Ferguson Left

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Ferguson Left (Soft Left)
FounderMartin Ferguson
Youth wingActive within Australian Young Labor
IdeologySocial democracy
Colours     Red

The Ferguson Left (also known as the "Soft Left" in New South Wales) was a political faction within the Australian Labor Party (ALP) founded by Martin Ferguson.[1] [2] [3]

In New South Wales, the Soft Left was the dominant group on the Steering Committee (previous name for the New South Wales Socialist Left) until March 1989, when the Soft Left's Jan Burnswoods was defeated by the Hard Left's Anthony Albanese in an internal faction ballot for the leading position of Assistant General Secretary of the New South Wales Labor Party.[2] [3] The new Hard Left majority changed the name of the faction to the Socialist Left in November 1989.[2] [3] The large Australian trade union, United Voice supported the Ferguson Left until 2010.[4] As of 2014 it still existed as a sub-faction in New South Wales, led by Paul Lynch. [5]

In Victoria, the Ferguson Left was an independent left faction led by Martin Ferguson.[6] Following the retirement of Martin Ferguson, the Ferguson Left reunited with the Victorian Socialist Left in 2014-15.[5]

Past federal members included Martin Ferguson, Laurie Ferguson, and Alan Griffin.[6]

At the 2015 Australian Labor Party National Conference former Ferguson Left powerbroker Martin Ferguson was roundly condemned by the labour movement and a motion was carried condemning him[7] for comments he'd made that they believe had damaged the party[7] since retiring from parliament.

The Ferguson Left was brought back into the fold of the broader National Left (and has ceased to caucus separately) after the retirement of key players Laurie Ferguson, Martin Ferguson and Julia Gillard, and the increasing momentum towards a National Left majority at National Conference in 2018. [5]

Tensions still exist about the Soft Left's role in electing Labor Right-aligned Bill Shorten as Australian Labor Party leader over the Labor Left's Anthony Albanese. These personal enmities between the Soft Left and the Hard Left date back decades.[8]


  1. ^ Davis, Mark (21 September 2009). "Labor's Left and Right distinctions erased". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/Factions(AJPS).pdf
  3. ^ a b c https://www120.secure.griffith.edu.au/rch/file/f161283f-7304-63b0-2ea2-634c99d6a6f5/1/02Whole.pdf
  4. ^ "The New South Wales Left at 60". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "What is the factional breakdown at Labor Conferences?". 2 September 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/friction-over-factions/news-story/e3ca2818cdbbdef37dd8d6dc2a593a77
  7. ^ a b "It's Official: Martin Ferguson is a Disgrace". Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Download Limit Exceeded". citeseerx.ist.psu.edu. Retrieved 15 July 2018.