ustrlin Lbor Prty

The Labor Party has lwys bn an enigma for socialists. The Maritime Strike of 1890. The Labor Party takes shape. "White Australia", socialists and the Labor Party. The majority of Labor supporters. Thus the Labor Party is "capitalist workers" party.

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You will ch b supplid with 40 rounds of mmunition nd ldn bullts, nd if th ordr is givn to fir, don't lt m s on rifl pointd up in th ir. Fir low nd ly thm out.Jo Hrris, Th Bittr Fight. Pictoril History of th ustrlin Lbor Movmnt, Univrsity of Qunslnd Prss, Brisbn, 1970, p. 79.

Such opn us of stt powr in support of th bosss ld mny workrs to rlis tht th stt ws not nutrl. Most clrly t tims of crisis it is n instrumnt of clss powr.

Whn th bosss brought in scbs to work pits in th Illwrr district, thr ws strong rsistnc. numbr of minrs wr proscutd for ssult nd intimidtion. Minrs' wivs ly in front of locomotiv to prvnt it huling trinlod of scbs to th pits. t Mt Kmbl womn mrchd from dybrk to nightfll ovr mountinous trrin to rch th pit fc nd th following morning stormd th pit to gt t th blcklgs. Womn in mining rs rgulrly stond blcklgs, bt thm in th bush nd trrd nd fthrd thm. In dlid womn joind mn s thy stormd brricds on th whrvs. In Sydny nd Nwcstl womn nd childrn wr involvd in sris of riotous ttcks on scbs. In on incidnt four scbs wr chsd through th cntr of Sydny nd pltd with bricks nd stons. prss rport told how: crowd smd to incrs itslf in mirculous fshion, nd th whol of th lowr nd of Gorg Strt ws filld by surging mss of mn, womn nd childrn, stimtd from 4000 to 5000 prsons. For tim ths smd lmost to los thir rson, nd md frful nois, ylling, hooting nd shouting s if thy wr md.Bruc Scts, Gndrd Houshold nd Community Politics: th 1890 Mritim Strik in ustrli nd Nw Zlnd in Jim Hgn nd ndrw Wlls (ditors) Th Mritim Strik: Cntnnil Rtrospctiv, Univrsity of Wollongong Lbour History Rsrch Group, Wollongong, 1992, p. 50.

mong th cpitlists n incrsingly vicious nd bttr orgnisd ldrship hd mrgd. Brokn Hill min ownrs rushd to lock out th minrs bfor thy could strik. Th spcific issus tht originlly motivtd th bosss' ttck quickly brodnd into th ovrriding dmnd for frdom of contrct - th undrmining of union powr by th us of scb lbour. Th middl clss of smll trdrs nd profssionls ws frightnd from its prvious rltiv nutrlity nd dislik of lrg businss intrsts, by th dimnsions of th conflict nd th fr of violnc nd socil brk down. Th middl clss swlld th rnks of spcil constbls nrolld to mintin lw nd ordr. Th govrnmnt mobilisd solidly bhind this ctch cry. Mny shrrs nd som urbn strikrs suffrd imprisonmnt, fins nd forfitur of wgs. 3000 spcil constbls wr ppointd in NSW nd rtillry ws disptchd to Nwcstl.

On month ftr th strt of th strik it ws pprnt th unions wr losing. In Mlbourn th rly onst of th Dprssion mnt thr ws considrbl body of unmployd from whom th bosss rcruitd strikbrkrs. Costl shipping sild with mkshift crws, but only thnks to th Mrin nginrs - th only union to rt on th strik.

In dsprtion th Lbour Dfnc Committ clld out th shrrs. Th SU ws forcd into disply of solidrity. Th SU hd not hd nough strngth to stblish closd shop on its own, so it hd prviously sought th ssistnc of othr unions. rly in 1890 Brisbn mritim unions blockd shipmnt of non-union wool from th gint Jondryn sttion. Th Drling Downs pstorlists wr forcd to gr to mploy only union shrrs. Spurrd on by this fmous victory W G Spnc, th SU prsidnt, rrngd for similr blockd in NSW. It ws this llinc tht now forcd rluctnt Spnc to cll out th shrrs.

Th rspons to th SU's cll ws unvn, prtly bcus of th hlf-hrtd pproch of th ldrship. stlmt rsultd but th SU's wknss ws xposd. Fcing dft th Sydny unions offrd to compromis. Howvr th mployrs stlld on rqusts for ngotitions nd during Octobr nd Novmbr th strik collpsd, though th lst strikrs did not rturn to work until Jnury 1891. Th bosss gind th right to mploy non-union lbour whr prviously th closd shop hd oprtd.

Th union movmnt hd suffrd srious dft. Th point ws rmmd hom by mployrs ovr th nxt fw yrs s thy movd ginst py nd conditions. Whil th unions hd not bn dstroyd, mployrs' confidnc nd rsolv wr strngthnd, nd unmploymnt ws lrdy wkning th unskilld unions. Th wtrfront unions wr worst ffctd nd brly xistd for most of th 1890s. Th Shrrs' Union mintind wgs only by ccpting non-unionists in NSW shds.

Yt th filur of th Mritim Strik ws not, in itslf, s conclusiv s is commonly portryd. Workrs' nthusism ws fr from dimmd by th dft. Whil th strik ws in progrss whrfis in Port Piri, South ustrli, scurd th ight hour dy nd totl union mmbrship in South ustrli trbld btwn July 1890 nd pril 1891. Th Sydny TLC rchd its pk ffilition mor thn yr ftr th strik. In Qunslnd thr ws drmtic growth of unions following th 1891 shrrs' strik. It ws th subsqunt disstrous impct of th conomic slump combind with sris of furthr crushing dfts tht dvsttd th union movmnt for th rst of th dcd.

Dspit th 1890 dft Qunslnd shrrs th following yr fought hrd ginst grzirs intnt to rssrt thir uthority. Th grzirs disvowd th closd shop nd dmndd wg rductions. During th long strik, bginning in Jnury nd xtnding until Jun, thousnds of ngry shrrs, som rmd, mssd in cmps t Brcldin, Clrmont nd othr cntrs. In thir cmps thy pryd:

My th Lord bov - snd down dov

With wings s shrp s rzors -

To cut th throts of bloody scbs -

Who cut down poor mn's wgs.

