Labor's Conflict: Big Business

Labor's Conflict: Big business, workers and the politics of class, by Rick Kuhn and Tom Bramble Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2010

John Pilger writes: ‘In cutting through the lantana of egos, power games and betrayals, Tom Bramble and Rick Kuhn’s history of the Labor Party succeeds in rescuing a salutary story of political Australia that ought to be read by all generations.'

The first book that tells the story of the ALP from the beginning through to the Rudd/Gilliard era - Rejects the self-serving arguments of Labor and Coalition politicians, taking a controversial stand in the debates about the nature of the Labor Party - Provides a clear framework for understanding the ALP, outlines the history from the start and concentrates on recent developments.

Once widely regarded as the workers greatest hope for a better world, the ALP today would rather project itself as a responsible manager of Australian capitalism. Labor's Conflict provides an insightful account of the transformations in the Party's policies, performance and structures since its formation. Seasoned political analysts, Tom Bramble and Rick Kuhn offer an incisive appraisal of the Party's successes and failures, betrayals and electoral triumphs in terms of its competing ties with bosses and workers. The early chapters outline diverse approaches to understanding the nature of the Party and then assess the ALP's evolution in response to major social upheavals and events, from the strikes of the 1890s, through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the post-war boom. The records of the Whitlam, Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Gillard governments are then dissected in detail. The compelling conclusion offers alternatives to the Australian Labor Party, for those interested in progressive change.


  • Preface;
  • Introduction;
  • 1. Labor's love lost;
  • 2. In the beginning;
  • 3. Between the wars;
  • 4. Hot war, cold war, split;
  • 5. Labor after seventy years;
  • 6. The Whitlam era;
  • 7. Economic rationalism under Hawke and Keating;
  • 8. Labor in the wilderness;
  • 9. The Rudd-Gillard Government;
  • 10. The Labor Party today: what's left;
  • Notes;
  • Index.
Tom Bramble & Rick Kuhn
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