Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch)
The Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch), also known as NSW Labor and Country Labor in regional areas, 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.
|Assistant General Secretary||Rose Jackson|
|Headquarters||Level 9, 377 - 383 Sussex St Sydney, New South Wales|
|Youth wing||Australian Young Labor|
|National affiliation||Australian Labor Party|
36 / 93
13 / 42
|House of |
24 / 47(NSW seats)
5 / 12(NSW seats)
164 / 1,480
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.
The New South Wales Branch of the Australian Labor Party, known as the Labor Electoral League of New South Wales from 1891 to 1917, first won 35 of the 141 seats in the New South Wales parliament at the 1891 election. The initial caucus voted against appointing a leader and the party was directed by a steering committee of 5 members until, following a request from the party's extra-parliamentary executive, Joseph Cook was elected as the first leader in 1893. Cook left the party in the following year when he was obliged to sign a pledge that he would support all caucus decisions in parliament. James McGowen, who signed the pledge, succeeded Cook as party leader in 1894. At the 1894 state election Labor representation was reduced to 18. After the 1898 election, Labor held the balance of power with George Reid's Protectionist Government being dependent on Labor to push through New South Wales' adoption of Federation. McGowen's support for Federation was critical to Labor maintaining its support for the adoption of measures to implement Federation, even though the party remained opposed to the adopted Constitution, which it saw as biased in favour of business interests.
First Government in New South Wales
At the 1910 election the Labor Party first won government in New South Wales with a slim majority of 46 of 90 seats, and McGowen was premier from 1910-13. He was deposed by his deputy William Holman after McGowen attempted to break a gas workers' strike by threatening to replace strikers with non-union labour.
The conscription issue divided the Labor Party and wider Australian community in 1916. While much of the Australian labour movement and general community was opposed to conscription, Australian Labor Prime Minister Billy Hughes and Premier Holman strongly supported conscription, and both crossed the floor to vote with the conservative parties, and both were expelled from the Labor Party. Ernest Durack became state party leader, while Holman formed a coalition on 15 November 1916 with the leader of the opposition Liberal Reform Party, Charles Wade, with himself as Premier. Early in 1917, Holman and his supporters merged with Liberal Reform to form the state branch of the Nationalist Party of Australia, with Holman as leader. At the 1917 election, the Nationalists won a huge victory. During his leadership of the Nationalist Government, Holman vigorously defended the government-owned enterprises from his fellow conservatives in power. Durack's leadership lasted only for about three months, and he was succeeded by John Storey in February 1917. At the 1920 election, Holman and his Nationalists were thrown from office in a massive swing, being succeeded by a Labor Government led by Storey. Labor won the 1920 election with a majority of one.
On Storey's death in October 1921, James Dooley became leader of the party and premier. His government was defeated on the floor of the House on 13 December 1921, but new Premier George Fuller lost a vote within seven hours of his appointment, and Dooley regained power. He lost the 1922 election to Fuller in a highly sectarian election campaign. As the result of a dispute with a party executive, dominated by the Australian Workers' Union, Dooley was expelled from the party in February 1923 and replaced by Greg McGirr as leader, but the Federal Executive intervened and appointed Bill Dunn as an interim leader until Jack Lang was elected by the caucus.
Lang led the ALP to victory in the 1925 election and became Premier. His support in the caucus was challenged in 1926 and in that year the party's annual State Conference, which strongly supported Lang, assumed the right to select the leader instead of caucus. The following year Lang and his extra-parliamentary allies drastically altered the party rules so that State Conference delegates and members of the Central Executive were elected in a complicated group system. The ALP was defeated at the 1927 election but won in a landslide at the 1930 election.
Lang opposed the Premiers' Plan to combat the Great Depression agreed to by the federal Labor government of James Scullin and the other state Premiers, who called for even more stringent cuts to government spending to balance the budget. In March 1931, the NSW branch of the party was expelled by the Federal Executive in the Federal Conference.
In October 1931, Lang's followers in the federal House of Representatives crossed the floor to vote with the conservative United Australia Party and bring down the Scullin government.
This action split the NSW Labor Party in two - Lang's followers and the expelled NSW branch became known as Lang Labor, while Scullin's supporters, led by Chifley, became known in NSW as Federal Labor. Most of the party's branches and affiliated trade unions supported Lang. Furthermore, Lang's persistence with his plan led to the Lang Dismissal Crisis in 1931-32 which led to his dismissal as premier by the State Governor on 13 May 1932. The Governor appointed the UAP leader, Bertram Stevens, as premier and Stevens immediately called the 1932 election, at which Labor was heavily defeated. In February 1936, the NSW branch rejoined the Australian Labor Party and became the official NSW branch of the ALP again. Federal Labor was then abolished.
Lang's lack of success at state elections eroded his support within the labour movement. He had not won a state election since 1930. This led some members of caucus, including Bob Heffron, to break away to form the Industrial Labor Party. In 1939, following intervention by the Federal Executive, the two factions were reunited at a state conference. This gathering also reversed the "red rules" and returned the power of selecting the party leader to the caucus. Lang was deposed in 1939.
McKell and post-war era
William McKell became party leader, reuniting and rejuvenating the party. Under his leadership the extreme left wing of the party had been expelled and had contested the 1941 election as the far left wing State Labor Party. McKell led Labor to a convincing victory and became Premier. State Labor's poor showing had resulted in its dissolution shortly after the election. During World War II McKell became a close collaborator of Labor Prime Ministers John Curtin and Ben Chifley, being a particularly close friend of the latter. Labor unity was again threatened by Jack Lang who had been expelled from the Labor Party in 1943 and formed another version of the Lang Labor Party. On this occasion he received no support from the rest of the caucus and spent the rest of the term as the sole member. At the 1944 election McKell won another victory, the first time a New South Wales Labor government had been re-elected. On early 1947 he resigned and announced acceptance of appointment as Governor General. James McGirr was elected leader and premier and led Labor to another victory at the 1947 election. McGirr nearly lost the 1950 election and was replaced in 1952 by Joseph Cahill.
Labor in Government, 1952–1965
Cahill decisively won the 1953 election. He was desperate to keep the New South Wales branch of the ALP united despite the sectarian and ideological split that resulted in the formation of the right-wing Democratic Labor Party in 1954. He achieved this by controlling the anti-DLP faction in his party. The DLP did not contest the 1956 election, which Labor won. Cahill was returned in the 1959 election, but died in office later that year. He was succeeded as leader and premier by Bob Heffron. Heffron continued the Labor reign in New South Wales winning the 1962 election. Heffron resigned the leadership and premiership in 1964, and was succeeded by Jack Renshaw, who lost the premiership at the 1965 election ending 24 years of Labor power in the state.
Wran-Unsworth era, 1976–1988
Wran narrowly won the 1976 election and remained premier until 1986. He was succeeded by Barrie Unsworth who took over the premiership until Labor's loss at the 1988 election, after which he resigned.
Carr era and beyond, 1988–2011
Bob Carr became leader in 1988 and led Labor to victory in the 1995 election. Carr was premier for 10 years, before resigning in 2005. Carr was succeeded by Morris Iemma, who led Labor to victory in the 2007 election, before resigning in 2008 after his Centre Unity faction withdrew its backing. He was succeeded by Nathan Rees, who was leader and premier for only 15 months, before he was deposed by Kristina Keneally, who resigned after Labor was defeated in a landslide at the 2011 election.
In opposition, 2011–present
She was succeeded by John Robertson. He resigned in December 2014, after the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis, after it was revealed that he had had contact with Man Haron Monis, who was one of Robertson's constituents. On 5 January 2015 Luke Foley was elected leader. In the 2015 state election, Labor achieved a 9.9% two-party-preferred swing, but the Coalition comfortably retained government. Foley resigned in November 2018 in the face of sexual assault allegations, and was succeeded by Michael Daley in the resulting leadership contest. In the 2019 election, the party recorded a small TPP swing in its favour and won two seats, but remained in opposition. On 25 March 2019, Daley announced his intention to step down as leader. Penny Sharpe, who was elected deputy leader in November 2018, served as interim leader until the leadership ballot was held in June; Jodi McKay was elected leader.
Attempted party reforms
Between 2009 and 2014, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) began or completed a series of investigations into the behaviours of a number of Labor politicians, including Angela D'Amore, Tony Kelly, Ian Macdonald, Eddie Obeid, Karyn Paluzzano, and Joe Tripodi. The ICAC made a series of adverse findings against all six politicians, although Paluzzano was the only one to face criminal charges. For bringing the party into disrepute, Kelly had his membership of Labor terminated in 2011; both Macdonald and Obeid had their membership terminated in 2013; and Tripodi suffered the same fate in 2014. Other investigations and criminal charges were laid against Craig Thomson, a federal politician from New South Wales, and Michael Williamson, a senior Labor official, also from New South Wales. Both Thomson and Williamson were adversely implicated in the Health Services Union expenses affair. Their membership of NSW Labor was terminated in 2014.
Seeking to stamp out perceived corruption and factional infighting, Senator John Faulkner began a process of reforms that proposed to include rank–and–file members in decisions such as the selection of candidates for Senate and Legislative Council vacancies and party tickets, and a vote in the direct election of the New South Wales parliamentary leaders. However, Faulkner's reform proposals were mostly rejected at NSW Labor's 2014 conference. The direct election of party leader gained support with effect from after the 2015 election.
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.
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.
