Australian Labor Party (New South Wales Branch)

This article is about the current branch of the Australian Labor Party. For the defunct right–wing Labor organisation that existed during the 1930s, see Australian Labor Party (NSW). For the defunct left–wing Labor organisation that existed during the 1940s, see State Labor Party. For the defunct right–wing Labor organisation that existed during 1940–1941, see Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist). For the defunct right–wing Labor organisation that split from Labor in 1955, see Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist).
Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch)
President Mark Lennon
General Secretary Kaila Murnain
Leader Luke Foley
Deputy Leader Michael Daley
Founded 1891
Headquarters Level 9, 377 - 383 Sussex St Sydney, New South Wales
Youth wing Australian Young Labor
National affiliation Australian Labor Party
NSW Legislative Assembly
34 / 93
NSW Legislative Council
14 / 42
Australian House of Reps (NSW)
18 / 46
Australian Senate (NSW)
5 / 12
NSW Local Councillors
164 / 1,480

The Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch) also known as NSW Labor is the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party. The parliamentary leader is elected from and by the members of the party caucus, comprising all party members in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The party factions have a strong influence on the election of the leader. The leader's position is dependent on the continuing support of the caucus (and party factions) and the leader may be deposed by failing to win a vote of confidence of parliamentary members. By convention, the premier sits in the Legislative Assembly, and is the leader of the party controlling a majority in that house. The party leader also typically is a member of the Assembly, though this is not a strict party constitutional requirement. Barrie Unsworth, for example, was elected party leader while a member of the Legislative Council. He then transferred to the Assembly by winning a seat at a by-election.

When the Labor party wins sufficient seats to be able to control a majority in the Legislative Assembly, the party leader becomes the State Premier and Labor will form the government. When the party is not in government, the party leader becomes the Leader of the Opposition. To become a Premier or Opposition Leader, the party leader must be or within a short period of time become a member of the Legislative Assembly.


Early history

The New South Wales Branch of the Australian Labor Party, known as the Labor Electoral League of New South Wales from 1891 to 1917, first won 35 of the 141 seats in the New South Wales parliament at the 1891 election. The initial caucus voted against appointing a leader and the party was directed by a steering committee of 5 members until, following a request from the party's extra-parliamentary executive, Joseph Cook was elected as the first leader in 1893. Cook left the party in the following year when he was obliged to sign a pledge that he would support all caucus decisions in parliament. James McGowen, who signed the pledge, succeeded Cook as party leader in 1894. At the 1894 state election Labor representation was reduced to 18. After the 1898 election, Labor held the balance of power with George Reid's Protectionist Government being dependent on Labor to push through New South Wales' adoption of Federation. McGowen's support for Federation was critical to Labor maintaining its support for the adoption of measures to implement Federation, even though the party remained opposed to the adopted Constitution, which it saw as biased in favour of business interests.

First Government in New South Wales

At the 1910 election the Labor Party first won government in New South Wales with a slim majority of 46 of 90 seats, and McGowen was premier from 1910-13. He was deposed by his deputy William Holman after McGowen attempted to break a gas workers' strike by threatening to replace strikers with non-union labour.

Conscription split

The conscription issue divided the Labor Party and wider Australian community in 1916. While much of the Australian labour movement and general community was opposed to conscription, Australian Labor Prime Minister Billy Hughes and Premier Holman strongly supported conscription, and both crossed the floor to vote with the conservative parties, and both were expelled from the Labor Party. Ernest Durack became state party leader, while Holman formed a coalition on 15 November 1916 with the leader of the opposition Liberal Reform Party, Charles Wade, with himself as Premier. Early in 1917, Holman and his supporters merged with Liberal Reform to form the state branch of the Nationalist Party of Australia, with Holman as leader. At the 1917 election, the Nationalists won a huge victory. During his leadership of the Nationalist Government, Holman vigorously defended the government-owned enterprises from his fellow conservatives in power. Durack's leadership lasted only for about three months, and he was succeeded by John Storey in February 1917. At the 1920 election, Holman and his Nationalists were thrown from office in a massive swing, being succeeded by a Labor Government led by Storey. Labor won the 1920 election with a majority of one.

