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Political Parties

The Country Liberal Party (CLP)

Origins

The Country Liberal Party was formed in 1974 as a non-Labor party specifically committed to serving the interests of the Northern Territory. It claims to be the smallest political party to have formed a government in Australia. It is unique in that it is a regionally based party that has parliamentary representation at both the Federal and Territory government levels.

Interests represented

The CLP describes itself as the party 'created by Territorians for Territorians'. Its primary role is to represent the interests of the Northern Territorians. Although the CLP is an independent party, it is affiliated with the Liberal Party and the Nationals, and it attracts support from the traditional constituencies of those parties.

Values

The Country Liberal Party is committed to the advancement of the Northern Territory and the interests of Northern Territorians. It promotes this regional development within the framework of the traditional Liberal Party values of individualism, 'reward for effort', and the central role of private enterprise in the economy. The CLP seeks to protect traditional conservative values as well as promote 'progressive' social, economic and political policy. The party supports, for example, the move of the Northern Territory to full Statehood.

Structure

The Annual Conference of the Country Liberal Party, attended by branch delegates and members of the party's Central Council, decides matters relating to the party's platform and philosophy. The Central Council, composed of the party's office bearers, its leaders in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, members in the Federal Parliament, and representation from each of the party's branches, administers the party and makes decisions on the pre-selection of candidates.

In the Parliaments

The Country Liberal Party commanded a majority in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 1974 until 2001 when the Australian Labor Party formed government for the first time in the Territory's history of self-government. In the 2005 elections for the Legislative Assembly, the CLP was reduced to just four seats. In Federal politics, the CLP has been successful in electing members to represent the Territory in the Senate and in the House of Representatives where they vote with the Liberal Party and The Nationals, reflecting the close association of these three political parties.

The Country Liberal Party website

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