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National Party of Australia
  • NP
  • NPA
Leader David Littleproud
Deputy Leader Perin Davey
Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie
Deputy Senate Leader Perin Davey
President Kay Hull
Founder Eleven co-founders
Founded 22 January 1920; 104 years ago (1920-01-22)
Headquarters John McEwen House, Barton, Australian Capital Territory
Think tank Page Research Centre
Youth wing Young Nationals
Women's wing Nationals Women
Political position Centre-right to right-wing
National affiliation Liberal–National Coalition
Governing body Federal Council
Party branches
  • NSW
  • Qld
  • SA
  • Tas
  • Vic
  • WA
House of Representatives
15 / 151
6 / 76

The National Party of Australia, also known as The Nationals or The Nats, is a centre-right, agrarian political party in Australia. Traditionally representing graziers, farmers, and regional voters generally, it began as the Australian Country Party in 1920 at a federal level.

In 1975, it adopted the name National Country Party, before taking its current name in 1982. Ensuring support for farmers, either through government grants and subsidies or through community appeals, is a major focus of National Party policy. The process for obtaining these funds has come into question in recent years, such as during the Sports Rorts Affair. According to Ian McAllister, the Nationals are the only remaining party from the "wave of agrarian socialist parties set up around the Western world in the 1920s".

Federally (and to various extents, in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia), the Nationals have been the minor party in centre-right Coalition governments with the Liberal Party; its leader has usually served as Deputy Prime Minister. In Opposition the Coalition was usually maintained, but even otherwise the party still generally continued to work in co-operation with the Liberals (as had their predecessors the Nationalist Party and United Australia Party). Due to the closeness and integration of the two parties, as well as the declining vote of the Nationals in recent years, it has been proposed several times that the Liberals and the Nationals formally merge. In Queensland, for instance, the Country Party (later National Party) was the senior coalition party between 1925 and 2008, after which it merged with the junior Liberal Party to form the Liberal National Party of Queensland.

The current leader of the National Party is David Littleproud, who represents the Queensland electorate of Maranoa. He replaced Barnaby Joyce following a leadership spill in May 2022, after the Coalition's defeat in the 2022 federal election. The party's deputy leader is Perin Davey, Senator for New South Wales.


William McWilliams, Country Party leader 1920–1921

The Country Party was formally founded in 1913 in Western Australia, and nationally in 1920, from a number of state-based parties such as the Victorian Farmers' Union (VFU) and the Farmers' and Settlers' Association of New South Wales. Australia's first Country Party was founded in 1912 by Harry J. Stephens, editor of The Farmer & Settler, but, under fierce opposition from rival newspapers, failed to gain momentum.

The VFU won a seat in the House of Representatives at the Corangamite by-election held in December 1918, with the help of the newly introduced preferential voting system. At the 1919 federal election the state-based Country Parties won federal seats in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. They also began to win seats in state parliaments. In 1920 the Country Party was established as a national party led by William McWilliams from Tasmania. In his first speech as leader, McWilliams laid out the principles of the new party, stating "we crave no alliance, we spurn no support but we intend drastic action to secure closer attention to the needs of primary producers" McWilliams was deposed as party leader in favour of Earle Page in April 1921, following instances where McWilliams voted against the party line. McWilliams later left the Country Party to sit as an Independent.

According to historian B. D. Graham (1959), the graziers who operated the sheep stations were politically conservative. They disliked the Labor Party, which represented their workers, and feared that Labor governments would pass unfavorable legislation and listen to foreigners and communists. The graziers were satisfied with the marketing organisation of their industry, opposed any change in land tenure and labour relations, and advocated lower tariffs, low freight rates, and low taxes. On the other hand, Graham reports, the small farmers, not the graziers, founded the Country party. The farmers advocated government intervention in the market through price support schemes and marketing pools. The graziers often politically and financially supported the Country party, which in turn made the Country party more conservative.

