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.[2]

Australian Labor Party
(Tasmanian Branch)
LeaderRebecca White
Deputy LeaderMichelle O'Byrne
SecretaryStuart Benson [1]
Founded1903 (1903)
HeadquartersLevel 2, 63 Salamanca Place, Hobart, Tasmania
Youth wingTasmanian Young Labor
National affiliationAustralian Labor Party
Tasmanian House of Assembly
10 / 25
Tasmanian Legislative Council
4 / 15
Australian House of Representatives
(Tas seats)
2 / 5
Australian Senate
(Tas seats)
4 / 12
Website
taslabor.com

History

Late beginnings: until 1903

The Labor Party came into existence in Tasmania later than in the mainland states, in part due to the weak state of nineteenth-century Tasmanian trade unionism compared to the rest of the country. The two main Trades and Labor Councils, in Hobart and Launceston, were badly divided along north-south lines, and were always small; they collapsed altogether in 1897 (Hobart) and 1898 (Launceston). Denis Murphy attributes the poor state of the unions to a number of factors, including a more conservative workforce, divisions between various groups of workers, the smaller nature of Tasmanian industry, heavy penalties directed against a prominent early union leader, Hugh Kirk, and a lack of job security for the miners on the north-west coast. Unofficial pro-Labor candidates contested parliamentary seats from 1886. Allan Macdonald was elected at the 1893 election and has been regarded as Tasmania's first Labor member, but was not himself a worker and in any case was shortly forced to retire due to ill-health. Numerous other candidates from liberal or democratic leagues were elected, but often showed little regard for workers' issues.[3]

As a result of these issues, there was no state Labor Party by the time of Federation, and as such there was no formal Labor campaign in Tasmania at the 1901 federal election.[4] King O'Malley was elected as an independent in the House of Representatives, and David O'Keefe was elected to the Senate endorsed by the Protectionist Party. O'Keefe joined the Labor Party when parliament sat for the first time, and O'Malley arrived unpledged but joined in June after the anti-Labor parties refused to support his idea for a Commonwealth Bank.[5][6] George Mason Burns, secretary of the Queenstown branch of the Amalgamated Miners' Association, convened a small conference in September 1901, chaired by future Premier John Earle, which drew up a moderate Labor platform, and a Political Labor League formed on the north-west coast. However, there was understood to be no Labor organisation in Tasmania as late as 1902.[7][3]

Forming a parliamentary party: 1903 to 1906

By 1903, a Labor campaign for the 1903 state election started to take shape with a view to forming a parliamentary party. The need to form a national Labor Party saw various mainland Labor Party figures visiting the state to build support, and a visit by the British trade unionist Tom Mann led to the formation of a Hobart Workers' Political League. Pre-election votes were taken to determine Labor candidates in the four seats of the north-west coast, and candidates signed a pledge to support a platform. Murphy describes this campaign as heavily dependent on interstate support and offering little more than the Liberals on policy.[7][8][9] Three Labor candidates won seats at the election: Burns, James Long and William Lamerton, and formed the first Labor caucus in state parliament.[10][3]

The first Labor Party conference was held in June 1903, and future Premier John Earle became the first party president.[11] A fourth MP, Jens Jensen, took the Labor pledge at the conference. The new branch faced further problems due to the need to campaign for the 1903 federal election in December, a campaign which suffered from severe financial difficulties and sluggish organising. O'Malley was re-elected, but Labor candidates for the Senate and the seat of Denison were defeated.[12][13] The support of Lamerton, a former mine manager, was described by The Mercury as "equivocal"; he drifted away from the party in their first term and became an opponent.[3]

