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The Merger of the Qld Country Party and the DLP – “Joh: The Life and Political Adventures of Johannes Bjelke-Petersen”, Hugh Lunn

October 15th, 2012 · No Comments · Campaigning, Conservative Politics, Means and Ends, Politics, Queensland

In September 1973, Mike Evans (Country Party President), called a press conference at a city hotel in Brisbane, at which the Country Party announced terms for the integration of the two parties (the Country Party and the DLP). This story appeared in the Australian the next day under the heading “State Country Party swallows the DLP”. The press conference was told that the state executives of both parties had agreed to form one new, as yet unnamed, party by November. The terms for integration included making the Country Party constitution “the basis for the new party”. This confirmed the impression that the DLP was disappearing and that its members would now vote Country Party. In fact, no DLP members attended the September press conference and later the state DLP secretary said it was a Country Party conference. He said the DLP might hold its own press conference, which never eventuated.

Bjelke-Petersen described the merger as “a strengthening of the anti-Labor forces in Queensland” but in the event the proposed integration was quietly dropped by the Country Party. It’s value was as much symbolic as actual. The DLP was falling out of active politics and the Country Party reasoned that if, as was expected, the DLP soon stopped contesting state elections, most of their supporters would vote for the Country Party. Which is what happened.

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