Australian Labor Party split of 1916

The Australian Labor Party split of 1916 occurred following severe disagreement within the Australian Labor Party over the issue of proposed World War I conscription in Australia. Labor Prime Minister of Australia Billy Hughes had, by 1916, become an enthusiastic supporter of conscription as a means to boost Australia's contribution to the war effort. On 30 August 1916, he announced plans for a referendum on the issue (the Australian plebiscite, 1916), and introduced enabling legislation into parliament on 14 September, which passed only with the support of the opposition. Six of Hughes' ministers resigned in protest at the move, and the New South Wales state branch of the Labor Party expelled Hughes. The referendum saw an intense campaign in which Labor figures vehemently advocated on each side of the argument, although the "no" campaign narrowly won on 14 November. In the wake of the referendum defeat, the caucus moved to expel Hughes on 14 November; instead, he and 23 supporters resigned and formed the National Labor Party. Frank Tudor was elected leader of the rump party. Hughes was recommissioned as Prime Minister, heading a minority government supported by the opposition Commonwealth Liberal Party; the two parties then merged as the Nationalist Party of Australia and won the 1917 federal election. The Nationalist Party served as the main conservative party of Australia until 1931, and the split resulted in many early Labor figures ending their careers on the political right.[1]

The split had different impacts in different states. In Queensland there was no significant split at all, with the state Labor Party having experienced the loss of many early members a decade earlier when William Kidston led a breakaway group out in 1907.[2] During the war Premier T. J. Ryan made strong efforts to minimise losses.[3] Only one member of the state parliament, John Adamson, left the party and initially there was no attempt to create an alternate vehicle at the state level. However in October 1919 Adamson was part of the formation of a National Labor Party for ex-Labor supporters that used the name.[4] It had no electoral success and soon disappeared.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "William Hughes". Prime Ministers of Australia. National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  2. ^ Wanka, K.J. (1970). "William Kidston - The Dilemma of the Powerful Leader". In Murphy, Denis Joseph; Joyce, Roger Bilbrough; Hughes, Colin A. Prelude to Power: The Rise of the Labour Party in Queensland 1885-1915. Jacaranda Press. p. 205. ISBN 9780701603120.
  3. ^ Murphy, D.J. (1975). T J Ryan: A Political Biography. University of Queensland Press. pp. 186–208. ISBN 9780702222894.
  4. ^ "20 Oct 1919 - THE DAILY MIRROR". Trove. 1919-10-20. Retrieved 2018-06-26.
  5. ^ Irving, Baiba; Schedvin, Bernie (May 1973). "A Confidential Report on Nationalist Organisation in Queensland, 1920". Queensland Heritage. 2 (8): 15n.
1917 Australian federal election

Federal elections were held in Australia on 5 May 1917. All 75 seats in the House of Representatives and 18 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Nationalist Party, led by Prime Minister Billy Hughes, defeated the opposition Labor Party led by Frank Tudor.

Hughes, at the time a member of the ALP, had become prime minister when Andrew Fisher retired in 1915. The Australian Labor Party split of 1916 over the conscription issue had led Hughes and 24 other pro-conscription Labor MPs to split off as the National Labor Party, which was able to form a minority government supported by the Commonwealth Liberal Party under Joseph Cook. Later that year, National Labor and the Liberals merged to form the Nationalist Party, with Hughes as leader and Cook as deputy leader. The election was fought in the aftermath of the 1916 plebiscite on conscription, which had been narrowly defeated. The Nationalists won a decisive victory, securing the largest majority government since Federation. The ALP suffered a large electoral swing against it, losing almost seven percent of its vote from 1914. The swing was magnified by the large number of former Labor MPs who followed Hughes out of the party.

1918 South Australian state election

State elections were held in South Australia on 6 April 1918. All 46 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Union government led by Premier of South Australia Archibald Peake defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Andrew Kirkpatrick. Each district elected multiple members, with voters casting multiple votes.

The 1918 election was the first at which any women stood as candidates. Selina Siggins (Adelaide) and Jeanne Young (Sturt) both ran unsuccessfully as independents.

Ambrose Pratt

Ambrose Goddard Hesketh Pratt (31 August 1874 – 13 April 1944) was an Australian writer born into a cultivated family in Forbes, New South Wales.

Australian Labor Party split

Australian Labor Party split may refer to:

Australian Labor Party split of 1916, which followed a disagreement on proposed conscription in Australia during World War I

Australian Labor Party split of 1931, which followed from disagreement regarding how the party was handling the Australian Great Depression

Australian Labor Party split of 1955, which involved a disagreement over the party's position toward communism

