Beginning in 1914, each of the six states
in Australia experienced the rise of farmer-based parties which
recruited existing members of parliament and elected new members
oriented to the interests of the wheatfarmers and graziers.
Following the 1919 election, the members of Parliament who were
sponsored by these "country parties" formed the Fral Country
Party, which we regard as the national party in our study. There
have been no name changes since the Party's inception.
The Party experienced no significant splits
or mergers during our period of interest for scoring this
variable. Its alliance with the Liberal Party is not treated as a
1.04 Leadership Competition
Earl Page is credited as the first leader
of the Country Party. He was succeeded in 1939 by Cameron and then
in 1941 by Arthur Fadden, who served until he retired in 1958.
McEwen was then selected by the Country Party members of
Parliament to replace Fadden. McEwen served as party leader
through the rest of our time period.
1.05 Legislative Instability
Instability is .06, ac8
The Country Party's legislative
representation presents marked stability, ranging only between 14
and 16 percent.
1.06 Electoral Instability
Instability is .07, ac9
Legislative elections were held in 1951, 54, 55, 58 and 61. The
Country Party's proportion of votes ranged between 8 percent in
1961 and 10 percent in 1951, 54, and 55.
Governmental Status Variables,
The fact that the Country Party governed in
coalition with the Liberals for the entire period, and that
locally they have often either contested jointly or not at all in
deference to each other, has not been included in coming to the
final scoring. Any deferential treatment was simply an arrangement
between the two parties not meant to discriminate against the
others or to take advantage of any electoral laws.
2.02 Governmental Leadership
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, ac9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, ac9
Robert Menzies led the government for the entire period. The
Country Party supported him and ruled in coalition with him, but
he was a Liberal.
2.03 Cabinet Participation
7 out of 7 for 1950-56, ac9
6 out of 6 for 1957-62, ac9
The Menzies government was in power during
the whole time period. McEwen of the Country Party was a member of
the Cabinet from the beginning to the end of the period. Fadden
was a member and second in command to Menzies from 1949-58. There
were also additional members of the Country Party represented in
2.04 National Participation
Nationally the Country Party governed in
coalition with the Liberals, who needed their support to remain in
power. In local elections, one party often deferred to the other
in order to prevent a Labor victory. The party was quite active on
a local level due to its representation of rural interests. This
variable has been coded a four mainly on the basis that the party
serves a more important function in the national scene than mere
representation of the rural interests. However, the basis of
support for the Country Party is essentially
2.05 Legislative Strength
Strength is .14 for 1950-56, ac8 and .15
for 1957-62, ac8
The Country Party's legislative
representation presents marked stability, ranging only between 14
and 16 percent.
2.06 Electoral Strength
Strength is .09 for 1950-56, ac9 and .09
for 1957-62, ac9
Legislative elections were held in 1951,
54, 55, 58 and 61. The Country Party's proportion of votes ranged
between 8 percent in 1961 and 10 percent in 1951, 54, and
2.07 Outside Origin
There is room for disagreement in fixing the status of the
creators of the Country Party. On the one hand, the Party can be
viewed as being formed by Parliamentary Members in office, as the
Federal Country Party was indeed created in 1919. On the other
hand, these members were elected to their positions with the
assistance of "country parties" in the states, and these were
founded by associations of farmers, settlers, and graziers.
Because the Country Party originated from stimuli external to
Parliament, we have coded opted for the more "outside" status in
scoring this variable.
Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 Ownership of Means of
The Country Party represented the
protection of rural interests on the national level. As such, it
opposed the nationalization or control measures that would tend to
hurt these interests. But it did allow for the nationalization of
some basic industry, particularly services, and advocated the
regulation of markets when approved by the industries involved as
being in their interests.
5.02 Government Role in Economic
The Country Party theoretically favored as
little national government intervention as possible, with more
power given to states or individuals. However, in practice it
accepted the increasing government role in economic
5.03 Redistribution of Wealth
5.04 Social Welfare
There is very little information on Country
Party policy concerning social welfare. But the Party did favor
voluntary programs and opposed nationalization of health
5.05 Secularization of Society
5.06 Support of the Military
There is not much information on the
Country Party's position on this issue. There is no indication
that the Country Party favored changing the military budget in any
way, and it generally supported the Liberal government on defense
5.07 Alignment With East-West
Australia belonged to SEATO. The Country
Party did not favor withdrawal.
