Confusion

The Making of the Australian Two-Party System

Paul Strangio (editor), Nick Dyrenfurth (editor)
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Confusion

Published

15 November 2009

ISBN

9780522860030

Ebook File Size

2.7MB

Imprint

MUP Academic

Confusion

The Making of the Australian Two-Party System

Paul Strangio (editor), Nick Dyrenfurth (editor)
In Confusion, some of Australia's foremost political historians including Judith Brett and Stuart Macintyre revisit the seminal moment when liberals threw in their lot with the conservatives.
In May 1909, Alfred Deakin, the radical liberal doyen, struck an agreement for a controversial 'fusion' with the anti-Labor factions, with the new grouping later adopting the name 'Liberal Party'. After a heated campaign, Labor won the 1910 election, forming the first majority government in the history of the Commonwealth. The Australian party system—as we still largely know it one hundred years on—had crystallised.
How had this occurred? For most of the previous decade Labor and Deakin had been allies. Was the anti-Labor alliance the inevitable outcome of middle-class men rallying against the growing electoral might of the workers' party? What were the long-term consequences for both sides of politics? With Labor in power federally and in all but one state, the…
In Confusion, some of Australia's foremost political historians including Judith Brett and Stuart Macintyre revisit the seminal moment when liberals threw in their lot with the conservatives.
In May 1909, Alfred Deakin, the radical liberal doyen, struck an agreement for a controversial 'fusion' with the anti-Labor factions, with the new grouping later adopting the name 'Liberal Party'. After a heated campaign, Labor won the 1910 election, forming the first majority government in the history of the Commonwealth. The Australian party system—as we still largely know it one hundred years on—had crystallised.
How had this occurred? For most of the previous decade Labor and Deakin had been allies. Was the anti-Labor alliance the inevitable outcome of middle-class men rallying against the growing electoral might of the workers' party? What were the long-term consequences for both sides of politics? With Labor in power federally and in all but one state, the non-Labor side of politics has been plunged into a period of introspection about its coalition arrangements, and about the legitimate traditions of Australian liberalism. Can the current Liberals learn from the events of a century ago?

Paul Strangio

Paul Strangio

Paul Strangio is Associate Professor of Politics in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University. A political historian and biographer, he has written extensively about political leadership and political parties in Australia. Before recent studies of the Australian prime ministers, his last book was Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856–1956 (2012). Paul has also been a long-time commentator on Australian politics in the print and electronic media.

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Nick Dyrenfurth

Nick Dyrenfurth is the author or editor of seven books, including Mateship: A Very Australian Story and A Little History of the Australian Labor Party. Nick is a leading media commentator, has worked as a Labor Party speechwriter and advisor, and is presently Executive Director of the John Curtin Research Centre.

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