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Queensland ALP Branch
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Bitter defeat in the shearers’ strikes of 1890-91 led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party.
Queensland elected its first four Labor members of State Parliament in 1892.
1899, 1-7 December
Turmoil in Conservative ranks after the 1899 elections saw the commissioning of the world’s first Labor Government -- here in Queensland -- led by Anderson Dawson. The Conservatives reunited within a week, and the Dawson Government was defeated on the floor of the House.
The first Commonwealth elections, 16 Labor members were elected to the House of Representatives and eight to the Senate.
Australia’s first Labor Government, with Chris Watson as the first Labor Prime Minister. It was a minority Government which lasted just over three months.
Federal Labor won a majority in both Houses and for the first time was able to embark on a program of reform and innovation. Labor’s Andrew Fisher was Prime Minister as Australia entered World War I. In 1915 Fisher resigned to become Australian High Commissioner in London and WM Hughes became Prime Minister.
During World War 1 the ALP split over the issue of conscription. In the process the Federal Labor Government was destroyed. Hughes and 23 ALP politicians left the Labor Party and joined with the Opposition to form a Nationalist Government. Hughes continued as Prime Minister, the only Prime Minister achieving the position under opposing parties.
1915, 22 May
Labor won our first majority in Queensland’s Legislative Assembly, winning forty-five seats. Under Premier TJ Ryan, Queensland Labor embarked on a program of radical and extensive reform.
TJ Ryan resigned as Premier to enter Federal politics. ‘Red Ted’ Theodore was sworn in as Queensland Premier in October 1919.
Queensland’s Upper House, the Legislative Council, was dissolved when both Labor-dominated Houses voted for its abolition.
1929, 11 May
Labor loses power in Queensland.
Labor won the Federal election and JH Scullin became Prime Minister. The Scullin Government was soon engulfed in the Great Depression and a crisis over proposals to cut salaries, pensions and Government expenditure. JA Lyons, a Minister in the Scullin Government, left the Party with a group of dissidents opposed to the Government's economic policy. In 1932, they joined with the Opposition to form the United Australia Party with Lyons as Prime Minister.
Labor regained office in Queensland under the leadership of William Forgan-Smith who remained Premier until 1942. When Smith left politics, Cooper assumed the Premier’s mantle until 1946 when Ted Hanlon became Leader till his death in 1952.
John Curtin became Prime Minister of a minority Labor Government in 1941 and won the 1943 general election. He gave resolute and inspiring leadership to Australia during World War II. He died in July 1945 and was succeeded by Ben Chifley who implemented the ALP’s plans for post-war reconstruction.
Electoral reaction against war-time austerity and post-war controls were important factors in the defeat of the Chifley Government. Chifley died in June 1951 and Dr H V Evatt was elected leader.
The ALP throughout Australia is divided over the activities of communists in trade unions.
Queensland Labor splits over communism in unions. Premier Vince Gair was expelled from the Labor Party while still Premier in 1957, marking the end of Labor rule in Queensland for the following thirty-two years.
Under Gough Whitlam, Labor won Federal Government in 1972.
1975, 11 November
A constitutional crisis brought on by the Senate refusing to pass a supply bill, saw Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismiss the Whitlam Government. Labor was defeated in the subsequent election.
1983, 5 March
The election of the first Hawke Government. Labor won subsequent elections in 1984, 1987 and 1990. In December 1991 Bob Hawke was replaced as Prime Minister by Paul Keating. While Paul Keating won the 1993 election, Labor was swept from power in 1996.
Following the revelations of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, the Goss Labor Government was elected on 2 December 1989.
While Goss was re-elected in 1992 and 1995, the loss of Mundingburra in a 1996 by-election delivered minority Government to a National-Liberal Coalition.
1998, 13 June
A minority Peter Beattie Government was elected with Labor holding 44 seats, Nationals 23, One Nation 11, Liberals 9 and 2 Independents.
2001, 16 February
Peter Beattie won a second term with Queensland Labor’s largest majority ever -- 66 seats out of 89.