The Australian Labor Party (ALP; known as Labor, historically spelt Labour) is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. Bill Shorten has been the party's federal parliamentary leader since 13 October 2013. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state (and sometimes local) levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.
Labor's constitution has long stated: "The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields". This "socialist objective" was introduced in 1921, but was later qualified by two further objectives: "maintenance of and support for a competitive non-monopolistic private sector" and "the right to own private property". Labor governments have not attempted the "democratic socialisation" of any industry since the 1940s, when the Chifley Government failed to nationalise the private banks, and in fact have privatised several industries such as aviation and banking. Labor's current National Platform describes the party as "a modern social democratic party".
The ALP was not founded as a federal party until after the first sitting of the Australian Parliament in 1901. Nevertheless, it is regarded as descended from labour parties founded in the various Australian colonies by the emerging labour movement in Australia, formally beginning in 1891. Labor is thus the country's oldest political party. Colonial labour parties contested seats from 1891, and federal seats following Federation at the 1901 federal election. The ALP formed the world's first Labour Party government, as well as the world's first social democratic government at a national level. Labor was the first party in Australia to win a majority in either house of the Australian Parliament, at the 1910 federal election. The Australian Labor Party at both a federal and state/colony level predates, among others, both the British Labour Party and the New Zealand Labour Party in party formation, government, and policy implementation. Internationally, the ALP is a member of the Progressive Alliance network of social-democratic parties, having previously been a member of the Socialist International.
Australian Labor Party
|Deputy Leader||Tanya Plibersek|
|National Secretary||Noah Carroll|
|Founded||8 May 1901|
|Headquarters||5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, Australian Capital Territory|
|Youth wing||Australian Young Labor|
|International affiliation||Progressive Alliance|
|House of Representatives|
69 / 151
26 / 76
|State and territorial governments|
5 / 8
|State and territorial lower house members|
236 / 455
|State and territorial upper house members|
58 / 155
In standard Australian English, the word "labour" is spelled with a ⟨u⟩. However, the political party uses the spelling "Labor", without a ⟨u⟩. There was originally no standardised spelling of the party's name, with "Labor" and "Labour" both in common usage. According to Ross McMullin, who wrote an official history of the Labor Party, the title page of the proceedings of Federal Conference used the spelling "Labor" in 1902, "Labour" in 1905 and 1908, and then "Labor" from 1912 onwards. In 1908, James Catts put forward a motion at Federal Conference that "the name of the party be the Australian Labour Party", which was carried by 22 votes to two. A separate motion recommending state branches to adopt the name was defeated. There was no uniformity of party names until 1918, when Federal Conference resolved that state branches should adopt the name "Australian Labor Party" – now spelled without a ⟨u⟩. Each state branch had previously used a different name, due to their different origins.[a]
Despite the ALP officially adopting the spelling without a ⟨u⟩, it took decades for the official spelling to achieve widespread acceptance. In 1954, Labor MP Ted Johnson complained in the Parliament of Western Australia that both Hansard and the daily newspapers were still using the spelling "Labour". As late as the 1980s, historian Finlay Crisp used the spelling "Labour" in academic works about the party.[b] McMullin has observed that "the way the spelling of 'Labor Party' was consolidated had more to do with the chap who ended up being in charge of printing the federal conference report than any other reason". Some sources have attributed the official decision to use "Labor" to King O'Malley, who was born in the United States and was reputedly an advocate of spelling reform; the spelling without a ⟨u⟩ is the standard form in American English. It has been suggested that the adoption of the spelling without a ⟨u⟩ "signified one of the ALP's earliest attempts at modernisation", and served the purpose of differentiating the party from the Australian labour movement as a whole and distinguishing it from other British Empire labour parties. The decision to include the word "Australian" in the party's name – rather than just "Labour Party" as in the United Kingdom – has been attributed to "the greater importance of nationalism for the founders of the colonial parties".
The Australian Labor Party has its origins in the Labour parties founded in the 1890s in the Australian colonies prior to federation. Labor tradition ascribes the founding of Queensland Labour to a meeting of striking pastoral workers under a ghost gum tree (the "Tree of Knowledge") in Barcaldine, Queensland in 1891. The Balmain, New South Wales branch of the party claims to be the oldest in Australia. Labour as a parliamentary party dates from 1891 in New South Wales and South Australia, 1893 in Queensland, and later in the other colonies.
