Communist Party of Australia (Marxist–Leninist)

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Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
FounderTed Hill
Founded15 March 1964
Split fromCommunist Party of Australia
International affiliationInternational Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organizations[1]
SloganFor an independent Australia and Socialism

The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist–Leninist) (CPA (M-L)) is an Australian communist organisation which describes its ideology as being influenced by the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Ted Hill.[2] The theory of the party is unique among Australian Marxist-Leninists due to its belief that a revolution to achieve national independence from primarily United States imperialism is an essential step in the struggle to achieve socialism in Australia.[3] The party has a strong focus on applying Marxism-Leninism to Australian conditions.


The CPA (M-L) was formed in 1964 as the manifestation of a split within the Communist Party of Australia which occurred largely as a result of the Sino-Soviet split.[4] The leading figure in the breakaway group was Ted Hill, a Melbourne barrister who had been Victorian State Secretary of the CPA. Other noted figures were Paddy Malone and Norm Gallagher of the Builders Labourers Federation, Clarrie O'Shea of the Tramways Union and Ted Bull of the Waterside Workers Federation.[5]

1970s to 1990s[edit]

The party exerted sizeable influence on the militant student movement in Australia during the late 1960s and early 1970s on campuses such as Monash University and LaTrobe University in Melbourne as well as Flinders University in Adelaide through their front group, the 'Worker-Student Alliance'.[6] A notable leader of the Worker-Student Alliance at this time was veteran political activist Albert Langer.

The party also held considerable sway within the Australian trade union movement from inception through to the 1980s. Clarrie O'Shea was party Vice-President at the time of his gaoling in 1969, which led to an unprecedented general strike across Australia until his release was secured.[7] Norm Gallagher led the Builders Labourers Federation for over a decade, a time during which he was a nationally known and controversial figure. Other party members, such as John Cummins and Jim Bacon were also prominent BLF figures throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In the years following the de-registration of the BLF in 1986, CPA (M-L) influence within the union movement began to decline.

During the 1980s and 1990s the majority of the founding members of the CPA (M-L) died or retired. Ted Hill's retirement in 1986 and death in 1988 left the party without its most recognised public figure.

Current Activity[edit]

The party ceased publishing a hard copy version of its newspaper Vanguard on a regular basis at the end of 2014. However, it continues to publish a special May Day edition of the paper each year, as well as releases various publications periodically.[8] It is unknown how many members the party has as it maintains strict adherence to its founding policy of the vast majority of members keeping their party membership secret.[9] They have had a new website since 25 October 2014.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CPA (M-L) affiliates to ICOR". Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Publications". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  9. ^ "About the CPA (ML)". Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 November 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]

  • Vanguard expresses the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist–Leninist).