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Alexander Downer And Peter Costello Win Liberal Party Leadership

Alexander Downer won the leadership of the Liberal Party after challenging John Hewson at a partyroom meeting on May 23, 1994.

Downer defeated Hewson by 43 votes to 36. Peter Costello was elected unopposed as deputy leader, replacing Michael Wooldridge.

Hewson had been leader of the Liberal Party since April 1990. He succeeded Andrew Peacock, following the party’s defeat in that year’s federal election. Hewson led the Liberal Party to defeat in the 1993 election. He survived in office for another year before he succumbed to leadership speculation and called a leadership ballot.

AUDIO FILES – MAY 23, 1994

  • 6.10pm – The ABC’s PM program reports the day’s events.
  • Peter Costello comments on the new leadership team.
  • John Hewson’s press conference following his party-room-defeat.
  • Prime Minister Paul Keating comments on the Liberal leadership change.

VIDEO FILES – MAY 23, 1994

  • 12.00pm – ABC – News prior to the ballot, including an interview with Senator Amanda Vanstone (9m)
  • 5.00pm – Channel 10 – News coverage from Paul Bongiorno (9m)
  • 6.00pm – Channel 9 News – News coverage from Laurie Oakes (4m)
  • 6.30pm – A Current Affair, Channel 9 – Ray Martin interviews Bronwyn Bishop (5m)
  • 6.30pm – Real Life, Channel 7 – a report including analysis by Christine Wallace, Glenn Milne and Laura Tingle (5m)
  • 7.00pm – ABC – ABC TV News Melbourne (5m)
  • 7.15pm – SBS News – interview with former Victorian Liberal Party President Michael Kroger (5m)
  • 7.30pm – The 7.30 Report – coverage of the press conferences, an interview with Senator Amanda Vanstone and a profile of Downer (31m)
  • 10.30pm – Lateline – interviews with Malcolm Fraser, Tim Fischer, and the pollsters Gary Morgan and Sol Lebovic (22m)
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