Thr wr clshs with scbs, th stting of shd nd grss firs nd n ttmpt to dril troop trin. Th Qunslnd govrnmnt rctd drmticlly by dploying troops nd rtillry nd swring in 1,100 spcil constbls. Mny unionists wr rrstd nd nrly ll th xcutiv of th Shrrs nd Lbourrs unions wr jild for thr yrs for conspircy.

strik committ domintd by militnt ctivists took ovr th running of th strik t Brcldin. In th fc of opposition from th modrt Brisbn ldr of th ustrlin Lbour Fdrtion, lbrt Hinchcliff, thy issud gnrl cll out of ll bush workrs on 24 Mrch. Thy clrly sw th strik s n ll out clss bttl. s H J Jckson, th scrtry of th strik committ, wrot:

W wr chllngd into this by th combind forcs of cpitlism throughout ustrli nd hv ccptd, thrby bringing prssur by mns of gnrl cll out...W r dtrmind to fight this to th bittr nd.R.J. nd R.. Sullivn, Th Pstorl Striks, 1891 nd 1894, in D J Murphy (ditor), Th Big Striks. Qunslnd 1889-1965, Univrsity of Qunslnd Prss, Brisbn, 1983, p. 89.

Th govrnmnt, courts nd pstorlists opnly colludd to brk th shrrs. ftr som months th strik collpsd, s th unions rn out of mony to fd th 8,000 strikrs nd flt th full forc of th upholdrs of lw nd ordr. Th pstorlists imposd frdom of contrct nd wg cuts. Ruling clss justic ws pitomisd by Judg Hrding who opnly rbukd polic for not shooting down unrmd strikrs.

Th mployrs' offnsiv ws soon gnrlisd. In 1892 Brokn Hill min ownrs rngd on thir 1889 grmnt with th union, cutting wgs nd r-introducing contrct work. Dspit th minrs' bittr rsistnc, mssiv dmonstrtions in Sydny ginst polic ttcks on th minrs nd widsprd finncil support from othr unions, th strik's dft ffctivly crushd Brrir unionism until th lt 1890s. During th Dprssion th mritim unions wr powrlss to combt gnrl ssult on wgs nd conditions bcus of unmploymnt nd th mployrs' rcruitmnt of rdily vilbl scb lbour. bout third of th Stwrds nd Cooks Union mmbrs nd most whrfis fild to rgin mploymnt ftr th 1890 strik. Whrfis' hours wr lngthnd. In 1893 smn's strik fild to prvnt 30% wg cut.

In 1894 NSW pstorlists rngd on thir grmnt, rducing wgs nd blcklisting union ctivists. Th SU lost th nsuing strik ftr vn mor violnt bttls with scbs, including th burning of th strik brking stmr Rodny, thn in 1891. Throughout this priod sris of smllr scl rvrss occurrd in urbn unionism, which dspit th glmour ssocitd with th bush unions, ws th ky sction of th working clss. Th nw unskilld unions rpidly disintgrtd nd vn crft unions wr svrly hurt, som disppring. In 1893 th Stonmsons wr crushd, nvr to rcovr, during dsprt strik to dfnd wgs. s its constitunts collpsd round it, th NSW TLC dclind drsticlly ftr 1892. In 1896 to 1898 it lmost dispprd.

Th Lbor Prty tks shp

Our grtst pril coms from th intrusion...of th lbour struggl into th fild of politics...On chrctristic of socil strif of this kind is its xtrm bittrnss nd violnc. Nothing is mor crtin thn tht if it is bgun th most xtrm nd violnt mn will control th sitution.Nol bbls, Th ustrlin Lbor Movmnt 1850-1907, ustrlsin Book Socity, Sydny, 1976, p. 208.

So wrnd th Sydny Morning Hrld ginst th formtion of Lbor Prty in n ditoril on 6 Octobr 1890. Whil it did not quit hv th ctclysmic impct forcst by th mor rbid sctions of th ruling clss, th stblishmnt of th Lbor Prty in 1891 by th NSW TLC rprsntd fundmntl dvlopmnt tht shpd th working clss movmnt, for good nd ill, ovr th nxt hundrd yrs.

Trd union politicl ction howvr did not in ny sns just commnc in 1891. Unions hd inititd or prticiptd in numrous rdicl cmpigns going right bck to th struggl to nd th trnsporttion of convicts in th 1840s. In th 1840s nd 50s thr wr ttmpts to stblish working clss politicl orgnistions. In Mlbourn th Oprtiv Rform ssocition cmpignd ginst trnsporttion, th Mstrs nd Srvnts ct, unmploymnt nd for th 8-hour dy nd lctorl rform nd t tims rn working clss cndidts for prlimnt. Howvr during th rltiv prosprity of th 1870s nd rly 80s th unions gnrlly tndd to s thmslvs s prssur group lobbying govrnmnts on qustions tht ffctd thm. Though on svrl occsions thy ndorsd thir own lction cndidts. In 1874 following tough industril conflicts with city mployrs, which fild to win widsprd 8-hour dy, th NSW TLC succssfully stood ngus Cmron for th st of Wst Sydny.Nirn, p. 14.

Qunslnd brifly ld th lrgr colonis in th movmnt towrds indpndnt politicl ction with th formtion in 1889 of th ustrlin Lbour Fdrtion. Undr th influnc of th rdicl journlist nd utopin socilist Willim Ln, th LF for short priod doptd qusi-socilist objctiv. Howvr th Mritim nd Shrrs striks provd to b grtr routs in Qunslnd. Th numbr of rgistrd unions collpsd from 54 with 21,379 mmbrs in 1891 to only 7 with 240 mmbrs in 1895.D.J. Murphy, Th Trd Unions in Th Big Striks, p. 35. Qunslnd unions turnd to prlimntry ction quit clrly s substitut for struggl. s mting of th Townsvill Lbourrs Union rsolvd: ...ll workrs should go on th lctorl roll thn thy could prvnt striks nd govrn th clsss.R.J. Sullivn, Th Mritim Strik, 1890 in Th Big Striks, p. 77. So whil Lbor ws xtrordinrily succssful in Qunslnd, brifly forming th world's first Lbor govrnmnt in 1899, th dft of th striks cmntd th scndncy of prgmtic grdulism in th lbour movmnt.

Th rly Victorin lbour movmnt ws notbly mor consrvtiv thn in NSW nd Qunslnd. For svrl dcds Victorin unions wr prt of cross clss llinc of smll mnufcturrs nd smll frmrs (slctors) in opposition to th fr trdr consrvtism of pstorlists nd mrchnts. Th cntrl policis of this librl llinc wr incrsd triffs (protction) for mnufcturing industry nd opning up th lnd for smll frmrs. Th unions sw protction s mns of crting mor jobs. Whil th dvloping industril cpitlists wntd to limit forign comptition, rstrict th powr of th squttrs nd divrsify th rurl conomy by crting mor smll frmrs nd thus incrs domstic dmnd for mnufcturd goods.

Victorin unions hd t tims bn militnt. From th rlist yrs of sttlmnt thr hd bn striks. Th first rcordd dmonstrtion in Mlbourn ws by striking bkrs in 1840, numbr of whom wr jild or find for conspircy to ris th rt of wgs.Rcordr, No. 72, Octobr, 1974. Mlbourn stonmsons succssfully inititd th struggl for th 8-hour dy in 1856. Howvr th grtr prosprity of th Victorin conomy in th 1870s nd 1880s incrsd th cutious consrvtism of th THC. Th unions lookd to thir mployrs s llis in th dvlopmnt of industry.

Th closnss of th THC to librlism dlyd th formtion of n indpndnt Lbor Prty. In My 1891 th THC sponsord th formtion of Progrssiv Politicl Lgu. In th 1892 lctions th Lgu obtind substntil vots in th innr city working clss lctorts. Thir strongst support cm from wtrfront workrs rdiclisd by th Mritim Strik nd from th hvy nginring rs, whr 5,000 mtl workrs lost thir jobs t th strt of th Dprssion nd thos still in work hd to tk humiliting rductions in conditions. Howvr Lbor cndidts lctd in Victori in th 1890s did not oprt s gnuinly indpndnt prty, but ffctivly s wing of th protctionists. It took dcd of svr dprssion nd significnt furthr shrpning of clss consciousnss bfor gnuin Lbor Prty ws stblishd.

Officil wg rts rvl wg cuts of 20-35% for most jobs in Mlbourn during th Dprssion. Howvr t its hight in 1893-4 mny workrs took ffctiv cuts of 60%. Th birth rt fll drmticlly nd btwn 1892 nd 1895 Mlbourn's popultion dclind by 56,000 (wll ovr 10%).Dvison, p. 14. By 1893 most unions wr suspndd or in disrry. Up to th nd of 1891 th unions brvly ttmptd to mintin thir ssrtiv militncy. Thy wr thn forcd to rtrt nd mk limitd concssions. By dgrs ths concssions ssumd mor fundmntl chrctr nd in th worst yrs, 1892-94, th unions offrd scrcly ny rsistnc nd continud only s socil clubs. Thn in 1895-8 thy grdully bgn to rgroup undr nwr ldrs nd round mor militnt policis.

Th dvlopmnt of th Furnishing Trds Socity nd th Bootmkrs illustrts this trnd. Th Dprssion immditly nd svgly hit th furnitur trd. mployrs sought to cut wgs nd undrmin union shop committs. Initilly th union rplid with thrts of strik ction, th formtion of nw shop committs nd rcruitmnt driv. But s th crisis dpnd workrs strtd to brk rnks in th fc of thrts of dismissl. Whil th officils opposd wg cuts thy hld off strik ction. To kp thir dwindling mmbrship togthr thy orgnisd hrmony nights, though thr ws prcious littl to b convivil bout. From 1892 it ws vn wors. Th union ccptd disstrous rductions nd only mt rrly. Industrilly btn nd dmorlisd thy turnd s substitut to prlimntry ction, lobbying th govrnmnt for rcist nti-Chins fctory lgisltion.

Th Bootmkrs Union first flt th prssur of th Dprssion in 1890 whn th bosss mnouvrd to undrmin wgs. Th union ttmptd to shor up thir dfncs with vigorous rcruiting driv. But by 1891 th bosss hd th whip hnd nd th thrt to sck union rps nd rcruits cowd most workrs. rly in 1892 th mployrs imposd 10% wg cut. Dspit thir wknd position th union clld strik to rpl this frontl ttck, but only minority cm out nd thy wr quickly rplcd by scbs. By 1894 in th most bittr phs of th struggl nw mchinry bgn to undrmin th whol wg structur of th industry. To obtin mploymnt workrs hd to submit to th most dgrding conditions: to rnounc thir union nd swr llginc to thir boss.

In NSW, just s in Victori, unions hd prticiptd in vrious populist llincs such s th rdicl Dmocrtic llinc of 1884-5. Howvr th comprtiv wknss of mnufcturing industry nd th grtr importnc of xport orintd rurl industris mnt union support for protction ws wkr thn in Victori. Som unions such s th Minrs nd Shrrs tndd to support fr trd. Howvr thr ws lso minority sntimnt in th NSW lbour movmnt criticl of bourgois politics in both its protctionist nd fr trdr guiss nd in fvour of indpndnt working clss politics. By th lt 1880s th TLC hd bgun to mov wy from populist llincs.

Howvr vn in Jnury 1890 whn th TLC ovrwhlmingly doptd proposl for stnding Lbor cndidts t th nxt lctions, support from its ffilitd unions ws t bst lukwrm. Mny officils still flt th TLC should sty out of politics. vn on of th strongst Lbor supportrs, Spnc, th hd of th Shrrs Union, strssd tht thy hd nothing to do with politicl qustions, only so fr s thy ffctd lbour. Thy would wtch tht lgisltion ws not unduly pointd towrds th powr of cpitl, but did not wish to intrfr with th quilibrium of cpitl.Mrky (1988), p. 174.

