1890s Henry Boote & Albert Hinchcliffe
ALP 1890s Henry Boote & Albert Hinchcliffe
Henry Boote & Albert Hinchcliffe were very active labor orgnaisers and agitators in Queensland during the 1890s. Boote was a journalist and Albert ws a long-term MLA.

Labor Foundations | 1891 - 1903

Organisational Stresses

Although the Labor Party had been founded by the trade union movement, it very soon developed a life of its own, so that stresses between the party and unions were already evident in the 1890s. In New South Wales, the TLC lost control of the party organisation almost immediately, although this was not particularly significant because a more important development was that a chasm opened up between the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary sections of the party. This led to a split at all levels between 1892 and 1894 over party discipline, the imposition of a pledge on MPs, and whether to support Free Trade or Protectionist administrations. Despite the imposition of stern discipline by the NSW Executive on the MPs, at the time this had little lasting effect. The continuing economic depression and drought, along with the consequences of losing the maritime strike of 1890, meant that trade union organisation was itself struggling to survive. With a similar collapse of the branch base of the party, by the end of the 1890s the Labor Party in NSW and Queensland was (as was already the case in Victoria) effectively left to the MPs to manage. In other colonies, even without a split in the party, similar pressures ensured that the extra-parliamentary organisation was only skeletal. One important development, whose consequences for the Labor Party were to be delayed till economic conditions improved, was the formation of the Australian Workers' Union (AWU) in 1894. The core of the new body was the federation of shearing unions in the various colonies. Workers in other pastoral industries were incorporated, and a process of drawing in other smaller unions from associated industries began so that the AWU quickly became the largest and best organised trade union in Australia. The leaders of the AWU had a definite political agenda, which found expression in their support for the Australasian Federation of Labor, a body seeking to exert greater industrial influence over parliamentary representatives of the labour movement. The AWU was important because its strength in every colony gave it enormous strategic importance once economic conditions improved at the end of the 1890s, and, significantly, when the Federal Labor Party was created.

Other topics in Foundations

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