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Heather Southcott (1928-2014)
News clippings archive on the Liberal Movement and the Australian Democrats 1970-2006

MSS 0119


Biographical Note

Heather Southcott was a foundation member of the Australian Democrats from 1977, and SA State Secretary from 1977-1982. She won the by-election for the seat of Mitcham in 1982 and was duly elected by members to the position of State Leader and then National Leader of the Australian Democrats. She became the first woman to lead a parliamentary political party in Australia.

A pharmacology graduate of the University of Adelaide and a pharmaceutical chemist by profession, Heather Southcott has been a working member of many organisations such as Amnesty, the Coalition for the Bill of Rights and the International Human Rights Day Committee. She was honoured by UNESCO for her "services to the community, in particular as Chairperson of the United Nations Association of Australia". She is also a strong advocate for social justice and children's rights.

The Liberal Movement (LM) was a minor South Australian political party in the 1970s. It was initially organised in 1972 by former premier Steele Hall as an internal group of the Liberal and Country League (LCL) in response to a perceived resistance to reform within the ranks. A year later, when tensions heightened between the LCL's conservative wing and the LM, it was established in its own right as a progressive liberal party.

In the federal election of 1974, the LM succeeded in having Steele Hall elected to the Australian Senate, and gained an additional member in the 1975 state election. In 1976 the LM was re-absorbed into the LCL, newly renamed as the Liberal Party of Australia.

A segment of the LM, led by former state attorney-general Robin Millhouse, formed a new party, the New LM, which in 1977 combined with the Australia Party to form the nucleus of the Australian Democrats (AD) under the invited leadership of Don Chipp. The Australian Democrats aspired to a balance of power in the federal Senate and up to four state upper houses for three decades. The LM and its successor parties gave voice to what is termed "small-liberalism" in Australia.

These papers were donated by Heather Southcott in September 2008 and May 2009. The papers have been largely retained in the order arranged by Mrs Southcott. Further newspaper clippings were donated by Peter Adamson in July 2009 and March 2010.

Contents Listing

Part 1: Liberal Movement

1.1 Aims, Constitution and philosophy .5 cm

  • Includes flyers and pamphlets, ‘Policy resolutions/Constitution/Standing Orders’ from the 1972 inaugural convention, draft and final constitutions (1972?) and Alterations to the Constitution made at the 1975 Convention of members

1.2 History 6 cm

  • ‘The Liberal Movement’ statement on origins 1972 (2 p., typescript)
  • Chronology 1972-1975, outline and party structure (2 p., typescript)
  • ‘The Liberal Movement story’ newspaper clippings scrapbooks (4 parts)
  • ‘A true story’ / Andrew L. Tidswell [comic version of the birth of the LM]
  • ‘Irreconcilable differences’ / Peter Adamson. Independent Weekly April 8-14, 2006
  • Student research paper ‘The Liberal Movement from election day (July 12, 1975) to May Day (may 1, 1976)’ by Mark Albers, 1976 (Ms, carbon copy, 25, [10] leaves)
  • Correspondence and papers re end of Liberal Movement 1976, including financial position

See also Part 2 Newspaper clippings

1.3 Policy (including Conventions) 11 cm

  • Policy Committees 1972-75: includes correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, policy statements, newspaper clippings, Policy Director’s reports, Steele Hall’s Policy speech 1974, policy papers
  • Miscellaneous policy material: includes Suggestions for safeguards on policy development / Prof. McCarthy, Steele Hall’s Policy speech 1975, policy papers and proposals
  • Conventions June 1972-May 1975:includes policy papers presented, standing orders, resolutions (some annotated) and ms notes
  • Collected policy statements, drafts and working papers
  • Policy Committees: includes members listings, correspondence
  • Drafts of policy papers, and correspondence etc relevant to May 1975 Convention

See also Regional policy conventions in Series 1.8 Other branches

1.4 Management 10 cm

  • Management Committee minutes 1974-1976
  • Standing Committee minutes 1973-1976
  • Financial reports 1973-74

1.5 Newsletters 1972-75 1 cm
Variously titled ‘LM newsletter’, LM news’ etc

  • Also issues of Sense, the official journal of the Southern Area Office of the Liberal and Country League June 1971-May 1972

1.6 Donors, fundraising .5 cm

  • Donors lists, correspondence, questionnaires, circulars; including organisation of political support meetings

