The first split occurred during World War I when Billy Hughes was expelled from the ruling Labor Party due to his support for conscription. ‘I did not leave the Labor party. The party left me’. With his supporters in the party he went into coalition with the Opposition to form the National, or ‘Win the War’, Party and won a sweeping victory in the 1917 election.
Hence the tag “That Dirty Rat Billy Hughes”. The late crime fiction writer Peter Corris told me that he grew up in a Labor community and in high school history lessons he found that William Morris Hughes did not have “The Dirty Rat” on his birth certificate.
Another war precipitated the second split in the 1950s. The communist influence in the Labor movement divided the party to the point where the most dedicated anti-communists formed the DLP, the Democratic Labor Party after they were expelled from the party under the leadership of the lunatic Dr Evatt.
They all lost their seats in the House in elections after the 1955 split but they played the role of the Greens by directing their preferences to the Coalition and holding the balance of power in the Senate from 1955 to 1974.
Historical update from Rococo Liberal.
You missed a Labor split that was probably the most important, when Lyons and others joined the Nationalists (not Nationals as you called them) and created the United Australia Party in 1931. That party went on to win the election in the biggest even landslide. It governed until 1941. It was resurrected as the Liberal Party in 1944.
The ALP has a diabolic problem at present because their primary vote is about 30% and they can only hope to govern with the support of Green preferences and the Greens in the Senate. I thought that they could win with a class war agenda on the basis of Mitt Romney’s 49/50 call on the people who will vote for handouts. This election disproved that proposition for the moment although the progressive left agenda has permeated the cultural woodwork so far that we are still in a critical condition. We still need a Trump.
Getting back to the dilemma of the ALP as described by Paul Kelly the other night. How can they build on their traditional base with sensible bread and butter policies economic policies and culturally conservative positions without losing Green preferences and bleeding membership as well?
There will not be a split because they don’t have anyone with the charisma, the demonic energy and the organizing ability of Billy Hughes to do it.
Fortunately their problem is our opportunity and we had better make good use of it because we have not won the war, we have just got a stay of execution!
Nice piece by Dominic Perrottet in the SMH surprisingly. He is the NSW Treasurer and Deputy Leader.
The election’s ultimate lesson is about mainstream Australian values
There’s an old saying that goes something like: if everyone you come across is a problem, maybe you’re the problem. Replace “problem” with “extremist”, and you have the 2019 Labor party in a nutshell.
On May 1, an Australian Associated Press story was syndicated across countless mastheads, entitled “The Liberal Party is riddled with right-wing extremists: Shorten”.