List of parliamentary leaders
|#||Leader||Term start||Term end||Time in office||Premier||Departure notes|
|1||Steering Committee of 5||July 1891||October 1893||No||Caucus decision to elect a leader|
|2||Joseph Cook||October 1893||25 June 1894||No||Left the Labor Party|
|3||James McGowen||25 June 1894||30 June 1913||19 years, 5 days||Yes (1910–13)||Deposed|
|4||William Holman||30 June 1913||15 November 1916||3 years, 138 days||Yes (1913–1920)
(As Nationalist after 1916)
|Expelled from the Labor Party|
|5||Ernest Durack||15 November 1916||21 February 1917||98 days||No||Resigned|
|6||John Storey||21 February 1917||5 October 1921||4 years, 226 days||Yes (1920–1921)||Died in office|
|7||James Dooley||5 October 1921||31 July 1923||1 year, 299 days||Yes (1921–1921, 1921–1922)||Expelled from the Labor Party by the state executive|
|*||Greg McGirr||9 March 1923||16 April 1923||38 days||No||Imposed by the state executive|
|*||Bill Dunn||16 April 1923||31 July 1923||106 days||No||Imposed by the federal executive|
|8||Jack Lang||31 July 1923||5 September 1938||15 years, 36 days||Yes (1925–1927, 1930–1932)||Deposed following a caucus vote|
|9||William McKell||5 September 1938||6 February 1947||8 years, 154 days||Yes (1941–1947)||Resigned to become Governor-General|
|10||James McGirr||6 February 1947||3 April 1952||5 years, 57 days||Yes (1947–1952)||Resigned|
|11||Joseph Cahill||3 April 1952||22 October 1959||7 years, 202 days||Yes (1952–1959)||Died in office|
|12||Bob Heffron||22 October 1959||30 April 1964||4 years, 191 days||Yes (1959–1964)||Resigned|
|13||Jack Renshaw||30 April 1964||1968||Yes (1964–1965)||Resigned|
|14||Pat Hills||1968||1973||No||Deposed following the 1973 election|
|15||Neville Wran||1973||4 July 1986||Yes (1976–1986)||Resigned|
|16||Barrie Unsworth||4 July 1986||11 April 1988||1 year, 282 days||Yes (1986–1988)||Resigned following the 1988 election|
|17||Bob Carr||11 April 1988||3 August 2005||17 years, 114 days||Yes (1995–2005)||Resigned|
|18||Morris Iemma||3 August 2005||5 September 2008||3 years, 33 days||Yes (2005–2008)||Resigned|
|19||Nathan Rees||5 September 2008||3 December 2009||1 year, 89 days||Yes (2008–2009)||Deposed following a caucus vote|
|20||Kristina Keneally||3 December 2009||31 March 2011||1 year, 118 days||Yes (2009–2011)||Resigned following the 2011 election|
|21||John Robertson||31 March 2011||23 December 2014||3 years, 267 days||No||Resigned following the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis|
|*||Linda Burney||23 December 2014||5 January 2015||13 days||No||Interim leader until the 2015 leadership contest|
|22||Luke Foley||5 January 2015||8 November 2018||3 years, 307 days||No||Resigned|
|23||Michael Daley||8 November 2018||25 March 2019||137 days||No||Resigned following the 2019 state election|
|*||Penny Sharpe||25 March 2019||29 June 2019||96 days||No||Interim leader until the 2019 leadership election|
|24||Jodi McKay||29 June 2019||Incumbent||166 days||No|
List of deputy parliamentary leaders
|Deputy Leader||Term start||Term end||Time in office||Deputy Premier||Leader||Departure notes|
|Bill Dunn||1922||1923||No||James Dooley||Became leader|
|Jack Baddeley||1923||1949||Yes (1941–1949)||Bill Dunn|
|Joseph Cahill||1949||3 April 1952||Yes (1949–1952)||James McGirr||Became leader|
|Bob Heffron||1953||22 October 1959||Yes (1953–1959)||Joseph Cahill||Became leader|
|Jack Renshaw||22 October 1959||30 April 1964||4 years, 191 days||Yes (1959–1964)||Bob Heffron||Became leader|
|Pat Hills||30 April 1964||1968||Yes (1964–1965)||Jack Renshaw||Became leader|
|Syd Einfeld||1968||1973||No||Pat Hills|
|Jack Ferguson||1973||10 February 1984||Yes (1976–1984)||Neville Wran||Resigned|
|Ron Mulock||10 February 1984||25 March 1988||4 years, 44 days||Yes (1984–1988)||Neville Wran||Resigned following the 1988 election|
|Andrew Refshauge||11 April 1988||3 August 2005||17 years, 114 days||Yes (1995–2005)||Bob Carr||Resigned|
|John Watkins||3 August 2005||3 September 2008||3 years, 31 days||Yes (2005–2008)||Morris Iemma||Resigned|
|Carmel Tebbutt||3 September 2008||28 March 2011||2 years, 206 days||Yes (2008–2011)||Nathan Rees||Resigned following the 2011 election|
|Linda Burney||28 March 2011||7 March 2015||3 years, 344 days||No||John Robertson||Moved to federal politics|
|Michael Daley||7 March 2015||10 November 2018||2 years, 248 days||No||Became leader|
|Penny Sharpe||10 November 2018||25 March 2019||135 days||No||Michael Daley||Became interim leader|
|Yasmin Catley||29 June 2019||Incumbent||166 days||No||Jodi McKay|
|John Daniel FitzGerald||1915–1916|
|Ernest Gerard Wright||1950–1952|
|Charles Wilson Anderson||1952–1954|
