Australian Labor Party

Australian Labor Party
AbbreviationALP
LeaderBill Shorten
Deputy LeaderTanya Plibersek
PresidentWayne Swan[1]
National SecretaryNoah Carroll
Founded8 May 1901; 117 years ago (1901-05-08)
Headquarters5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, Australian Capital Territory
Youth wingAustralian Young Labor
Membership (2018)Decrease 50,000[2][3]
International affiliationProgressive Alliance
Colours     Red
House of Representatives
69 / 151
www.alp.org.au

The Australian Labor Party (ALP; known as Labor, historically spelt Labour) is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. Bill Shorten has been the party's federal parliamentary leader since 13 October 2013. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state (and sometimes local) levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.

Labor's constitution has long stated: "The Australian Labor Party is a democratic socialist party and has the objective of the democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange, to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other anti-social features in these fields".[4] This "socialist objective" was introduced in 1921, but was later qualified by two further objectives: "maintenance of and support for a competitive non-monopolistic private sector" and "the right to own private property". Labor governments have not attempted the "democratic socialisation" of any industry since the 1940s, when the Chifley Government failed to nationalise the private banks, and in fact have privatised several industries such as aviation and banking. Labor's current National Platform describes the party as "a modern social democratic party".[4]

The ALP was not founded as a federal party until after the first sitting of the Australian Parliament in 1901. Nevertheless, it is regarded as descended from labour parties founded in the various Australian colonies by the emerging labour movement in Australia, formally beginning in 1891. Labor is thus the country's oldest political party. Colonial labour parties contested seats from 1891, and federal seats following Federation at the 1901 federal election. The ALP formed the world's first Labour Party government, as well as the world's first social democratic government at a national level.[5] Labor was the first party in Australia to win a majority in either house of the Australian Parliament, at the 1910 federal election. The Australian Labor Party at both a federal and state/colony level predates, among others, both the British Labour Party and the New Zealand Labour Party in party formation, government, and policy implementation.[6] Internationally, the ALP is a member of the Progressive Alliance network of social-democratic parties,[7] having previously been a member of the Socialist International.

Name and spelling

In standard Australian English, the word "labour" is spelled with a ⟨u⟩. However, the political party uses the spelling "Labor", without a ⟨u⟩. There was originally no standardised spelling of the party's name, with "Labor" and "Labour" both in common usage. According to Ross McMullin, who wrote an official history of the Labor Party, the title page of the proceedings of Federal Conference used the spelling "Labor" in 1902, "Labour" in 1905 and 1908, and then "Labor" from 1912 onwards.[8] In 1908, James Catts put forward a motion at Federal Conference that "the name of the party be the Australian Labour Party", which was carried by 22 votes to two. A separate motion recommending state branches to adopt the name was defeated. There was no uniformity of party names until 1918, when Federal Conference resolved that state branches should adopt the name "Australian Labor Party" – now spelled without a ⟨u⟩. Each state branch had previously used a different name, due to their different origins.[9][a]

Despite the ALP officially adopting the spelling without a ⟨u⟩, it took decades for the official spelling to achieve widespread acceptance.[12] In 1954, Labor MP Ted Johnson complained in the Parliament of Western Australia that both Hansard and the daily newspapers were still using the spelling "Labour".[13] As late as the 1980s, historian Finlay Crisp used the spelling "Labour" in academic works about the party.[b] McMullin has observed that "the way the spelling of 'Labor Party' was consolidated had more to do with the chap who ended up being in charge of printing the federal conference report than any other reason".[14] Some sources have attributed the official decision to use "Labor" to King O'Malley, who was born in the United States and was reputedly an advocate of spelling reform; the spelling without a ⟨u⟩ is the standard form in American English.[15][16] It has been suggested that the adoption of the spelling without a ⟨u⟩ "signified one of the ALP's earliest attempts at modernisation", and served the purpose of differentiating the party from the Australian labour movement as a whole and distinguishing it from other British Empire labour parties. The decision to include the word "Australian" in the party's name – rather than just "Labour Party" as in the United Kingdom – has been attributed to "the greater importance of nationalism for the founders of the colonial parties".[17]

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Australia Kang Tóng
Bahasa Indonesia: Partai Buruh Australia
Bahasa Melayu: Parti Buruh Australia
Simple English: Australian Labor Party
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Australijska laburistička partija
Tiếng Việt: Công Đảng Úc
粵語: 澳洲工黨