Dooley-Storey era

On Storey's death in October 1921, James Dooley became leader of the party and premier. His government was defeated on the floor of the House on 13 December 1921, but new Premier George Fuller lost a vote within seven hours of his appointment, and Dooley regained power. He lost the 1922 election to Fuller in a highly sectarian election campaign.[1] As the result of a dispute with a party executive, dominated by the Australian Workers' Union, Dooley was expelled from the party in February 1923 and replaced by Greg McGirr as leader, but the Federal Executive intervened and appointed Bill Dunn as an interim leader until Jack Lang was elected by the caucus.

Lang era

Lang led the ALP to victory in the 1925 election and became Premier. His support in the caucus was challenged in 1926 and in that year the party's annual State Conference, which strongly supported Lang, assumed the right to select the leader instead of caucus. The ALP was defeated at the 1927 election but won in a landslide at the 1930 election.

Lang opposed the Premiers' Plan to combat the Great Depression agreed to by the federal Labor government of James Scullin and the other state Premiers, who called for even more stringent cuts to government spending to balance the budget. In October 1931 Lang's followers in the federal House of Representatives crossed the floor to vote with the conservative United Australia Party and bring down the Scullin government. This action split the NSW Labor Party in two - Lang's followers became known as Lang Labor, while Scullin's supporters, led by Chifley, became known in NSW as Federal Labor. Most of the party's branches and affiliated trade unions supported Lang. Furthermore, Lang's persistence with his plan led to the Lang Dismissal Crisis in 1931-32 which led to his dismissal as premier by the State Governor on 13 May 1932. The Governor appointed the UAP leader, Bertram Stevens, as premier and Stevens immediately called the 1932 election, at which Labor was heavily defeated. Lang continued as party leader until 1939, when he was deposed when caucus regained the power to elect its leader in 1939.

McKell and post-war era

William McKell became party leader, reuniting and rejuvenating the party. Under his leadership the extreme left wing of the party had been expelled andhad contested the 1941 election as the far left wing State Labor Party. McKell led Labor to a convincing victory and became Premier. State Labor's poor showing had resulted in its dissolution shortly after the election. During World War II McKell became a close collaborator of Labor Prime Ministers John Curtin and Ben Chifley, being a particularly close friend of the latter. Labor unity was again threatened by Jack Lang who had been expelled from the Labor Party in 1943 and formed another version of the Lang Labor Party. On this occasion he received no support from the rest of the caucus and spent the rest of the term as the sole member. At the 1944 election McKell won another victory, the first time a New South Wales Labor government had been re-elected. On early 1947 he resigned and announced acceptance of appointment as Governor General.[2] James McGirr was elected leader and premier and led Labor to another victory at the 1947 election. McGirr nearly lost the 1950 election and was replaced in 1952 by Joseph Cahill.

Labor in Government, 1952–1965

Cahill decisively won the 1953 election. He was desperate to keep the New South Wales branch of the ALP united despite the sectarian and ideological split that resulted in the formation of the right-wing Democratic Labor Party in 1954. He achieved this by controlling the anti-DLP faction in his party. The DLP did not contest the 1956 election, which Labor won. Cahill was returned in the 1959 election, but died in office later that year. He was succeeded as leader and premier by Robert Heffron. Heffron continued the Labor reign in New South Wales winning the 1962 election. Heffron resigned the leadership and premiership in 1964, and was succeeded by Jack Renshaw, who lost the premiership at the 1965 election ending 24 years of Labor power in the state.

Opposition, 1965–1976

Renshaw also lost the 1968 election, after which he resigned the leadership, to be succeeded by Patrick Hills. Hills lost the 1971 and 1973 election after which he was deposed by Neville Wran.

Wran-Unsworth era, 1976–1988

Wran narrowly won the 1976 election and remained premier until 1986. He was succeeded by Barrie Unsworth who took over the premiership until Labor's loss at the 1988 election, after which he resigned.

Carr era and beyond, 1988–2011

Bob Carr became leader in 1988 and led Labor to victory in the 1995 election. Carr was premier for 10 years, before resigning in 2005. Carr was succeeded by Morris Iemma, who led Labor to victory in the 2007 election, before resigning in 2008 after his Centre Unity faction withdrew its backing. He was succeeded by Nathan Rees, who was leader and premier for only 15 months, before he was deposed by Kristina Keneally, who resigned after Labor lost at the 2011 election. She was succeeded by John Robertson. He resigned in December 2014. On 5 January 2015 Luke Foley was elected leader.