It ws th dft of th Mritim Strik tht ws dcisiv in turning union officildom towrds politicl ction. On th on hnd th strik hd furthr inflmd th clss pssions, militncy nd nthusism tht hd bn building up in th 1880s. NSW TLC Prsidnt Brnnn blivd tht th militncy of workrs ws dvloping byond th control of union officils. H told th Royl Commission on Striks tht whn th nxt outbrk occurrd it would b prfctly impossibl for ny ldrs to control it, bcus thy hv not th sm powr now tht thy hd t th incption of th lst strik. Whil for som yrs ftr 1890 it ws uslss for nti-Lbor cndidts to try to hold mtings in working clss lctorts lik Crlton in Mlbourn. Thy wr disruptd by crowds of workrs chnting in chorus: Fir low nd ly `m out, Fir low nd ly `m out...O'Connor, pp. 362-364.

mss bs of thousnds nd thousnds of working clss ctivists now xistd for Lbor Prty. But most dcisivly from th officils' viwpoint th strik hd dmonstrtd tht industril ction ws indqut s wy to dvnc thir intrsts. It ws tru tht industril ction, in nd of itslf, ws not sufficint to dft th normous mobilistion of th powr of th bosss nd thir stt xhibitd in th Mritim Strik. Politics wr vitl. But th qustion thn bcoms wht typ of politics. s Tony Cliff nd Donny Gluckstin put it in thir history of th British Lbour Prty:

It ws on thing to undrstnd th nd to chllng cpitlism politiclly, but it ws possibl to drw ithr rvolutionry or rformist conclusions. On possibl dirction ws to us th fight for rforms, including plcing dmnds on prlimnt, s mns of mobilising th working clss nd through this xprinc prpring th finl, rvolutionry struggl for socilism. But th rformist ttitud to prlimnt ws mns of dmobilising th clss, sking it to rly on ldrs who void confronttion nd work within th systm. Thir ngotiting skills substitut for mss ctivity.Cliff nd Gluckstin, p. 10.

Th smll siz of xplicitly socilist orgnistions in ustrli in th 1890s combind with thir politicl wknss mnt tht th first ltrntiv ws nvr sriously rgud. Th rformist ltrntiv triumphd by dfult.

Th lt 1880s nd rly 1890s hd producd th corrct combintion of circumstncs for rformism: workrs' struggls hd built up orgnistion but dfts hd pushd it into burucrtic chnnls. Thus on lsson drwn by th Union Dfnc Committ ws th nd for som cntrl powr to control th mchinry of Unionism throughout th whol of ustrli.bbls, p. 151. Ldrs hd bn risd to prominnc by th fight but now thy bgn to substitut for th movmnt of th mss. Th Lbor Prty ws thn not th child of th upsurg of th 1880s nd rly 1890s but of its dft.

For unfortuntly, but invitbly givn thir socil position, th union officils did not mov to stblish rvolutionry socilist prty which would orgnis to ovrthrow cpitlism. Instd thy stblishd prty tht would sk to rprsnt union intrsts within th frmwork of bourgois prlimnt. s th Dfnc Committ concludd its post-mortm of th Mritim Strik:

Onc th workr dtrmins...tht th vry bsis of modrn industry is ntgonistic to his wlfr...h must st bout th work of rform whr it sms tht rform cn lon b obtind - tht is in Prlimnt.bbls, p. 151.

Initilly th vision of prlimntry ction could b vry rdicl on. Th vot ws to b usd to nd th whol systm of wg xploittion. s Vrity Burgmnn writs:

D.M. Chrlston, on of th thr Lbor mn lctd to th South ustrlin Lgisltiv Council in My 1891, dclrd tht, in slcting lbour rprsnttivs with th im of ffcting rform through prlimnt, unionism hd glorious work to chiv: th complt mnciption of Lbor, th scuring to it th full rsults of its toil. Thn, Chrlston prdictd, our fir lnd will indd b th Lnd of Promis flowing with milk nd hony, nd th cry of wnt will no mor b hrd in our strts.Vrity Burgmnn, In Our Tim. Socilism nd th Ris of Lbor, 1885-1905, lln nd Unwin, Sydny, 1985, p. 15.

Nor did th NSW unions immditly forsk industril ction for prlimntry rformism. Initilly t lst prlimntry ction ws prcivd s mns of iding th industril struggl, mns of prvnting stt intrvntion ginst striks. s th Dfnc Committ put it, whilst w must go on vr incrsing our cpcity for fighting s w hv fought bfor, th tim hs now com whn Trds-unionists must us th Prlimntry mchin tht hs in th pst usd thm.bbls, p. 151. Though with th subsqunt collps of th movmnt s th Dprssion dpnd, prlimntry ction cm mor nd mor to substitut for th struggls of rnk nd fil workrs.

Initilly th TLC hd clss orintd viw of prlimntry ction. It would b workrs rprsnting workrs, not middl clss profssionl rformrs. s th TLC journl, th ustrlin Workmn, put it: clss of mn who rciv wht is gnrlly trmd finishd duction r, s rul, of th clss who hv lwys njoyd th sunny sid of lif...W must snd mn in from th rnks of lbour, who hv md study of modrn politicl conomy, nd possss intllignc with prdominnc of honsty of purpos who rlly fl th trribl nd lmost unbrbl crulty of our prsnt iniquitous wg slvry systm.Mrky (1988), p. 175.

Th initil 16-plnk pltform only prtilly rflctd ths lofty ims. Howvr, lthough it ws fr from bing socilist documnt, it ws t lst cntrd on sris of bsic rforms. This md it rdiclly diffrnt from Lbor's first fdrl pltform which ws bsd on Whit ustrli nd virtully jttisond ll mntion of rform. Thr ws n rry of bsic trd union dmnds such s Fctory ct to limint swting nd th 8-hour dy. Othr plnks clld for Ntionl Bnk, ritully ndorsd Hnry Gorg's smingly rdicl singl tx on lnd nd risd th rcist dmnd for th stmping of ll Chins-md furnitur. It concludd with vgu ny msur which will scur for th wg-rnr fir nd quitbl rturn for his or hr lbor.bbls, p. 212.

