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Independents Group

 

Independents Group

The Independents Group were a short-lived Australian political party operating in the Australian Capital Territory. They briefly served as part of the Alliance government, alongside the Liberal Party of Australia and Residents Rally.

When the 1989 election was held, the No Self-Government Party emerged as the larger of the two anti-self-government groups in the Assembly, electing three members, Craig Duby, Carmel Maher and David Prowse. However, unlike Dennis Stevenson's Abolish Self-Government Coalition, the No Self-Government Party's focus soon began to change from their original single-issue basis.

In late 1989, Residents Rally, who were supporting the Follett Labor government, began discussions aimed at forming a coalition government with the Liberals, but the combined parties did not have the necessary seats in the Assembly. They then turned to the No Self-Government Party, who accepted the offer. However, as opposition to self-government itself was a core basis of their party, and it would have been seen as somewhat odd for them to then join a government, Duby, Maher and Prowse disbanded the party, and reformed as the Independents Group. The new party then became the third member of the Alliance government, and Duby, the old party's former leader, became Minister for Urban Services.

Whilst Duby was a vocal member of the government, and was often heard in the Assembly and media, both Prowse and Maher tended to be less significant players in ACT politics. Nevertheless, the party were vital in sustaining the Alliance government for its eighteen-month lifespan. The Independents Group suffered a significant blow on July 31, 1990, when Prowse left to join the Liberal Party. As long as the Alliance survived, however, they nevertheless maintained influence in decision-making. This was to end when the Liberal Party and Residents Rally fell out in late 1991, causing Residents Rally to move a no-confidence motion in the government.

Soon after, on November 19, realising that the Independents Group was effectively dead, Duby quit the party to form the Hare-Clark Independent Party. With her influence in the Assembly reduced to practically nil, Maher continued under the Independents Group until the 1992 election. Both Maher and Prowse retired at the election, and though Duby contested the election with his new party, he lost his seat. By the 1995 election, the Independents Group was entirely dead, with none its members playing any further role in ACT politics.


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