Attempted party reforms

Between 2009 and 2014, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) began or completed a series of investigations into the behaviours of a number of Labor politicians, including Angela D'Amore,[3] Tony Kelly,[4] Ian Macdonald,[5][6][7] Eddie Obeid,[8][9][10] Karyn Paluzzano,[11][12] and Joe Tripodi.[9] The ICAC made a series of adverse findings against all six politicians, although Paluzzano was the only one to face criminal charges. For bringing the party into disrepute, Kelly had his membership of Labor terminated in 2011;[13][14] both Macdonald and Obeid had their membership terminated in 2013;[15] and Tripodi suffered the same fate in 2014.[9][10] Other investigations and criminal charges were laid against Craig Thomson, a federal politician from New South Wales, and Michael Williamson, a senior Labor official, also from New South Wales. Both Thomson and Williamson were adversely implicated in the Health Services Union expenses affair. Their membership of NSW Labor was terminated in 2014.[16][17]

Seeking to stamp out perceived corruption and factional infighting, Senator John Faulkner began a process of reforms that proposed to include rankandfile members in decisions such as the selection of candidates for Senate and Legislative Council vacancies and party tickets, and a vote in the direct election of the New South Wales parliamentary leaders.[18] However, Faulkner's reform proposals were mostly rejected at NSW Labor's 2014 conference.[19] The direct election of party leader gained support with effect from after the 2015 election.[20]

List of parliamentary leaders

# Party leaderAssumed officeLeft officePremierReason for departureNotes
1Steering Committee of 5July 1891October 1893Caucus decision to elect a leader
2Joseph CookOctober 189325 June 1894Left Labor Party
3James McGowenJuly 189430 June 19131910–1913Deposed
4William Holman30 June 191315 November 19161913–1920 (as a member of a Nationalist government after 1916)Expelled from Labor Party
5Ernest Durack15 November 191621 February 1917Resigned
6John Storey21 February 19175 October 19211920–1921Died in office
7James Dooley5 October 192131 July 19231921–1921; 1921–1922Expelled from the party by State Executive
*Greg McGirr9 March 192316 April 1923Imposed by State Executive
*Bill Dunn16 April 192331 July 1923Imposed by Federal executive
8Jack Lang31 July 19235 September 19381925–1927; 1930–1932Deposed as Labor Leader following a vote by Caucus [21]
9William McKell5 September 19386 February 19471941–1947Resigned as Premier, Labor Leader, and as the Member for Redfern to become Governor General [22]
10James McGirr6 February 19473 April 19521947–1952Resigned as Premier, Labor Leader, and as the Member for Liverpool [23]
11Joseph Cahill3 April 195222 October 19591952–1959Died in office as a result of a myocardial infarction [24]
12Robert Heffron23 October 195930 April 19641959–1964Resigned as Premier and Labor Leader; remained as the Member for Maroubra [25]
13Jack Renshaw30 April 196419681964–1965Resigned
14Patrick Hills 1968 1973 Deposed following the 1973 election
15Neville Wran19734 July 19861976–1986Resigned as Premier, Labor Leader, and as the Member for Bass Hill [26]
16Barrie Unsworth4 July 198611 April 19881986–1988Resigned as Labor Leader following the 1988 election; remained as the Member for Rockdale [27]
17Bob Carr11 April 19883 August 20051995–2005Resigned as Premier, Labor Leader, and as the Member for Maroubra [28]
18Morris Iemma3 August 20055 September 20082005–2008Resigned as Premier and Labor Leader; remained as the Member for Lakemba [29]
19Nathan Rees5 September 20083 December 20092008–2009Deposed as Labor Leader following a vote by Caucus; remained as the Member for Toongabbie [30]
20Kristina Keneally3 December 200931 March 20112009–2011Resigned as Labor Leader following the 2011 election; remained as the Member for Heffron [31]
21John Robertson31 March 201123 December 2014Resigned as Labor Leader in the aftermath of the 2014 Sydney hostage crisis; remained as the Member for Blacktown [32]
*Linda Burney23 December 20145 January 2015Interim leader during run-up to 2015 leadership spill
22Luke Foley5 January 2015Incumbent

