The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) formally began in 1955 but was a part of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) before that date. We count
the members of the ALP prior to 1955, including Prime Minister Ben Chifley, as part of our party’s history. During 1941-49, the
Communist Party almost subverted the Australian Labor Party by infiltrating ALP-affiliated unions. By 1945-48, rank-and-file “industrial groups”
were organised and trained to defeat the communists in trade union elections. While the industrial groups had almost completely curbed
communist power in the unions, the success was reversed under the leadership of Herbert V. Evatt. Following his failed 1954 election
campaign, he attacked the industrial groups. The ALP began supporting the communists, sponsoring “unity tickets” in trade union ballots.
Affiliated unions coming again under Communist Party control were then able to dictate ALP policy in critical areas, including foreign
affairs and defence. This led to the birth of the Democratic Labour Party.
The founders of the DLP were eminent parliamentarians, trade unionists, ALP officials and ordinary ALP members. They were unlawfully
expelled from the ALP in the immediately-preceding crisis that became known as “the Split”. The majority of ALP members and ALP branches
in Victoria, where the Split began, joined with the expelled anti-communists. They knew what was at stake. Labour movement traditions
of democracy, justice and fairness had been subverted. The rule book had effectively been torn up. The policies of the ALP – the alternative
government – were beginning to reflect the views of the extremist union bosses with reckless economic agendas and allegiances to hostile
communist regimes. Australian democracy was in danger. National security was threatened. Social justice priorities for the families of
Australian workers were at risk. The expelled anti-communists formed the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist). In 1957 it became the
Australian Democratic Labor Party, then the Democratic Labor Party of Australia, and in 2013 it became the Democratic Labour Party.
No other political party in Australia can boast that its parliamentary founders (51 in total, including 14 ministers and a State Premier),
were prepared to sacrifice promising political careers to uphold a principle: in their case, anti-communism.
All were to lose their seats in elections following the Split. This was the outcome of a media campaign orchestrated by the communists
and the pro-communist left to undermine public sympathy and to impute a sectarian motivation for the DLP stand. Between the ‘split’ of 1955
and 1974 the DLP held the balance of power in the Senate, scrutinising and approving vital legislation before it could be passed into law.
The Democratic Labour Party offered a distinct alternative to the other political parties. It was an alternative based on two essential ends:
bolstering the family and defending the nation.
The DLP was the first Australian political party to promote many policies. Some of these were:
1. The vote for 18 year olds
2. Equal pay for equal work
3. Equity in education funding
4. An end to the White Australia policy
5. Decentralisation of government
6. Industrial democracy
7. Responsible environmental protection
8. Family tax splitting
9. Support for life
10. Capital Grants for family homes
11. Portability of superannuation
12. Diversification in trade
13. Low interest loans for small business
14. Enterprise profit sharing
15. Producer/worker cooperatives
The double dissolution election of 18 May 1974 polarised the electorate. As a result, all DLP Senators lost their seats.
Since 1974, the DLP contested every election but success did not come until 2006, when Peter Kavanagh was elected as a Member of the Legislative
Council for Western Victoria. Since then, the DLP has grown and has been re-established in every State in the Commonwealth of Australia.
With the re-emergence of extremist political groups and the basic rights of Australian workers and families under threat, it is not surprising
that the DLP has regained its popularity. In 2011, in a result that no political pundit predicted, John Madigan was elected to represent
Victoria in the Senate. A blacksmith and railway worker, like Ben Chifley and his family, John epitomised everything that the labour movement
stood for and was determined to bring the voice of the average Australian back to the Senate.
In 2014, Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins was elected to represent Western Metropolitan in the Victorian state upper house. Rachel is the 55th
parliamentarian of the Democratic Labour Party (at state or federal level) and is the Party’s first female parliamentarian. Dr Carling-Jenkins
has a PhD in Social Science and has worked extensively as an academic and social worker.
Some DLP policies include:
1. Opposition to abortion, euthanasia and the destruction of human embryos
2. Opposition to giving same-sex unions the same status as marriage
3. The economic philosophy of distributism as an alternative to both socialism and capitalism
4. The establishment of a state development bank to fund infrastructure projects
5. The decentralisation of power (the principle of subsidiarity)
6. Support for small business against monopolization
7. Strong support for the Australian manufacturing and farming sectors Australian-owned
8. Maintaining sovereignty over Australian land, resources and jobs
9. Regional focus on foreign affairs, including human rights in West Papua
10. An emphasis on student rights and higher education
11. Regional development
12. Building up strong defensive capacity
The Democratic Labour Party ( DLP) definition of the “worker” includes self employed workers such as farmers and small business operators as
well as traditional workers. The DLP supports responsible trade unions and organisations representing workers. The DLP support private property
ownership and free enterprise. The DLP supports a “Mixed” economic model where governments and private sector work together in the nations
interest along with development banks at State and Federal level to provide lower cost finance. The DLP goals are “Building Strong Communities”,
“Supporting Good Government” and “Serving the People”. The DLP supports a balance between Social Capital and Economic Capital.
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) is a political party in Australia of the labour tradition that espouses social conservatism and opposes
neo-liberalism. On 27 June 2013, the Australian Electoral Commission approved a change in the spelling of the party’s name from
“Democratic Labor Party” to “Democratic Labour Party”. The Australian Electoral Commission considers the current DLP to be legally the same
as the earlier DLP. A party named the Democratic Labor Party or Democratic Labour Party has competed in all Australian elections since 1955.