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The electoral fortunes of MPs who left major parties and contested the next election as



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The electoral fortunes of MPs who left major parties and

contested the next election as Independents

Posted 10/05/2016 by Rob Lundie

In early April this year, sitting member Dr Dennis Jensen failed to win Liberal Party

preselection for his Western Australian seat of Tangney. A month later, he announced that

he would contest the seat in the 2016 election as an Independent. In support of his chances

of winning the seat, Dr Jensen cited the examples of West Australians Paul Filing and Allan

Rocher who both did so after losing preselection and standing as Independents at the 1996

federal election.

Over the last 50 years there have been 17 MPs from major parties who contested their seats

as Independents after leaving their parties. Only five of these (Sam Benson, Graeme

Campbell, Allan Rocher, Paul Filing and Bob Katter) successfully regained their seats as

Independents at the election following their departure from their parties. Three (Campbell,

Rocher and Filing) then lost their seats at their second election as Independents. Benson

retired before his second election as an Independent, and Katter went on to win three more

elections as an Independent and then a fifth election (2013) as the leader of Katter’s

Australian Party.

The table below lists the electoral outcomes for members of the House of Representatives

who left major parties and then stood as Independents:

 After having failed to win preselection for their party; or

 After having been disendorsed by their party; or

 After having been expelled from their party; or

 After having resigned from their party.

MP Electorate State Date of

election(s) as

party

candidate

Party/IND Electoral

Outcome as an

Independent

Bate, Jeff Macarthur Vic 10.12.49 LIB; lost preselection and

became IND from Oct 1972

Def 2.12.72

Benson, Sam Batman Vic 1.9.62 ALP; expelled and became

IND from Aug 1966

Won 26.11.66

Buchanan,

Alexander

McMillan Vic 10.12.55 LIB; lost preselection and

became IND from Nov 1972

Def 2.12.72

Campbell, Graeme Kalgoorlie WA 18.10.80 ALP; disendorsed and

became IND from Nov 1995

Won 2.3.96

Def 3.10.98

Filing, Paul Moore WA 24.3.90 LIB; lost preselection and

became IND from Jun 1995

Won 2.3.96

Def 3.10.98

Johnson, Michael Ryan Qld 10.11.01 LIB; expelled and became

IND from May 2010

Def 21.8.10

Katter, Bob Kennedy Qld 13.3.93

7.9.13

NPA; resigned and became

IND from Jul 2001; KAP

from Sep 2011

Won 10.11.01

Won 9.10.04

Won 24.11.07

Won 21.8.10

King, Peter Wentworth NSW 10.11.01 LIB; lost preselection and

became IND from Sep 2004

Def 9.10.04

O’Connor, Gavan Corio Vic 13.3.93 ALP; lost preselection and

became IND from Oct 2007

Def 24.11.07

Rocher, Allan Curtin WA 21.2.81 LIB; lost preselection and

became IND from Aug 1995

Won 2.3.96

Def 3.10.98

Slipper, Peter Fisher Qld 1.12.84

13.3.93

NPA (Def 11.7.87)

LIB; resigned and become

IND from Nov 2011

Def 7.9.13

Smith, Anthony Dickson Qld 2.3.96 LIB; lost preselection and

became IND from May 1998

Def 3.10.98

St John, Edward Warringah NSW 26.11.66 LIB; resigned and became

IND from Apr 1969

Def 25.10.69

Theophanous,

Andrew

Burke

Calwell

Vic

Vic

18.10.80

1.12.84

ALP; resigned and became

IND from Apr 2000

Def 10.11.01

Thomson, Craig Dobell NSW 24.11.07 ALP; resigned and became

IND from Apr 2012

Def 7.9.13

Wright, Keith Capricornia Qld 1.12.84 ALP; disendorsed and

became IND from Feb 1993

Def 13.3.93

Zammit, Paul Lowe NSW 2.3.96 LIB; resigned and became

IND from Feb 1998

Def 3.10.98