List of Australian Leaders of the Opposition

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Leader of the Opposition of the Commonwealth of Australia
Peter Dutton MP (crop) (enhanced photo).png
Incumbent
Peter Dutton

since 30 May 2022
Opposition of Australia
Shadow Cabinet of Australia
Member of
Reports toParliament
Term lengthWhile leader of the largest political party in the House of Representatives that is not in government
Inaugural holderGeorge Reid
Formation1901
Salary$390,000
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 Peter Dutton since 30 May 2022, following the Liberal Party's defeat in the 2022 federal election.

Leaders of the Opposition[change | change source]

No. Leader Party Constituency Took office Left office Prime Minister Ref
1 George Reid[a] George Reid crop.jpg   Free Trade East Sydney (NSW) 19 May 1901 17 August 1904   Barton 1901–03 [2]
Deakin 1903–04
  Watson 1904
2 Chris Watson[b] ChrisWatsonBW crop.jpg   Labor Bland (NSW) 18 August 1904 5 July 1905   Reid 1904–05
(1) George Reid[b] George Reid crop.jpg   Free Trade / Anti-Socialist East Sydney (NSW) 7 July 1905 16 November 1908   Deakin 1905–08
  Fisher 1908–09
3 Joseph Cook[a] Joseph Cook - Broothorn Studios.jpg Anti-Socialist Parramatta (NSW) 17 November 1908 26 May 1909
4 Alfred Deakin[a][b] Alfred Deakin 1910 (crop).tif   Liberal Ballaarat (Vic) 26 May 1909 2 June 1909
5 Andrew Fisher[a][b] Andrew Fisher 1908.jpg   Labor Wide Bay (Qld) 2 June 1909 29 April 1910   Deakin 1909
(4) Alfred Deakin[b] Alfred Deakin 1910 (crop).tif   Liberal Ballaarat (Vic) 1 July 1910 20 January 1913   Fisher 1910–13
(3) Joseph Cook[a] Joseph Cook - Crown Studios 03.jpg Parramatta (NSW) 20 January 1913 24 June 1913
(5) Andrew Fisher[a][b] AndrewFisher.jpg   Labor Wide Bay (Qld) 8 July 1913 17 September 1914   Cook 1913–14
(3) Joseph Cook[b] Joseph Cook - Crown Studios 03.jpg   Liberal Parramatta (NSW) 8 October 1914 17 February 1917   Fisher 1914–15
  Hughes 1915–23
 