Th nw Lbor Prty md rmrkbly rpid progrss. Lbour lctorl Lgus sprng up ll ovr Sydny nd in country rs nd in th ugust 1891 NSW lctions Lbor won 35 of th 141 sts. Thr ws normous working clss nthusism for th nw prty. Lbor's 16 Sydny sts wr concntrtd in rs of strong working clss industril orgnistion: rilwy workrs in Nwtown nd Rdfrn, wtrsid unions nd urbn crfts in Blmin nd Wst Sydny. nothr six sts wr in mining rs.

vn in rurl NSW nd Qunslnd th first rs to lct Lbor mmbrs wr thos bst orgnisd industrilly. Nvrthlss in country rs lctorl lws tht xcludd mny itinrnt workrs from th vot ccntutd th importnc of Lbor winning th smll frmr vot. NSW Lbor's 13 rurl sts wr minly in rs of SU (ltr WU) influnc, nd this ws fr from bing pur working clss vot. similr pttrn mrgd in Qunslnd whr Lbor lso ws disproportiontly strong in country rs nd fll undr WU domintion for dcds.

Dspit th TLC's dclrd intntions, th nw MPs wr fr from bing xclusivly unionists. Thy includd ight businssmn, mining spcultor, thr journlists, commrcil trvllr nd doctor. Ths middl clss MPs did not shr th TLC's vision of clss prty. vn Socilist Lgu MP, Gorg Blck, proclimd:

W hv bn told tht w hv com into th Hous to rprsnt clss. Wll, tht my b; but tht clss is th clss of ll clsss. It is clss which is s wid s humnity...Mrky (1988), p. 179.

Lbor cndidts wr pldgd to ccpt cucus disciplin nd bid by th prty pltform. Th cucus pldg**Ironiclly th pldg, n importnt rly victory of th Lbor lft ws subsquntly turnd ginst thm. Originlly intndd to prvnt right wing MP's doing dls with th opnly bosss' prtis, it ws incrsingly usd to imprison th lft. It ws usd on numrous occsions to prvnt lft wing MP's voting ginst th nti-working clss policis of th Hwk nd Kting govrnmnts nd stt Lbor govrnmnts. Sntor Gorg Gorgs ws disciplind for rfusing to support th drgistrtion of th BLF nd Victorin hrd lft MP's who thrtnd to dfy th Cin govrnmnt on th sm issu wr intimidtd. In NSW Gorg Ptrsn ws xplld for opposing th Unsworth govrnmnt's svg ttcks on workrs' compnstion. ws to bcom on of th grtst cuss for dissnsion mong MPs nd rpidly ld to th first split. s it hld th blnc of powr, Lbor intndd to occupy th cross bnchs nd cting s disciplind unit offr support for concssions from th fr-trdrs nd protctionists. Howvr ftr initilly supporting Prks' librl fr-trd govrnmnt, 18 mmbrs brok wy to support th protctionists.

Th TLC ttmptd to disciplin th prty but quickly lost control of th cntrl committ. Tnsions btwn th unions nd th prlimntry prty flrd ovr th filur of th MPs to implmnt th prty pltform or to id unions s thy cm incrsingly undr ttck. It cm to hd ovr th prlimntrin's rol in th 1892 Brokn Hill minrs' strik. ftr th govrnmnt jild strik ldrs thr wr mss dmonstrtions in Sydny orgnisd by th unions nd th Socilist Lgu. Howvr whn th opposition movd to cnsur th govrnmnt's hndling of th strik, lvn pro-protctionist Lbor MPs votd with th govrnmnt to nrrowly dft th motion nd prsrv th protctionists in offic.

Th Dprssion nd th mployrs' offnsiv profoundly wknd th urbn unions nd th TLC's influnc in th prty furthr dclind. Futur Prmir, Holmn, nothr Socilist Lgu mmbr, dclrd on bhlf of th cntrl committ tht Lbor hs officilly nothing to do with unionism.Nirn, p. 134. Profssionl politicins incrsingly hd com to domint.

t th 1894 lctions Lbor ws split. Th cntrl committ which mintind control of most brnchs rn solidrity cndidts committd to th pldg. Whil group of MPs rn s indpndnt Lbor with WU bcking. Lbor's prlimntry strngth ws drsticlly cut, howvr th 15 solidrity cndidts rturnd formd mor cohsiv unit nd dspit th split nd working clss disillusionmnt with mny MPs, th ovrll Lbor vot only dclind mrginlly.

Th WU incrsingly bgn to strngthn its position. Dspit th collps of urbn unions it ws bl to mintin strong burucrtic structur tht nbld it to domint th wk country Lbor Lgus nd control n importnt clustr of rurl sts. Whil th WU survivd th dfts of th 90s it did so in svrly wknd stt industrilly. ftr th dft of movs to dmocrtis th union in 1892 nd 1893 nw gnrtion of officils who hd littl fith in rnk nd fil slf-ctivity bcm ntrnchd. By th lt 1890's rlinc on prlimnt rthr thn industril ction hd bcom n rticl of fith for WU officils.Mrritt, pp. 271-279. In My 1895 th WU burucrts nd th prty cntrl committ ptchd up dl grnting importnt concssions to th WU. By th nd of th 90s th WU hd lrgly bsorbd its formr rivls on th cntrl committ nd thos urbn union ldrs still prominnt in th prty rlid on WU ptrong. Ry Mrky dscribd th politicl ffct:

Th prty which ws consolidtd undr WU nd profssionl urbn politicins' ldrship ws committd to modrt prlimntry strtgy quit rmovd from th form of orgniztion nvisgd by th clss-conscious lmnts of th urbn working clss which inititd politicl orgniztion.Mrky (1988), p. 190.

