Queensland Labor Party

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The Queensland Labor Party (QLP) was a political party of Queensland, Australia formed in 1957 by a breakaway group of the then ruling Australian Labor Party Government after the expulsion of Premier Vince Gair. The party was absorbed into the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) in 1962.

History[edit]

In Queensland, Vince Gair became Labor leader and premier in 1952.[1]

The Central Executive of the ALP expelled Gair on 24 April 1957 because of his support of the Groupers.[1] A total of 25 Labor MLAs left the party with him, including all the Cabinet except Deputy Premier Jack Duggan, to form the Queensland Labor Party. The two ex-Labor Independents joined the QLP. The ALP was left with 23 members with Duggan as leader. The Country and Liberal Parties had a combined 24 seats.

Gair tried to gain Country Party support for his minority government, but talks with Frank Nicklin broke down when federal Country Party leader Arthur Fadden told Nicklin that he had a chance to become Premier himself.[1] On 12 June, the ALP, now led by Duggan, voted to deny "supply" (that is, the money needed to govern) to what was left of the Gair government. The Country-Liberal Coalition moved to block supply as well and brought the government down.[2]

A state election was called for 3 August 1957. At that time, Queensland had one-house parliament which was elected by a first-past-the-post rather than a preferential voting system. The ALP and QLP candidates could not save each other through preference swaps, even if they had wanted to. Since all sitting ALP and QLP members were opposed by a candidate from the other faction, the Labor vote was split hopelessly and fatally in many seats, even though there was no overall swing to the Country and Liberal parties.[3] Both the QLP and the ALP lost ground with the two Labor factions winning only 31 seats between them to the Coalition's 42 (up from 24 previously). The QLP won 23.4% of the vote, the second highest of the contesting parties, and 11 of the 75 seats. Gair himself was re-elected for South Brisbane, and Nicklin became Premier and for the first time in 25 years and only the second time since 1915, a Labor Government was out of office in Queensland.

At the 1960 state election, the QLP won only 4 seats, with even Gair losing his seat. Gair stood for the Senate in 1961 for the QLP, but was unsuccessful. Gair's QLP merged with the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) in 1962 to become the Queensland branch of the DLP.[2] At the 1963 state election preferential voting was reintroduced, replacing first-past-the-post voting. This enabled the DLP to not only draw votes away from the ALP, but also to "deliver" them to the Coalition. Gair became federal DLP leader in 1964,[1] after his election to the Senate. From the 1963 election, the party's support in Queensland had slipped below 8%, and the party retained only one seat in Queensland's unicameral parliament. The party's electoral support remained at about that level until 1972. The DLP lost its raison d'être after 1972 when Labor won office at the federal level, and went into further decline in 1973 when Gair was forced to resign from the party as a result of the so-called Gair Affair. At the 1974 state election, the DLP did not contest all seats, and recorded only 1.91% of the vote. The DLP did not contest the 1977 state election and ceased to exist in 1978.

The ALP would remain in opposition in Queensland, even after the QLP and its successor the DLP had ceased to exist, returning to government in 1989 with Wayne Goss as leader.

Despite the existence of the QLP in Queensland's political history the term "Queensland Labor" is still used erroneously to refer to the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party.

Queensland election results[edit]

  • In the 3 August 1957 Queensland election, the QLP won 23.4% of the vote, the second highest of the contesting parties, and won 11 seats in the Legislative Assembly.
  • At the 28 May 1960 election, the QLP's vote dropped significantly to 12.28% and won only 4 seats in the Legislative Assembly.
  • At the 1 June 1963 election the party's vote (now part of the DLP) had dropped further to 7.23% winning only 1 seat.
  • At the 28 May 1966 election, the DLP won 6.25% of the vote and 1 seat.
  • At the 17 May 1969 election, the DLP won 7.24% of the vote and 1 seat.
  • At the 27 May 1972 election, the DLP won 7.69% of the vote and no seat.
  • At the 7 December 1974 election, the DLP won 1.91% of the vote and no seat.
  • By the 1977 election, the DLP did not contest the election and had ceased to exist in 1978.

QLP parliamentarians[edit]

Federal
Legislative Assembly of Queensland

References[edit]

External links[edit]