The Country Party's first election as a united party, in 1922, saw it in an unexpected position of power. It won enough seats to deny the Nationalists an overall majority. It soon became apparent that the price for Country support would be a full-fledged coalition with the Nationalists. However, Page let it be known that his party would not serve under Hughes, and forced his resignation. Page then entered negotiations with the Nationalists' new leader, Stanley Bruce, for a coalition government. Page wanted five seats for his Country Party in a Cabinet of 11, including the Treasurer portfolio and the second rank in the ministry for himself. These terms were unusually stiff for a prospective junior coalition partner in a Westminster system, and especially so for such a new party. Nonetheless, with no other politically realistic coalition partner available, Bruce readily agreed, and the "Bruce-Page Ministry" was formed. This began the tradition of the Country Party leader ranking second in Coalition cabinets.

Page remained dominant in the party until 1939, and briefly served as caretaker Prime Minister between the death of Joseph Lyons and the election of Robert Menzies as his successor. However, Page gave up the leadership rather than serve under Menzies. The coalition was re-formed under Archie Cameron in 1940, and continued until October 1941 despite the election of Arthur Fadden as leader after the 1940 election. Fadden was well regarded within conservative circles and proved to be a loyal deputy to Menzies in the difficult circumstances of 1941. When Menzies was forced to resign as Prime Minister, the UAP was so bereft of leadership that Fadden briefly succeeded him (despite the Country Party being the junior partner in the governing coalition). However, the two independents who had been propping up the government rejected Fadden's budget and brought the government down. Fadden stood down in favour of Labor leader John Curtin.

The Fadden-led Coalition made almost no headway against Curtin, and was severely defeated in the 1943 election. After that loss, Fadden became deputy Leader of the Opposition under Menzies, a role that continued after Menzies folded the UAP into the Liberal Party of Australia in 1944. Fadden remained a loyal partner of Menzies, though he was still keen to assert the independence of his party. Indeed, in the lead up to the 1949 federal election, Fadden played a key role in the defeat of the Chifley Labor government, frequently making inflammatory claims about the "socialist" nature of the Labor Party, which Menzies could then "clarify" or repudiate as he saw fit, thus appearing more "moderate". In 1949, Fadden became Treasurer in the second Menzies government and remained so until his retirement in 1958. His successful partnership with Menzies was one of the elements that sustained the coalition, which remained in office until 1972 (Menzies himself retired in 1966).

John McEwen Swearing In
John McEwen being sworn in as Prime Minister on 19 December 1967.

Fadden's successor, Trade Minister John McEwen, took the then unusual step of declining to serve as Treasurer, believing he could better ensure that the interests of Australian primary producers were safeguarded. Accordingly, McEwen personally supervised the signing of the first post-war trade treaty with Japan, new trade agreements with New Zealand and Britain, and Australia's first trade agreement with the USSR (1965). In addition to this, he insisted on developing an all-encompassing system of tariff protection that would encourage the development of those secondary industries that would "value add" Australia's primary produce. His success in this endeavour is sometimes dubbed "McEwenism". This was the period of the Country Party's greatest power, as was demonstrated in 1962 when McEwen was able to insist that Menzies sack a Liberal Minister who claimed that Britain's entry into the European Economic Community was unlikely to severely impact the Australian economy as a whole.

Gorton Reshuffle February 1971 (1)
Prime Minister John Gorton and new Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anthony at the swearing-in of new Country Party ministers to the Second Gorton Ministry on 5 February 1971 following the retirement of McEwen.

Menzies retired in 1966 and was succeeded by Harold Holt. McEwen thus became the longest-tenured member of the government, with the informal right to veto government policy. The most significant instance in which McEwen exercised this right came when Holt disappeared in December 1967. John Gorton became the new Liberal Prime Minister in January 1968. McEwen was sworn in as interim Prime Minister pending the election of the new Liberal leader. Logically, the Liberals' deputy leader, William McMahon, should have succeeded Holt. However, McMahon was a staunch free-trader, and there were also rumours that he was homosexual. As a result, McEwen told the Liberals that he and his party would not serve under McMahon. McMahon stood down in favour of John Gorton. It was only after McEwen announced his retirement that MacMahon was able to successfully challenge Gorton for the Liberal leadership. McEwen's reputation for political toughness led to him being nicknamed "Black Jack" by his allies and enemies alike.

At the state level, from 1957 to 1989, the Country Party under Frank Nicklin and Joh Bjelke-Petersen dominated governments in Queensland—for the last six of those years ruling in its own right, without the Liberals. This was due to the bjelkemander, a malapportionment in electorates which gave rural voters twice the voting power compared to voters within the city. It also took part in governments in New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia.

