Communist Party of Australia (current)

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Communist Party of Australia
Leader Bob Briton
President Vinicio Molina
Founders Pat Clancy
Peter Symon
Founded 1971
Split from Communist Party of Australia (1920-1991)
Headquarters Peter Symon House, 74 Buckingham Street, Surry Hills, New South Wales
Ideology Communism
Political position Far-left
International affiliation International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
Colours Red
A Communist Party of Australia stall at Labour Day 2007 in Queensland

The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) is a minor political party in Australia which was founded in 1971 as the Socialist Party of Australia (SPA) by former members of the Communist Party of Australia who resigned or were expelled from that party as a result of their opposition to policy changes.

Party objectives[edit]

The current Communist Party remains a traditional, albeit tiny, Communist Party, proclaiming itself to be a Marxist–Leninist party whose ultimate objective is the revolutionary transformation of Australian society and the establishment of socialism in Australia. It describes its objective as being to "change the direction of politics in Australia and eventually, to replace the capitalist system with a socialist one."[1]

In the last 37 years of the party's existence, the party has been mainly a far-left wing political party and has played a limited role in Australia's trade union movement. The party's main policies are:

  • The socialist reconstruction of the Australian society
  • An end to privatisations of assets owned by the federal and state governments
  • To free Australia from foreign transnationals
  • Regulation by the Federal Government of prices, profit levels, and interest rates
  • The abolition of the Goods and Services Tax
  • Expansion of the public sector
  • Increase in the national minimum wage
  • Increase in pension, unemployment benefits
  • Reduction of the working week
  • Halt reductions in tariffs
  • Reduction of military spending


In the late 1960s, the CPA, under the leadership of National Secretary Laurie Aarons, became a strong supporter of "Eurocommunism", of abandoning Leninism and democratic centralism, and trying to form a "united front" of the various left-wing forces thrown up by the movement of opposition to the Vietnam War. The CPA leadership had become increasingly critical of the Soviet Union, particularly over the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Dissidents took the view that the CPA should not become a left social-democratic party, and should continue as a Marxist–Leninist party. The group was described as pro-Soviet hardliners. Their position put them at odds with the CPA leadership.

The SPA was led by a group of veteran trade union officials such as Pat Clancy and Peter Symon. Clancy resigned from the SPA in 1983,[2] and Symon was the general secretary from its formation until his death in December 2008, a total of 36 years.

The old CPA was dissolved in 1991. The SPA, believing itself to be the rightful successor to the original CPA formed in 1920, changed its name to Communist Party of Australia at its 8th Party National Congress in October 1996.

After Symon's death, party president, Hannah Middleton, was elected general secretary by the 11th Party National Congress in October 2009. Vinicio Molina succeeded Middleton as party president.[3] Bob Briton was elected general secretary at the 12th Party Congress in 2013.

List of General Secretaries of the Communist Party of Australia[edit]

Shown by default in chronological order of leadership
Year Name Period
1996 Peter Symon 1996–2008
2009 Hannah Middleton 2009–2013
2013 Bob Briton 2013–present

Political activity[edit]

Michael Perth contested the seat of Port Adelaide in the 1998 and in the 2001 federal elections, but polled less than 1% of the vote in both cases. Bob Briton contested the SA state seat of Lee in 2010 and polled 2.9% of the votes.

At the 2010 federal election the party endorsed a candidate for the House of Representatives seat of Sydney as part of the Communist Alliance. The party received 0.83% or 656 of the 79,377 votes cast.[4] It also endorsed two candidates for the Senate in New South Wales, receiving 0.17% or 6,999 of the 4,333,267 votes cast.[5] The Australian Electoral Commission deregistered Communist Alliance successor name The Communists on 22 May 2012.[6]

The Communist Party of Australia received its first electoral win with the election of Tony Oldfield in local government elections on 8 September 2012 to Auburn City Council, New South Wales.[7]

The Communist Party of Australia planned to run candidates in the 2016 federal election,[8][9] but their attempt at registration was rejected.


External links[edit]