Bridget Archer MP, Federal Member for Bass, Tasmania, Australian Liberal Party. Official Portrait. 25th June 2019. File NO 20190180. 46th Parliament. Parliament House Canberra. Image David Foote-AUSPIC/DPS.

In the landscape of Australian politics, Bridget Archer MP, the Member for Bass in Tasmania, has garnered significant attention for her unorthodox approach within the Liberal Party. As a member of the Liberal Party, Archer’s actions and stances on various issues have often put her at odds with the party’s mainstream ideology and leadership, leading some to label her as a “Liberal In Name Only” (LINO). This article delves into the reasons behind this label and examines the implications of her unique position within the party.

Defining the Liberal Party

The Liberal Party of Australia, traditionally center-right, champions free-market economic policies, individual liberties, and conservative social values. It has been a dominant force in Australian politics since its founding in 1944. However, like any political party, it encompasses a spectrum of views, ranging from moderate to more conservative stances. The party’s core tenets include a commitment to economic liberalism, fiscal responsibility, and a cautious approach to social change.

Bridget Archer’s Divergence

Bridget Archer MP, elected to the House of Representatives in the 2019 federal election, represents the division of Bass in Tasmania. Her tenure has been marked by several instances where her actions have diverged significantly from the party line, raising questions about her alignment with Liberal Party principles.

  1. Stance on Climate Change

One of the most notable areas of divergence is Archer’s position on climate change. The Liberal Party has historically been criticised for its cautious approach to climate policy, often prioritising economic considerations and energy security over aggressive climate action. In contrast, Archer has been a vocal advocate for more robust climate policies. She has called for stronger action to reduce carbon emissions and supported initiatives aimed at transitioning to renewable energy sources. Her advocacy for climate action aligns more closely with the positions typically associated with the Australian Greens or the Labor Party, rather than the traditional Liberal stance.

  1. Crossing the Floor

Archer has also demonstrated a willingness to cross the floor and vote against her party, a rare and bold move in Australian politics. In November 2021, she crossed the floor to support an inquiry into the treatment of women in Parliament, directly challenging her party’s leadership. This act of defiance was seen as a significant departure from party loyalty and discipline, key components of the Liberal Party’s internal cohesion. Her actions highlighted her commitment to principles over party directives, reinforcing the perception of her as a LINO.

  1. Advocacy for Integrity in Politics

Archer has been a strong advocate for political integrity and transparency, often in ways that challenge her party’s stance. She has publicly supported the establishment of a federal anti-corruption commission, a topic on which the Liberal Party has been more circumspect. Her advocacy for greater accountability and transparency in government positions her closer to the crossbench and minor parties that prioritise anti-corruption measures, further distancing her from the mainstream Liberal position.

  1. Social Issues

On social issues, Archer has taken progressive stances that contrast with the more conservative elements of her party. For instance, she has expressed support for LGBTQ+ rights and same-sex marriage, aligning herself with more progressive values that are not always embraced by the party’s conservative base. Her stance on these issues resonates more with moderate and progressive voters, challenging the traditional conservative platform of the Liberal Party.

The Implications of Being a LINO

Bridget Archer’s positioning as a LINO has significant implications for both her political career and the broader Liberal Party. Her independent streak and willingness to break ranks raise several questions about party unity and the ability of the Liberal Party to accommodate a wide range of views within its ranks.

  1. Electoral Impact

Archer’s approach has a dual impact on her electoral prospects. On one hand, her willingness to advocate for what she believes in and her focus on local issues resonate with her constituents, potentially increasing her appeal to voters who prioritise integrity and progressive policies. On the other hand, her divergence from party lines risks alienating the traditional Liberal voter base, which could pose challenges in future elections. Balancing these dynamics will be crucial for her political survival.

  1. Party Dynamics

Within the Liberal Party, Archer’s actions present a challenge to the leadership. Her defiance and the support she garners for her stances highlight the ideological divides within the party. The leadership must navigate these internal tensions to maintain cohesion and present a united front, particularly in the face of electoral competition from both the Labor Party and minor parties.

  1. Broader Political Discourse

Archer’s prominence as a LINO contributes to the broader political discourse in Australia by highlighting the need for diverse views and independent thinking within major parties. Her example underscores the importance of individual MPs advocating for their constituents’ interests and personal principles, even when it conflicts with party directives. This dynamic can lead to a more nuanced and representative political landscape.


Bridget Archer’s tenure as a Liberal MP exemplifies the complexities and challenges of navigating party politics while staying true to personal convictions and the interests of constituents. Her stances on climate change, integrity in politics, and social issues set her apart from the traditional Liberal Party line, earning her the label of a Liberal In Name Only. While this positioning brings both opportunities and challenges, it also enriches the political discourse and highlights the evolving nature of party politics in Australia.

Archer’s journey reflects the broader tensions within the Liberal Party and Australian politics, emphasising the delicate balance between party loyalty and individual principles. As the political landscape continues to evolve, her example will likely influence future debates on the role of MPs and the importance of diverse perspectives within major political parties.

By Editor