However, successive electoral redistributions after 1964 indicated that the Country Party was losing ground electorally to the Liberals as the rural population declined, and the nature of some parliamentary seats on the urban/rural fringe changed. A proposed merger with the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) under the banner of "National Alliance" was rejected when it failed to find favour with voters at the 1974 state election.

Also in 1974, the Northern Territory members of the party joined with its Liberal party members to form the independent Country Liberal Party. This party continues to represent both parent parties in that territory. A separate party, the Joh-inspired NT Nationals, competed in the 1987 election with former Chief Minister Ian Tuxworth winning his seat of Barkly by a small margin. However, this splinter group was not endorsed by the national executive and soon disappeared from the political scene.

National Country Party and National Party

The National Party was confronted by the impact of demographic shifts from the 1970s: between 1971 and 1996, the population of Sydney and surrounds grew by 34%, with even larger growth in coastal New South Wales, while more remote rural areas grew by a mere 13%, further diminishing the National Party's base. At the federal convention held on 2 May 1975 in Canberra, the Country Party changed its name to the National Country Party of Australia as part of a strategy to expand into urban areas. This had some success in Queensland under Joh Bjelke-Petersen, but nowhere else. The party briefly walked out of the coalition agreement in Western Australia in May 1975, returning within the month. However, the party split in two over the decision and other factors in late 1978, with a new National Party forming and becoming independent, holding three seats in the Western Australian lower house, while the National Country Party remained in coalition and also held three seats. They reconciled after the Burke Labor government came to power in 1983.

The 1980s were dominated by the feud between Bjelke-Petersen and the federal party leadership. Bjelke-Petersen briefly triumphed in 1987, forcing the Nationals to tear up the Coalition agreement and support his bid to become Prime Minister. The "Joh for Canberra" campaign backfired spectacularly when a large number of three-cornered contests allowed Labor to win a third term under Bob Hawke; however, in 1987 the National Party won a bump in votes and recorded its highest vote in more than four decades, but it also recorded a new low in the proportion of seats won. The collapse of Joh for Canberra also proved to be the Queensland Nationals' last hurrah; Bjelke-Petersen was forced into retirement a few months after the federal election, and his party was heavily defeated in 1989. The federal National Party were badly defeated at the 1990 election, with leader Charles Blunt one of five MPs to lose his seat.

Blunt's successor as leader, Tim Fischer, recovered two seats at the 1993 election, but lost an additional 1.2% of the vote from its 1990 result. In 1996, as the Coalition won a significant victory over the Keating Labor government, the National Party recovered another two seats, and Fischer became Deputy Prime Minister under John Howard.

The Nationals experienced difficulties in the late 1990s from two fronts – firstly from the Liberal Party, who were winning seats on the basis that the Nationals were not seen to be a sufficiently separate party, and from the One Nation Party riding a swell of rural discontent with many of the policies such as multiculturalism and gun control embraced by all of the major parties. The rise of Labor in formerly safe National-held areas in rural Queensland, particularly on the coast, has been the biggest threat to the Queensland Nationals.

At the 1998 Federal election, the National Party recorded only 5.3% of the vote in the House of Representatives, its lowest ever, and won only 16 seats, at 10.8% its second lowest proportion of seats.

The National Party under Fischer and his successor, John Anderson, rarely engaged in public disagreements with the Liberal Party, which weakened the party's ability to present a separate image to rural and regional Australia. In 2001 the National Party recorded its second-worst result at 5.6% winning 13 seats, and its third lowest at 5.9% at the 2004 election, winning only 12 seats.

Australian psephologist Antony Green argues that two important trends have driven the National Party's decline at a federal level: "the importance of the rural sector to the health of the nation's economy" and "the growing chasm between the values and attitudes of rural and urban Australia". Green has suggested that the result has been that "Both have resulted in rural and regional voters demanding more of the National Party, at exactly the time when its political influence has declined. While the National Party has never been the sole representative of rural Australia, it is the only party that has attempted to paint itself as representing rural voters above all else",

In June 2005, party leader John Anderson announced that he would resign from the ministry and as Leader of the Nationals due to a benign prostate condition, he was succeeded by Mark Vaile. At the following 2007 election, the Nationals vote declined further, with the party winning a mere 5.4% of the vote and securing only 10 seats. Vaile announced his resignation as party leader which surprised his colleagues, as he had been expected to be re-elected unopposed following the election. He had planned the party leadership to go to Peter McGauran but the latter declined to stand. Warren Truss and Nigel Scullion were then elected unopposed as leader and deputy leader.