|John Della Bosca||1990–1999|
State election results
|Election||Leader||Seats won||±||Total votes||%||Position||Council Seats|
35 / 141
15 / 125
18 / 125
19 / 125
24 / 125
25 / 90
32 / 90
46 / 90
49 / 90
33 / 90
43 / 90
36 / 90
46 / 90
40 / 90
55 / 90
24 / 90
29 / 90
28 / 90
54 / 90
56 / 90
52 / 90
46 / 94
57 / 94
50 / 94
49 / 94
54 / 94
45 / 94
39 / 94
45 / 96
44 / 99
50 / 99
63 / 99
23 / 43
69 / 99
24 / 44
58 / 99
24 / 45
43 / 109
19 / 45
46 / 99
18 / 42
50 / 99
17 / 42
55 / 93
16 / 42
55 / 93
18 / 42
52 / 93
19 / 42
20 / 93
14 / 42
34 / 93
12 / 42
36 / 93
14 / 42
- Cunneen, Chris. "Dooley, James Thomas (1877 - 1950)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 19 February 2007.
- Scott Stephenson. ""Ballot-Faking Crooks and a Tyrannical Executive": The Australian Workers Union Faction and the 1923 New South Wales Labor Party Annual Conference." Labour History, no. 105 (2013): 93-111.
- Scott Stephenson, "The New South Wales Labor Party's 1927 Rules: A case study of democracy and oligarchy within political parties," Australian Journal of Political Science Vol. 50 , Iss. 2, 2015.
- Nairn, Bede. "Lang, John Thomas (Jack) (1876–1975)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Archived from the original on 7 November 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
- "McKell Institute". Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
- "ICAC prosecution outcomes". Investigations: Prosecution briefs with the DPP and outcomes. Independent Commission Against Corruption. November 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- Shanahan, Leo (13 December 2011). "Ex-Labor minister Tony Kelly may face charges". The Australian. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
- Shanahan, Leo (31 July 2013). "Ian Macdonald, Eddie Obeid facing charges after being found by ICAC to have acted corruptly". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Wells, Jamelle; Gerathy, Sarah (31 July 2013). "ICAC recommends charges against former NSW Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Olding, Rachel; Waters, Georgia (31 July 2013). "Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald acted corruptly, ICAC finds". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- McClymont, Kate; Whitbourn, Michaela (5 June 2014). "ICAC: The verdict on Eddie Obeid". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Coultan, Mark (5 June 2014). "ICAC finds Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi, Steve Dunn corrupt over series of deals". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Wells, Jamelle (5 June 2014). "ICAC finds Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi corrupt over retail leases at Sydney's Circular Quay". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Trembath, Brendan (6 September 2012). "Former MP sentenced to 12 months imprisonment" (transcript). PM. Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "Former NSW MP Karyn Paluzzano sentenced to home detention for rorting, lying". The Australian. AAP. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "Ex-minister faces forgery charge over $12m property buy: ICAC". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
- Foschia, Liz (12 December 2011). "Kelly engaged in corrupt conduct, ICAC finds". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
- Harvey, Eliza (6 June 2013). "Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald expelled from Labor Party". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Nicholls, Sean (4 April 2014). "Labor Party expels Michael Williamson, Craig Thomson". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- "Former HSU officials Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson expelled from Labor Party". ABC News. Australia. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- Bourke, Latika (8 April 2014). "John Faulkner flags rule changes to Senate selection process to stamp out corruption in Labor Party". ABC News. Australia. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- Evans, Brett (29 July 2014). "The winter of Senator Faulkner's discontent". Inside Story. ISSN 1837-0497. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- Gerathy, Sarah (26 July 2014). "NSW Labor to allow rank and file members to vote on next state leader". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- List of Registered Parties, Electoral Commission NSW.
- Current register of political parties, Australian Electoral Commission.
- Country Labor: a new direction?, 7 June 2000, retrieved 29 September 2017
- Near-insolvent Country Labor ‘may never repay’ $1.68m to party, The Australian, 28 July 2017.