Earle leadership: 1906 to 1917

The party continued to struggle organisationally and financially, but a more determined campaign, again featuring strong interstate support, saw the party return seven MPs at the 1906 state election. Earle was elected as the first Tasmanian Labor leader after the election, Labor having declined to elect a leader during their first term. Labor suffered a blow when O'Keefe was defeated in the Senate at the 1906 federal election, and lost further votes at the 1909 state election—at which, however, they increased their MPs to twelve out of thirty due to the introduction of the Hare-Clark electoral system. Earle would form Tasmania's first Labor government on 20 October, after a no-confidence motion ousted the anti-Labor fusion government of Elliott Lewis. Jensen, Long and James Ogden were appointed to Earle's ministry, but the new government, lacking a majority, was ousted after only seven days.[3]

Earle remained Labor leader in opposition, and assumed the Premiership in 1914 in a minority government with the support of independent Joshua Whitsitt, but his government was defeated at the 1916 Tasmanian state election in April 1916. Earle continued as Opposition Leader until November that year, when he quit the leadership and the party as part of the Australian Labor Party split of 1916 over conscription. His deputy, Joseph Lyons, assumed the leadership in the wake of the party split and Earle's departure.[14][15]

Lyons leadership: 1917 to 1929

Albert Ogilvie: 1929 to 1939

Dwyer-Gray, Cosgrove and Brooker leaderships: 1939 to 1958

Reece leadership: 1958 to 1975

Neilson, Lowe, Holgate and Batt: 1975 to 1989

Going into the 1982 Tasmanian state election in May 1982, the Labor Party had lost its majority and faced bitter internal divisions, with former leader and Premier Doug Lowe sitting on the crossbench as an independent and heavily critical of his successor Harry Holgate. Ken Wriedt, former federal Minister for Foreign Affairs during the Whitlam government, announced his candidacy for state parliament and was immediately talked about as a potential Premier in the event of a close election if Holgate was unable to secure a majority due to his hostile relationship with the crossbench.[16] Labor lost the election badly, but Wriedt was elected to the House of Assembly with a far higher personal vote than Holgate and was immediately touted as a potential successor.[17] Days later, Holgate announced that he would stand down as leader and Wriedt was elected unopposed as his successor, becoming Opposition Leader.[18][19]

The Labor Party was again defeated at the 1986 Tasmanian state election, performing poorly and failing to regain any seats it had lost in 1982. Wriedt stepped down following the election loss, and Neil Batt, a former Deputy Premier under Lowe and national president of the party, was elected unopposed to replace him.[20][21]

Field leadership: 1988 to 1997

In December 1988, deputy leader Michael Field ousted Batt, who had been lagging in the polls, as party leader in a closely divided 8-7 leadership spill.[22] Field led Labor into the 1989 Tasmanian state election, at which they won less seats than the governing Liberal Party, but were able to oust them to form minority government with the support of the Tasmanian Greens in an agreement known as the Accord. After a term in which the new government faced an economic recession and a fraught relationship with the Greens, the Field government was soundly defeated at the 1992 Tasmanian state election.[23] Field remained Leader of the Opposition until 1997, when he decided to leave politics entirely.[24]

Bacon, Lennon, Bartlett and Giddings: 1997-2014

Jim Bacon, a former secretary of the Tasmanian Trades & Labor Council, assumed the Labor and Opposition leadership from Field in 1997. He led the party back into government, winning the 1998 Tasmanian state election, and being returned in a landslide at the 2002 Tasmanian state election.[25][26] However, Bacon was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and resigned from politics in February 2004, dying in June that year.[27][26] Bacon's deputy, Paul Lennon, assumed the leadership after Bacon's resignation and led the party to a third term at the 2006 Tasmanian state election, but resigned in May 2008 amidst poor polling.[26]

David Bartlett succeeded Lennon as Premier and Labor leader and led the party to a tied result at the 2010 Tasmanian state election, with Labor losing their majority. He continued as Premier after the election in a minority government with the support of the Tasmanian Greens, but resigned in May 2011 and was succeeded by his deputy, Lara Giddings. Giddings led the party in government until their defeat at the 2014 Tasmanian state election.[26]