In 2010, under the leadership of Truss, the party received its lowest vote to date, at only 3.4%, however they secured a slight increase in seats from 10 to 12. At the following election in 2010 the national Party's fortunes improved slightly with a vote of 4.2% and an increase in seats from 12 to 15.

At the 2016 double dissolution election, under the leadership of Barnaby Joyce the party secured 4.6% of the vote and 16 seats. In 2018, the National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, resigned. Later in the same year it was revealed that the NSW National party and its youth wing, the Young Nationals had been infiltrated by neo-Nazis with more than 30 members being investigated for alleged links to neo-Nazism. Leader McCormack denounced the infiltration, and several suspected neo-Nazis were expelled from the party and its youth wing.

At the 2019 Australian federal election, despite severe drought, perceived inaction over the plight of the Murray–Darling Basin, a poor performance in the New South Wales state election, the National Party saw only a small decline in vote, down 0.10% to attain 4.51% of the primary vote.

State and territory parties

The official state and territorial party organisations (or equivalents) of the National Party are:

Party Leader Last election Status Federal representatives
Lower House Upper House MPs Senators
Year Votes (%) Seats votes (%) Seats
Liberal National Party of Queensland David Crisafulli 2020 35.9
34 / 93
N/A Opposition
21 / 30
5 / 12
Country Liberal Party Lia Finocchiaro 2020 31.3
8 / 25
N/A Opposition
0 / 2
1 / 2
National Party of New South Wales Dugald Saunders 2023 8.6
11 / 93
5 / 42
Liberal–National coalition opposition
7 / 47
2 / 12
National Party of Victoria Peter Walsh 2022 4.7
9 / 88
3 / 40
Liberal–National coalition opposition
3 / 39
1 / 12
National Party of Western Australia Shane Love 2021 4.1
4 / 59
3 / 36
0 / 15
0 / 12
National Party of South Australia 2022 0.4
0 / 47
0 / 22
0 / 10
0 / 12
National Party of Tasmania 2024 None
0 / 35
0 / 15
0 / 5
0 / 12

Political role

Embassy of Argentina in Canberra
John McEwen House, The National Party's headquarters in Canberra

The Nationals see their main role as giving a voice to Australians who live outside the country's metropolitan areas.

Traditionally, the leader of the National Party serves as Deputy Prime Minister when the Coalition is in government. This tradition dates back to the creation of the office in 1968.

The National Party's support base and membership are closely associated with the agricultural community. Historically anti-union, the party has vacillated between state support for primary industries ("agrarian socialism") and free agricultural trade and has opposed tariff protection for Australia's manufacturing and service industries. It is usually in favor of industrial development, opposing green politics.

"Countrymindedness" was a slogan that summed up the ideology of the Country Party from 1920 through the early 1970s. It was an ideology that was physiocratic, populist, and decentralist; it fostered rural solidarity and justified demands for government subsidies. "Countrymindedness" grew out of the failure of the country areas to participate in the rapid economic and population expansions that occurred after 1890. The growth of the ideology into urban areas came as most country people migrated to jobs in the cities. Its decline was due mainly to the reduction of real and psychological differences between country and city brought about by the postwar expansion of the Australian urban population and to the increased affluence and technological changes that accompanied it.

The Nationals vote is in decline and its traditional supporters are turning instead to prominent independents such as Bob Katter, Tony Windsor and Peter Andren in Federal Parliament and similar independents in the Parliaments of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, many of whom are former members of the National Party. In fact since the 2004 Federal election, National Party candidates have received fewer first preference votes than the Australian Greens.

Demographic changes are not helping, with fewer people living and employed on the land or in small towns, the continued growth of the larger provincial centres, and, in some cases, the arrival of left-leaning "city refugees" in rural areas. The Liberals have also gained support as the differences between the coalition partners on a federal level have become invisible. This was highlighted in January 2006, when Nationals Senator Julian McGauran defected to the Liberals, saying that there was "no longer any real distinguishing policy or philosophical difference".