List of deputy parliamentary leaders

Deputy Party leaderAssumed officeLeft officeDeputy PremierReason for departure
Jack Baddeley192319491941–1949
Joseph Cahill194919521949–1952
Robert Heffron195319591953–1959
Jack Renshaw195919641959–1964
Pat Hills196419681964–1965
Syd Einfeld19681973
Jack Ferguson197310 February 19841976–1984 Retired from politics
Ron Mulock10 February 198425 March 19881984–1988 Resigned following the 1988 election
Andrew Refshauge11 April 19883 August 20051995–2005 Retired from politics
John Watkins10 August 20053 September 200820052008 Retired from politics
Carmel Tebbutt5 September 200828 March 201120082011 Resigned following the 2011 election
Linda Burney28 March 20117 March 2015Resigned following announcement
to run for the federal seat of Barton at the 2016 election
Michael Daley7 March 2015incumbent

Executive leaders


President Period
Frederick Flowers 1895–1898
Frederick Flowers 1906–1907
Ernest Farrar 1912–1914
Richard Meagher 1914–1915
John Daniel FitzGerald 1915–1916
Jack Power 1921–1923
Albert Willis 1923–1925
Charlie Oliver 1960–1971
John Ducker 1971–1979
Paul Keating 1979–1983
John MacBean 1983–1989
Terry Sheahan 1989–1997
Peter Sams 1997–1998
Steve Hutchins 1998–2002
Ursula Stephens 2002–2006
Bernie Riordan 2006–2010
Michael Lee 2010–2014
Mark Lennon 2014–present

General Secretaries

General Secretary Period
Walter Evans 1939–1940
William Dickson 1940–1941
John Stewart 1941–1950
Ernest Gerard Wright 1950–1952
Charles Wilson Anderson 1952–1954
Bill Colbourne 1954–1969
Peter Westerway 1969–1973
Geoff Cahill 1973–1976
Graham Richardson 1976–1983
Stephen Loosley 1983–1990
John Della Bosca 1990–1999
Eric Roozendaal 1999–2004
Mark Arbib 2004–2007
Karl Bitar 2007–2008
Matt Thistlethwaite 2008–2010
Sam Dastyari 2010–2013
Jamie Clements 2013–2016
Kaila Murnain 2016–present

State election results

Election Seats won ± Total votes % Position Leader
35 / 141
Increase35 37,216 20.62% Third party Steering Committee
15 / 125
Decrease20 33,143 16.49% Third party James McGowen
18 / 125
Increase3 20,028 13.20% Third party James McGowen
19 / 125
Increase1 21,556 12.18% Third party James McGowen
24 / 125
Increase5 35,952 18.44% Third party James McGowen
25 / 90
Increase1 92,426 23.3% Opposition James McGowen
32 / 90
Increase7 152,704 33.31% Opposition James McGowen
46 / 90
Decrease14 280,056 48.92% Majority government James McGowen
49 / 90
Increase3 311,747 46.63% Majority government William Holman
33 / 90
Decrease16 262,655 42.63% Opposition John Storey
43 / 90
Increase10 68,175 43.03% Majority government John Storey
36 / 90
Decrease7 85,361 38.37% Opposition James Dooley
46 / 90
Increase10 108,225 45.99% Majority government Jack Lang
40 / 90
Decrease6 488,306 43% Opposition Jack Lang
55 / 90
Increase15 729,914 55.05% Majority government Jack Lang
24 / 90
Decrease31 536,897 40.16% Opposition Jack Lang
29 / 90
Increase5 532,486 42.42% Opposition Jack Lang
28 / 90
Decrease1 412,063 34.82% Opposition Jack Lang
54 / 90
Increase26 706,014 50.8% Majority government William McKell
56 / 90
Increase2 572,600 45.2% Majority government William McKell
52 / 90
Decrease4 730,194 45.95% Majority government James McGirr
46 / 94
Decrease2 753,268 46.75% Minority government James McGirr
57 / 94
Increase11 852,276 55.03% Majority government Joseph Cahill
50 / 94
Decrease7 800,410 47.25% Majority government Joseph Cahill
49 / 94
Decrease1 838,836 49.12% Majority government Joseph Cahill
54 / 94
Increase5 936,047 48.57% Majority government Bob Heffron
45 / 94
Decrease9 883,824 43.31% Opposition Jack Renshaw
39 / 94
Decrease6 931,563 43.1% Opposition Jack Renshaw
45 / 96
Increase6 1,007,538 45.02% Opposition Pat Hills
44 / 99
Decrease1 1,069,614 42.93% Opposition Pat Hills
50 / 99
Increase6 1,342,038 49.75% Majority government Neville Wran
63 / 99
Increase13 1,615,949 57.77% Majority government Neville Wran
69 / 99
Increase6 1,564,622 55.73% Majority government Neville Wran
58 / 99
Decrease11 1,466,413 48.77% Majority government Neville Wran
43 / 109
Decrease15 1,233,612 38.48% Opposition Barrie Unsworth
46 / 99
Increase3 1,204,066 39.05% Opposition Bob Carr
50 / 99
Increase4 1,408,616 41.26% Majority government Bob Carr
55 / 93
Increase5 1,576,886 42.21% Majority government Bob Carr
55 / 93
1,631,018 42.68% Majority government Bob Carr
52 / 93
Decrease3 1,535,872 38.98% Majority government Morris Iemma
20 / 93
Decrease32 1,061,352 25.55% Opposition Kristina Keneally
34 / 93
Increase14 1,500,855 34.08% Opposition Luke Foley


