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The formation of the Australian Country Parties

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: The formation of the Australian Country Parties
Author(s): Graham, Bruce Desmond
Date published: 1966
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
This book analyses the social and eco nomic factors which led to the rise of the Country Parties in Australia, and shows that they were related to the agrarian parties of the Canadian Prairie Provinces and the American Mid-West. All these movements, Dr Graham suggests, reflected the social insecurity of the countrymen as well as their determination to improve their economic status and to gain a more secure position in the political structure of their community. The marketing and price controls in troduced during World War I had a direct effect on the agricultural and pas toral interests of Australia, and members of this faction entered politics with the object of forming efficient and vigorous pressure groups and country parties in Parliament. By 1920, such parties had been formed in all but the Tasmanian Parliament, and tlte National and Labor Parties found themselves experiencing the utmost diffi culty in coping with the new arrival. In their first years, the Country Parties experimented with a variant of the balance-of-power strategy, used by several of the Labor Parties before the war, but by 1923 they had adopted the policy of co-operating with the Nationalists in government and parliament. A new balance had been achieved within the Australian party system, but this book suggests that the ease with which the Country Party was tamed has been exaggerated, and that the new role was not accepted without dissent by the Country Parties{u2019}rank and file.


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