In Queensland, Nationals leader Lawrence Springborg advocated merger of the National and Liberal parties at a state level in order to present a more effective opposition to the Labor Party. Previously this plan had been dismissed by the Queensland branch of the Liberal party, but the idea received in-principle support from the Liberals. Federal leader Mark Vaile stated the Nationals will not merge with the Liberal Party at a federal level. The plan was opposed by key Queensland Senators Ron Boswell and Barnaby Joyce, and was scuttled in 2006. After suffering defeat in the 2006 Queensland poll, Lawrence Springborg was replaced by Jeff Seeney, who indicated he was not interested in merging with the Liberal Party until the issue is seriously raised at a Federal level.

In September 2008, Joyce replaced CLP Senator and Nationals deputy leader Nigel Scullion as leader of the Nationals in the Senate, and stated that his party in the upper house would no longer necessarily vote with their Liberal counterparts in the upper house, which opened up another possible avenue for the Rudd Labor government to get legislation through. Joyce was elected leader in a party-room ballot on 11 February 2016, following the retirement of former leader and Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. Joyce was one of five politicians disqualified from parliament in October 2017 for holding dual citizenship, along with former deputy leader, Fiona Nash.

Queensland Liberal/National merger

Merger plans came to a head in May 2008, when the Queensland state Liberal Party gave an announcement not to wait for a federal blueprint but instead to merge immediately. The new party, the Liberal National Party, was founded in July 2008.

Electoral results

Election Leader Votes  % Seats +/– Government
1919* none 176,884 9.3
11 / 75
Increase 11 Crossbench
1922 Earle Page 197,513 12.5
14 / 75
Increase 3 Coalition
1925 313,363 10.7
13 / 75
Decrease 1 Coalition
1928 271,686 10.4
13 / 75
Steady 0 Coalition
1929 295,640 10.2
10 / 75
Decrease 3 Opposition
1931 388,544 12.2
16 / 75
Increase 6 Crossbench
1934 447,968 12.6
14 / 74
Decrease 2 Coalition
1937 560,279 15.5
16 / 74
Increase 2 Coalition
1940 Archie Cameron 531,397 13.7
13 / 74
Decrease 3 Coalition
1943 Arthur Fadden 287,000 6.9
7 / 74
Decrease 6 Opposition
1946 464,737 10.7
11 / 76
Increase 4 Opposition
1949 500,349 10.8
19 / 121
Increase 8 Coalition
1951 443,713 9.7
17 / 121
Decrease 2 Coalition
1954 388,171 8.5
17 / 121
Steady 0 Coalition
1955 347,445 7.9
18 / 122
Increase 1 Coalition
1958 John McEwen 465,320 9.3
19 / 122
Increase 1 Coalition
1961 446,475 8.5
17 / 122
Decrease 2 Coalition
1963 489,498 8.9
20 / 122
Increase 3 Coalition
1966 561,926 9.8
21 / 124
Increase 1 Coalition
1969 523,232 8.5
20 / 125
Decrease 1 Coalition
1972 Doug Anthony 622,826 9.4
20 / 125
Steady 0 Opposition
1974 736,252 9.9
21 / 127
Increase 1 Opposition
1975 869,919 11.2
23 / 127
Increase 2 Coalition
1977 793,444 10.0
19 / 124
Decrease 4 Coalition
1980 745,037 8.9
20 / 125
Increase 1 Coalition
1983 799,609 9.2
17 / 125
Decrease 3 Opposition
1984 Ian Sinclair 921,151 10.6
21 / 148
Increase 4 Opposition
1987 1,060,976 11.5
19 / 148
Decrease 2 Opposition
1990 Charles Blunt 833,557 8.4
14 / 148
Decrease 5 Opposition
1993 Tim Fischer 758,036 7.1
16 / 147
Increase 2 Opposition
1996 893,170 7.1
18 / 148
Increase 2 Coalition
1998 588,088 5.2
16 / 148
Decrease 2 Coalition
2001 John Anderson 643,926 5.6
13 / 150
Decrease 3 Coalition
2004 690,275 5.8
12 / 150
Decrease 1 Coalition
2007 Mark Vaile 682,424 5.4
10 / 150
Decrease 2 Opposition
2010 Warren Truss 419,286 3.4
12 / 150
Increase 2 Opposition
2013 554,268 4.2
15 / 150
Increase 3 Coalition
2016 Barnaby Joyce 624,555 4.6
16 / 150
Increase 1 Coalition
2019 Michael McCormack 642,233 4.5
16 / 151
Steady 0 Coalition
2022 Barnaby Joyce 528,442 3.6
16 / 151
Steady 0 Opposition


