there, and in 1901 – aged 31 – was elected to the new federal parliament. Pearce was elevated to cabinet in 1908, under Andrew Fisher, and served in each of Fisher's three governments. He continued on in cabinet when Billy Hughes became prime minister in 1915, and after the Labor Party split of 1916 followed Hughes to the National Labor Party and then to the Nationalists. Pearce also served in cabinet under Stanley Bruce and, after joining the UAP in 1931, Joseph Lyons. He was perhaps best known for his service as Minister for Defence, holding that position from 1908 to 1909, 1910 to 1913, 1914 to 1921, and 1932 to 1934. His 24 years in cabinet and 37 years as a senator are both records.

Joseph Lyons

Joseph Aloysius Lyons (15 September 1879 – 7 April 1939) was the tenth Prime Minister of Australia, serving from January 1932 until his death. He had earlier served as Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928, and was the first, and to date only, prime minister from Tasmania.

Lyons was born in Stanley, Tasmania, and was a schoolteacher and trade unionist before entering politics. He was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1909, representing the Labor Party, and became a government minister in 1914, under John Earle. Lyons was elected party leader after the Labor government's defeat at the 1916 state election. He became premier in October 1923, after Walter Lee lost a no-confidence motion, and served until being defeated at the 1928 state election. He afterward entered federal politics.

Elected to the Division of Wilmot at the 1929 federal election, Lyons was immediately made a minister in the new government formed by James Scullin. However, he resigned from cabinet in January 1931 over a policy dispute, and two months later left the party altogether. He and several other Labor defectors subsequently helped to form the new United Australia Party (UAP), which elected Lyons as its leader. The UAP won government at the 1931 federal election, and was re-elected in 1934 and 1937. Lyons died of a heart attack in April 1939, becoming the first prime minister to die in office. His wife, Enid Lyons, later became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives.

Nationalist Party (Australia)

The Nationalist Party was an Australian political party. It was formed on 17 February 1917 from a merger between the conservative Commonwealth Liberal Party and the National Labor Party, the latter formed by Prime Minister Billy Hughes and his supporters after the 1916 Labor Party split over World War I conscription. The Nationalist Party was in government (from 1923 in coalition with the Country Party) until electoral defeat in 1929. From that time it was the main opposition to the Labor Party until it merged with pro-Joseph Lyons Labor defectors to form the United Australia Party (UAP) in 1931. The UAP was the immediate predecessor to the current Liberal Party of Australia, the main centre-right party in Australia.

Pauline's United Australia Party

Pauline's United Australia Party was an Australian political party launched by One Nation founder Pauline Hanson on 24 May 2007 and registered by the Australian Electoral Commission on 20 September 2007.The party draws on the name but is unrelated to the historic United Australia Party which existed from 1931 to 1945. Hanson formed the party in order to ensure that her name appeared above the line (as per the voting method in Australian federal elections) rather than simply below the line amongst a list of independent candidates.

Hanson stood for the Australian Senate in the state of Queensland during the 2007 federal election, in which she received 101,461 first preference votes, representing 4.2% of the statewide vote.Brian Burston, Hanson's former One Nation adviser and future Senator, also stood for the Senate in the state of New South Wales and received 39,807 votes, which was nearly 1% of the total votes.Hanson voluntarily de-registered the party in March 2010 after announcing her intention to relocate to the United Kingdom. Her planned emigration did not go ahead, but the party remained de-registered.

Hanson rejoined One Nation in 2013, and in November 2014, she announced that she had returned as One Nation leader, following support from One Nation party members. She has since been elected to the Senate.

Reginald Weaver

Reginald Walter Darcy Weaver (18 July 1876 – 12 November 1945) was an Australian conservative parliamentarian who served in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for 28 years. Serving from 1917 in the backbenches, he entered the cabinet of Thomas Bavin in 1929 as Secretary for Mines and Minister for Forests until he returned to opposition in 1930. Following the success of the United Australia Party in the 1932 election, Weaver returned as the Secretary for Public Works and Minister for Health in the Stevens ministry.

In 1935 he was dropped from the ministry but was later elected as the Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1937, holding office until the Mair Government lost power in 1941. Weaver then witnessed the death of the United Australia Party in 1943 and became the leader of the new Democratic Party in 1944. He was then involved in the negotiations to form the future Liberal Party, which were ultimately successful, with Weaver becoming the first leader of the Liberal Party in April 1945. He served only briefly until dying of a heart attack in November 1945.

Stanley Argyle

Sir Stanley Seymour Argyle KBE (4 December 1867 – 23 November 1940), Australian politician, was the 32nd Premier of Victoria.

United Australia Party (2013)

The United Australia Party (UAP), formerly known as the Palmer United Party (PUP), is an Australian political party formed by mining magnate Clive Palmer in April 2013 and deregistered in 2017. It was initially announced as the United Australia Party, and branded as a revival of the historic party of that name. However, it adopted the name "Palmer United Party" less than a month after its founding, to ease registration and to avoid a conflict with a similarly named party. In 2018 it was revived under the original name, with ex-Pauline Hanson's One Nation senator Brian Burston representing it in parliament.The party fielded candidates in all 150 House of Representatives seats at the September 2013 federal election. Palmer, the party's leader, was elected to the Division of Fairfax and it reached a peak of three Senators following the rerun of the Western Australian senate election in 2014.

At state and territory level, Palmer United has been represented in the Parliament of the Northern Territory (NT) and the Parliament of Queensland. Two former Liberal National (and later independent) members of the Queensland Legislative Assembly joined the PUP in April 2013, while three former Country Liberal (CLP) (and briefly independent) members of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, joined the party in April 2014. Both of the Queensland members left to become independents again during 2014, and all of the NT members left the party in the same year, with two becoming independents and one re-joining the CLP. The party contested the South Australian, Tasmanian, and Victorian state elections in 2014, but none of its candidates have been elected to a state or territory parliament.

The second incarnation of the party was registered by the Australian Electoral Commission on 12 December 2018.

United Australia Party (South Australia)

The United Australia Party was a minor political party in South Australia, led by Ellis Wayland. It is not related to the former United Australia Party of 1931–1945.

It contested the 1997 election, running 16 candidates and gained 1.5% of the vote in the Lower House, and ran 3 candidates and gained 1.3% of the vote in the Upper House. None of its candidates were successful and the party was disbanded after the election.

United Australia Party – Queensland

The United Australia Party was the short-lived Queensland branch of the national United Australia Party in the 1930s and 1940s. Based around Brisbane, it spent the entire of its history in opposition, merging in 1941 into the Country-National Organisation. When that party separated in 1944, the remnants of the UAP joined the Queensland People's Party which in 1949 became the Liberal Party of Australia (Queensland Division)

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