The first election contested by Labour candidates was the 1891 New South Wales election, when Labour candidates (then called the Labor Electoral League of New South Wales) won 35 of 141 seats. The major parties were the Protectionist and Free Trade parties and Labour held the balance of power. It offered parliamentary support in exchange for policy concessions. The United Labor Party (ULP) of South Australia was founded in 1891, and three candidates were that year elected to the South Australian Legislative Council. The first successful South Australian House of Assembly candidate was John McPherson at the 1892 East Adelaide by-election. Richard Hooper however was elected as an Independent Labor candidate at the 1891 Wallaroo by-election, while he was the first "labor" member of the House of Assembly he was not a member of the newly formed ULP.
At the 1893 South Australian elections the ULP was immediately elevated to balance of power status with 10 of 54 lower house seats. The liberal government of Charles Kingston was formed with the support of the ULP, ousting the conservative government of John Downer. So successful, less than a decade later at the 1905 election, Thomas Price formed the world's first stable Labor government. John Verran led Labor to form the state's first of many majority governments at the 1910 election.
The colonial Labour parties and the trade unions were mixed in their support for the Federation of Australia. Some Labour representatives argued against the proposed constitution, claiming that the Senate as proposed was too powerful, similar to the anti-reformist colonial upper houses and the British House of Lords. They feared that federation would further entrench the power of the conservative forces. The first Labour leader and Prime Minister, Chris Watson, however, was a supporter of federation.
Historian Celia Hamilton, examining New South Wales, argues for the central role of Irish Catholics. Before 1890, they opposed Henry Parkes, the main Liberal leader, and of free trade, seeing them both as the ideals of Protestant Englishmen who represented landholding and large business interests. In the strike of 1890 the leading Catholic, Sydney's Archbishop Patrick Francis Moran was sympathetic toward unions, but Catholic newspapers were negative. After 1900, says Hamilton, Irish Catholics were drawn to the Labour Party because its stress on equality and social welfare fitted with their status as manual labourers and small farmers. In the 1910 elections Labour gained in the more Catholic areas and the representation of Catholics increased in Labour's parliamentary ranks.
The federal parliament in 1901 was contested by each state Labour Party. In total, they won 14 of the 75 seats in the House of Representatives, collectively holding the balance of power, and the Labour members now met as the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party (informally known as the caucus) on 8 May 1901 at Parliament House, Melbourne, the meeting place of the first federal Parliament. The caucus decided to support the incumbent Protectionist Party in minority government, while the Free Trade Party formed the opposition. It was some years before there was any significant structure or organisation at a national level. Labour under Chris Watson doubled its vote at the 1903 federal election and continued to hold the balance of power. In April 1904, however, Watson and Alfred Deakin fell out over the issue of extending the scope of industrial relations laws concerning the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill to cover state public servants, the fallout causing Deakin to resign. Free Trade leader George Reid declined to take office, which saw Watson become the first Labour Prime Minister of Australia, and the world's first Labour head of government at a national level (Anderson Dawson had led a short-lived Labour government in Queensland in December 1899), though his was a minority government that lasted only four months. He was aged only 37, and is still the youngest Prime Minister in Australia's history.
George Reid of the Free Trade Party adopted a strategy of trying to reorient the party system along Labour vs non-Labour lines – prior to the 1906 federal election, he renamed his Free Trade Party to the Anti-Socialist Party. Reid envisaged a spectrum running from socialist to anti-socialist, with the Protectionist Party in the middle. This attempt struck a chord with politicians who were steeped in the Westminster tradition and regarded a two-party system as very much the norm.
Though Watson further strengthened Labour's position in 1906, he stepped down from the leadership the following year, to be succeeded by Andrew Fisher who formed a minority government lasting seven months from late 1908 to mid 1909. At the 1910 election, Fisher led Labor to victory, forming Australia's first elected federal majority government, Australia's first elected Senate majority, the world's first Labour Party majority government at a national level, and after the 1904 Chris Watson minority government the world's second Labour Party government at a national level. It was the first time a Labour Party had controlled any house of a legislature, and the first time the party controlled both houses of a bicameral legislature. The state branches were also successful, except in Victoria, where the strength of Deakinite liberalism inhibited the party's growth. The state branches formed their first majority governments in New South Wales and South Australia in 1910, Western Australia in 1911, Queensland in 1915 and Tasmania in 1925. Such success eluded equivalent social democratic and labour parties in other countries for many years.
Analysis of the early NSW Labor caucus reveals "a band of unhappy amateurs", made up of blue collar workers, a squatter, a doctor, and even a mine owner, indicating that the idea that only the socialist working class formed Labor is untrue. In addition, many members from the working class supported the liberal notion of free trade between the colonies – in the first grouping of state MPs, 17 of the 35 were free-traders.