6 Frank Tudor Frank Tudor - Humphrey & Co.jpg   Labor Yarra (Vic) 17 February 1917 10 January 1922  
7 Matthew Charlton Matthew Charlton 1925.jpg Hunter (NSW) 25 January 1922 29 March 1928  
  Bruce 1923–29
8 James Scullin[a] James Scullin October 1928-02.jpg Yarra (Vic) 29 March 1928 22 October 1929  
9 John Latham Johnlatham.jpg   Nationalist Kooyong (Vic) 20 November 1929 7 May 1931   Scullin 1929–32
10 Joseph Lyons[a] Joseph Lyons.jpg   United Australia Wilmot (Tas) 7 May 1931 6 January 1932
(8) James Scullin[b] James H. Scullin.jpg   Labor Yarra (Vic) 6 January 1932 1 October 1935   Lyons 1932–39
11 John Curtin[a] JohnCurtin1938.png Fremantle (WA) 1 October 1935 7 October 1941  
  Page 1939
  Menzies 1939–41
  Fadden 1941
12 Arthur Fadden[b] FaddenPEO.jpg   Country Darling Downs (Qld) 7 October 1941 23 September 1943   Curtin 1941–45
13 Robert Menzies[a][b] Portrait Menzies 1950s.jpg   United Australia Kooyong (Vic) 23 September 1943 19 December 1949
  Liberal   Forde 1945
  Chifley 1945–49
14 Ben Chifley[b] Benchifley.jpg   Labor Macquarie (NSW) 19 December 1949 13 June 1951   Menzies 1949–66
15 H. V. Evatt Herbert V. Evatt.jpg Barton (NSW) 1940–58
Hunter (NSW) 1958–60
20 June 1951 9 February 1960  
16 Arthur Calwell Arthur Calwell 1966.jpg Melbourne (Vic) 7 March 1960 8 February 1967  
  Holt 1966–67
17 Gough Whitlam[a] Gough Whitlam - Leader of the Opposition (cropped).jpg Werriwa (NSW) 8 February 1967 2 December 1972  
  McEwen 1967–68
  Gorton 1968–71
  McMahon 1971–72
18 Billy Snedden Billy Snedden 1971.jpg   Liberal Bruce (Vic) 20 December 1972 21 March 1975   Whitlam 1972–75
19 Malcolm Fraser[a] Fraser Malcolm BANNER.jpg Wannon (Vic) 21 March 1975 11 November 1975
(17) Gough Whitlam[c] Gough Whitlam headshot.jpg   Labor Werriwa (NSW) 11 November 1975 22 December 1977   Fraser 1975–83
20 Bill Hayden Bill Hayden 1971.jpg Oxley (Qld) 22 December 1977 3 February 1983
21 Bob Hawke[a] Hawke Bob BANNER.jpg Wills (Vic) 3 February 1983 11 March 1983
22 Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg   Liberal Kooyong (Vic) 11 March 1983 5 September 1985   Hawke 1983–91
23 John Howard[a] John howard.jpg Bennelong (NSW) 5 September 1985 9 May 1989 [4]
(22) Andrew Peacock Andrew Peacock.jpg Kooyong (Vic) 9 May 1989 3 April 1990   [2]
24 John Hewson John Hewson 2016 01.jpg Wentworth (NSW) 3 April 1990 23 May 1994  
  Keating 1991–96
25 Alexander Downer Alexander Downer 1990s.jpg Mayo (SA) 23 May 1994 30 January 1995 [5]
(23) John Howard[a] John howard.jpg Bennelong (NSW) 30 January 1995 11 March 1996 [4]
26 Kim Beazley Kim Beazley crop.jpg   Labor Brand (WA) 19 March 1996 22 November 2001   Howard 1996–07 [6]
27 Simon Crean Simon Crean 1990s.jpg Hotham (Vic) 22 November 2001 2 December 2003 [7]
28 Mark Latham Ac.marklatham.jpg Werriwa (NSW) 2 December 2003 18 January 2005 [8]
(26) Kim Beazley Kim Beazley crop.jpg Brand (WA) 28 January 2005 4 December 2006 [6]
29 Kevin Rudd[a] Kevin Rudd official portrait.jpg Griffith (Qld) 4 December 2006 3 December 2007 [9]
30 Brendan Nelson BrendanNelson.JPG   Liberal Bradfield (NSW) 3 December 2007 16 September 2008   Rudd 2007–10 [10]
31 Malcolm Turnbull[a] Turnbull.JPG Wentworth (NSW) 16 September 2008 1 December 2009   [11]
32 Tony Abbott[a] Tony Abbott - 2010.jpg Warringah (NSW) 1 December 2009 18 September 2013   [12]
  Gillard 2010–13
  Rudd 2013
Chris Bowen (acting) Chris Bowen.JPG   Labor McMahon (NSW) 18 September 2013 13 October 2013   Abbott 2013–15 [13]
33 Bill Shorten Bill Shorten-crop.jpg Maribyrnong (Vic) 13 October 2013 30 May 2019   [14]
  Turnbull 2015–18
  Morrison 2018–22
34 Anthony Albanese Australian Labor Party Leader Anthony Albanese MP (cropped - tight).jpg Grayndler (NSW) 30 May 2019 23 May 2022   [15]
35 Peter Dutton Peter Dutton MP (crop) (enhanced photo).png   Liberal Dickson (Qld) 30 May 2022 Incumbent   Albanese 2022–present [16]

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.[17]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Opposition Leader who later became Prime Minister.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Opposition Leader who had previously been 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.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. Jaensch, Dean (1997). The Politics of Australia. Melbourne: MacMillan Education Australia. p. 100. ISBN 0-7329-4128-8.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Appendix 4: Leaders of the Opposition". House of Representatives Practice. May 2018. pp. 805–806. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  3. Gough, Whitlam. "Whitlam Speeches – 1975 Election Policy Speech". Whitlam Dismissal. Archived from the original on 2006-11-16. Retrieved 2006-04-12.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Hon John Howard MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  5. "Hon Alexander Downer MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "The Hon Kim Beazley MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  7. "Hon Simon Crean MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  8. "Mr Mark Latham MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  9. "Hon Kevin Rudd MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  10. "Hon Brendan Nelson MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  11. "Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  12. "Hon Tony Abbott MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  13. "Hon Chris Bowen MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  14. "Hon Bill Shorten MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  15. "Hon Anthony Albanese MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2021-11-07.
  16. "Peter Dutton elected as opposition leader". ABC News. 30 May 2022.
  17. Gough Whitlam. "Whitlam Speeches – 1975 Election Policy Speech". Whitlam Dismissal. Archived from the original on 2006-11-16. Retrieved 2006-04-12.