It's Party Time!


1. The first meeting of the Australian Labor Party was convened when, where and by whom?

(a) in 1879, at the Sovereign Hill Hotel near Ballarat by mine workers celebrating the 25th anniversary of the rebellion at the Eureka Stockade
(b) in 1883, at Parramatta, by Methodist followers of the Tolpuddle Martyrs who had been transported from England for agitating for better conditions for workers
(c) in 1891, by striking shearers under the gum tree now known as the Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine, Queensland
(d) in 1896, by the first federal parliamentary Labor leader, Chris Watson, during a Sunday afternoon of roast lamb, rum and cribbage at his home in Double Bay in Sydney

2. According to Australia’s Constitution the gender of the Governor-General shall be:

(a) Male
(b) Unspecified, therefore either
(c) Subject to legislation by the Parliament of Australia
(d) Male unless changed by referendum

3. The following four leaders have all launched new federal political parties in Australia. One of them did not launch a party called the United Australia Party.

Which one?

(a) Joseph Lyons
(b) Robert Menzies
(c) Pauline Hanson
(d) Clive Palmer

Bonus point: what was his or her new party called?

4. Who was Australia’s first deputy prime minister, and why?

(a) Harold Tompkins was given the new deputy role by Prime Minister Joseph Lyons as part of his winnings in a poker game in 1937.
(b) Ben Chifley was given the position by Prime Minister John Curtin in 1941 to acknowledge the senior role Chifley was obliged to accept during World War II.
(c) Harold Holt was appointed by PM Sir Robert Menzies in 1963 following a deal to allow the then 69 year-old PM to contest the next election before retiring.
(d) John McEwan was appointed by PM John Gorton in 1968 to consolidate the power of the Country Party in the Coalition Government.
(e) Lance Barnard was appointed by PM Gough Whitlam in 1972 after Whitlam and Barnard were sworn in by the Governor-General as a temporary two-person cabinet assuming 27 portfolios between them.

5. Australia has had 43 federal elections since federation in 1901.

Almost three quarters – 30 to be precise – were held in four months of the year. Which months?

(a) March, April, September, November
(b) March, October, November, December
(c) March, May, November, December
(d) August, September, October, November

Bonus question: which three months of the year have never had an election. Why not?

6. Australia’s federal government consists of two groups of ministers: senior ministers comprising the cabinet and junior ministers in the outer ministry.

Which prime minister introduced the two-tiered system, when and why?

(a) John Curtin in 1941 to expedite decision-making during World War II.
(b) Robert Menzies in 1956 so he wouldn’t have to deal with all the Country Party ministers in cabinet meetings.
(c) Billy McMahon in 1971 after being visited in a dream by a swami who revealed that one solitary level was not the path of illumination.
(d) Malcolm Fraser in 1975 on finding it impossible to make decisions with Andrew Peacock and John Howard in the room at the same time.
(e) Bob Hawke in 1983 because to “fix up the joint” he and Paul Keating needed the most efficient system possible.

Note: more than one answer may be correct.

7. One of these political parties is NOT currently registered with the Australian Electoral Commission. Which one?

(a) Animal Liberation Party
(b) Australian Independents
(c) Australian Sports Party
(d) Coke in the Bubblers Party
(e) Future Party
(f) Smokers Rights Party
(g) The 23 Million

8. Six officially registered Australian political parties have a negative focus on a single issue; that is, they use the word “end”, “stop”, “no” or “reform” in the party name.

They are opposed to five specific issues. One is duplicated.

Which five?

(a) Child support, migration, current drug laws, Pauline Hanson, taxation
(b) Coal seam gas extraction, the carbon tax, current drug laws, banks, the Greens
(c) Aircraft noise, fuel excise, the GST, uranium mining, racism
(d) The GST, coal-fired power, migration, same-sex marriage, abortion
(e) The carbon tax, state governments, migration, abortion, tobacco advertising

9. Four registered political parties include the names of people in the party name. They are:

(a) Fred Nile, Bob Katter, Clive Palmer and Nick Xenophon
(b) Pauline Hanson, Bob Katter, Julian Assange and Clive Palmer
(c) Clive Palmer, Bob Katter, Phil Cleary and Nick Xenophon
(d) Julian Assange, Clive Palmer, Pauline Hanson and Julia Gillard

10. It is claimed that the Gillard government was the busiest in Australia’s history, and perhaps in the history of Westminster governments.