In the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917, support for socialism grew in trade union ranks, and at the 1921 All-Australian Trades Union Congress a resolution was passed calling for "the socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange." The 1922 Labor Party National Conference adopted a similarly worded "socialist objective," which remained official policy for many years. The resolution was immediately qualified, however, by the "Blackburn amendment," which said that "socialisation" was desirable only when was necessary to "eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features." In practice the socialist objective was a dead letter. Only once has a federal Labor government attempted to nationalise any industry (Ben Chifley's bank nationalisation of 1947), and that was held by the High Court to be unconstitutional. The commitment to nationalisation was dropped by Gough Whitlam, and Bob Hawke's government carried out many free market reforms including the floating of the dollar and privatisation of state enterprises such as Qantas airways and the Commonwealth Bank.
The Labor Party is commonly described as a social democratic party, and its constitution stipulates that it is a democratic socialist party. The party was created by, and has always been influenced by, the trade unions, and in practice its policy at any given time has usually been the policy of the broader labour movement. Thus at the first federal election 1901 Labor's platform called for a White Australia Policy, a citizen army and compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes. Labor has at various times supported high tariffs and low tariffs, conscription and pacifism, White Australia and multiculturalism, nationalisation and privatisation, isolationism and internationalism.
Historically, Labor and its affiliated unions were strong defenders of the White Australia Policy, which banned all non-European migration to Australia. This policy was partly motivated by 19th century theories about "racial purity" and by fears of economic competition from low-wage overseas workers which was shared by the vast majority of Australians and all major political parties. In practice the party opposed all migration, on the grounds that immigrants competed with Australian workers and drove down wages, until after World War II, when the Chifley Government launched a major immigration program. The party's opposition to non-European immigration did not change until after the retirement of Arthur Calwell as leader in 1967. Subsequently, Labor has become an advocate of multiculturalism, although some of its trade union base and some of its members continue to oppose high immigration levels.
The Curtin and Chifley governments governed Australia through the latter half of the Second World War and initial stages of transition to peace. Labor leader John Curtin became prime minister in October 1941 when two independents crossed the floor of Parliament. Labor, led by Curtin, then led Australia through the years of the Pacific War. In December 1941, Curtin announced that "Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom", thus helping to establish the Australian-American alliance (later formalised as ANZUS by the Menzies Government). Remembered as a strong war time leader and for a landslide win at the 1943 election, Curtin died in office just prior to the end of the war and was succeeded by Ben Chifley. Chifley Labor won the 1946 election and oversaw Australia's initial transition to a peacetime economy. Labor was defeated at the 1949 election. At the conference of the New South Wales Labor Party in June 1949, Chifley sought to define the labour movement as having:
[A] great objective – the light on the hill – which we aim to reach by working for the betterment of mankind... [Labor would] bring something better to the people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people.
To a large extent, Chifley saw centralisation of the economy as the means to achieve such ambitions. With an increasingly uncertain economic outlook, after his attempt to nationalise the banks and a strike by the Communist-dominated Miners' Federation, Chifley lost office in 1949 to Robert Menzies' Liberal-National Coalition. Labor commenced a 23-year period in opposition.
Various ideological beliefs were factionalised under reforms to the ALP under Gough Whitlam, resulting in what is now known as the Socialist Left who tend to favour a more interventionist economic policy and more socially progressive ideals, and Labor Right, the now dominant faction that tends to be more economically liberal and focus to a lesser extent on social issues. The Whitlam Labor government, marking a break with Labor's socialist tradition, pursued social-democratic policies rather than democratic socialist policies. Whitlam, in contrast to earlier Labor leaders, also cut tariffs by 25 percent. Whitlam led the Federal Labor Party back to office at the 1972 and 1974 elections, and passed a large amount of legislation. The Whitlam Government lost office following the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis and dismissal by Governor-General Sir John Kerr after the Coalition blocked supply in the Senate after a series of political scandals, and was defeated at the 1975 election. Whitlam remains the only Prime Minister to have his commission terminated in that manner.
Kim Beazley led the party to the 1998 election, winning 51 percent of the two-party preferred vote but falling short on seats, and lost ground at the 2001 election. Mark Latham led Labor to the 2004 election but lost further ground. Beazley replaced Latham in 2005. Beazley in turn was challenged by Kevin Rudd who went on to defeat John Howard at the 2007 election with 52.7 percent of the two-party vote. The Rudd Government ended prior to the 2010 election with the replacement of Rudd as leader of the Party by deputy leader Julia Gillard. The Gillard Government was commissioned to govern in a hung parliament following the 2010 election with a one-seat parliamentary majority and 50.12 percent of the two-party vote.
