Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist)

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Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist)
AbbreviationALP (N-C)
FounderJack Lang
Federal parliamentary leaderJack Beasley
Founded18 April 1940
DissolvedFebruary 1941
Split fromAustralian Labor Party
Merged intoAustralian Labor Party
HeadquartersSydney, New South Wales, Australia
IdeologyLabour politics

The Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist) was a breakaway from the Australian Labor Party (ALP) associated with the Lang Labor faction and former New South Wales premier Jack Lang, operating from 1940 to 1941.[1]


Lang lost leadership of the New South Wales state branch of the ALP in 1939. Prior to this, between 1931 and 1936, the NSW branch led by Lang was expelled from the ALP and ran as Australian Labor Party (New South Wales) in elections, also known as Lang Labor. After the reconciliation of the NSW branch and ALP, left-wing forces gained control of the extra-parliamentary executive of the NSW Branch, and in 1940 the state executive adopted a resolution calling for a "Hands off Russia" policy, which was seen as a policy opposing Australian involvement in World War II. Lang denounced this policy; despite his radicalism, he had always been strongly anti-Communist. He seceded from Labor, along with several supporters, and formed a new party called the "Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist)".[1]

Lang announced the creation of a new party on 18 April 1940, titled the Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist). In federal parliament, seven ALP members defected to the new party, with Jack Beasley chosen as leader. He was joined by fellow MPs Sol Rosevear, Joe Gander, Dan Mulcahy, and Tom Sheehan, as well as senators Stan Amour and John Armstrong. In the Parliament of New South Wales, fifteen ALP members defected – nine in the Legislative Assembly (including Lang) and six in the Legislative Council.[2] Federal opposition leader John Curtin reacted angrily to the news, declaring the defectors had "wrecked the solidarity of Labor at a time of great crisis".[3]

Lang Labor contested the 1940 federal election.[4] Unlike the previous Lang Labor, Lang was in a minority in New South Wales, many of his old supporters such as Eddie Ward remained loyal to ALP leader John Curtin, and Lang candidates polled poorly. The Federal Executive again intervened in the NSW branch and expelled the leftist elements. Some members joined the Communist Party of Australia, but most joined the short-lived State Labor Party which was also known as the State Labor Party (Hughes-Evans). Following the Federal intervention, prior to the May 1941 state election, Lang and nearly all of his followers rejoined the ALP.[5] The reunification would help assist Curtin to become Prime Minister of Australia in October 1941, allowing Labor to form government.


  1. ^ a b Grayndler, Edward (1940), Treachery to Labor, The Worker Trustees, retrieved 24 April 2015
  2. ^ McMullin 1991, p. 201.
  3. ^ McMullin 1991, p. 202.
  4. ^ "TUMUT A.L.P." The Tumut and Adelong Times. 7 May 1940. p. 3. Retrieved 24 April 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Nairn, Bede. "Beasley, John Albert (Jack) (1895–1949)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 22 November 2019 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  • Lang, J. T. (1970). The Turbulent Years, Alpha Books
  • McMullin, Ross (1991). The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891–1991. OUP.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)