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 a political group arising from a major breakaway from the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales that operated from 1931 to 1936, when the two groups were reconciled.


In 1931, with the support of the state party, the Labor Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, repudiated the Premiers' Plan agreed by a meeting of the Premiers of the Australian states in June 1931 for the economic management in Australia of the Great Depression and announced a policy of foreign debt repudiation, known as the "Lang Plan", and imposed a moratorium on the New South Wales government's overseas loans. 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 split between the Federal and State executives of the Labor party. In 1931 Lang's supporters in the House of Representatives voted with the United Australia Party Opposition to bring down the Scullin Labor government and force an early election. At the 1931 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 resulted in a landslide defeat for Federal 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 in 1932). Lang Labor won four seats, while nation-wide Federal Labor lost 32 seats and won only three seats in New South Wales. Theodore and Chifley were both defeated ending Theodore's political career. The same thing happened at the 1934 federal elections, when Federal Labor won only one seat in New South Wales (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 federal elections Labor ran as a united party in New South Wales, though Labor still did not breakthrough.



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