List of leaders

# Leader Term start Term end Time in office Notes
1 WMcWilliams.JPG McWilliams, WilliamWilliam McWilliams 24 February 1920 5 April 1921 1 year, 40 days
2 Earle Page.jpg Page, EarleEarle Page 5 April 1921 13 September 1939 18 years, 161 days Prime Minister: 1939
Deputy PM: 1923–29, 1934–39
3 Archie Cameron 1940.jpg Cameron, ArchieArchie Cameron 13 September 1939 16 October 1940 1 year, 33 days Deputy PM: 1940
4 Arthur Fadden.jpg Fadden, ArthurArthur Fadden 16 October 1940
acting until
12 March 1941
12 March 1958 17 years, 147 days Prime Minister: 1941
Deputy PM: 1940–41, 1949–58
5 Sir John McEwen.jpg McEwen, JohnJohn McEwen 26 March 1958 1 February 1971 12 years, 312 days Prime Minister: 1967–68
Deputy PM: 1958–67, 1968–71
6 Doug Anthony.jpg Anthony, DougDoug Anthony 2 February 1971 17 January 1984 12 years, 349 days Deputy PM: 1971–72, 1975–83
7 Ian Sinclair 1970 (cropped).jpg Sinclair, IanIan Sinclair 17 January 1984 9 May 1989 5 years, 112 days
8 Blunt, CharlesCharles Blunt 9 May 1989 6 April 1990 332 days
9 Tim Fischer.jpg Fischer, TimTim Fischer 19 April 1990 1 July 1999 9 years, 73 days Deputy PM: 1996–99
10 John Anderson at Newstead (cropped).jpg Anderson, JohnJohn Anderson 1 July 1999 23 June 2005 5 years, 357 days Deputy PM: 1999–2005
11 Mark Vaile (TM).jpg Vaile, MarkMark Vaile 23 June 2005 3 December 2007 2 years, 163 days Deputy PM: 2005–07
12 Warren Truss Portrait 2010.jpg Truss, WarrenWarren Truss 7 December 2007 11 February 2016 8 years, 66 days Deputy PM: 2013–16
13 Barnaby Joyce portrait.jpg Joyce, BarnabyBarnaby Joyce 11 February 2016 26 February 2018 2 years, 14 days Deputy PM: 2016–18
14 Michael McCormack 2018-02 (cropped).jpg McCormack, MichaelMichael McCormack 26 February 2018 21 June 2021 3 years, 116 days Deputy PM: 2018–21
(13) Barnaby Joyce portrait.jpg Joyce, BarnabyBarnaby Joyce 21 June 2021 30 May 2022 343 days Deputy PM: 2021–22
15 David Littleproud.jpg Littleproud, DavidDavid Littleproud 30 May 2022 Incumbent 2 years, 55 days

