National Party of Australia

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The National Party of Australia is a political party in Australia, with wide national appeal, and is generally considered the 3rd largest party by popular vote.

It is considered to have conservative values and policies, is historically anti-union, has supported at various times either state support for primary industry ("agrarian socialism") or free agricultural trade, and has opposed tariff protection for Australia's manufacturing and service industries. The current leader is Warren Truss[1]

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History

The party was formally launched in 1913 in Western Australia, and grew into a federal party in the 1920s with the addition of various state-based minor parties.

The main traditional base is among rural voters, and it was originally called the Country Party. It adopted the name National Country Party in 1975, and changed to National Party of Australia in 1982. From 2003 the name The Nationals was used for campaigning purposes, in line with common usage, although the legal name was unchanged. The Nationals is generally recognized as the main advocates of the agragrian economic model that was developed in the years following the Second World War.

Coalition

Federally, in New South Wales and Victoria, it has generally been the minor party in the traditional coalition with the Liberal Party of Australia in government and in opposition since the 1940s. However, it was the major coalition party in government in Queensland between 1957 and 1989, and still retains more seats than the Liberals.

The division of Ministers or Shadow Ministers is generally made according to the proportion of seats held by each party. In most cases, the leader of the 'junior' party is given the role of Deputy Leader of the coalition. In government, the Nationals have most often provided the Minister responsible for farm issues and/or international trade. Combined party meetings are held, to discuss policies, as well as single-party meetings.

Various agreements have been worked out between the coalition partners as to non-aggression in elections; generally, where parties may draw votes away from the other to the combined detriment then the less favoured coalition party will not stand a candidate.

Possible Merger

In March 2008, the leader of the federal Liberal Party, Brendan Nelson, indicated that he was in favour of a merger between the two coalition parties. [2]

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