Australian Labor Party split of 1931

The Australian Labor Party split of 1931 was caused by severe divisions within the Australian Labor Party over their economic response to the Great Depression in Australia. Amidst intense disagreement between economically conservative and radical elements of the party, two senior ministers in the Scullin Labor government, Joseph Lyons and James Fenton, resigned from Cabinet in January 1931. Lyons, Fenton and their supporters would subsequently merge with the conservative opposition Nationalist Party of Australia to form the new United Australia Party, led by Lyons with the last Nationalist leader, John Latham, as his deputy.In March 1931, the Labor Party split on the left as well, when Eddie Ward, a supporter of radical anti-austerity Premier of New South Wales Jack Lang, won a by-election, and was refused entry to the Labor caucus, resulting in six Lang supporters forming a Lang Labor party on the crossbench. In November, the United Australia Party and Lang Labor succeeded in defeating the Scullin government, resulting in the 1931 federal election in December. The election resulted in a landslide victory for the United Australia Party and the election of Lyons as Prime Minister.While Lang Labor would eventually be largely reabsorbed into the Labor Party, the United Australia Party continued to be the main conservative force in Australia until replaced by the Liberal Party of Australia in 1945.

Australian Labor Party split of 1955

The Australian Labor Party split of 1955 was a split within the Australian Labor Party along ethnocultural lines and about the position towards communism.

Key players in the split were the federal opposition leader H. V. "Doc" Evatt and B. A. Santamaria, the dominant force behind the "Catholic Social Studies Movement" or "the Movement".

Evatt denounced the influence of Santamaria's Movement on 5 October 1954, about 4 months after the 1954 federal election. The Victorian ALP state executive was officially dissolved, but both factions sent delegates to the 1955 Labor Party conference in Hobart. Movement delegates were excluded from the conference. They withdrew from the Labor party, going on to form the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) which in 1957 became the Democratic Labor Party. The split then moved from federal level to states, predominantly Victoria and Queensland.

Historians, journalists, and political scientists have observed that the split was not a single event but a process that occurred over the early 1950s in state and federal Labor parties. The conservative Catholic and staunchly anti-Labor Democratic Labor Party used Australia's full-preference instant-runoff voting system to direct its preferences to benefit the Coalition two-party-preferred vote and was successful until 1972 in preventing the election of an Australian Labor Party federal government.

Chris Watson

John Christian Watson (born John Christian Tanck; 9 April 1867 – 18 November 1941), commonly known as Chris Watson, was an Australian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of Australia. He was the first Prime Minister from the Australian Labour Party, and led the world's first Labour Party government, indeed the world's first socialist or social democratic government, at a national level. From paternal German and maternal British ancestry, he is the only Australian Prime Minister not born in a Commonwealth country.First elected to the Parliament of New South Wales seat of Young from the 1894 colonial election, Watson moved to the Parliament of Australia seat of Bland at the inaugural 1901 federal election following the Federation of Australia, where the state Labour parties received a combined 15.8% of the first past the post primary vote against the two more dominant parties. The Caucus chose Watson as the inaugural parliamentary Labour leader on 8 May 1901, just in time for the first sitting of parliament. Labour led by Watson increased their vote to 31% at the 1903 federal election and 36.6% at the 1906 federal election, the latter of which saw Watson move from his abolished seat of Bland to South Sydney. Labour held the balance of power since 1901 and usually provided confidence and supply to the Protectionist Party governments of Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin and frequently supported their legislation in exchange for Labour policy implementation.Watson's term as Prime Minister was brief – only four months, between 27 April and 18 August 1904. The Watson Government did pass a handful of bills, but more importantly it set the precedent of a Labour Party Prime Minister. He resigned as Labour leader in 1907 and from Parliament in 1910. Labour led by Andrew Fisher would go on to win the 1910 federal election with over 50% of the primary vote, representing a number of firsts: it was 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 Watson minority government, the world's second Labour Party government at a national level.According to Percival Serle, Watson "left a much greater impression on his time than this would suggest. He came at the right moment for his party, and nothing could have done it more good than the sincerity, courtesy and moderation which he always showed as a leader". Alfred Deakin wrote of Watson: "The Labour section has much cause for gratitude to Mr Watson, the leader whose tact and judgement have enabled it to achieve many of its Parliamentary successes".

Liberal Party (Queensland, 1908)

The Liberal Party was a political party in the Australian state of Queensland in the early 20th century. It combined the main non-Labor forces, the "Kidstonites" of William Kidston and the Conservatives of Robert Philp, similar to the federal Commonwealth Liberal Party whose fusion it preceded. The Liberals held government from their formation in 1908 until defeat in 1915 after which they combined with other elements in the state to form the National Party.

National Labor Party (Queensland)

The National Labor Party was a brief-lived political party in the Australian state of Queensland. Although sharing similarities to the federal party of the same name, it was actually founded over two years after its federal counterpart merged into the Nationalist Party. It did not enjoy electoral success and soon faded away.

National Party (Queensland, 1917)

The National Party, later the United Party was a political party in the Australian state of Queensland from 1917 until 1925. Although allied with the federal Nationalist Party, it had different origins in state politics. It sought to combine the state's Liberal Party with the Country Party but the latter soon withdrew. In 1923 the party sought a further unification with the Country Party but only attracted a few recruits. Then in 1925 it merged with the Country Party, initially as the Country Progressive Party with a few members left out and then they were absorbed into the renamed Country and Progressive National Party.

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