Green and White leaderships: 2014-present

Giddings resigned after Labor lost government at the 2014 election and long-serving minister and former deputy leader Bryan Green assumed the Labor leadership in opposition.[28] After consistently trailing the Liberal government of Will Hodgman in the polls, Green abruptly resigned from the leadership and from parliament in March 2017. He was succeeded as Labor and Opposition Leader by Rebecca White, who led Labor to another election loss at the 2018 Tasmanian state election.[29][30]

Publications

Voice

Dwyer-Gray established a weekly newspaper in 1925, first called the People's Voice and later Voice, which continued under his editorship until his death in 1945.[31][32]

It included many pages of sport, and expressed Dwyer-Gray's synthesis of Labor and Douglas (Social) Credit philosophy. It criticised the federal Labor governments of John Curtin and Ben Chifley for neglecting expansionary economics.[31]

The Voice, then strongly anti-communist, ceased publication in 1953.[31]

Parliamentary leaders

The following people have served as parliamentary leader of the Labor Party in Tasmania:[33][34]

Election results for Legislative Assembly

Election Leader Seats ± Votes % ±% Position
1903 John Earle
3 / 35
3 2,516 10.59% Crossbench
1906
7 / 35
4 10,583 26.54% 0.8% Crossbench
1909
12 / 30
5 19,067 38.94% 6.8% Minority government
Opposition (from 27 Oct 1909)
1912
14 / 30
2 33,634 45.52% 6.58% Opposition
1913
14 / 30
0 31,633 46.00% 0.48% Opposition
Minority government (from 6 Apr 1914)
1916
14 / 30
0 36,118 48.47% 2.47% Opposition
1919 Joseph Lyons
13 / 30
1 28,286 41.44% 7.03% Opposition
1922
12 / 30
1 24,956 36.74% 4.70% Opposition
Minority government (from 25 Oct 1923)
1925
16 / 30
4 36,631 48.47% 11.73% Majority government
1928
14 / 30
2 41,829 47.15% 1.32% Opposition
1931 Albert Ogilvie
10 / 30
4 38,030 34.92% 12.23% Opposition
1934
14 / 30
4 53,454 45.78% 10.85% Minority government
1937
18 / 30
4 71,263 58.67% 12.89% Majority government
1941 Robert Cosgrove
20 / 30
2 75,544 62.59% 3.92% Majority government
1946
16 / 30
4 65,843 50.97% 11.63% Majority government
1948
15 / 30
1 70,476 49.38% 1.59% Minority government
1950
15 / 30
0 70,976 48.63% 0.75% Minority government
1955
15 / 30
0 82,362 52.63% 4.00% Minority government
1956
15 / 30
0 80,096 50.27% 2.36% Minority government
1959 Eric Reece
17 / 35
2 71,535 44.50% 5.77% Minority government
1964
19 / 35
2 90,631 51.32% 6.82% Majority government
1969
17 / 35
2 90,278 47.68% 3.64% Opposition
1972
21 / 35
4 108,910 54.93% 7.25% Majority government
1976 Bill Neilson
18 / 35
3 123,386 52.48% 2.45% Majority government
1979 Doug Lowe
20 / 35
2 129,973 54.32% 1.84% Majority government
1982 Harry Holgate
14 / 35
6 92,184 36.86% 17.46% Opposition
1986 Ken Wriedt
14 / 35
0 90,003 35.14% 1.72% Opposition
1989 Michael Field
13 / 35
1 90,003 34.71% 0.43% Minority government
1992
11 / 35
2 82,296 28.85% 5.86% Opposition
1996
14 / 35
3 119,260 40.47% 11.62% Opposition
1998 Jim Bacon
14 / 25
0 131,981 44.79% 4.32% Majority government
2002
14 / 25
0 153,798 51.88% 7.09% Majority government
2006 Paul Lennon
14 / 25
0 152,544 49.27% 2.61% Majority government
2010 David Bartlett
10 / 25
4 118,168 36.88% 12.39% Minority government
2014 Lara Giddings
7 / 25
3 89,130 27.33% 9.55% Opposition
2018 Rebecca White
10 / 25
3 109,264 32.63% 5.30% Opposition

