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Centre Party (Tasmania)

 

Centre Party (Tasmania)

The Centre Party was a minor Australian political party formed by Kevin Lyons in 1969, which held the balance of power in the Tasmanian House of Assembly following the 1969 state election in Tasmania. The party formed a minority government with the Liberal Party, with Lyons acting as Deputy Premier to Angus Bethune from 1969 to 1972.

Kevin Lyons, the son of Tasmanian politician Joseph Lyons, was originally a member of the Liberal Party. In 1966, a dispute arose over preselection and Lyons resigned from the Liberals on 7 September.[1] Lyons remained in the House of Assembly as an independent, until the 1969 election when he ran for the newly formed Centre Party, a repackaged version of the Country Party which had never performed well in Tasmania.[2] Lyons was elected to the House of Assembly as the party's only MHA, after substantial numbers of preferences were transferred to him from Liberal voters in the electorate of Darwin.[3] Labor and the Liberals both won 17 seats in the House, resulting in a hung parliament, with the Centre Party's one seat giving Lyons the balance of power. In negotiations with Bethune, Lyons agreed to form a coalition government with the Liberals, and became Bethune's deputy premier. The Liberal-Centre coalition lasted until 1972, with Lyons resigning as Deputy Premier after a dispute with Bethune, effectively dissolving the party and the coalition. The resulting instability triggered the 1972 election, which was won by the Labor Party's Eric Reece.

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