Protectionist Party

From Academic Kids

The Protectionist Party was a political party in Australia from the 1880s until 1909. It argued that Australia needed protective tariffs to allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment.

It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in the rural areas of New South Wales. Its most prominent leaders were Sir Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin, who were the first and second Prime Ministers of Australia.

For a period, the Protectionists formed government with the support of the Labor Party, on the understanding that they would implement social reforms desired by Labor. Labor's program, however, was frequently too radical for the Protectionists, and the party ended up splitting, with the most liberal Protectionists, such as Isaac Isaacs and H B Higgins, supporting Labor while Deakin and the others moved towards George Reid's Free Trade Party.

With Labor gaining government twice (in 1904 and from 1908-1909), and increasing in electoral strength, a scandalised establishment pressured the two non-Labor parties to form an anti-socialist alliance. Deakin overcame his strong personal antipathy to Reid, and, the issue of tariffs having been settled, both wings of the Protectionists merged with the Free Trade Party to become the Commonwealth Liberal Party in 1909.

See also

Template:Liberalparty-stub

Template:Election australia

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