List of Australian Leaders of the Opposition

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In the Australian House of Representatives, the Leader of the Opposition sits at the front table to the left of the Speaker's Chair (on the right-hand side in this photo).

In Australian Federal Politics the Leader of the Opposition is a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives. The Leader of the Opposition is usually the leader of the party which has the most seats but is not part of the Government. 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 Opposition Leader is elected by the Opposition Party. A new Opposition Leader may be elected if the person in the position dies, resigns or is challenged for the leadership.

The Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. It is based on the British Westminster model. The term Opposition has a specific meaning in the parliamentary system. Its formal title is Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. This is an important part 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'.[1]

The current Leader of the Opposition is not yet decided. It will be a member of the Labor Party, which lost the federal election to the Liberal Party in September 2013. The leader of the Labor Party will be decided by a vote in the caucus, and will be between Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten.[2] As of 2013, there have been 32 Opposition Leaders. Of these, 18 have served terms as Prime Minister.[3]

Leaders of the Opposition[change | change source]

Leader Portrait Party Division Took Office Left Office Prime Minister
George Reid Georgereid.jpg   Free Trade Party East Sydney (NSW) 19 May 1901 17 August 1904   Barton 1901–03
  Deakin 1903–04
  Watson 1904
Chris Watson ChrisWatsonSepia.jpg   Labour Party Bland (NSW) 18 August 1904 5 July 1905   George Reid 1904–05
George Reid Georgereid.jpg   Free Trade Party East Sydney (NSW) 7 July 1905 16 November 1908   Deakin 1905–08
  Anti-Socialist Party
  Fisher 1908–09
Joseph Cook JosephCookPEO.jpg   Anti-Socialist Party Parramatta (NSW) 17 November 1908 26 May 1909  
Alfred Deakin AlfredDeakin.jpeg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Ballarat (Vic) 26 May 1909 2 June 1909  
Andrew Fisher Andrewfisher.JPG   Labour Party Wide Bay (Qld) 2 June 1909 29 April 1910   Deakin 1909
Alfred Deakin AlfredDeakin.jpeg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Ballarat (Vic) 1 July 1910 20 January 1913   Fisher 1910–13
Joseph Cook JosephCookPEO.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Parramatta (NSW) 20 January 1913 24 June 1913  
Andrew Fisher Andrewfisher.JPG   Labor Party Wide Bay (Qld) 8 July 1913 17 September 1914   Cook 1913–14
Joseph Cook JosephCookPEO.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Parramatta (NSW) 8 October 1914 17 February 1916   Fisher 1914–15
  Hughes 1915–23
Frank Tudor Franktudor.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 1 November 1916 10 January 1922  
 
Matthew Charlton Matthew Charlton.jpg   Labor Party Hunter (NSW) 10 January 1922 29 March 1928  
  Bruce 1923–29
James Scullin JScullin.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 29 March 1928 22 October 1929  
John Latham Johnlatham.jpg   Nationalist Party Kooyong (Vic) 20 November 1929 7 May 1931   Scullin 1929–32
Joseph Lyons Joseph Lyons 1.jpg   United Australia Party Wilmot (Tas) 7 May 1931 6 January 1932  
James Scullin JScullin.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 7 January 1932 1 October 1935   Lyons 1932–39
John Curtin Johncurtin.jpg   Labor Party Fremantle (WA) 1 October 1935 7 October 1941  
  Page 1939
  Menzies 1939–41
  Fadden 1941
Arthur Fadden FaddenPEO.jpg   Country Party Darling Downs (Qld) 7 October 1941 23 September 1943   Curtin 1941–45
Robert Menzies Portrait Menzies 1941.jpg   United Australia Party Kooyong (Vic) 23 September 1943 19 December 1949  
  Liberal Party   Forde 1945
  Chifley 1945–49
Ben Chifley Benchifley.jpg   Labor Party Macquarie (NSW) 19 December 1949 20 June 1951   Menzies 1949–66
Herbert Evatt EvattALP.jpg   Labor Party Barton (NSW) 1940–58
Hunter (NSW) 1958–60
20 June 1951 9 February 1960  
Arthur Calwell Arthurcalwell.jpg   Labor Party Melbourne (Vic) 7 March 1960 8 February 1967  
  Holt 1966–67
Gough Whitlam Whitlam1955.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 8 February 1967 2 December 1972  
  McEwen 1967–68
  Gorton 1968–71
  McMahon 1971–72
Billy Snedden Billy Snedden.jpg   Liberal Party Bruce (Vic) 2 December 1972 21 March 1975   Whitlam 1972–75
Malcolm Fraser John Malcolm Fraser 1977.jpg   Liberal Party Wannon (Vic) 21 March 1975 11 November 1975  
Gough Whitlam Whitlam1955.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 11 November 1975 22 December 1977   Fraser 1975–83
Bill Hayden Bill Hayden on 29.5.1990.jpg   Labor Party Oxley (Qld) 22 December 1977 3 February 1983  
Bob Hawke BobHawke(cropped).jpg   Labor Party Wills (Vic) 3 February 1983 11 March 1983  
Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Party Kooyong (Vic) 11 March 1983 5 September 1985   Hawke 1983–91
John Howard John Howard May 2006.jpg   Liberal Party Bennelong (NSW) 5 September 1985 9 May 1989  
Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Party Kooyong (Vic) 9 May 1989 3 April 1990  
John Hewson Coat of Arms of Australia.svg   Liberal Party Wentworth (NSW) 3 April 1990 23 May 1994  
  Keating 1991–96
Alexander Downer AlexanderDowner.jpg   Liberal Party Mayo (SA) 23 May 1994 30 January 1995  
John Howard John Howard May 2006.jpg   Liberal Party Bennelong (NSW) 30 January 1995 11 March 1996  
Kim Beazley Ac.kimbeazleynew.jpg   Labor Party Brand (WA) 19 March 1996 11 November 2001   Howard 1996–2007
Simon Crean Simon Crean - WEF 2010.jpg   Labor Party Hotham (Vic) 11 November 2001 2 December 2003  
Mark Latham Ac.marklatham.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 2 December 2003 18 January 2005  
Kim Beazley Ac.kimbeazleynew.jpg   Labor Party Brand (WA) 28 January 2005 4 December 2006  
Kevin Rudd Kevin Rudd DOS cropped.jpg   Labor Party Griffith (Qld) 4 December 2006 3 December 2007  
Brendan Nelson BrendanNelson.JPG   Liberal Party Bradfield (NSW) 3 December 2007 16 September 2008   Rudd 2007–2010
Malcolm Turnbull TurnbullZoom.jpg   Liberal Party Wentworth (NSW) 16 September 2008 1 December 2009  
Tony Abbott Tony Abbott - 2010.jpg   Liberal Party Warringah (NSW) 1 December 2009 16 September 2013  
  Gillard 2010—2013
  Rudd 2013
Bill Shorten Bill Shorten DSC 3004.JPG   Labor Party Maribyrnong (VIC) 16 September 2013 Incumbent   Abbott 2013—present

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. ^ Shows an Opposition Leader who had previously been Prime Minister.
  2. ^ Shows an Opposition Leader who later became Prime Minister.
  3. ^ 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.[4]

References[change | change source]