Category Archives: Holt, Stephen

The secret seminars before the dismissal

 

Stephen Holt

First published in The Canberra Times’ Public Sector Informant December 2015

Troy Bramston and Paul Kelly’s new book, The dismissal: in the Queen’s name, refers to a private seminar arranged for then governor-general Sir John Kerr at the Australian National University in September 1975.

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The ideological war over our first MP

Stephen Holt

February 5, 2013

Labor’s first federal preselection contest in the ACT was conducted after the Chifley government awarded Canberrans parliamentary representation. The resulting preselection turned out to be a fraught affair indeed, replete with chicanery and religious sectarianism. Continue reading

Billy Hughes’ Canberra Son

Stephen Holt

William Morris Hughes remains the archetypal Judas-figure in the demonology of the Australian Labor Party.  He was a leading figure in the early party but split from it in 1916 over the issue of military conscription and threw in his lot with the anti-Labor forces in federal politics.  There was no reconciliation with his former comrades. 

What is still vaguely remembered, though, is that Billy Hughes had a son who in the grim years of the 1930s was involved in organised agitation in support of unemployed workers thereby creating a piquant contrast with his father’s act of desertionThis latter-day embrace of the labour cause within the Hughes family took place in Canberra and forms a significant episode in its local political history. Continue reading

Book review: ACT Labor 1929-2009 – A Short History

 

Stephen Holt

Review of ACT Labour 1929-2009 – A Short History
Chris Monnox, Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide 2013

The Australian Labor Party is not a terribly alluring outfit these days. Any core cohesive beliefs are difficult to identify while its membership base badly needs resuscitating and is still under the thumb of factional hacks. This unattractiveness makes it harder for the ALP to produce stable reforming governments anywhere in the continent. Continue reading

2011 ASSLH conference – A Leftist in Cold War Canberra: Bruce Yuill

 

A Leftist in Cold War Canberra: Bruce Yuill

 Stephen Holt

Abstract

On 29 July 1953, the Canberra Trades and Labor Council, the city’s peak employee body, re-elected a boisterous young Labor man named Bruce Yuill as its President.  The Council’s vote of endorsement meant that Yuill, a flamboyant socialist, headed the trade union movement in Australia’s federal capital at a crucial time politically, with the Cold War well underway and the Australian Labor Party teetering on the historic schism of 1955.

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