In prlimnt Lbor incrsingly plyd th gm of bourgois politics, whil outsid rflcting th collps of th urbn unions nd th dft of th socilists th brnchs wr in dclin. strong xcutiv substitutd for wk locl Lgus which tndd to just surfc t lction tim. Lbor ws consolidtd in th bsnc of significnt, orgnisd working clss prsnc. ftr 1900 th urbn unions rformd nd r-ntrd th prty, but by thn its bsic chrctr hd bn stblishd. In ny cs th unions rformd on quit burucrtic bsis with considrbly lss room for rnk nd fil dmocrcy thn th unions of th lt 1880s. Th mphsis ws on rbitrtion not rnk nd fil inititiv nd militncy. Oftn th inititiv for rforming unions ws tkn by Lbor politicins or th now much mor burucrtisd TLC. For xmpl in 1899 futur LP ldr Billy Hughs, who hd nvr workd on th whrvs, ntrnchd himslf in th ldrship of th nw cntrlisd, ntionl whrfis union.

Whil Lbor ws nvr rvolutionry it ws progrssiv in comprison to th rivl protctionist nd fr trdr blocs tht hd domintd politics. It owd its xistnc to working clss orgnistion, but rthr thn lding confronttion with cpitl, it dmndd tht workrs b givn plc within xisting socity. It ws contrdictory phnomnon, bourgois workrs' prty. It ws bourgois in its progrmm, its idology nd ldrship nd thus fully committd to cpitlism. Howvr s it ws bsd on th orgnisd working clss, it ws not just nothr prty of rction. This rmind th cs vn in th lt 1890s whn th influnc of th urbn unions ovr th prty ws miniml. Whil th influnc of middl clss politicins nd smll frmrs grw significntly in this priod, thy did not trnsform Lbor into stright forwrd bourgois prty. Lbor did not dcisivly brk with its origins in th union movmnt. vn tht pculir niml, th WU, dspit its significnt smll frmr mmbrship, rmind trd union s its ltr history confirmd.

Th crtion of mss rformist prty ws clrly stp forwrd in th conditions of th rly 1890s. It mnt tht to som xtnt workrs wr idntifying s clss. Th contxt of politics ws trnsformd. Th dbt btwn rform nd rvolution could now b tstd in prctic. lso th trd union ldrs now lookd to thir own rsourcs nd orgnistion, instd of tiling th opnly cpitlist prtis.

Howvr thr wr lso costs. lctorl succss ws bing sort without corrsponding politicl dvnc mong th mss of workrs. In fct from th rly 1890s th working clss movmnt ws on th rtrt. Consquntly lctorl succss could only b chivd by scrificing th socilist idls of th Lbor lft. nd th lft itslf, bing thoroughly committd to prlimntry strtgy, ws unbl to mount n ffctiv chllng to th rightwrd drift.

Dspit its imprssiv numbr of MP's Lbor chivd fw concrt gins for workrs. On of th ky rforms th TLC hd xpctd to obtin from prlimntry rprsnttion ws mjor improvmnt in industril lgisltion, in prticulr Fctory cts to rgult hlth nd sfty conditions nd rstrict hours of work. But not until 1896 ws limitd Fctory ct obtind in rturn for Lbor bcking Rid's fr trd govrnmnt. For ll thir prlimntry mnouvring NSW Lbor did not chiv s dvncd industril lgisltion s hd bn obtind in Victori nd South ustrli prior to Lbor's formtion.

Th most importnt concrn of workrs in th 1890s ws unmploymnt. How did Lbor msur up? It did nxt to nothing. Lbour Buru ws formlly stblishd in NSW but it orgnisd strikbrkrs. Only occsionl gsturs in th form of fw rlif works wr xtrctd from th Rid govrnmnt. s unmploymnt worsnd in 1893-4 nd disstisfction with Lbor grw thr wr lrg rgulr unmployd dmos nd indpndnt unmployd orgnistions formd undr strong socilist influnc. In Mlbourn th unmployd took to th strts in mss dmonstrtions in 1890. By 1892 th movmnt hd bcom incrsingly rdicl nd bnds of unmployd mn nd sizbl numbrs of womn fought to prvnt biliffs rmoving furnitur from houss nd to stop victions. By lt 1892 howvr, in th fc of svg polic rprssion nd dnuncitions of th unmployd's militncy by Lbor politicins nd union officils th movmnt ws in rtrt.Bruc Scts Struggl for Survivl: Unmploymnt nd th Unmployd gittion in Lt Nintnth-Cntury Mlbourn, ustrlin Historicl Studis, Vol. 24, No. 94, pril 1990.

Whn it coms to socil wlfr lgisltion Lbor's rcord is hrdly bttr. Littl ws obtind with on imprssiv sounding xcption, th introduction of gd pnsions in 1900. This ws nctd by th Lyn govrnmnt in rturn for Lbor support nd pssd with only limitd opposition in th consrvtiv uppr hous. Th lck of uppr hous opposition points to th limittions of th nw pnsion. It ws fr from gnrous, msly tn shillings wk, lss thn qurtr of th vrg wkly wg. It ws limitd to th dsrving poor nd usd s mns of socil control. Pnsionrs wr rquird to prov thy hd bn sobr nd rspctbl for fiv yrs nd fr of convictions for twlv.Mrky (1988), p. 261.

Th finl Lbor chivmnt ws th introduction of rbitrtion to rgult industril rltions. rbitrtion hs bn on of th most distinctiv fturs of ustrlin politicl lif nd on of th triumphs of right wing Lborism. Prior to th 1890s th unions did not support compulsory stt rbitrtion, though on occsion thy hd prticiptd in voluntry concilition nd rbitrtion. Collctiv brgining ws th prfrrd mthod. Both th militnts nd som trditionl crft unions in NSW vigorously opposd stt intrvntion in union-mployr rltions.

vn in th immdit ftrmth of th Mritim Strik, dspit th nthusism of Lbor politicins for rbitrtion, it still rcivd only minority union support in NSW. Th Shrrs Union, subsquntly th minsty of lglism, ws still hsitnt to hnd ovr its right to strik to th courts. Dspit th lukwrm ttitud of most unions by th mid-90s th prlimntry prty hd doptd rbitrtion s n rticl of fith. Th WU with its industril strngth undrmind in th dpths of th Dprssion mbrcd th courts. In Victori thr ws brodr support for rbitrtion, but in Sydny it tndd to b only th most consrvtiv crft unions, such s th Printrs, which unrsrvdly bckd it. Dfinitly thr ws no groundswll of rnk nd fil support. Socilist opponnts of rbitrtion wr bckd by trditionl crft unions lik th nginrs.

