List of leaders of the Liberal Party of Australia (New South Wales Division)

List of leaders of the Liberal Party of Australia (New South Wales Division)
The current leader of the NSW Liberal Party, Barry O'Farrell

The position of leader of the Liberal Party of Australia's New South Wales division is a formal role held by a Liberal member of the Parliament of New South Wales. As the Liberal Party has, since its foundation in 1945, been either the largest or second largest party in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, the leader is normally referred to as either the Premier or the Leader of the Opposition, depending on the majority or minority respectively of the party. The role is selected by state members of the parliamentary party, but the position is non-fixed in duration, and is usually only vacated upon resignation, retirement from politics, or a spill motion with the support of the majority of the parliamentary members.

The leader only has a role in a parliamentary context; the party division as a whole is governed by a President and Vice Presidents, who act on the advice of the party division's Director and Deputy Directors. The division also gathers annually at a State Conference to vote on and develop policy to be used by the party's elected representatives.

In the 64 years since its foundation the party has won only six state elections to the Australian Labor Party's 13, and has spent only 18 years in office (1965 to 1976 and 1988 to 1995) to Labor's 46. The majority of the 19 Liberal Leaders have been deposed, either after losing elections or when their colleagues determined they could not win an election.

The current leader of the Liberal Party and Leader of the Premier is Barry O'Farrell, and the deputy leader is Jillian Skinner. Both have served in those roles since 4 April 2007.


Leaders of the New South Wales Parliamentary Liberal Party

# Party leader[1] Assumed office[2] Left office[2] Premier Reason for departure Time in office
1 Reginald Weaver 20 April 1945 12 November 1945 Death in office 6m23d
2 Alexander Mair 13 November 1945 20 March 1946 1939–1941 Resignation; Premier under UAP 4m7d
3 Sir Vernon Treatt 20 March 1946 10 August 1954 Resignation 8y4m21d
4 Murray Robson 17 August 1954 20 September 1955 Deposed 1y1m3d
5 Pat Morton 20 September 1955 17 July 1959 Deposed 3y9m27d
6 Sir Robert Askin 17 July 1959 3 January 1975 1965–1975 Retirement 15y5m17d
7 Tom Lewis 3 January 1975 23 January 1976 1975–1976 Deposed 1y20d
8 Sir Eric Willis 23 January 1976 16 December 1977 1976 Resignation 1y10m23d
9 Peter Coleman 16 December 1977 7 October 1978 Loss of seat at 1978 election 9m21d
10 John Mason 24 October 1978 29 May 1981 Deposed 2y7m5d
11 Bruce McDonald 1 June 1981 12 October 1981 Loss of seat at 1981 election 4m11d
12 John Dowd 20 October 1981 15 March 1983 Resignation 1y4m23d
13 Nick Greiner 15 March 1983 24 June 1992 1988–1992 Resignation prior to no confidence motion 9y3m9d
14 John Fahey 24 June 1992 4 April 1995 1992–1995 Resignation following 1995 election 2y9m11d
15 Peter Collins 4 April 1995 7 December 1998 Deposed 3y8m3d
16 Kerry Chikarovski 7 December 1998 28 March 2002 Deposed 3y3m21d
17 John Brogden 28 March 2002 29 August 2005 Resignation 3y5m1d
18 Peter Debnam 1 September 2005 4 April 2007 Resignation following 2007 election 1y7m3d
19 Barry O'Farrell 4 April 2007 Incumbent 2011-Present (3y10m,21d)

Deputy Leaders

Party Leader Start of Term End of Term
Athol Richardson 1945 1945
Vernon Treatt 1946 1946
Walter Howarth 1946 1954
Robert Askin 1954 1959
Eric Willis 1959 1975
John Maddison 1975 1977
John Mason 1977 1978
Bruce McDonald 1978 1981
Jim Cameron 1981 1981
Kevin Rozzoli 1981 1983
Rosemary Foot 1983 1986
Peter Collins 1986 1992
Bruce Baird 1992 1994
Kerry Chikarovski 1994 1995
Ron Phillips 1995 1999
Barry O'Farrell 1999 2002
Chris Hartcher 2002 2003
Barry O'Farrell 2003 2007
Jillian Skinner 2007 Incumbent

See also

  • Leader of the New South Wales National Party


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