National Defence League

The National Defence League (NDL) was an independent conservative political party, founded in 1891[1] by MLC Richard Baker in South Australia as an immediate response to the perceived threat from Labor. Though renamed the Australasian National League (ANL) in 1896, it was still often referred to by its former name.[2] It lasted until the 1910 election, after which it merged with the Liberal and Democratic Union and the Farmers and Producers Political Union to become the Liberal Union.

National Defence League
Founded1891 (1891)
Dissolved1910 (1910)
Merged intoLiberal Union

The NDL, composed of Adelaide businessmen, professional men and pastoralists, organised to oppose: Labor and the United Trades and Labour Council, perceived socialism, increased suffrage, the eight-hour day, state conciliation and arbitration, and a single tax. The NDL stood for 'the preservation of law, order and property' and was opposed to 'all undue class influence in Parliament'.

The party's highest vote was 30.6 percent at the 1896 election. The highest number of seats won by the party was 20 (37% of seats) at the 1893 election. Its highest proportion was 17 of 42 seats (40.5% of seats) at the 1902 election.

Many candidates and MPs received election endorsement only rather than being chosen as an official candidate.

The current South Australian Division of the Liberal Party of South Australia claims on its website that the party originated with the NDL.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939): Trove 1 August 1891
  2. ^ "THE AUSTRALASIAN NATIONAL LEAGUE". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 30 May 1896. p. 4. Retrieved 20 June 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "The South Australian Liberal Party had its origin in 1891 under the title of the National Defence League." - History: