Dyrenfurth, Nick, Mark Hearn & Harry Knowles, ed.: Fisher

Dyrenfurth, Nick, Mark Hearn & Harry Knowles, ed.

The Fisher Labor Government, 1910-13‘, Labour History, 102, May 2012

Collection of articles to mark the centenary of the first majority Labour government anywhere in the world. Hearn and Dyrenfurth set the scene, then Dyrenfurth explores the culture of the movement and Hearn considers industrial organisation that lay beneath the party. Marilyn Lake looks at social reforms affecting women, Marian Sawer makes international comparisons and Alan Fenna ‘reviews arguments about the origins and significance of Australia’s formative policies of Developmentalism, Tariff Protection, Industrial Arbitration, White Australia, and Old-Age Pensions’ – the ‘Australian Settlement’. (See also.) Raymond Markey sums up:

The government’s significance was twofold: first, its election was based on the creation of a mass working class constituency; and second its busy legislative program extended the Australian Settlement, contributed significantly to the nation-building project, and instigated a progressive redistributive welfare program well in advance of other countries.

Then the war came.

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