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Irresponsible Government

The Development of Political Attitudes and Alignments
in the New South Wales Legislative Council


Neville Lindsay


(C) N.R. Lindsay 1983
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention
No reproduction without permission. All rights reserved

First published in 2010
Historia Productions
P0 Box 604
Kenmore 4069


National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-publication entry

Author: Lindsay, Neville.

Title: Irresponsible Government - Political Alignments in the NSW Legislative Council 1843-1855

Includes bibliographical references and index

ISBN: 9780980841596

Subjects: New South Wales Legislative Council - History.
Legislative bodoes - New South Wales - History.
New South Wales - Politics and government - 19 th century

Dewey Number: 328.309944

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Contemporary sources such as newspapers in New South Wales in the 'blended' Legislative Council era 1843-56 – pre-responsible government – routinely referred to parliamentary parties, factions, and tails. While these came into existence before political parties arose in the 1890s, they did not exist as real, cohesive groups before 1856.

Yes, they did not realise what they were saying. An analysis of the voting paterns of alleged parties and factions showed that there is no synchronisation of voting on a broad basis, that the alleged leaders of the alleged parties and factions – Lowe, Wentworth, Cooper and Thomson – led no group. It was simply a case of individuals voting the same way on specific issues on which they agreed, and these transitory alliances disappeared for the (bulk) of other issues where they voted with others with whom they had disagreed on the other issues. With 697 bills considered in the 13 years, there is no continuity of extended alliance voting patterns

It was not until the handling of departments headed by the Governor's office bearers to elected ministers in the Responsible Government era in 1856 that those ministers had to bond together in factions to avoid their competition for influence, resources and member support rendering government ungovernable.



The contents of this brief volume were originally prepared as a thesis, and like most theses was filed away in the departmental office. Many universities are very lax, having extracted such research papers, in failing to expose them publicly as a basis for extending knowledge – filling in niches in the spectrum of coverage of the various topics they relate to, avoiding the need for research in those areas by subsequent authors.

While individuals are usually not in a position to arrange their publication, the internet has provided a venue where a search can provide answers which avoid repetitive pioneering research. This is all about the advancement of human knowledge, not simply completing a task to achieve an academic assessment, or providing research for supervising academics to use in their own works.

It should not be beyond the resources of academic institutions to make this a universal practice. However the electronic age puts it within the reach of individual authors. So here this one is.

Neville Lindsay
1 September 2010