Between the 2007 federal election and the 2008 Western Australian state election, Labor was in government nationally, as well as in all eight state and territory legislatures. This was the first time any single party or any coalition had achieved this since the ACT and the NT gained self-government. Labor narrowly lost government in Western Australia at the 2008 state election and Victoria at the 2010 state election. These losses were further compounded by landslide defeats in New South Wales in 2011, Queensland in 2012, the Northern Territory in 2012, Federally in 2013 and Tasmania in 2014. Labor secured a good result in the Australian Capital Territory in 2012 and, despite losing its majority, the party retained government in South Australia in 2014.
However, most of these reversals proved only temporary with Labor returning to government in Victoria in 2014 and in Queensland in 2015 after spending only one term in opposition in both states. Furthermore, after winning the 2014 Fisher by-election by nine votes from a 7.3 percent swing, the Labor government in South Australia went from minority to majority government. Labor won landslide victories in the 2016 Northern Territory election, the 2017 Western Australian election and the 2018 Victorian state election. However Labor lost the 2018 South Australian state election after 16 years in government.
The policy of the Australian Labor Party is contained in its National Platform, which is approved by delegates to Labor's National Conference, held every three years. According to the Labor Party's website, "The Platform is the result of a rigorous and constructive process of consultation, spanning the nation and including the cooperation and input of state and territory policy committees, local branches, unions, state and territory governments, and individual Party members. The Platform provides the policy foundation from which we can continue to work towards the election of a federal Labor Government."
The platform gives a general indication of the policy direction which a future Labor government would follow, but does not commit the party to specific policies. It maintains that "Labor's traditional values will remain a constant on which all Australians can rely." While making it clear that Labor is fully committed to a market economy, it says that: "Labor believes in a strong role for national government – the one institution all Australians truly own and control through our right to vote." Labor "will not allow the benefits of change to be concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, or located only in privileged communities. The benefits must be shared by all Australians and all our regions." The platform and Labor "believe that all people are created equal in their entitlement to dignity and respect, and should have an equal chance to achieve their potential." For Labor, "government has a critical role in ensuring fairness by: ensuring equal opportunity; removing unjustifiable discrimination; and achieving a more equitable distribution of wealth, income and status." Further sections of the platform stress Labor's support for equality and human rights, labour rights and democracy.
In practice, the platform provides only general policy guidelines to Labor's federal, state and territory parliamentary leaderships. The policy Labor takes into an election campaign is determined by the Cabinet (if the party is in office) or the Shadow Cabinet (if it is in opposition), in consultation with key interest groups within the party, and is contained in the parliamentary Leader's policy speech delivered during the election campaign. When Labor is in office, the policies it implements are determined by the Cabinet, subject to the platform. Generally, it is accepted that while the platform binds Labor governments, how and when it is implemented remains the prerogative of the parliamentary caucus. It is now rare for the platform to conflict with government policy, as the content of the platform is usually developed in close collaboration with the party's parliamentary leadership as well as the factions. However, where there is a direct contradiction with the platform, Labor governments have sought to change the platform as a prerequisite for a change in policy. For example, privatisation legislation under the Hawke government occurred only after holding a special national conference to debate changing the platform.
The Australian Labor Party National Executive is the chief administrative authority of the Australian Labor Party, subject only to Labor's National Conference. The Executive is responsible for organising the triennial National Conference; carrying out the decisions of National Conference; interpreting the National Constitution, the National Platform and decisions of National Conference; and directing federal members.
The party holds a national conference every three years, which consists of delegates representing the state and territory branches (many coming from affiliated trade unions, although there is no formal requirement for unions to be represented at the national conference). The national conference decides the party's platform, elects the national executive, and appoints office-bearers such as the National Secretary, who also serves as national campaign director during elections. The current National Secretary is Noah Carroll. The most recent National Conference was the 47th conference held from 24 to 26 July 2015.
The head office of the ALP, the National Secretariat, is managed by the National Secretary. It plays a dual role of administration and a national campaign strategy. It acts as a permanent secretariat to the National Executive by managing and assisting in all administrative affairs of the party. As the National Secretary also serves as national campaign director during elections, it is also responsible for the national campaign strategy and organisation.
The elected members of the Labor party in both houses of the national Parliament meet as the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, also known as the Caucus. Besides discussing parliamentary business and tactics, the Caucus also is involved in the election of the federal parliamentary leaders. Until 2013 the parliamentary leaders were elected by the Caucus from among its members. The leader has historically been a member of the House of Representatives. Since October 2013, a ballot of both the Caucus and by the Labor Party's rank-and-file members determined the party leader and the deputy leader. When the Labor Party is in government, the party leader is the Prime Minister and the deputy leader is the Deputy Prime Minister. If a Labor prime minister resigns or dies in office, the deputy leader acts as prime minister and party leader until a successor is elected. Members of the Ministry are also chosen by Caucus, though the leader may allocate portfolios to the ministers.
The Australian Labor Party is a federal party, consisting of eight branches from each state and territory. While the National Executive is responsible for national campaign strategy, each state and territory are an autonomous branch and are responsible for campaigning in their own jurisdictions for federal, state and local elections. State and territory branches consist of both individual members and affiliated trade unions, who between them decide the party's policies, elect its governing bodies and choose its candidates for public office.
Members join a state branch and pay a membership fee, which is graduated according to income. The majority of trade unions in Australia are affiliated to the party at a state level. Union affiliation is direct and not through the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Affiliated unions pay an affiliation fee based on the size of their membership. Union affiliation fees make up a large part of the party's income. Another source of funds for the party are political donations and public funding.
Members are generally expected to attend at least one meeting of their local branch each year, although there are differences in the rules from state to state. In practice only a dedicated minority regularly attend meetings. Many members are only active during election campaigns.
The members and unions elect delegates to state and territory conferences (usually held annually, although more frequent conferences are often held). These conferences decide policy, and elect state or territory executives, a state or territory president (an honorary position usually held for a one-year term), and a state or territory secretary (a full-time professional position). However, ACT Labor directly elects its president. The larger branches also have full-time assistant secretaries and organisers. In the past the ratio of conference delegates coming from the branches and affiliated unions has varied from state to state, however under recent national reforms at least 50% of delegates at all state and territory conferences must be elected by branches.
In some states it also contests local government elections or endorses local candidates. In others it does not, preferring to allow its members to run as non-endorsed candidates. The process of choosing candidates is called preselection. Candidates are preselected by different methods in the various states and territories. In some they are chosen by ballots of all party members, in others by panels or committees elected by the state conference, in still others by a combination of these two.
Country Labor is a subsection of the ALP, and is used as a designation by candidates contesting elections in rural areas. It functions as a sort of ginger group within the party, and is somewhat analogous to its youth wing. The Country Labor Party is registered as a separate party in New South Wales, and is also registered with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for federal elections. It does not have the same status in other states, and consequently that designation cannot be used on the ballot paper.
The creation of a separation designation for rural candidates was first suggested at the June 1999 ALP state conference in New South Wales. In May 2000, following Labor's success at the 2000 Benalla by-election in Victoria, Kim Beazley announced that the ALP intended to register a separate "Country Labor Party" with the AEC; this occurred in October 2000. The Country Labor designation is most frequently used in New South Wales. According to the ALP's financial statements for the 2015–16 financial year, NSW Country Labor had around 2,600 members (around 17 percent of the party total), but almost no assets. It recorded a severe funding shortfall at the 2015 NSW state election, and had to rely on a $1.68-million loan from the party proper to remain solvent. It had been initially assumed that the party proper could provide the money from its own resources, but the NSW Electoral Commission ruled that this was impermissible because the parties were registered separately. Instead the party proper had to loan Country Labor the required funds at a commercial interest rate.
Australian Young Labor is the youth wing of the Australian Labor Party, where all members under age 26 are automatically members. It is the peak youth body within the ALP. Former Presidents of AYL have included former NSW Premier Bob Carr, Federal Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke, former Special Minister of State Senator John Faulkner, former Australian Workers Union National Secretary and current Member for Maribyrnong and Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten as well as dozens of State Ministers and MPs. The current national president is Jack Boyd, from the New South Wales Right (NSW Centre Unity).
The Australian Labor Party is beginning to formally recognise single interest groups within the party. The national platform currently encourages state branches to formally establish these groups known as policy action caucuses. Examples of such groups include the Labor Environment Action Network, Rainbow Labor, and Labor for Refugees. The Tasmanian Branch of the Australian Labor Party recently gave these groups voting and speaking rights at their state conference.
The Labor Party has always had a left wing and a right wing, but since the 1970s it has been organised into formal factions, to which party members may belong and often pay an additional membership fee. The two largest factions are Labor Unity (National Right) and the Socialist Left (National Left). Labor Unity generally supports free-market policies and the US alliance and tends to be conservative on some social issues. The Socialist Left, although it seldom openly espouses socialism, favours more state intervention in the economy, is generally less enthusiastic about the US alliance and is often more liberal on social issues. The national factions are themselves divided into sub-factions, primarily state-based such as Centre Unity in New South Wales and Labor Forum in Queensland.
Some trade unions are affiliated with the Labor Party and are also factionally aligned. The largest unions supporting the right faction are the Australian Workers' Union (AWU), the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA), the National Union of Workers (NUW) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU). Important unions supporting the left include the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), United Voice, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) and the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). These affiliations are seldom unconditional or permanent. In some cases different union branches may have different factional alignments. On other issues, such as opposition to the Howard Government's industrial relations policy, called WorkChoices, most unions were in agreement.
Preselections are usually conducted along factional lines, although sometimes a non-factional candidate will be given preferential treatment (this happened with Cheryl Kernot in 1998 and again with Peter Garrett in 2004). Deals between the factions to divide up the safe seats between them often take place. Preselections, particularly for safe Labor seats, can sometimes be strongly contested. A particularly fierce preselection sometimes gives rise to accusations of branch stacking (signing up large numbers of nominal party members to vote in preselection ballots), personation, multiple voting and, on occasions, fraudulent electoral enrolment. Trade unions were in the past accused of giving inflated membership figures to increase their influence over preselections, but party rules changes have stamped out this practice. Preselection results are sometimes challenged, and the National Executive is sometimes called on to arbitrate these disputes.
The current leader of the ALP is Bill Shorten since 13 October 2013, and the deputy leader is Tanya Plibersek. In accordance with party rules, Shorten's leadership was reaffirmed by party members on 8 July 2016, following the 2016 federal election.
For a list of ALP federal parliamentary leaders and deputy leaders see Leaders of the Australian Labor Party.
State Lower House Seats
34 / 93
55 / 88
48 / 93
40 / 59
19 / 47
10 / 25
Territory Assembly Seats
12 / 25
18 / 25
The current leaders of state and territory Labor branches are:
See Category:Australian Labor Party politicians
For current ALP federal politicians, see:
|Election||Seats won||±||Total votes||%||Position||Leader|
14 / 75
|14||79,736||15.76%||Third party||Chris Watson|
22 / 75
|7||223,163||30.95%||Third party||Chris Watson|
26 / 75
|4||348,711||36.64%||Minority government||Chris Watson|
42 / 75
|16||660,864||49.9%||Majority government||Andrew Fisher|
37 / 75
42 / 75
|5||858,451||50.89%||Majority government||Andrew Fisher|
22 / 75
26 / 75
29 / 75
23 / 75
31 / 75
46 / 75
|15||1,406,327||48.84%||Majority government||James Scullin|
14 / 75
18 / 74
29 / 74
32 / 74
49 / 74
|17||2,058,578||49.94%||Majority government||John Curtin|
43 / 75
|6||2,159,953||49.71%||Majority government||Ben Chifley|
47 / 121
52 / 121
57 / 121
47 / 122
45 / 122
60 / 122
50 / 122
41 / 124
59 / 125
67 / 125
|8||3,273,549||49.59%||Majority government||Gough Whitlam|
66 / 127
|1||3,644,110||49.30%||Majority government||Gough Whitlam|
36 / 127
38 / 124
51 / 125
75 / 125
|24||4,297,392||49.48%||Majority government||Bob Hawke|
82 / 148
|7||4,120,130||47.55%||Majority government||Bob Hawke|
86 / 148
|4||4,222,431||45.76%||Majority government||Bob Hawke|
78 / 148
|8||3,904,138||39.44%||Majority government||Bob Hawke|
80 / 148
|2||4,751,390||44.92%||Majority government||Paul Keating|
49 / 148
67 / 148
65 / 150
60 / 150
83 / 150
|23||5,388,184||43.38%||Majority government||Kevin Rudd|
72 / 150
|11||4,711,363||37.99%||Minority government||Julia Gillard|
55 / 150
69 / 150
For the 2015-2016 financial year, the top ten disclosed donors to the ALP were: Health Services Union NSW ($389,000), Village Roadshow ($257,000), Electrical Trades Union of Australia ($171,000), National Automotive Leasing and Salary Packaging Association ($153,000), Westfield Corporation ($150,000), Randazzo C&G Developments ($120,000), Macquarie Telecom ($113,000), Woodside Energy ($110,000), ANZ Bank ($100,000) and Ying Zhou ($100,000).
