• Publication Date: May 17, 2004
  • EAN: 9781862874930
  • 272 pages; 6" x 8⅝"

Local Labor

A history of the Labor Party in Glebe, 1891-2003


Product Description

The suburb of Glebe in the city of Sydney is traditional, inner city, rusted-on Labor Party territory. Local Labor tells the story of the branches of the Australian Labor Party in the area over more than a century. It recounts the broad sweep of history at the small local level, the recurrent issues, the personal and political battles. It is an account of political activity at branch level such as has never before been attempted in Australia.

The history begins with the Party’s first election in Glebe in 1891 – it was successful – and ends with the suburb’s incorporation into the City of Sydney municipality in 2003. Along the way, it covers the whole range of local politics:

relations with the local community

the politics of Council elections

fighting State and Federal elections

party machine politics and the temptations of corruption

factional rivalry and branch stacking – eg, throughout the Lang era of the 1920s and 1930s

the local boss – eg, for over 50 years, local medico Dr Foley

the wider city politics – eg Glebe’s move into the City of Sydney in 1948 (by a State Labor government), its move to Leichhardt in 1968 (by a State Liberal government) and its move back to the City in 2003 (State Labor)

modern local political struggles, eg between Labor and environmentalists, between left and right of the Labor Party, and between major party candidates and politically independent local activists

the benefits of membership – the key question in the 21st century: why belong to a party at all?

Senator John Faulkner launched Local Labor on Thursday 10 June 2004. The text of his speech appears below as a Supplement.

A NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government publication.

Introduction: A View from Below

A False Start (1891)

Glebe in the 1891 election

Ambiguous Labor candidates

Victory in Glebe

An Undisciplined Party (1892-1900)

A divided party

Single Tax in Glebe and Annandale

The split in Glebe

Regrouping after defeat

A Revival of Labor Branches (1901-10)

Local government opportunities

Revival in Glebe – the 1910 election

Victory in 1910

Class and socialism in Glebe

Achieving Autonomy (1910-20)

Another Glebe split

Recovering from the split

Creating a Local Political Machine (1921-34)

Labor leadership struggles in 1921-23

Winning control of Glebe Council

Branch control over aldermen

The Walsh Machine

Langites swamp Glebe

Power tends to corrupt

The Early Depression in Glebe (1929-34)

Timber strike of 1929

Confronting social problems

Graft and corruption

Competition from the left in Glebe

Unseating Keegan

Dr Foley of Glebe (1934-40)

The Foley machine

Confronting the inner group

The Harold Park affair

Other allegations of corruption

The Nolan Report

A Langite irritant to Labor

Adjusting to a New World (1940-48)

Reviving Glebe Labor

Competition from the left

Resisting communism

The last days of Glebe Council

Labor or Lang

Glebe Labor in the City of Sydney (1948-68)

A whiff of corruption

The DLP split in Glebe

Branch profiles after the split

End of involvement in the City Council

Battles for Control in Glebe and Leichhardt (1968-86)

Challenge from the Glebe Society

Attack from the left

The end of the Glebe North Branch

The politics of stacking

From Factions to Fractions (1984-2001)

Losing Leichhardt Council

Branch decline

Policy promotion

Other branch activity

The state of the local party

Names on the street

What Use are Branches?

A golden age of Glebe Labor?

Participation and representation

Endnotes/ Finding Out [primary sources] / Select Bibliography/ Index

Hogan traces the history of the branches and factions in this inner-city suburb of Sydney, as it changed from working class industrial heartland to gentrified latte-and-chardonnay territory. Sections headed ‘another Glebe split’, Langites swamp Glebe’, ‘graft and corruption’ and ‘the politics of stacking’ give an indication of the rich cocktail which awaits. – Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol 91 pt 2, December 2005

As a ‘view from below’, [it] gives a different account to most recently published histories. …

What is clear is that throughout the past 100 years in the Labor Party in the area, there have been differences of opinion, divison and the arising splinter organisations. … Although the early factions were not based around the formal factions of today, it certainly gives insight into how the modern Labor Party is able to function while people so bitterly disagree. The other constant message is that factions are not always built on political issues but personalities. … By far the most intersting part of the book is the description of Labor identities …

The book ends with the author detailing the use of branches and their relationship to a continuing Labor Party. It is important reading for anybody trying to digest a way forward for the Labor Party in the inner city, especially with the impact of the emergence of the Greens as a viable, significant political force. – Labor History, No 88, May 2005

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