  1. Cunneen, Chris. "Dooley, James Thomas (1877 - 1950)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 19 February 2007.
  2. McKell Institute
  3. "ICAC prosecution outcomes". Investigations: Prosecution briefs with the DPP and outcomes. Independent Commission Against Corruption. November 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  4. Shanahan, Leo (13 December 2011). "Ex-Labor minister Tony Kelly may face charges". The Australian. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  5. Shanahan, Leo (31 July 2013). "Ian Macdonald, Eddie Obeid facing charges after being found by ICAC to have acted corruptly". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  6. Wells, Jamelle; Gerathy, Sarah (31 July 2013). "ICAC recommends charges against former NSW Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  7. Olding, Rachel; Waters, Georgia (31 July 2013). "Eddie Obeid, Ian Macdonald acted corruptly, ICAC finds". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  8. McClymont, Kate; Whitbourn, Michaela (5 June 2014). "ICAC: The verdict on Eddie Obeid". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  9. 1 2 3 Coultan, Mark (5 June 2014). "ICAC finds Eddie Obeid, Joe Tripodi, Steve Dunn corrupt over series of deals". The Australian. AAP. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  10. 1 2 Wells, Jamelle (5 June 2014). "ICAC finds Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi corrupt over retail leases at Sydney's Circular Quay". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  11. Trembath, Brendan (6 September 2012). "Former MP sentenced to 12 months imprisonment" (transcript). PM. Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  12. "Former NSW MP Karyn Paluzzano sentenced to home detention for rorting, lying". The Australian. AAP. 6 September 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
  13. "Ex-minister faces forgery charge over $12m property buy: ICAC". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  14. Foschia, Liz (12 December 2011). "Kelly engaged in corrupt conduct, ICAC finds". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
  15. Harvey, Eliza (6 June 2013). "Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald expelled from Labor Party". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  16. Nicholls, Sean (4 April 2014). "Labor Party expels Michael Williamson, Craig Thomson". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  17. "Former HSU officials Michael Williamson and Craig Thomson expelled from Labor Party". ABC News. Australia. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  18. Bourke, Latika (8 April 2014). "John Faulkner flags rule changes to Senate selection process to stamp out corruption in Labor Party". ABC News. Australia. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  19. Evans, Brett (29 July 2014). "The winter of Senator Faulkner's discontent". Inside Story. ISSN 1837-0497. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  20. Gerathy, Sarah (26 July 2014). "NSW Labor to allow rank and file members to vote on next state leader". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  21. Nairn, Bede. "Lang, John Thomas (Jack) (1876–1975)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  22. "Sir (Bill) William John McKell (1891 - 1985)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  23. Clune, David. "McGirr, James (Jim) (1890 - 1957)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  24. Clune, David. "Cahill, John Joseph (Joe) (1891 - 1959)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  25. Carr, Bob (1996). "Heffron, Robert James (1890–1978)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (14). Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  26. "The Hon. Neville Kenneth Wran (1926 –2014 )". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 8 January 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  27. Stephens, Tony (28 July 2005). "A 'solid chapter' comes to an end". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  28. "Closing a big chapter in the Bob Carr story". The Age. Melbourne. 28 July 2005.
  29. Smith, Alexandra; Robins, Brian (5 September 2008). "NSW Premier Morris Iemma resigns". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  30. "Kristina Keneally becomes first female premier of NSW". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  31. Wood, Alicia; O'Brien, Natalie; Barlass, Tim (27 March 2011). "Keneally quits as leader". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  32. "John Robertson stands down as NSW Opposition Leader following leadership speculation". ABC News. Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/21/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.