The Country Party presumably followed
Liberal Party initiatives in foreign policy, for there is little
discussion of Country Party positions on foreign issues.
Apparently, it supported Menzies maintenance of close ties with
the British through membership in the Commonwealth.
5.09 Supranational Integration
Like the Liberal Party, the Country Party
showed little interest in supranational regional organizations
during our time period, and little attention was given to
structural relationships among Pacific nations.
5.10 National Integration
Despite the debates concerning
centralization of economic control, Australia has a strong federal
system. The federal organization of the parties is weak compared
with the local organizations, and the various governmental
departments do not seem to be too effectively coordinated. The
Country Party, in particular, is primarily interested in the
welfare of one group, rural independent farmers. This alone would
indicate that it supported decentralization under the federal
system. Indeed, it favored the creation of one or more new
5.11 Electoral Participation
In coalition with the Liberals for the
entire time period, the Country Party did not agitate to give the
vote to the Aborigines. They went along with the Liberals in
discrimination against them. Exclusion of the aborigines,
numbering less than 50,000, was argued on the basis of
5.12 Protection of Civil Rights
The Country Party advocated the protection
of individual rights from unjust encroachment by the government.
Yet, it favored the "white Australia policy" that limited
immigration, or the largest part of it, to whites only. The
Country Party also favored active campaigns to encourage European
immigration, especially British.
5.13 Interference With Civil
The Country Party governed in coalition
with the Liberals who advocated a dual system of mass media, but
nothing was said concerning the Country Party. It did, however,
favor banning the Communist Party, which is interpreted as an
infringement of civil liberties.
5.14 / 5.15 US--Soviet Experts Left-Right
U.S. says, 1, conservative.
Soviets say, 1, same as Liberal Party -- extreme anti-Communist,
Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 Open Competition in the
The Country Party did not expect to gain
complete control of the government. It was a sectional, interest
oriented party that sought representation through open
6.10 Restricting Party
The Country Party was in no position to
attempt restriction of other parties, but even if it were, there
is no reason to believe that it would. It merely sought the
maximum representation of its own rural and primary
6.20 Subverting the Political
Since the Country Party received more
representation in the Liberal - Country Party coalition than it
would in an ALP government, and since it does not pretend to
expect control of the government, there is no reason to think it
would attempt to subvert the Liberal government
6.30 Propagandizing Ideas and
6.31--2, ac9. Of all the parties, the
Country Party produced the best party newspaper, "The Countryman."
No party operated its own radio or TV station.
6 .32--0, ac6. There is no indication that
any kind of Party school had ever been operated by the Country
6.33--2, ac9. The Party platform was
written and revised by the general conference of the Party. All
branches had the right to initiate resolutions regarding the
platform, policy, and constitution of the Party, though they
seldom did so unless the issue concerned rights and privileges
within the Party institution itself.
6.34--1, ac6. General Party literature was
published during elections and the platform speech of the
candidate is published in the mass media, but there was no
indication it was a regular practice of the Party.
6.50 Providing for Welfare of Party
There was no indication that the Country Party provided for the
social welfare of its members.
Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 Sources of Funds
The Country Party relied heavily on its
membership fees as a principal source of income. It augmented this
during campaigns by soliciting donations from party
7.02 Source Of Members
Membership was entirely direct.
7.03 sources of leaders
3 (sector 02), ac6
Documentation was not conclusive, but it
seemed that about half the party leaders were farmers or farm
managers, and the rest were drawn from several other
7.04 Relations With Domestic
The Country Party often made local
electoral agreements with the Liberal Party. The Country Party was
the weaker member of a federal coalition for the entire period.
Its influence continued to diminish over time.
7.05 Relations With Foreign
Although there was no discussion in the file, it is clear from
previous reading that the Country Party was not affiliated with
any international organizations.