1.7 Mitcham branch 7 cm

  • Model rules
  • Membership lists 1974-76
  • Minutes book 1973-76
  • Mitcham Committee 1972-76: includes Committee membership lists, reports of meetings, draft minutes, financial statements and chequebooks
  • Correspondence 1973-76 (including correspondence of Heather Southcott): includes News sheets, circulars, notice of meetings etc
  • Mitcham 1973-76: includes circulars, minutes, correspondence (largely duplicates previous files)
  • Mitcham LM Daytime Group reports, programs, correspondence 1974-76
  • Mitcham Group Happy Hour accounts 1972-75

1.8 Other branches and regions (including Young LM, regional conventions) 7 cm

  • Young LM: includes notices, attendances, correspondence, newsletters (Ad Lib 1972-73, Enterprise 1974-76)
  • Heywood Group: membership lists 1975?
  • Bragg Group: Annual report 1974, Minutes Book and Secretary’s accounts of Daytime Group 1975-76, News Digest 1974-76
  • Regional Policy Conventions 1973-75
  • SE Metropolitan Branch Council News Digest August 1976
  • Head Office administration, Executive Director, Office Staff
  • Correspondence & business file: Head Office notices, Group office bearers, Guidelines for conduct of Promotions Committee 1975, Publications Committee minutes 1974, circulars, notice of meetings etc, correspondence with Central Office and Groups 1974-75

1.9 Elections (promotional material, newspaper clippings, campaign organisation, correspondence) 7 cm

  • Undated election flyers, posters etc
  • State election 12/7/1975
  • Federal election 18/5/1974
  • Federal election 18/5/1974: Southern By-election, campaign Hawker
  • Federal election 18/5/1974: Boothby campaign
  • Federal election 13/12/1975
  • Post-poll analyses

See also Part 2 Newspaper clippings

1.10 Promotional material 3 cm

  • Includes leaflets, pamphlets, open letters, stickers, bonds, posters, election flyers etc, Promotions Committee reports 1975

See also Series 1.9 Elections

1.11 Speeches

  • ‘Keynote speeches’: Opening address at Special Meeting 31/3/1973 / Allan Perryman (typescript); Liberal Movement Policy Speech 2/7/1975 / Robin Millhouse (typescript); Liberal Movement Policy Speech 1/12/1975 / Steele Hall (typescript); Liberal Movement Policy Unley Town Hall 9/12/1975 / Peter Burman, Robin Millhouse, Steele Hall (cassette); Talking points on the future of the Liberal Movement 5/2/1976 / Steele Hall (typescript); Opening speech LM Convention 25/6/1976 / Robin Millhouse (cassette); list of LM political lectures Sept. 12-Nov. 28 [no year]
  • Robin Millhouse speeches, flyers, circulars: includes Constitution of the Robin Millhouse Athletic Endowment Fund, ‘Why I am still in politics’ March 1979
  • Steele Hall speeches, addresses, statements, flyers

Part 2: Newspaper clippings archive

The newspaper clippings archive covers the principle federal and state elections from 1970-1994, and contains items related to the Liberal Movement, the Australian Democrats party and federal and state political matters.  11 cm.

SA state election guide Advertiser May 27, 1970

Includes Labor’s victory in the December 1972 federal election with Whitlam as Prime Minister; March 10 state election; Sturt won by Liberal Movement member Ian C.B. Wilson; formation of the Liberal Movement; flyer of and clippings on the Australia Party; election pamphlet by John McLeay (Liberal Party) “What kind of Australia do you want?”; Women’s Electoral Lobby

Mainly SA state election March 1973; also Liberal Movement; Steele Hall on health nationalisation; new proportional representation voting system for Legislative Council; by-election for Goyder; some federal politics

May federal election and referendum; federal and state politics; Senator Steele Hall’s impact as Senator and leader of the Liberal Movement; Liberal Movement relations with Liberal Country League; federal ALP ID card proposal; Festival of Light ad on party attitudes; “Let’s fight for Australia now!” / address by Independent Candidate Ms Stop Asian Immigration Now H-Berrill; proposal for Bill of Rights

July SA state election; articles re the Liberal Movement and LM advertisements; Margaret Whitlam on women in the year 2001

Mainly SA elections

1980 federal election; Australian Democrats (including v. 1 no. 10 Sept 1980 issue of The New Direction); Don Chip on the Franklin River; SA state politics and Tonkin government

1984 federal election; Australian Democrats; Don Chipp and wife Idun; 1983 federal double dissolution election; 1982 SA state election including Australian Democrat advertisements; 1983 federal election

Undated (1984-1986?)
SA launch of the Advance Australia Party; Australian Democrats, including rift within party

Proposed federal identity card (Australia Card) including press releases by Don Chipp and Senator David Vigor, and statement by Heather Southcott; Nuclear Disarmament Party; Australian Democrats; Australian Conservation Foundation endorsement flyer ‘Vote for Peace’ for Australian Democrats

1985-86 scrapbook - Oversize
(May duplicate other files)

1986/1987 federal ALP ID card proposal; Australian Democrats, including push for electoral reform, pieces on Don Chipp, Janine Haines and Heather Southcott and women in the AD; 1986 international conference on climate change; Unite Australia Party (UAP) including 1987 defection of Port Adelaide AD members; federal politics including media ownership, Medicare; February 1988 federal by-election for Adelaide and Port Adelaide; 1988 Call to Australia (CTA) group of Fred Nile; 1988 environmental issues including greenhouse gases, ALP/Conservation alliance, immigration and population policy; federal politics; Australian Democrats, Janine Haines in parliament; 1989 Greypower movement; 1989 campaign by Janine Haines for House of Representative seat of Kingston, including election flyers, letters from Haines to the Democrats Council re her decision to run; defection of WA ALP members to Democrats. Also Australian League of Rights publication Wake up, Australia! 17th edition (June 1988)

1990 federal election; Australian Democrats

Australian Democrats including ballots for leader, results in federal by-election for Menzies and NSW state election, Helen Caldicott, leadership crisis of Janet Powell, media releases; ALP membership and politics; Green support; federal politics; letters and faxes to Heather Southcott as President Australian Democrats; proposed ALP ban on election-time electronic advertising

1992 resignation of Victorian members; Lance Milne; policy on circumcision; SA state election 1993; Liberal Party; Australian Democrats; Natural Law Party; federal Liberal mining policy; Ausstudy review; GST; Shooters Party; green policy; Haines policy on female circumcision; 1993 ‘Messenger’ articles: Craigburn Farm development, proposed Bellevue Heights rail station, Mike Elliott on Centennial Park Cemetery and other local matters

SA state 1994 election; mandate to Liberals; Australian Democrats; April 1994 state by-election for Bonython; Woodchip Licence Fighting Fund flyer; proposed closure of Port Adelaide Girls High School; 1995 Liberal proposal to abolish the Legislative Council
Also issue no. 1 of South Australia Statewide (June 1994) with by-line “South Australia fights back”

Federal election; Natasha Stott-Despoja

SA election

Cartoons; resignation of Gareth Evans; Meg Lees; GST; environmental policy

Aden Ridgeway on Reconciliation; Sam Hudson (Democrats National Secretary); Cheryl Kernot; Edith Pringle

Leadership of Natasha Stott Despoja; division with Meg Lees; Sandra Kanck; resignation of John Coulter; federal election

Resignation of Meg Lees; newspaper cartoons; resignation of Natasha Stott Despoja from Leadership; leadership battle and internal divisions within Democrats; Senator Andrew Murray; Greens party; GST; Telstra sale vote; leaderships of Brian Grieg and Andrew Bartlett; Clifford Frederick Boyd obituary; Mike Elliott resignation; Don Chipp on Democrats self-destruction; 2002 state election; opposition to nuclear dump

Leadership of Sandra Kanck; Greens party policy; Kate Reynolds (replacing Mike Elliott as Democrat MLC); Ian Gilfillan on crime; Meg Lees Australian Progressive Alliance; Lees on River Murray and media; Medicare reform Robin Millhouse in Kiribati

Senator Andrew Bartlett on depression; 2004 federal election; Democrats leader Lyn Allison

Miscellaneous ‘oddments’ file on other party politics 1978-2009

Additional news clippings re the Liberal Movement can be found in Series 1.2 History, and 1.9 Elections

Cheryl Hoskin
9 October 2008
Revised May 2009, March 2010

University Library

Barr Smith Library
South Australia 5005


Phone: +61 8 8313 5224