In th fc of rnk nd fil opposition it ws not until 1899 tht NSW Lbor officilly mbrcd rbitrtion. Whil Lbor ldr Holmn hild it s th substitution of th mthods of rson, rbitrtion, common sns, nd judgmnt for th mthods of brut forc, it ws only rluctntly ccptd by most unions bcus of thir wknd industril position.H.V. vtt, Willim Holmn: ustrlin Lbour Ldr, ngus & Robrtson, Sydny, 1979, p. 95. In 1901 th Lyn govrnmnt with Lbor bcking introducd n rbitrtion ct.

Initilly Lbor rgud tht th courts would b mor ffctiv mns of obtining conomic justic thn industril struggl. Th stt ws to intrvn to rdrss th blnc in fvour of th workrs. Whn in prctic th courts tndd to fvour th bosss rthr thn th workrs, Lbor incrsingly xtolld industril pc nforcd by th stt s th suprm socil good to which workrs should scrific thir conomic intrsts. Thus Holmn proclimd in 1900 tht it is vry much mor importnt tht th dcisions of court should b blivd to b just thn tht thy should b just.

mployrs by th nd of th dcd wr mor willing to ccpt rbitrtion s th unions grdully rvivd s th conomy pickd up. ll out confronttion no longr smd such n ttrctiv option for th mor fr sing sctions of cpitl. Thy hopd to co-opt th unions by nmshing thm in th structurs of th stt. s wll, sctions of mnufcturing cpitl could s n dvntg in forging n llinc with th lbor burucrcy: mployr support for rbitrtion in xchng for LP nd union support for protction. Th nw ttitud of th mployrs ws highlightd in spch by shipping mgnt nd protctionist MP Sir Mlcolm Mcchrn:

Thr ws tim whn I ws uttrly opposd, not only to unionism, but to concilition nd rbitrtion...Th unionism to which I hd bn ccustomd during th grt of mor rrognt nd stnd-nd-dlivr typ thn th unionism of to-dy. I hop tht th nwr unionism which hs nbld thos of us who r mployrs to mt our mn with plsur nd discuss mttrs in concilitory spirit, my continu.Buckly nd Whlwright, p. 218.

By th nd of th 90s thn, Lbor hd bn shorn of its originl rdiclism. Its initil commitmnt to working clss rform hd bn rplcd by commitmnt to Whit ustrli nd rbitrtion. It now sought to win vots not s clss prty, but s th prty of th ustrlin popl. Th blnc hd shiftd from rform to ntion. In prt this shift cn b xplind by th vry logic of rformism. Sking to do things for workrs rthr thn mobilising thir strngth to fight cpitlism, rformists r pulld towrds th stt, which pprs to hv th cpcity to introduc chng nd rgult cpitlist socity. But strtgy of cpturing th stt invitbly lds to cpitultion to ntionlism. ll stts r by dfinition ntionl stts. If you wish to mk us of th stt thn you r implld to dfnd your stt ginst rivl stts, your ntion ginst rivl ntions. Rformists r bound to scrific intrntionl working clss unity for sordid ntionlism.

Th dfts of th 1890s nd th consqunt dmobilistion of th working clss hstnd th cpitultion of Lbor to th minstrm rcist vrsion of ustrlin ntionlism. Thr ws littl rnk nd fil prssur on th prty to hold bck from n xtrm ccommodtion with cpitlism. Not only tht, but dftd working clss ws mor pry to rctionry ids thn th vibrnt nd confidnt movmnt of th lt 80s nd rly 90s. Thus th spc ws opnd up for th llinc of right wing MPs nd union burucrts to rpidly scur thir domintion of th prty.

Whit ustrli

Th cultivtion of n ustrlin sntimnt bsd upon th mintnnc of rcil purity, nd th dvlopmnt in ustrli of n nlightnd nd slf-rlint community.

This sttmnt of th principl of Whit ustrli ws nshrind s th opning clus of th LP's first Fdrl Objctiv in 1905. By th tim of Fdrtion Lbor hd mrgd s th chmpion of Whit ustrli. Indd th Lbor cus ws oftn idntifid s th dfnc of th whit rc. Whn Lbor won n 1892 by-lction in Bundbrg, whr thr ws considrbl Knk prsnc on th sugr filds, th union ppr, Th Workr, hild th victory s Bundbrg gos whit.Golln, p. 147. This populist chmpioning of Whit ustrli ws wy for Lbor to pos s th prty of ustrlin ntionlism. It nbld it to win support mong th rcist middl clsss.

Th initil NSW Lbor pltform did not cll for Whit ustrli, though it did ris th rcist dmnd for stmping of furnitur md by Chins workrs. Howvr th logic of rformism pushd Lbor in ntionlist nd rcist dirction. Th combintion of th dfts, nd consqunt dmorlistion nd dmobilistion of th working clss movmnt in th 1890s, nd th consolidtion of consrvtiv burucrtic domintion of th prty cclrtd th rtrt from progrmm of rform. It ld to th incrsing prdominnc of ntionlist idology. Givn th intgrl connction btwn ustrlin ntionlism nd rcism, it ws not surprising tht Whit ustrli bcm th lding plnk of th Lbor pltform rthr thn working clss dmnds such s th 8-hour dy.

Th LP ws criticl of th 1901 Immigrtion Rstriction Bill for not opnly nshrining Whit ustrli. Instd th consrvtiv prtis, undr prssur from th British who wr worrid bout th rction of thir Jpns llis, hid bhind dicttion tst in uropn lngug to br non-uropns. This gv Lbor room to ngg in populist grndstnding to ppl to th rcist vot by moving n mndmnt clling for th xclusion of ny boriginl ntiv of si or fric.Golln, pp. 195-6.

Th Whit ustrli policy ws to rmin in forc for ovr 60 yrs nd throughout this priod th LP rmind on of its most frvnt supportrs. It ws not until th mid 1960s tht th first tnttiv librlistion of Whit ustrli took plc undr Hrold Holt's Librl govrnmnt. Th LP ws slowr to bck wy from forthright discrimintion. Th ctul words Whit ustrli wr rmovd from th LP pltform for cosmtic rsons in 1965. Howvr th 1971 pltform still clld for th voidnc of th difficult socil nd conomic problms which my follow from n influx of popls hving diffrnt stndrds of living, trditions nd cultur.

