|Student wing||Student Unity|
|Youth wing||Young Labor Right|
|Political position||Centre-right to Centre-left|
|House of Representatives||
24 / 150
10 / 76
|Politics of Australia
The Labor Right is the organised right-wing faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) at the national level that tends to be more economically liberal and socially conservative than the Labor Left faction. Labor Right is a broad alliance of various state right and centre leaning factions, which in some State branches are called Labor Unity, in New South Wales and Victoria they are called Centre Unity and in Queensland it is Labor Forum.
Factional power usually finds expression in the percentage vote of aligned delegates at party conferences. The power of the Labor Right varies from state to state, but it usually relies on certain trade unions, such as the centrist Australian Workers' Union and Transport Workers Union as well as the socially conservative Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association. These unions send faction-aligned delegates to conference, with delegates usually coming from the membership or administration of the union or from local branches their activists cover.
The Right is currently the dominant faction in the Labor party on a national level. The Labor Right faction also holds a majority on the party's National Executive. The usual arrangement is that the federal leader of the party is from the Right, while the deputy leader is from the Left, although former federal Labor leader and Prime Minister Julia Gillard was from the Left with support of the Right. Historically, most state Labor Premiers have been associated with the Right; there have been some exceptions, such as former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, former New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees, former Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings, current Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and current South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill all coming from their respective state Left factions.
State-based factions (national sub-factions) which make up Labor Right include:
New South Wales
- Centre Unity
- Labor Forum (AWU dominated faction consisting of the AWU, TWU, SDA, and PTEU unions)
- Old Guard or Labor Unity (NUW)
Australian Capital Territory
- Centre Coalition
- Center Unity (also referred to as the ShortCons, denoting the alliance between the power bases of former AWU National Secretary Bill Shorten and TWU-aligned Senator Stephen Conroy)
- Labor Unity (SDA)
- Labor Action (NUW)
- WA Labor Unity (formerly split into the New Right and Old Right)
- NT Labor Unity
- Labor Unity SA
An overriding stated theme of Labor right wing governance is of balance between progressive social change and the need for sound economic management as the pathway to community development and growth.
Many Roman Catholics have been prominent and influential in the Labor Party, both inside and outside the auspices of the Labor Right faction. Labor socialists and Protestant conservatives alike have historically criticized the faction as beholden to papal authority. However, this has decreased since the 1970s with the gradual erosion of sectarianism in Australian politics.
The Right views itself as the more mainstream and fiscally responsible faction within Labor, the faction is most famous for its support of Third Way policies over Labor's traditional social democratic/democratic socialist policies, such as the economic rationalist policies of the Hawke and Keating governments, like floating the Australian Dollar in 1983, reductions in trade tariffs, taxation reforms, changing from centralised wage-fixing to enterprise bargaining, the privatisation of Qantas and Commonwealth Bank, and deregulating the banking system.
While the senior faction is broken into various state and union based groupings the Young Labor Right is organised around the various parliamentarian factional leaders and power brokers. The Victorian Young Labor Right is currently divided between the AWU-aligned "ShortCons" (Central Unity), the SDA (Labor Unity), and the NUW (Young Labor Action). The NSW Young Labor Right known as Young Centre Unity or simply the NSW Right is the largest Labor right youth faction.
Federal Members of the Labor Right
- Cumming, Fia (1991) Mates : five champions of the Labor right. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86373-021-4. Library catalogue summary: Paul Keating, Graham Richardson, Laurie Brereton, Bob Carr and Leo McLeay recount events which shaped the Australian labour movement from the 1960s to the 1980s.
- Richardson, G (1994) Whatever It Takes, Bantam Books, Moorebank, NSW. Library catalogue summary: Graham Richardson recounts his career and outlines the philosophy and operation of the NSW and National Labor Right during his time in the ALP.
- "Left takes over Queensland Labor in historic shift". The Australia. 31 July 2014.
- "New Victorian super-faction boosts Bill Shorten's influence on the Labor party machine". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 April 2015.
- "In WA, Labor does the splits and its vitals are showing". Crikey. 11 February 2011.