Australian Labor Party (NSW)

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Australian Labor Party (NSW)
Leader Jack Lang
Founded 1931
Dissolved 1936
Politics of Australia
Political parties
This article is about the defunct right–wing Labor organisation that existed during the 1930s. For the defunct left–wing Labor organisation that existed during 1940–1944, see State Labor Party. For the defunct Labor organisation that existed during 1940–1941, see Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist). For the current branch of the Australian Labor Party, see Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch).
Lang Labor members of the 14th Parliament, Old Parliament House, Canberra, 1935

The Australian Labor Party (NSW), commonly known as Lang Labor, was the name given to a major breakaway of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales that operated from 1931 to 1936.

In 1931 Jack Lang, as Premier of New South Wales, announced a policy of foreign debt repudiation, known as the "Lang Plan", to combat the effects of the Great Depression. This was contrary to the policy of the federal Labor government led by James Scullin. As a result, Lang's supporters, led by Jack Beasley and Eddie Ward, were expelled from the federal Caucus.

This led to a schism between the Federal and State executives of the Labor party. In 1931 Lang's supporters voted with the United Australia Party Opposition in the House of Representatives to bring down the Scullin government. At the subsequent federal elections the Lang-controlled New South Wales Branch ran candidates as the Australian Labor Party (New South Wales), but they were generally known as Lang Labor candidates. Supporters of the federal party (led in New South Wales by Ted Theodore and Ben Chifley) were known as Federal Labor candidates.

The elections were a landslide defeat for Labor, but most of the Lang members had ultra-safe working class seats and survived, although Ward was narrowly defeated in East Sydney. (He returned at an East Sydney by-election, 1932). Theodore and Chifley were both defeated, and Federal Labor won only three seats in New South Wales. The same thing happened at the 1934 federal elections, when Federal Labor won only one seat (Newcastle).

In 1935 John Curtin succeeded Scullin as federal Labor leader and in February 1936 he brought about a reconciliation with the New South Wales Branch. At the 1937 elections Labor ran as a united party in New South Wales.


  • Lang, J. T. (1970). The Turbulent Years, Alpha Books
  • McMullin, Ross (1991). The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891–1991, OUP