Liberal Reform Party (Australia)

The Liberal Reform Party was an Australian political party, active in New South Wales state politics between 1901 and 1916. It drew much of its support from Protestant and Temperance groups.[1]

Liberal Reform Party
LeaderCharles Lee
Joseph Carruthers
Charles Wade
Founded1901 (1901)
Dissolved1916 (1916)
Liberal conservatism
Political positionCentre-right
National affiliationFree Trade Party


The question of tariff policy which, had created and divided the Free Trade Party and Protectionist Party in New South Wales in the 1890s, became a federal issue at the time of federation. Deprived of their main ideological difference, the two parties were recreated as the Liberal Reform Party, aligned with the federal Free Trade Party, and the Progressive Party, aligned with the federal Protectionist Party. The Progressive Party's vote collapsed at the 1904 election and many of its members then joined the Liberal Reform Party.[2] By 1907, the Liberal Reform Party was left as the main centre-right party in New South Wales.

The party's leaders were: Charles Lee from 1901 to 1902, Sir Joseph Carruthers from 1902 to 1907, and Sir Charles Wade from 1907 to 1916. Carruthers and Wade both served terms as premier.

In 1916, the Liberal Reform Party formed a coalition with the pro-conscription elements of the state Labor Party under Premier William Holman. In 1917, Liberal Reform merged with the pro-conscription elements of Labor to form the New South Wales branch of the Nationalist Party of Australia. As was the case with the federal Nationalists, the new party was dominated by former Liberal Reformers, but Holman was the merged party's leader.

State election resultsEdit

Election Seats won ± Total votes % Position Leader
37 / 125
 8 65,420 33.55% Opposition Charles Lee
45 / 90
 8 176,796 44.58% Minority government Joseph Carruthers
45 / 90
 0 210,456 45.91% Minority government Joseph Carruthers
37 / 90
 8 246,360 43.03% Opposition Charles Wade
38 / 90
 1 298,899 44.70% Opposition Charles Wade


  1. ^ Facts and Figures – Political Parties of NSW (Overview) Archived 10 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "1901 to 1918 – The Early Federal Period and the First World War". Retrieved 15 October 2019.