This book tells some of the story of the NSW Division of the Liberal Party, beginning with its prehistory and concluding with the constitutional changes in 2000.
It looks at the role of leading figures such as John Carrick, Nick Greiner and John Howard, at the electoral record – mostly good at the Federal level and mostly poor in State politics – at the Division’s recurring financial difficulties and occasional crises, at its habit of decapitating parliamentary leaders, and at the attempts to move beyond its Protestant, Anglo-Scottish and “North Shore” support base and male culture.
The book also focuses on the tensions between the different components of the Party’s structure: between the State and Federal Parliamentary Parties, between the Parliamentary Parties and the Organisation, and between the “grass roots” and the Party headquarters. It shows how, in attempting to resolve these tensions, the Party engaged in periodic bouts of introspection and kept repeating its own history – and usually in ignorance of doing so – without appreciating that many of the problems are inherently insoluble.
Finally, the book examines the increasing level of factional warfare which has led to a decline of civility, promoted and protected mediocrity, and questioned the existence of a “broad church”.
A NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government publication.