Politics One

Fourth edition

by Ian Ward and Randal G. Stewart

The Liberals and the Coalition

Further reading suggestions

  • Brett, J. 2009. ‘The Liberal Party’ Party’ in D. Woodward, A. Parkin, and J. Summers (eds) Government, Politics, Power and Policy in Australia. 9th edn. (Frenchs Forest NSW: Pearson.) Brett traces the modern Liberal Party to the early 20C and explores its different liberalisms.
  • Miragliotta, N. And Errington, W. 2009. The Australian Political System in Action. (Melbourne: Oxford University Press). Chapter 11. The Liberal Party
  • Starr, G. 1978. ‘The Liberal Party of Australia’ in G.Starr, K. Richmond and G. Maddox Political Parties in Australia (Richmond: Heinemann Educational Australia). Obviously dated but still a useful history of the origins of the Liberal Party.
Discussion point 
In 1944 when Menzies formed the Liberal Party, the 40,000 strong Australian Women’s National League joined on condition that it retain its identity within the newly formed party as its Women’s Section. As a result, in most state Divisions of the party women have an entrenched representation within the senior organisational levels. At the national level the Federal Women’s Council serves as a peak body representing female Liberal party members. However while women have a guaranteed place and influence within the organisational wing of Liberal Party, as we show in Politics One, they are underrepresented in the federal Liberal party room. This poses a puzzle. Why, with the Federal Women’s Committee acting as their champion since 1945 and now actively encouraging women to become involved in political life, has the Liberal Party not endorsed more female candidates?

Does the organisation and internal culture of the Liberal Party restrict the opportunities for women to represent it in parliament?