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 Anthony Albanese, replacing Bill Shorten who resigned after losing in the 2016 and 2019 elections.

Leaders of the Opposition[change | change source]

No. Leader Party Constituency Took office Left office Prime Minister
1 George Reid George Reid crop.jpg   Free Trade Party East Sydney (NSW) 19 May 1901 17 August 1904   Barton 1901–03
  Deakin 1903–04
  Watson 1904
2 Chris Watson ChrisWatsonBW crop.jpg   Labour Party Bland (NSW) 18 August 1904 5 July 1905   Reid 1904–05
(1) George Reid George Reid crop.jpg   Free Trade Party East Sydney (NSW) 7 July 1905 16 November 1908   Deakin 1905–08
  Anti-Socialist Party
  Fisher 1908–09
3 Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Broothorn Studios.jpg   Anti-Socialist Party Parramatta (NSW) 17 November 1908 26 May 1909
4 Alfred Deakin Rt. Hon. A. Deakin LCCN2014695989.tif   Commonwealth Liberal Party Ballaarat (Vic) 26 May 1909 2 June 1909
5 Andrew Fisher Andrew Fisher 1908.jpg   Labour Party Wide Bay (Qld) 2 June 1909 29 April 1910   Deakin 1909
(4) Alfred Deakin Rt. Hon. A. Deakin LCCN2014695989.tif   Commonwealth Liberal Party Ballaarat (Vic) 1 July 1910 20 January 1913   Fisher 1910–13
(3) Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Crown Studios 03.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Parramatta (NSW) 20 January 1913 24 June 1913
(5) Andrew Fisher AndrewFisher.jpg   Labor Party Wide Bay (Qld) 8 July 1913 17 September 1914   Cook 1913–14
(3) Joseph Cook Joseph Cook - Crown Studios 03.jpg   Commonwealth Liberal Party Parramatta (NSW) 8 October 1914 17 February 1917   Fisher 1914–15
  Hughes 1915–23
 
6 Frank Tudor Frank Tudor - Humphrey & Co.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 17 February 1917 10 January 1922  
 
 
 
7 Matthew Charlton Matthew Charlton 1925.jpg   Labor Party Hunter (NSW) 25 January 1922 29 March 1928
  Bruce 1923–29
8 James Scullin James Scullin October 1928-02.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 26 April 1928 22 October 1929
9 John Latham Johnlatham.jpg   Nationalist Party Kooyong (Vic) 20 November 1929 7 May 1931   Scullin 1929–32
10 Joseph Lyons Joseph Lyons.jpg   United Australia Party Wilmot (Tas) 7 May 1931 6 January 1932
(8) James Scullin James H. Scullin.jpg   Labor Party Yarra (Vic) 7 January 1932 1 October 1935  
 
 
 
 
 
Lyons 1932–39
11 John Curtin JohnCurtin1938.png   Labor Party Fremantle (WA) 1 October 1935 7 October 1941
  Page 1939
  Menzies 1939–41
  Fadden 1941
12 Arthur Fadden FaddenPEO.jpg   Country Party Darling Downs (Qld) 7 October 1941 23 September 1943   Curtin 1941–45
13 Robert Menzies Portrait Menzies 1950s.jpg   United Australia Party Kooyong (Vic) 23 September 1943 19 December 1949
  Liberal Party   Forde 1945
  Chifley 1945–49
14 Ben Chifley Benchifley.jpg   Labor Party Macquarie (NSW) 19 December 1949 13 June 1951  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Menzies 1949–66
15 H. V. Evatt Herbert V. Evatt.jpg   Labor Party Barton (NSW) 1940–58
Hunter (NSW) 1958–60
20 June 1951 9 February 1960
16 Arthur Calwell Arthur Calwell 1966.jpg   Labor Party Melbourne (Vic) 7 March 1960 8 February 1967
 
 
 
Holt 1966–67
17 Gough Whitlam Gough Whitlam - ACF - crop.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 8 February 1967 2 December 1972
  McEwen 1967–68
  Gorton 1968–71
  McMahon 1971–72
18 Billy Snedden Billy Snedden 1972.jpg   Liberal Party Bruce (Vic) 20 December 1972 21 March 1975   Whitlam 1972–75
19 Malcolm Fraser Malcolm Fraser 1977 - crop.jpg   Liberal Party Wannon (Vic) 21 March 1975 11 November 1975
(17) Gough Whitlam Gough Whitlam - ACF - crop.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 11 November 1975 22 December 1977   Fraser 1975–83
20 Bill Hayden Bill Hayden on 29.5.1990.jpg   Labor Party Oxley (Qld) 22 December 1977 3 February 1983
21 Bob Hawke Bob Hawke Portrait 1983.jpg   Labor Party Wills (Vic) 3 February 1983 11 March 1983
22 Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Party Kooyong (Vic) 11 March 1983 5 September 1985  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hawke 1983–91
23 John Howard John howard.jpg   Liberal Party Bennelong (NSW) 5 September 1985 9 May 1989
(22) Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Party Kooyong (Vic) 9 May 1989 3 April 1990
24 John Hewson John Hewson 2016 01.jpg   Liberal Party Wentworth (NSW) 3 April 1990 23 May 1994
  Keating 1991–96
25 Alexander Downer Alexander Downer.jpg   Liberal Party Mayo (SA) 23 May 1994 30 January 1995
(23) John Howard John howard.jpg   Liberal Party Bennelong (NSW) 30 January 1995 11 March 1996
26 Kim Beazley Kim Beazley crop.jpg   Labor Party Brand (WA) 19 March 1996 22 November 2001   Howard 1996–2007
27 Simon Crean Simon Crean (1).jpg   Labor Party Hotham (Vic) 22 November 2001 2 December 2003
28 Mark Latham Ac.marklatham.jpg   Labor Party Werriwa (NSW) 2 December 2003 18 January 2005
(26) Kim Beazley Kim Beazley crop.jpg   Labor Party Brand (WA) 28 January 2005 4 December 2006
29 Kevin Rudd Kevin Rudd official portrait.jpg   Labor Party Griffith (Qld) 4 December 2006 3 December 2007
30 Brendan Nelson BrendanNelson.JPG   Liberal Party Bradfield (NSW) 3 December 2007 16 September 2008  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rudd 2007–10
31 Malcolm Turnbull Turnbull.JPG   Liberal Party Wentworth (NSW) 16 September 2008 1 December 2009
32 Tony Abbott Tony Abbott - 2010.jpg   Liberal Party Warringah (NSW) 1 December 2009 18 September 2013
  Gillard 2010–13
  Rudd 2013
33 Chris Bowen Chris Bowen.JPG   Labor Party McMahon (NSW) 18 September 2013 13 October 2013   Abbott 2013–15
34 Bill Shorten Bill Shorten-crop.jpg   Labor Party Maribyrnong (Vic) 13 October 2013 30 May 2019
  Turnbull 2015–18
  Morrison 2018–present
35 Anthony Albanese Anthony Albanese.jpg   Labor Party Grayndler (NSW) 30 May 2019 Incumbent

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.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Jaensch, Dean (1997). The Politics of Australia. Melbourne: MacMillan Education Australia. p. 100. ISBN 0-7329-4128-8.
  2. Gough Whitlam. "Whitlam Speeches – 1975 Election Policy Speech". Whitlam Dismissal. Retrieved 2006-04-12.