The Labor Party also receives undisclosed funding through several methods, such as "associated entities". John Curtin House, Industry 2020, IR21 and the Happy Wanderers Club are entities which have been used to funnel donations to the Labor Party without disclosing the source.
The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields.
A leadership spill of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), then the opposition party in the Parliament of Australia, was held on 16 February 1959.2001 Australian Labor Party leadership election
The Australian Labor Party held a leadership election on 22 November 2001, following the resignation of Kim Beazley after the party's defeat at the 2001 federal election. Deputy leader and Shadow Treasurer Simon Crean was elected unopposed as Beazley's replacement, thus becoming Leader of the Opposition.
Beazley, the party's leader since 1996, announced his resignation on the night of 10 November 2001, when it became clear that his party had lost the election to John Howard's Coalition. The following day, Crean announced that he would contest the leadership. Shadow Health Minister Jenny Macklin, Shadow Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, Shadow Industry Minister Carmen Lawrence, and Manager of Opposition Business Bob McMullan were also seen as possible contenders. On 12 November, Macklin announced her intention to stand for the deputy leadership. She and Crean were reported to be running as a ticket, representing the Labor Left and Labor Right factions, respectively. No other MPs declared themselves candidates for either position over the following week, and Crean and Macklin were consequently elected unopposed when the Labor caucus met on 22 November. Macklin became the first woman to hold a leadership position in the Labor Party.2010 Australian Labor Party leadership spill
The Australian Labor Party leadership spill, 2010 occurred on 24 June 2010. Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, was challenged by Julia Gillard, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party. Gillard won the election unopposed after Rudd declined to contest, choosing instead to resign. Gillard was duly sworn in as Prime Minister by Quentin Bryce, the Governor-General, on 24 June 2010 at Government House, becoming Australia's first female Prime Minister.
Gillard was the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party since 4 December 2006, and was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Australia after Labor's landslide victory in the 2007 federal election. She was also appointed the Minister for Education and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist)
The Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) (ALP-AC) was the name initially used by the right-wing group which arose from the 1955 Labor split. In 1957 it changed its name to the Democratic Labor Party, and was dissolved in 1978.Australian Labor Party (Australian Capital Territory Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Australian Capital Territory Branch), commonly known as ACT Labor, is the ACT branch of the Australian Labor Party. It is one of two major parties in the unicameral Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory.
Originally a part of the Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch), the ALP National Conference established an autonomous ACT Branch in 1973. There have been four Labor Chief Ministers since self-government in 1989. The most recent is the current Chief Minister, Andrew Barr, who has served since 2014.
The current ACT Labor Platform notes that the objective of the party is social justice and the pursuit of a fair, just and equitable society.Australian Labor Party (NSW)
The Australian Labor Party (NSW), commonly known as Lang Labor, was a political group arising from a major breakaway from the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales that operated from 1931 to 1936, when the two groups were reconciled.Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch), also known as NSW Labor, is the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party. The parliamentary leader is elected from and by the members of the party caucus, comprising all party members in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The party factions have a strong influence on the election of the leader. The leader's position is dependent on the continuing support of the caucus (and party factions) and the leader may be deposed by failing to win a vote of confidence of parliamentary members. By convention, the premier sits in the Legislative Assembly, and is the leader of the party controlling a majority in that house. The party leader also typically is a member of the Assembly, though this is not a strict party constitutional requirement. Barrie Unsworth, for example, was elected party leader while a member of the Legislative Council. He then transferred to the Assembly by winning a seat at a by-election.
When the Labor party wins sufficient seats to be able to control a majority in the Legislative Assembly, the party leader becomes the State Premier and Labor will form the government. When Labor is the largest party not in government, the party leader becomes the Leader of the Opposition. To become a Premier or Opposition Leader, the party leader must be or within a short period of time become a member of the Legislative Assembly.Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist)
The Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist) was the second Lang Labor breakaway party, associated with New South Wales Premier Jack Lang. It operated from 1940 to 1941.Following the disappearance of the previous Lang Labor group, the Australian Labor Party (NSW), Lang formed a new party, which contested the 1940 federal election.Unlike the Australian Labor Party split of 1931, however, he was in a minority in New South Wales, many of his old supporters such as Eddie Ward remained loyal to Australian Labor Party leader John Curtin, and Lang candidates polled poorly.
