The Victorian National Party has walked out of the coalition arrangement it has had with the Liberal Party since the early 1990s.
The decision was announced at a National Party organisational meeting in Melbourne on Friday 22 October. National Party leader Pat McNamara said that the party was not interested in a coalition “at any price”.
The National Party governed in coalition with the Liberals between 1992 and 1999, despite the Liberal Party having the parliamentary numbers to govern in their own right.
At the recent State elections, the Nationals lost 2 seats, Gippsland East to an Independent, and Warrnambool to the Liberals, reducing their numbers in the Legislative Assembly to 7.
The decision to go it alone could have important ramifications in the Parliament, especially if a National Party MP accepts the position of Speaker. It is rumoured that the Labor government may offer the Speaker’s position to Barry Steggall, the member for Swan Hill.
Deputy Liberal leader, Denis Napthine, said today that maintenance of the coalition in Parliament was an important priority.