Labor in Queensland : from the 1880s to 1988

Fitzgerald, Ross and Thornton, Harold Labor in Queensland : from the 1880s to 1988. St. Lucia , Qld: The University of Queensland Press, 1989.

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Author Fitzgerald, Ross
Thornton, Harold
Title Labor in Queensland : from the 1880s to 1988
Place of Publication St. Lucia , Qld
Publisher The University of Queensland Press
Publication year 1989
Sub-type Other
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Series UQP paperbacks
ISBN 070222152X
Language eng
Total number of pages 422
Subjects 160607 International Relations
160601 Australian Government and Politics
430101 History - Australian
Formatted Abstract/Summary

The Australian Labor Party, the oldest political party in the nation, began in Queensland, yet nowhere else has it been out of office for so long. The decisions made in the 1880s and 1890s to direct the politicial energies of the labour movement into capturing parliamentary seats have been fateful for the movement. The requirements of the ballot box have considerably modified the industrial and political objectives canvassed by labour leaders. In office. Labor governments have been forced by their perceptions of electoral reality to act harshly against militant sections of the union wing of the movement, thereby dividing and weakening it. Yet the failure of Labor to win office in Queensland since 1957 has equally demoralised the movement, rendering it incapable of resisting mounting attacks on its legitimacy and ability to organise.

The first part of this book examines the rise of Labor as a parliamentary party and its performance over its marathon forty years of almost unbroken government from 1915 to 1957. After an analysis of the split of 1957 -- its origins, development and immediate aftermath -- the second part looks at the workings of the ALP (Queensland Branch) as it adjusted to being a party of seemingly permanent Opposition. It focuses in particular on attempts since 1977 to reform the party and to restore Labor's credibility as an alternative government to the increasingly authoritarian and anti-labour National Party regime, led until 1987 by Johannes Bjelke-Petersen.

The Queensland labour movement has a long tradition of militant organisation in support of radical redistributive economic and egalitarian political goals. The Labor Party shares this tradition. Yet Labor in office abandoned such goals and laid the groundwork for anti-labour governments, and Labor out of office failed to provide adequate leadership. It is no accident either that the electoral malapportionment which sustained the Bjelke-Petersen Nationals was established by Labor, or that the weapon of states of emergency to crush strikes was provided by Labor government legislation.

After a hundred years of Labor in Queensland Parliament and thirty years on the Opposition benches, we ask: Should the Queensland labour movement continue to define itself in terms of the ballot box?
Keyword Australian Labor Party. Queensland Branch -- History
Socialism -- Queensland -- History
Labor unions -- Queensland -- History
Political parties -- Queensland -- History
Labor movement -- Queensland -- History
Queensland -- Politics and government
Q-Index Code AX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

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Created: Sat, 08 May 2010, 16:15:21 EST by Muhammad Noman Ali on behalf of Social Sciences and Humanities Library Service