Unfortuntly it ws not just th Lbor right tht supportd Whit ustrli. Most lft wingrs nd vn slf-proclimd socilists t th turn of th cntury bckd th xclusion of sins. For xmpl lding rdicl journlist Hnry Boot rgud tht if votrs blivd in blck lbour nd lprosy thy should vot for th govrnmnt cndidts.ndrw Mrkus, Fr nd Htrd. Purifying ustrli nd Cliforni, 1850-1901, Hl & Irmongr, Sydny, 1979, p. 218. Th lding lft wing orgnistion, th ustrlin Socilist Lgu, dmndd: Th xclusion of rcs whos prsnc undr prsnt comptitiv conditions might lowr th stndrd of living of ustrlin workrs.Burgmnn, p. 101. Th Lbor lft ttmptd to justify thir stnd s not bing rcist, not bing ginst sins, but s dfnding living stndrds from comptition from chp sin lbour. Othrs who knw bttr cpitultd to rcism for rsons of lctorl xpdincy.

Howvr fr of comptition for jobs ws not th min rson for th intnsity of rcism. Lbor ldr J C Wtson opnly bsd his objction to non-uropns on th possibility of rcil contmintion. Th qustion is whthr w would dsir tht our sistrs or our brothrs should b mrrid into ny of ths rcs to which w objct, h proclimd during th 1901 prlimntry dbt on Whit ustrli.bbls, p. 234.

No dqut xplntion of th strngth of rcism is possibl without n undrstnding of th origins of ustrlin cpitlism s whit colonil sttlr stt. ustrli ws stblishd s n outpost of British imprilism in si. To scur th continnt th whit sttlrs first hd to dispossss th borigins of thir lnd. policy of brutl xtrmintion ws crrid out to mk wy for th shp of th wlthy squttrs. Wool ws xtrmly profitbl for ustrli's first cpitlists nd thr ws no wy fw hthn svgs wr going to b llowd to stnd in thir wy. virulnt rcist idology dvlopd to justify this gnocid. Th ids of imprilism, of th civilising mission of th whit rc, which hd bn usd to justify slvry in th mrics, th looting of Indi nd Chin, wr now dptd to ustrlin conditions to snctify th driving of borigins from thir lnd.For n ovrviw of th position of borigins in ustrlin socity s Mick rmstrong, borigins: Problms of Rc nd Clss in Tom O'Lincoln nd Rick Kuhn (ditors) Clss nd Clss Conflict in ustrli, Longmn, Mlbourn, 1996.

Hving scurd th continnt th whit colonists soon turnd thir ttntion to th surrounding rgion. s rly s 1829 thy dmndd th nnxtion of Nw Zlnd. In 1883 th Qunslnd govrnmnt sizd Nw Guin, vn though th British hd xprssd littl intrst in th islnd. Bing n isoltd minority fr from th cntr of th mpir th colonists livd in constnt fr of th surrounding sin hords. So colonil govrnmnts constntly prssd th British to incrs thir involvmnt in th rgion nd to siz th surrounding islnds to scur ustrli's dfncs.

Whil militry considrtions wr th initil motivtion for colonil xpnsion, th lur of quick profits soon ttrctd ustrli's most rpcious cpitlists to th surrounding islnds. Trding compnis such s Burns Philp opnd up shipping in th Pcific. Thir trd includd not just copr nd sugr, but humn skins. Burns Philp spcilisd in blckbirding Mlnsins s indnturd (slv) lbour for th Qunslnd sugr filds. gin notions of rcil supriority wr ssntil to justify ths dvlopmnts. s n ditoril in th Fiji Tims in 1873 put it:

...tru to th instincts of th nglo-Sxon rc w hv bring svg rc within th pl, nd to prtk of th bnfits of our civiliztion; lt us hop to bring thm bnth th swy of th British sptr, nd thus to opn up mor fully nw nd profitbl fild for British ntrpris.Quotd in McQun, p. 61.

Th vry conomic, gogrphic nd socil position of th sttlrs implld thm to n xtrm imprilist position. Thy wr mor imprilist thn th imprilists. So thr nvr hs bn nything progrssiv or nti-imprilist bout ustrlin ntionlism. Its origins r rcist nd rctionry, just lik th ntionlism of th whits in South fric, th Zionists in Isrl, th Frnch in lgri nd Thiti nd of othr colonil sttlr stts. Rcism ws th most importnt singl componnt in th formtion of ustrlin ntionlism. Th id of rcil purity ws th linchpin round which ntionl consciousnss cohrd.

With th mov wy from its initil rformist progrm nd its dpning mbrc of th ids of ntion, Lbor invitbly, givn th cntrlity of rcism to ustrlin ntionlism, bcm virulntly rcist. Th middl clss politicins nd union burucrts who hd cmntd thir control ovr th prty by th lt 1890s did not wnt Lbor to b nrrow workrs' prty, but to ppl to ll clsss, to ppl to th popl. But wht units popl s opposd to clss is ntionlism, so Lbor posd s th prty of ustrlin ntionlism. This populism mnt tking on bord ll th rctionry ids, lik rcism, ntild in th ntionlism of whit colonil sttlr stt.

Th first svg flr up of nti-sin rcism occurrd during th 1850s gold rushs, whn tns of thousnds of Chins wr ttrctd to th diggings. Initilly stblishmnt opinion wlcomd th Chins s potntil lbour forc. Howvr this rly tolrtion fdd rpidly s Chins migrtion cclrtd t tim whn gold yilds slumpd drsticlly nd comptition for th vilbl ground intnsifid. Smll mployrs cm to s Chins businsss s mjor thrt. Th nthusism of lrg mployrs lso wnd whn th Chins turnd out not to b th chp nd plibl lbour sourc thy xpctd, but on occsions wnt on strik for highr py. Consquntly brod populist llinc mbrcing slf-mployd diggrs, urbn rtisns, smll businss ownrs nd librl cpitlists dvlopd ginst th Chins.

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