1994 Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill

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Liberal Party of Australia
Leadership spill, 1994
← 1993 23 May 1994 1995 →
  Alexander Downer 1990s.jpg John Hewson 2016 01.jpg
Candidate Alexander Downer John Hewson
1st Rd. 43 36
1st Rd. % 54.4% 45.6%

Leader before election

John Hewson

Elected Leader

Alexander Downer

A leadership spill of the federal parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party of Australia was held on 23 May 1994. The incumbent, John Hewson, was defeated by Alexander Downer in a vote of Liberal Party Members of Parliament (MPs) by 43 votes to 36 votes.[1] Downer thus became the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Australia.


After John Hewson lost the so called unlosable 1993 election he stayed on as Leader of the Opposition despite stating he would resign if he lost. Hewson stayed on to prevent John Howard being elected leader who Hewson defeated in a 1993 leadership challenge. However Hewson was undermined over the next 14 months amidst the Liberals having a hard time trying to fundraise and make a momentum against the Keating government and after being embarrassed on Lateline about negative Liberal party polling Hewson called a leadership spill.[2][3]


The following table gives the ballot results:

Name Votes Percentage
Alexander Downer 43 54.4
John Hewson 36 45.6


  1. ^ Canberra Times, 24 May 1994
  2. ^ John Hewson: John Howard's republican debate tactics threaten same-sex marriage John Hewson - Sydney Morning Herald 21 September 2017
  3. ^ So Many Firsts - Liberal Women from Enid Lyons to the Turnbull Era Margaret Fitzherbert to the Turnbull Era