List of deputy leaders

Order Name Term start Term end Time in office Leader
1 Jowett, EdmundEdmund Jowett 24 February 1920 5 April 1921 1 year, 40 days McWilliams
2 Henry Gregory 5 April 1921 2 December 1921 241 days Page
vacant 23 February 1922 27 June 1922
3 William Fleming 27 June 1922 16 January 1923 203 days
4 William Gibson 16 January 1923 19 November 1929 6 years, 307 days
5 Thomas Paterson 19 November 1929 27 November 1937 8 years, 8 days
6 Harold Thorby 2 years, 262 days
27 November 1937 15 October 1940 Cameron
7 Arthur Fadden 15 October 1940 12 March 1941 148 days vacant
vacant 12 March 1941 22 September 1943 Fadden
8 John McEwen 22 September 1943 26 March 1958 14 years, 185 days
9 Charles Davidson 26 March 1958 11 December 1963 5 years, 260 days McEwen
10 Charles Adermann 11 December 1963 8 December 1966 2 years, 362 days
11 Doug Anthony 8 December 1966 2 February 1971 4 years, 56 days
12 Ian Sinclair 2 February 1971 17 January 1984 12 years, 349 days Anthony
13 Ralph Hunt 17 January 1984 24 July 1987 3 years, 188 days Sinclair
14 Bruce Lloyd 5 years, 242 days
24 July 1987 23 March 1993 Blunt
15 John Anderson 23 March 1993 1 July 1999 6 years, 100 days
16 Mark Vaile 1 July 1999 23 June 2005 5 years, 357 days Anderson
17 Warren Truss 23 June 2005 3 December 2007 2 years, 163 days Vaile
18 Nigel Scullion 3 December 2007 13 September 2013 5 years, 284 days Truss
19 Barnaby Joyce 13 September 2013 11 February 2016 2 years, 151 days
20 Fiona Nash 11 February 2016 7 December 2017 1 year, 299 days Joyce
21 Bridget McKenzie 7 December 2017 2 February 2020
2 years, 57 days McCormack
22 David Littleproud 2 years, 115 days
4 February 2020 30 May 2022 Joyce
23 Perin Davey 30 May 2022 Incumbent 2 years, 55 days Littleproud

List of Senate leaders

The Country Party's first senators began their terms in 1926, but the party had no official leader in the upper chamber until 1935. Instead, the party nominated a "representative" or "liaison officer" where necessary – usually William Carroll. This was so that its members "were first and foremost representatives of their states, able to enjoy complete freedom of action and speech in the Senate and not beholden to the dictates of [...] a party Senate leader". On 3 October 1935, Charles Hardy was elected as Carroll's replacement and began using the title "Leader of the Country Party in the Senate". This usage was disputed by Carroll and Bertie Johnston, but a subsequent party meeting on 10 October confirmed Hardy's position. However, after Hardy's term ended in 1938 (due to his defeat at the 1937 election), the party did not elect another Senate leader until 1949 – apparently due to its small number of senators.

Unlike the leader in the House of Representatives, the Senate leader has not always been a member of the ministry or shadow ministry at all times.

# Name Term start Term end Time in office Deputy
1 Hardy, CharlesCharles Hardy 10 October 1935 30 June 1938 2 years, 263 days
vacant 30 June 1938 1949
2 Cooper, WalterWalter Cooper 1949 1960
3 Wade, HarrieHarrie Wade 1961 1964
4 McKellar, ColinColin McKellar 1964 1969
5 Drake-Brockman, TomTom Drake-Brockman 1969 1975
6 Webster, JamesJames Webster 1976 1980
7 Scott, DouglasDouglas Scott February 1980 30 June 1985
8 Collard, StanStan Collard 1 July 1985 5 June 1987 1 year, 339 days
9 Stone, JohnJohn Stone 21 August 1987 1 March 1990 2 years, 192 days
10 Boswell, RonRon Boswell 10 April 1990 3 December 2007 17 years, 237 days Sandy Macdonald
11 Scullion, NigelNigel Scullion 3 December 2007 17 September 2008 289 days Ron Boswell
12 Joyce, BarnabyBarnaby Joyce 17 September 2008 8 August 2013 4 years, 325 days Fiona Nash
(11) Scullion, NigelNigel Scullion 8 August 2013 28 May 2019 5 years, 293 days
13 McKenzie, BridgetBridget McKenzie 28 May 2019 incumbent 5 years, 57 days Matt Canavan

Past heads of government and opposition leaders


For the 2015–2016 financial year, the top ten disclosed donors to the National Party were: Manildra Group ($182,000), Ognis Pty Ltd ($100,000), Trepang Services ($70,000), Northwake Pty Ltd ($65,000), Hancock Prospecting ($58,000), Bindaree Beef ($50,000), Mowburn Nominees ($50,000), Retail Guild of Australia ($48,000), CropLife International ($43,000) and Macquarie Group ($38,000).

The National Party also receives undisclosed funding through several methods, such as "associated entities". John McEwen House, Pilliwinks and Doogary are entities which have been used to funnel donations to the National Party without disclosing the source.

See also

  • Young Nationals (Australia)
  • Leader of the New South Wales National Party
  • Katter's Australian Party
  • National Party of Australia leadership spill, 2007
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