Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

ALP - the natural party of government

By Kerry Corke - posted Tuesday, 27 November 2007

After the Liberal Party lost the Victorian election last year, Peter Costello reflected on the fact the Party had lost 20 state-level elections in a row. He said:

We have got to make sure we are recruiting good people, we have got to get our organisation together, we have got to work on policy. You can't leave an election to the last four months. An election is a four-year proposition and right around Australia the Liberal Party has got to come to grips with this and we have got to lift our game.

And lift their game they must.

State No of seats held by Liberals Per cent of seats held by Liberals Years Liberals have held govt since 1980 Date from which ALP most recently gained government
NSW 22/93 24% 7/27 April 4, 1995
Victoria 23/88 26% 9/27 October 19, 1999
Queensland 8/89 9% 11/27 June 20, 1998
SA 15/47 32% 11/27 April 5, 2002
WA 18/57 31% 11/27 February 16, 2001
Tasmania 7/35 20% 13/27 September 14, 1998
NT 4/25 16% 21/27 August 18, 2001
ACT 7/17 41% 6/18 November 5, 2001
Australia* 56/150 36.4% 15/27 November 24, 2007

*These results are as of 9.00am EST on November 27, 2007.

This table indicates the number of seats the Liberals hold in Australian parliaments, the length of time it has held government since 1980, and the time from which the ALP assumed government.

It clearly shows that the Liberal’s loss on Saturday was hardly a turn of the “election cycle”, but rather final confirmation that the ALP is Australia’s natural party of government.

There are two reasons for this dominance.

The first is that social democracy - the implementation of policies (including policies involving the redistribution of income) to maximise social cohesion - has been the dominant political philosophy since World War II.


The ALP is the natural Australian home of this world view. Absent a flirtation of a political extreme - such as socialism - and given party unity, the post 1980 domination of Labor is hardly a surprise.

The second issue is the professionalism of the ALP.

As Bruce Hawker observed in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on September 14, 2006, the ALP's run of electoral losses during the 1990's meant it had to fundamentally rethink its attitude to intervention in the economy and reject the notion that states could manipulate the market.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

29 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Kerry Corke is principal of K.M. Corke and Associates, a Canberra based public law consultancy.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Kerry Corke

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Kerry Corke
Article Tools
Comment 29 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy