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Mr. E. Murray Robson, Liberal M.L.A. for Vau- cluse, was yesterday elected Leader of the State Parlia- mentary Liberal Party.
He defeated Mr. P. H. Morton (Mosman) by 12 votes to 10. They had dead-heated in an earlier ballot with 11 votes each.
Mr. Robson automatically becomes Leader of the State Opposition, which comprises [Liberal and Country Party
His election ended a week old deadlock on who should succeed Mr. vernon Treatt. who resigned as leader last Tuesday.
Liberal M.L.A.s regard Mr. Robson's election as a victory for the Treatt group in the party, which has opposed Mr. Morton's bids for leadership.
However, many members feel that Mr. Robson's elec- tion will not solve differences between the Robson-Treatt
group and key members of the party's executive on the control of the parliamentary party and the Liberal-Country Party alliance.
These members say that these differences were the main cause of Mr. Treatt's resignation and the faction fight within the parliamentary party on the leadership ques- tion.
The Leader of the Country Party, Mr. M. F. Bruxner, called on Mr. Robso.i after yesterday's meeting and con- gratulated him.
Mr. Robson said later: "1 know that I will have the full support of the Country Party. Its objective is the same as ours-to get rid of the Cahill Government."
Referring to differences between a section of th.. par- liamentary party and the State executive, Mr. Robson said: "The executive and myself will work very well together.'
Mr. Robson continued: "Mr.
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Robson's Election As Liberal Leader
Morton put up a very strong and good fight. I am assured by my colleagues that I have their full support and loyalty.
"Our job is to get rid of this Government. The Cahill Government must go.
"I do not propose to make any statement of policy at the
"We will meet the Govern- ment in the House, fight them, and beat them.
"My deputy leader, Mr. Askin, is one of the most loyal and capable men in Parlia-
"Vernon Treatt has given service and loyalty to the people of N.S.W. which is un- paralleled.
"He goes out with our best wishes and in our full know- ledge that he will take his place in Parliament to con- tinue the fight for what has always been his objective-to rid this State of the socialist Cahill Government."
The State president of the Liberal Party, Mr. Lyle H. Moore, was not available for comment last night.
Mr. Moiton said last night: "1 congratulate Mr. Murray Robson on his election as party leader. The team will be 100 per cent, behind him. he can rely on my support."
Yesterday's meeting was called after last Tuesday's meeting had failed to elect a successor to Mr. Treatt.
At the previous meeting, Mr. Morton and the deputy leader, Mr. R. W. Askin (Col- laroy) dead-heated four times with 11 votes each.
Mr. Robson's intention to nominate was known to only a few of the Treatt-Askin group until about half an hour before yesterday's meet- ing.
At a last-minute conference with his supporters, Mr. Askin
said be intended to stand down because he had per- suaded Mr. Robson to nom- inate for the leadership.
Mr. Askin then told Mr. Morton he would not be opposing him.
When the meeting opened at 11.25 Messrs. E. D. Darby (Manly), Morton, and Robson nominated for the position of leader.
Mr. Darby was eliminated and on the distribution of his preferences, Mr. Morton and Mr. Robson dead-heated with 11 votes each.
The intense lobbying by both sides that followed the adjournment for lunch re- sulted in the swing of one or Mr. Morton's supporters to the Robson group.
In the ballot taken after lunch, Mr. Robson won 12 votes and Mr. Morton 10.
When the result was an- nounced Mr. Robson was mobbed by enthusiastic mem- bers who shook his hands and clapped him on the back.
Mr. Askin told the meeting he would stand down as
deputy leader if the meeting considered that the election of a Morton supporter to the position would help consoli- date the party.
Members assured Mr. Askin that they wished him to carry on as deputy leader.
Mr. Robson said last night he hoped to issue a joint state-
ment with Mr. Bruxner on Friday on "what the Liberal and Country Parties can do together."
Mr. Robson, who is 48, has represented Vaucluse in the Legislative Assembly since 1936 when he defeated the endorsed U.A.P. candidate, Mr. H. C. Foster. .
Mr. Robson was educated at Newington College and Sydney University, where he took B.A. and LLB. degrees.
He has practiced as a solicitor in Sydney since 1930.
He served for six years with the A.l.F. in World War 11, attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, and commanded the 2/31st Australian Infantry Battalion, and was awarded the D.S.O.
His father, the late Mr. W. E. V. Robson, represented Ashfield in the Legislative Assembly from 1905 to 1920, and was a member of the Legislative Council from 1920 till his death in September.
1951. , _