The Australian Country Party (ACP) is a political party based in the Australian state of Victoria. It has previously been named the Country Alliance and the Australian Country Alliance. The party is focused on rural issues, describing itself as "dedicated solely to the interests of regional communities", and was created to provide an alternative to the National Party in country Victoria.
- Promote a Vision for Australia and its people – YOU
- Limit the sell-off of Australian Assets and Land
- Pursue legislation and initiatives to reduce the cost of living for Australia's people
- Promote Australian grown, Australian made
- Protect manufacturing, businesses, agriculture and jobs
- Fair trade that includes transition programs in agreements to protect Australia's workers and business
- Protect consumers and growers from imported dangerous foods, pests and diseases
- Improve the accountability and efficiency of councils and governments
- Revive regional and rural communities
- Balanced and fair water and water rights legislation
- The ability of all Australians to feel safe in their Country
The party was founded in early 2004 by six rural Victorians concerned with the policies of the existing parties. It was registered with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) on 15 August 2005 as Country Alliance. It contested its first election at the 2006 state election and has contested every Victorian state election since its formation.
After the party launch in August 2005, Russell Bate, one of the party founders, stated that "The thing that first caused us to gather around the kitchen table and say, 'We'd better do something', was the prospect of the Greens holding the balance of power. At this stage that's the saga we're trying to avoid."
Country Alliance was registered with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in July 2011, and contested the Senate in South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria (and several Victorian lower house seats) at the 2013 Australian federal election. The party's best result occurred in the electoral district of Shepparton at the 2010 state election, when its candidate polled 39.5% of the two-candidate-preferred vote (20.5% on first preferences) to finish second to the National Party candidate.
In February 2014, the Victorian branch of Katter's Australian Party (KAP) merged with Country Alliance for the upcoming 2014 Victorian state election and the combined parties would contest the election as the Australian Country Alliance. The name change was completed on 1 May 2014, although the party remained registered federally as "Country Alliance". In August 2015, the VEC approved a further name change for the party, which took on the name "Australian Country Party" (for Victorian elections). In October 2015, the Australian Electoral Commission approved the party's name change to Australian Country Party for federal elections.
In July 2018 the party changed its direction and focus to the whole of Australia. It also introduced the 2 catchphrases - "The Party for the Country of Australia" and "My Country, My Party, the Party for the Country of Australia" The Party also commenced the process of establishing and registering the party in every State and Territory in Australia.
In August 2018, the party lodged a change of name application to change its name to the Australia Party/Give it Back (abbreviated to Australia Party). This application was withdrawn before processing was completed.
In September 2018, the VEC approved the same name for 2018 Victorian state election, with the abbreviation Australian Country Party. A few months later, the party had applied to revert its name to Australian Country Party with abbreviation Country Party.
The Australian Country Party has also applied for registration in the Northern Territory.
2006 Victorian election
In the 2006 state election the party contested three rural upper-house regions (out of a total of eight regions), but did not contest any lower house seats. In the three regions it contested, the CA received over 2% of the vote in Northern Victoria: less in the Western and Eastern Victoria Regions.
However its preferences in Western Victoria were critical in supporting the Democratic Labour Party's Peter Kavanagh who picked up ALP preferences ahead of the Greens' Marcus Ward, and thus the fifth seat in that region.
2010 Victorian election
The Country Alliance party nominated 37 candidates for the 2010 state election, standing in four upper house seats (Western Victoria, Eastern Victoria, Northern Victoria and Northern Metropolitan) and most of the lower house seats in regional Victoria.
At the election, the party's best result in the lower house was in the district of Shepparton where it polled 20.5% of the primary vote and 39.8% of the two party preferred vote after preferences. The party polled a total of 42,938 primary votes in the lower house.
In the upper house, the party was in the running for the final spot in the three country regions. In Northern Victoria Region, Country Alliance polled 6.8% of the primary vote and fell short by approximately 1900 votes on the final count after the distribution of preferences. In the Eastern Victoria and Western Regions, the party did not poll as well. In the Western Victoria Region, Country Alliance's preferences stopped the Greens' candidate Marcus Ward from winning the fifth spot for the second successive time.
The party held a review of its operations on 5 February 2011 and made changes to its internal allocation of functions and roles.
2013 Federal election
The party applied for registration as a federal political party with the Australian Electoral Commission on 2 May 2011. The application was approved and party entered on the Commission's register as "Country Alliance" on 26 July 2011. The party polled 0.05% of the national senate vote running in three states.
2014 Victorian election
2016 Federal election
2018 Victorian election
The Australian Country Party/Give It Back contested two lower house seats (Ovens Valley and South-West Coast) and all eight upper house regions in the 2018 Victorian state election. Both lower house candidates received over 8% of first preference votes. It did not receive as much as 2% of first preference votes in any region for the upper house, with an average result of 0.68%.
- Sinnott, Alex (22 January 2019). "Australian Country Party in the re-name game". The Weekly Times. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
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- State Election 2018: Ovens Valley District, VEC.
- State Election 2018: South-West Coast District, VEC.
- "State Election 2018 results". Victorian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 7 February 2019.