In February 1941, prior to the May 1941 state election, the Non-Communist Labor Party wound up and its members, with the exception of Lang himself, were officially re-admitted to the Australian Labor Party. The reunification would help assist Curtin to become Prime Minister of Australia in October 1941.
The party's membership included five federal MPs (Jack Beasley, Joe Gander, Dan Mulcahy, Sol Rosevear and Tom Sheehan) and two senators (Stan Amour and John Armstrong). Nine state MLAs and six MLCs also joined the group.Australian Labor Party (Northern Territory Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Northern Territory Branch), commonly known as Territory Labor is the Northern Territory branch of the Australian Labor Party. It has been the governing party of the Northern Territory since winning the 2016 election under Michael Gunner. It previously held office from 2001 to 2012.Australian Labor Party (Queensland Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Queensland Branch), commonly known as Queensland Labor is the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party.Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch), commonly known as South Australian Labor, is the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party, originally formed in 1891 as the United Labor Party of South Australia. It is one of two major parties in the bicameral Parliament of South Australia, the other being the Liberal Party of Australia (SA Division).
Since the 1970 election, marking the beginning of democratic proportional representation (one vote, one value) and ending decades of pro-rural electoral malapportionment known as the Playmander, Labor have won 11 of the 15 elections. Spanning 16 years and 4 terms, Labor was last in government from the 2002 election until the 2018 election. Jay Weatherill led the Labor government since a 2011 leadership change from Mike Rann. During 2013 it became the longest-serving state Labor government in South Australian history, and in addition went on to win a fourth four-year term at the 2014 election.
Labor's most notable historic Premiers of South Australia include Thomas Price in the 1900s, Don Dunstan in the 1970s and John Bannon in the 1980s.Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch), commonly known as Tasmanian Labor is the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Labor Party.Australian Labor Party (Western Australian Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (Western Australian Branch), commonly known as WA Labor, is the Western Australian branch of the Australian Labor Party. It is the current governing party of Western Australia since winning the 2017 election under Mark McGowan.December 1977 Australian Labor Party leadership election
A leadership election of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), then the opposition party in the Parliament of Australia, was held on 22 December 1977. Following the resignation of Gough Whitlam former Treasurer Bill Hayden was elected Labor's new leader winning 36 votes to 28 over Lionel Bowen who was then elected deputy leader.June 1991 Australian Labor Party leadership spill
A leadership spill in the Australian Labor Party, the party of government in the Parliament of Australia, was held on 3 June 1991. It was the first of two ballots that year with Prime Minister Bob Hawke surviving the ballot against Treasurer Paul Keating, who then went to the backbench.March 2013 Australian Labor Party leadership spill
A leadership spill in the Australian Labor Party, the party of government in the Parliament of Australia, was held on 21 March 2013. Prime Minister Julia Gillard called a ballot for the Leadership and Deputy Leadership of the Labor Party for 4.30pm, following a press conference by former Labor Leader and Regional Minister Simon Crean over persistent leadership tensions. At the caucus meeting, no alternative candidates nominated for the positions, and so Gillard and Wayne Swan were re-elected unopposed.May 1977 Australian Labor Party leadership spill
A leadership spill of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), then the opposition party in the Parliament of Australia, was held on 31 May 1977. Former Treasurer Bill Hayden unsuccessfully challenged Labor leader Gough Whitlam. Whitlam was narrowly re-elected by 32 votes to 30 (the smallest possible majority) leading him to later refer to many in his caucus as 'out of touch'.Michael Daley
Michael John Daley (born 1 November 1965) is an Australian politician who is the Leader of the Opposition in the
Parliament of New South Wales following his election as the Leader of the Labor Party in New South Wales in November 2018. He is currently a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Maroubra for the Australian Labor Party since 2005. He is also the Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Shadow Minister for Gaming and Racing and Manager of Opposition Business. Daley is aligned with the Labor Right faction.October 2013 Australian Labor Party leadership election
A leadership election was held in October 2013 to select Kevin Rudd's replacement as leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition. Bill Shorten was elected party leader, and Tanya Plibersek was later confirmed as deputy leader.The declared candidates were Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese, who were both ministers in the outgoing Labor government. Nominations closed on 20 September 2013.Under new rules, the new leader was elected by public members of the Australian Labor Party over a period of twenty days, followed by a ballot of the Labor parliamentary party. Each of these two voting blocs was weighted equally in determining the winner.
During the leadership election, Chris Bowen, former Treasurer of Australia and Member of Parliament for McMahon, was Interim Leader of the Labor Party and served as Leader of the Opposition.
Australian Labor Party
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