List of Australian Leaders of the Opposition
In Australian Federal Politics the Leader of the Opposition is a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives. The Leader of the Opposition is usually the leader of the party which has the most seats but is not part of the Government. In Parliament the Leader of the Opposition sits on the left-hand side of the table in the centre, in front of the Opposition and opposite the Prime Minister. The Opposition Leader is elected by the Opposition Party. A new Opposition Leader may be elected if the person in the position dies, resigns or is challenged for the leadership.
The Commonwealth of Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. It is based on the British Westminster model. The term Opposition has a specific meaning in the parliamentary system. Its formal title is Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. This is an important part of the Westminster system. The Opposition directs its criticism at the Government and attempts to defeat and replace the Government. The Opposition is therefore the 'Government in waiting' and it is a formal part of the parliamentary system, just as is the Government. It is in opposition to the Government, but not to the Crown, hence the term 'Loyal Opposition'.
Leaders of the OppositionEdit
- ^ Shows an Opposition Leader who had previously been Prime Minister.
- ^ Shows an Opposition Leader who later became Prime Minister.
- ^ Gough Whitlam refused to use the title Leader of the Opposition between the dismissal of his government in November 1975 and the first meeting of the new parliament in February 1976. During the election campaign in December 1975 he styled himself as the Leader of the Majority in the House of Representatives.