- List of Australian Leaders of the Opposition
This is a List of Australian Leaders of the Opposition, who in Australian Federal Politics is a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives. The position is usually held by the leader of the party which has the most seats but is not part of the Government. When in Parliament the Leader of the Opposition sits on the left-hand side of the table in the centre, in front of the Opposition and opposite the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the party, or coalition of parties, with the most seats in Parliament, and thus is the leader of the Government. The leader is elected by the Opposition Party according to its rules. A new Opposition Leader may be elected when the incumbent dies, resigns or is challenged for the leadership.
The Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system and is based on the Westminster model. The term Opposition has a specific meaning in the parliamentary sense, in its formal title of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. This is an important component of the Westminster system: the Opposition directs its criticism at the Government and attempts to defeat and replace the Government. The Opposition is therefore the 'Government in waiting' and it is a formal part of the parliamentary system, just as is the Government. It is in opposition to the Government, but not to the Crown, hence the term 'Loyal Opposition'.
The current Leader of the Opposition is Tony Abbott, who defeated Malcolm Turnbull for leadership of the Liberal Party on 1 December 2009 (2009 becoming the fifth year in a row in which there has been a change in Opposition leadership). The Liberal Party has been in opposition since losing the 2007 election to the Labor Party, which had formed the opposition since 1996. To date there have been thirty-two Opposition Leaders, seventeen of whom have served terms as Prime Minister.
Leaders of the Opposition
- ^ Denotes an Opposition Leader who had previously been Prime Minister.
- ^ Denotes an Opposition Leader who later became Prime Minister.
- ^ Gough Whitlam refused to use the title Leader of the Opposition between the dismissal of his government in November 1975 and the first meeting of the new parliament in February 1976. During the election campaign in December 1975 he styled himself as the Leader of the Majority in the House of Representatives.
- ^ "Leader of the Opposition – Fact Sheet". Parliamentary Education Office. http://www.peo.gov.au/students/fss/fss15.html. Retrieved 2006-04-11.
- ^ Jaensch, Dean (1997). The Politics of Australia. Melbourne: MacMillan Education Australia. pp. 100. ISBN 0732941288.
- ^ Abbott wins three-way fight for the Liberal leadership, The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 December 2009.
- ^ "Details of Australian election results in the Australian Government and politics database". The University of Western Australia. http://elections.uwa.edu.au/listelections.lasso. Retrieved 2006-04-28.
- ^ "A House for the nation". Commonwealth of Australia. http://www.houseforthenation.gov.au/explore/ahn03_p9.html. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
- ^ Gough Whitlam. "Whitlam Speeches – 1975 Election Policy Speech". Whitlam Dismissal. http://whitlamdismissal.com/speeches/75-11-24_policy-speech.shtml. Retrieved 2006-04-12.
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