McMullin, Ross: Light on the hill

McMullin, Ross

The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891-1991, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic., 2nd revised edition 1993; first published 1991; later editions

Centenary history commissioned by the party and making use of party records. Looks at the party in all states and the Commonwealth. The title of the book refers to a central concept of Labor philosophy as enunciated in 1949 by then leader Ben Chifley. The speech is read and discussed here. An extract is below. A student discussion of the ‘light on the hill’ concept is here. Some Facebook comments are here. A review of McMullin’s book is here.

I try to think of the Labor movement, not as putting an extra sixpence into somebody’s pocket, or making somebody Prime Minister or Premier, but as a movement bringing something better to the people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people. We have a great objective – the light on the hill – which we aim to reach by working the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand. If it were not for that, the Labor movement would not be worth fighting for.

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