Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch)

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Australian Labor Party
(Tasmanian Branch)
LeaderRebecca White
Deputy LeaderMichelle O'Byrne
SecretaryStuart Benson [1]
Founded1903; 116 years ago (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

The Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch), commonly known as Tasmanian Labor is the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Labor Party.[2]

History[edit]

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]

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]

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]

Parliamentary leaders[edit]

The following people have served as parliamentary leader of the Labor Party in Tasmania:[14][15]

Election results for Legislative Assembly[edit]

Election Leader Seats ± Votes % ±% Position
1903 John Earle
3 / 35
Increase3 2,516 10.59% Crossbench
1906
7 / 35
Increase4 10,583 26.54% Increase0.8% Crossbench
1909
12 / 30
Increase5 19,067 38.94% Increase6.8% Minority government
Opposition (from 27 Oct 1909)
1912
14 / 30
Increase2 33,634 45.52% Increase6.58% Opposition
1913
14 / 30
Steady0 31,633 46.00% Increase0.48% Opposition
Minority government (from 6 Apr 1914)
1916
14 / 30
Steady0 36,118 48.47% Increase2.47% Opposition
1919 Joseph Lyons
13 / 30
Decrease1 28,286 41.44% Decrease7.03% Opposition
1922
12 / 30
Decrease1 24,956 36.74% Decrease4.70% Opposition
Minority government (from 25 Oct 1923)
1925
16 / 30
Increase4 36,631 48.47% Increase11.73% Majority government
1928
14 / 30
Decrease2 41,829 47.15% Decrease1.32% Opposition
1931 Albert Ogilvie
10 / 30
Decrease4 38,030 34.92% Decrease12.23% Opposition
1934
14 / 30
Increase4 53,454 45.78% Increase10.85% Minority government
1937
18 / 30
Increase4 71,263 58.67% Increase12.89% Majority government
1941 Robert Cosgrove
20 / 30
Increase2 75,544 62.59% Increase3.92% Majority government
1946
16 / 30
Decrease4 65,843 50.97% Decrease11.63% Majority government
1948
15 / 30
Decrease1 70,476 49.38% Decrease1.59% Minority government
1950
15 / 30
Steady0 70,976 48.63% Decrease0.75% Minority government
1955
15 / 30
Steady0 82,362 52.63% Increase4.00% Minority government
1956
15 / 30
Steady0 80,096 50.27% Decrease2.36% Minority government
1959 Eric Reece
17 / 35
Increase2 71,535 44.50% Decrease5.77% Minority government
1964
19 / 35
Increase2 90,631 51.32% Increase6.82% Majority government
1969
17 / 35
Decrease2 90,278 47.68% Decrease3.64% Opposition
1972
21 / 35
Increase4 108,910 54.93% Increase7.25% Majority government
1976 Bill Neilson
18 / 35
Decrease3 123,386 52.48% Decrease2.45% Majority government
1979 Doug Lowe
20 / 35
Increase2 129,973 54.32% Increase1.84% Majority government
1982 Harry Holgate
14 / 35
Decrease6 92,184 36.86% Decrease17.46% Opposition
1986 Ken Wriedt
14 / 35
Steady0 90,003 35.14% Decrease1.72% Opposition
1989 Michael Field
13 / 35
Decrease1 90,003 34.71% Increase0.43% Minority government
1992
11 / 35
Decrease2 82,296 28.85% Decrease5.86% Opposition
1996
14 / 35
Increase3 119,260 40.47% Increase11.62% Opposition
1998 Jim Bacon
14 / 25
Steady0 131,981 44.79% Increase4.32% Majority government
2002
14 / 25
Steady0 153,798 51.88% Increase7.09% Majority government
2006 Paul Lennon
14 / 25
Steady0 152,544 49.27% Decrease2.61% Majority government
2010 David Bartlett
10 / 25
Decrease4 118,168 36.88% Decrease12.39% Minority government
2014 Lara Giddings
7 / 25
Decrease3 89,130 27.33% Decrease9.55% Opposition
2018 Rebecca White
10 / 25
Increase3 109,264 32.63% Increase5.30% Opposition

References[edit]

  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. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ a b "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. ^ "Leaders of the Tasmanian Parliamentary Labor Party". Parliament of Tasmania. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  15. ^ "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)