Organizational Complexity Variables,
The literature is confusing, but it appears
that there existed a central council and a conference, whose
members were chosen for the most part by prescribed selection and
whose functions overlapped to a certain extent. Our consultant
notes that the organization varied from state to state. During our
period, the party had branches in New South Wales, Victoria,
Queensland, and Western Australia.
8.02 Intensiveness of
Branches were the smallest units of
organization in the Country Party, but party membership was direct
to a central organization and the branches were not
8.03 Extensiveness of
The Country Party branches were generally
active in the rural areas where the population was
8.04 Frequency of Local
Some branches met only during campaigns,
some bimonthly, and some once or twice a year.
8.05 Frequency of National
Besides the one source that mentioned
standing committees, the consensus is that the Parliamentary Party
Members have great power over policy making between annual Federal
8.06 Maintaining Records
The Country Party produced a party
newspaper, and kept lists, although not accurate, of the
membership. The party does not maintain an archive.
8.07 Pervasiveness of
Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 Nationalization of
Local branches sent delegates to electorate
councils for each state and federal legislative constituency.
Chairmen of these councils and some coopted members formed the
Central Council, which elected from among its members a Central
Executive. Except in formulating federal policy, the state
organizations were all but autonomous.
9.02 Selecting the National
All the parties elected their leader by
vote of caucus, which consists of the ParliamentaryMembers of the
9.03 Selecting Parliamentary
Generally, candidates were selected by a
selection committee on the electorate level, subject to veto by
the State Central Council. Plebiscites were also mentioned as a
means of selecting candidates, at least in Queensland.
9.04 Allocating Funds
The primary source of Country Party funds
was membership dues. These were collected locally or mailed to the
head office, which then gave the local branch a certain amount of
money per member. Local branches and electorate councils generally
raised their own operating and campaign expenses.
9.05 Formulating Policy
Although the conference wrote and amended
the party constitution and platform, and the council met with the
Parliamentary party Members to discuss policy, the real day-to-day
policy makers were the Parliamentary Party Members.
9.06 Controlling Communications
The "Countryman" appeared to be published
by the Victoria branch of the Party without national censorship.
One source said that the literature prepared by the Central Office
was old fashioned, so most of it was handled locally. Our
consultant states that each state branch put out its own
9.07 Administering Discipline
There were no cases of party discipline
cited. It seems that the leaders were fairly autonomous and are
disciplined only by the Party's power to endorse and
9.08 Leadership Concentration
The Country Party leader had great autonomy. He can independently
commit the party to action and can present party
Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
Although there was no information
concerning roll call votes on specific issues, it is clear that as
the minority party in a coalition, solidarity and legislative
cohesion were necessary for the existence of the
10.02 Ideological Factionalism
The Country Party existed to further
country interests, therefore there is no emphasis placed on
ideology. Although the subject is open to debate, factional
tendencies are not evident.
10.03 Issue Factionalism
There is no indication in the literature
that any particular issue had led to factionalism in the
10.04 Leadership Factionalism
One source stressed the emphasis placed on
leadership and the respect given to the leader. There were only
two leaders during our time period, with McEwen succeeding Fadden
upon his retirement. Although another source says that page, the
venerable early leader of the party, prevented McEwen from being
named leader when Fadden was elected in 1941, there is no
indication of any leadership contests during our
10.05 Strategic or Tactical
Although the subject of alliance with the
Liberals was open to debate, there was no indication of factional
10.06 Party Purges
There were no mass expulsions during our period.
Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 Membership Requirements
Registration as a party member was usually
accomplished by merely noting the name on the bank order of the
new member, who subscribed to support the Party at a fixed rate
11.02 Membership Participation
Most members were nominal and content to
let Party leaders run the Party.
11.03 Material Incentives
11.04 Purposive Incentives
Our consultant states that the Party had a
rural ideology laying stress on the contributions and problems of
country people, especially farmers. We assume that some activists
were so motivated.
The Country Party had a platform, but it
was not a source of orthodoxy. The Party had to be pragmatic in
order to maintain its bargaining power as the junior member of a
Leadership was transferred easily, without noticeable disruption
of party militants. Each leader worked his way up through the