But just how busy?

The Minister for Finance and Deregulation Penny Wong announced in July the implementation of the Legislative Instruments Amendment (Sunsetting Measures) Act – which removes redundant laws from the statutes and reduces red tape on business. This follows legislation passed earlier in the year.

How many laws will this legislation eliminate?

(a) 900
(b) 1200
(c) 2600
(d) 12,000

11. One of these statements is false. Which one?

(a) Formed in 1789, Australia's first police force was a squadron of 12 of the best-behaved convicts.
(b) In 1855, Victoria introduced the secret ballot which became known abroad as “the Australian ballot”.
(c) The gold rush of the 1850s attracted massive waves of migration to Australia from all over the world. Leaders of the 1854 Eureka Rebellion included Irishman Timothy Hayes, Italian Raffaello Carboni and black Jamaican James McFie Campbell.
(d) A kangaroo and an emu are on the Australian coat of arms. Australia is the only country where the people eat their national emblems.
(e) Australia was one of the first three countries in the world to launch a satellite into orbit.
(f) The United States was founded by religious zealots and now has a homicide rate of 5.9 per 100,000 population. Australia was founded by convicted criminals and now has a homicide rate of 1.5 per 100,000.

12. How did Opposition Leader Tony Abbot get to be an Australian citizen?

(a) He was born near Gosford in New South Wales in 1957.
(b) He flew to Australia from England with his parents when he was four.
(c) He was sent as an infant by his father in a spaceship just before his native planet was destroyed in a massive radioactive explosion. He was then raised in Chatswood by foster parents Dick and Fay Abbott who concealed both his origins and his superpowers.
(d) He arrived by boat.


1. (c) in 1891, by shearers in Barcaldine.

2. (b) There is no specific reference to the GG’s gender, but the Constitution always refers to the office bearer as “he”.

3. (b) Menzies.The original UAP was launched by Joseph Lyons in 1931. Pauline Hanson registered Pauline's United Australia Party for the 2007 election, since deregistered. Clive Palmer launched another United Australia Party (UAP) on 25 April 2013. The name was later changed to Palmer United Party. Robert Menzies was the leader of the original UAP while Prime Minister from 1939 to 1941. But he did not start it. The one he started in 1945 is called the Liberal Party.

4. (d) John McEwan. The position and title were established by PM John Gorton to acknowledge the power of the Country Party in the Coalition government. After the mysterious disappearance of Harold Holt, the Liberals wanted Bill McMahon to become PM, but the powerful Country Party leader McEwan vetoed that choice and forced the Coalition to accept John Gorton.

5. (b) March, October, November, December. There has been no election in January or February because of Summer holidays. Winter has been avoided also with none in June and only one in July.

6. (b) And (e). Menzies introduced Australia's first inner cabinet for his seventh ministry in 1956. This was continued by all later Coalition PMs, but not introduced by Labor until Bob Hawke did so in 1983. All PMs since have continued the practice.

7. (a) Animal Liberation Party. The others were all registered earlier this year.

8. (b) The parties are:
Stop CSG Party
Bank Reform Party
Drug Law Reform Party
Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party,
No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics, and
Outdoor Recreation Party (Stop The Greens)

9. (a) The parties are:
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
Katter’s Australian Party
Nick Xenophon Group
Palmer United Party

10. (d) 12,000.

11. (d) Several countries eat their national emblem. Coq au vin is a favourite dish in France.

12. (d) His parents were economic migrants arriving by boat to seek a higher standard of living in someone else's country. They did not have permission of the original inhabitants.

Disputes welcome and correspondence will be entered into.

New Matilda

New Matilda is independent journalism at its finest. The site has been publishing intelligent coverage of Australian and international politics, media and culture since 2004.