References

  1. "Tasmanian election: Labor to snatch victory against 'cashed-up Liberals', party says". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 February 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  2. "Tasmanian Labor". Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  3. Murphy, D. J. (1975). Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880–1920. University of Queensland Press. pp. 389–414.
  4. "THE LABOR VICTORY IN TASMANIA". Daily Post. III, (146). Tasmania, Australia. 2 July 1910. p. 4. Retrieved 5 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. "O'Malley, King (1858–1953)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre for Biography. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  6. "1901 Senate: Tasmania". Psephos. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  7. "THE LABOR PARTY". Tasmanian News. , (6717). Tasmania, Australia. 29 October 1902. p. 2 (THIRD EDITION). Retrieved 5 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  8. "Election Campaign". Zeehan And Dundas Herald. XIV, (127). Tasmania, Australia. 12 March 1903. p. 4. Retrieved 5 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  9. "Election Campaign". Zeehan And Dundas Herald. XIV, (138). Tasmania, Australia. 25 March 1903. p. 2. Retrieved 5 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  10. "THE GENERAL ELECTIONS". Zeehan And Dundas Herald. XIV, (146). Tasmania, Australia. 3 April 1903. p. 2. Retrieved 5 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  11. "LABOR CONFERENCE". The Daily Telegraph. XXIII, (133). Tasmania, Australia. 5 June 1903. p. 3. Retrieved 5 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  12. "1903 Senate: Tasmania". Psephos. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  13. "1903 Election: House of Representatives". Psephos. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  14. "Earle, John (1865–1932)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre for Biography. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  15. "Lyons, Joseph Aloysius (Joe) (1879–1939)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre for Biography. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  16. "Wriedt lifts chances for Premier's job". The Age. 14 May 1982. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  17. "Labor's dam bursts as Fraser gets a Tasmanian present". Sydney Morning Herald. 17 May 1982. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  18. "Holgate to step down". The Age. 21 May 1982. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  19. "Newsbrief". Sydney Morning Herald. 28 May 1982. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  20. "The triumph of provincialism". The Age. 10 February 1986. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  21. "Neil Batt takes a long and winding road to the top". The Age. 22 February 1986. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  22. "Tas ALP dumps flagging leader". Sydney Morning Herald. 15 December 1988. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  23. "Accord and discord: An oral history of the Field government". The Examiner. 11 February 2018. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  24. "Michael Field". The Companion to Tasmanian History. University of Tasmania. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  25. "The Companion to Tasmanian History". University of Tasmania. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  26. "Tasmania's Labor generation comes to an end". The Mercury. 14 March 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  27. "Bacon stands down as Tassie premier". Sydney Morning Herald. 23 February 2004. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  28. "Bryan Green takes on Tasmanian Labor leadership after Lara Giddings resigns". ABC News. 1 April 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  29. "Bryan Green quits politics, Rebecca White new Tasmanian Labor leader". ABC. 17 March 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  30. "Tasmanian Labor Leader Rebecca White concedes defeat in 2018 state election". The Courier. 3 March 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  31. Davis, Richard. "Labor newspapers". The Companion to Tasmanian History. University of Tasmania. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  32. David, Richard (1 October 1996). "New Zealand Labour Government and the ALP, 1939–40: an Image of Independence". University of Tasmania. Archived from the original on 19 September 2007.
  33. "Leaders of the Tasmanian Parliamentary Labor Party". Parliament of Tasmania. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  34. "STATE PARLIAMENT". Zeehan And Dundas Herald. XVII, (192). Tasmania, Australia. 30 May 1906. p. 4. Retrieved 5 June 2018 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
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