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The first New South Wales Liberal/Country Government was elected to office on 1 May 1965 under the leadership of Sir Robert Askin. The New South Wales Liberal/National Coalition was re-elected to government in three successive State elections and remained in government until 1 May 1976. Sir Robert Askin retired on 3 January 1975. The following Premiers of the New South Wales Liberal/Country Government were Tom Lewis and then Eric Willis. Under the premiership of these individuals, the Liberal Government progressed in a variety of activities, including:

  • The introduction of Australia's first pollution control legislation.

  • Australia's first consumer protection legislation.
  • The construction of the Eastern Suburbs Railway.
  • The establishment of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
  • The establishment of the NSW Law Reform Commission.
  • Completion of the Sydney Opera House.
  • The establishment of the first Women's Advisory Board and Ethnic Affairs Bureau.
  • The abolition of death duties.
  • Free school transport.
  • The introduction of Colleges of Advanced Education.
  • The introduction of four weeks annual leave.

The second New South Wales Liberal/National Government was elected to office on 19 March 1988 under the leadership of Nick Greiner. With the resignation of Premier Nick Greiner on 24 June 1992, John Fahey was elected to the premiership. The Greiner and Fahey Governments presided over a period of substantial structural reform that traversed industrial relations, State finances and micro-economic reform in many State utilities. Some of the achievements of the Greiner and Fahey Governments include:

  • Selective High Schools.
  • Last payment on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • The establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
  • The successful bid for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
  • The Parramatta River Cat.
  • The appointment of the first Minister for the Status of Women.
  • The launch of the New South Wales Senior's Card.
  • The establishment of the Office of Ageing and the Senior's Media Network to combat negative stereotypes about ageing.
  • The abolition of compulsory retirement.
  • The passage of the Disability Services Act to guarantee the rights of all disabled people in New South Wales.
  • The establishment of the Environment Protection Authority to protect and improve the State's environment.

 

Prime Minister Robert Menzies retired on the 20th January 1966. For the next six years the Liberal/National Government was led by Prime Ministers Harold Holt, John Gorton and William McMahon.

In this period, the advances of the Menzies period were consolidated and the Liberal Governments moved ahead in the areas of traditional Liberal concern – health, education and welfare.

The period is significant for a number of reasons, including foreign policy and defence initiatives, commitment to the aboriginal people and involvement with the rapidly changing world of technology, energy conservation and the environment.

Initiatives of the period:

  • over half the existing homes in Australia were constructed since 1949
  • urban and regional development programmes begun
  • introduction of Department of Education and Science to take account of new technology
  • support for water conservation projects
  • emphasis on development of Northern Australia with new railways, roads and ports and continued funding for beef roads
  • rapid expansion and support for tourist industry
  • continuation of full employment, high growth rates, exports doubled over the decade to 1969, and the work force rose over a million in the same period
  • continuation of beneficial social security policies (eg assistance to sheltered workshops, handicapped schools, etc) and health policies (eg grants to facilitate home nursing care)
  • continuation of the heavy migration programme and provision of services (eg English language courses) for new citizens
  • initiatives in the fields of the Arts (eg established the Australian Council for Arts and the Australian Film and Television Corporation)
  • increased grants for Aboriginal programmes
  • establishment of energy advisory and environmental bodies
  • new teacher training colleges funded
  • expansion of assistance to secondary schools for science laboratories
  • social service benefits provided to mentally retarded
  • assistance to deserted wives introduced
  • assistance scheme for pensioners wanting hearing aids introduced
  • Aboriginal Affairs Office established along with Council for Aboriginal Affairs
  • legislation introduced to protect against unfair corporate takeover activity
  • established Institute of Marine Science
  • assistance to institutions training handicapped people
  • Meals on Wheels assisted
  • introduction of language courses for migrants
  • aid for the establishment of Ord River Scheme
  • established twelve mile fishing zone
  • carriage of the referendum allowing aboriginals to be regarded as full citizens
  • Gordon River irrigation and conservation
  • funding of housing support for young widows scheme
  • established Bureau of Transport Economics in order to analyse costs of transport facilities

The Fraser Government faced difficult economic times: the aftermath of the world oil shock; record-breaking droughts; unsettled world markets and the legacy of the profligate Labor Government under Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

Initiatives of the period:

  • introduction of far-reaching new Federalism programmes
  • large scale new development projects (roads, dams, etc)
  • focus on conservation, the environment and development of national parks
  • new developments in the social security area, led by the new family allowance scheme
  • involvement on the world’s stage such as the instigation of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Regional Meeting, CHOGRM, facilitating the emergence of Zimbabwe and playing a leading role in the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees
  • major new developments in the wages and industrial relations areas
  • focus on assistance with employment schemes and encouraging employment growth
  • new mineral resources found and developed
  • assistance given to sportsmen to help them compete more effectively at world level
  • primary producers helped through the most severe drought ever
  • succession of programmes introduced to assist businesses both large and small
  • introduction of family allowance providing direct help for mothers and families
  • family income supplement introduced
  • lone fathers’ benefit introduced
  • means test on pensions replaced by simpler income test
  • automatic indexation of pensions
  • new pensioner housing scheme introduced
  • abolition of estate and gift duties
  • establishment of Office of Child Care
  • progressive legal reforms with introduction of Ombudsman, National Companies and Securities Commission, Human Rights Commission, Freedom of Information legislation
  • ratification of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • prohibition of sand mining on Fraser Island
  • whaling banned in Australian waters
  • declaration of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
  • five properties placed on the World Heritage List (Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu, Wilandra Lakes, Lord Howe Island and South West Tasmania)
  • Northern Territory given self government and land rights granted there
  • agreement reached with States to restore their powers in territorial seas and to establish joint authorities for mining, fishing, etc in off-shore areas and beyond
  • States and local government given permanent and guaranteed shares of personal income tax collections
  • National Women’s Advisory Council established
  • establishment of Institute of Multicultural Affairs
  • establishment of Special Broadcasting System (SBS) with special television and radio programmes
  • nuclear safeguards agreement negotiated with ten nations
  • introduction of child migrant education programme
  • introduction of import parity oil pricing as a means of conserving existing supplies and encourage exploration
  • Office of Youth Affairs and Institute of Family Studies set up to address family issues
  • National Youth Advisory Group established
  • began SYETP (Youth Training), school to work transition programme, programme for unemployed youth, youth employment task force, relocation assistance scheme and the Job Bank computer system as a means of helping young people
  • established commercial FM radio
  • established Australian Institute of Sport
  • established Sport Development Programme, National Athlete Award Scheme, National Committee on Sport and Recreation for the Disabled
  • established a number of bodies (eg National Aboriginal Conference) to further the cause of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders
  • introduced income equalisation deposits as a self-help aid to primary producers to assist them in times of drought, etc
  • more referendum questions carried under the Fraser Government (3) than under any other government

The Howard Government inherited an economy suffering from high government debt, a Budget in deficit, high unemployment, and one where inflation and interest rates had risen to unacceptable levels.

Initiatives of the period:

Responsible Economic Management

  • Over 800,000 new jobs created since March 1996;

  • Unemployment has fallen to a ten year low of 6.3 per cent;

  • Home loan interest rates down from 17 per cent in the late 1980s to around 8 per cent today;

  • By June next year $50 billion out of a $96 billion Government debt will have been repaid – the debt interest bill has been reduced by $3 billion;

  • The new tax system delivered the largest income tax cut in Australia’s history so that 4 in every 5 taxpayers pay a top tax rate of 30 cents in the dollar or less; and

  • An extra $2.4 billion in family benefits and child care assistance.

Work for the Dole

  • 2,000 Work for the Dole projects have begun providing places for over 70,000 young Australians.

Cracking Down on Welfare Cheats

  • Tightening welfare and targeting welfare cheats is saving decent taxpayers over $2 million a day.

Tough on Drugs

  • The $500 million Tough on Drugs Programme is the largest single initiative ever undertaken in this country to tackle the drug problem.

Fairer Workplaces

  • The Government has seen the lowest level of strikes since 1913; and

  • Compulsory unionism outlawed.

Education and Training

  • The National Literacy Plan to improve basic skills for children to read, write, add and subtract; and

  • New apprenticeships at an all time high with 268,000 young Australians in training.

Better Health Care

  • Parents rewarded for taking personal responsibility for their family’s health care with the 30 per cent private health insurance rebate; and

  • To cut waiting lists and to improve public hospitals State health funding has been increased by 25 per cent in 5 years.

Country Australia

  • Up to 500 rural transaction centres to restore country services including banking;

  • Rural health package to open regional health centres and encourage doctors back to regional areas;

  • Diesel costs down 24 cents a litre for heavy road transport in regional Australia; and

  • Black spots programme to improve country roads.

Older Australians

  • Pensions up 4 per cent and guaranteed to stay above the cost of living;

  • Gold Card extended to Australian World War II veterans 70 years or over with qualifying service; and

  • Provisional tax abolished and capital gains tax relief provided.

The Liberal Party of Australia New South Wales Division was created to provide members with the greatest possible influence and interaction over both the policy and activities of the Party.

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