Premier Tom Price (front right) and members of the world's first stable Labour government in 1905.
Image courtesy State Library of South Australia

TOM PRICE HEADS WORLD'S FIRST STABLE  LABOUR GOVERNMENT IN 1905 by forming  
an alliance with Archibald Peake's Liberals

 

LABOR AS A POLITICAL PARLIAMENTARY PARTY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA ORIGINATED IN 1891 (the same year as it happened in New South Wales).

In that year, three candidates of the-then United Labour Party (the province’s first official political party) were elected to the South Australian Legislative Council. The party’s first successful House of Assembly was John McPherson at the 1892 East Adelaide byelection.

The party achieved the balance of power with 10 of the 54 House of Assembly seats gained at the 1893 general election. With its support, liberal Charles Kingston was able to form government and oust John Downer’s conservative government.

In the 1905 election, United Labour became the largest grouping (15) in the House of Assembly. It forced Richard Butler’s conservative government to resign by voting with the a bloc of liberal members, led by Archibald Peake, concerned with Legislative Council franchise reform.

With the Peake group’s support, Tom Price became premier of the world’s first stable Labour government. Elected again at a double-dissolution election in 1906, Price died in 1909. In the 1910 elections, John Verran led Labour to form its first majority government.

The United Labour Party became the Australian Labor Party in 1917. In that year, Labor returned to power after three years of the Liberal Union – the start of the Liberal Party which, in coalition with the Country Party, would take turns with Labor in governing for the remainder of the 21st Century.

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