Democratic Labor Party
Officially the Democratic Labor Party began in 1955, though its heritage rises from the labour movement that spawned the Australian Labor Party at Federation. In the 1950s, the ALP’s Victorian Branch was administered from its office in the Trades Hall building (corner of Lygon and Victorian Streets), by its General (State) Secretary, (later DLP Senator) Frank McManus. Desperate to retain leadership of the ALP after failing at the 1954 federal election, Leader of the Opposition Dr HV Evatt engaged the Federal Executive to illegally intervene in the Victorian Branch and re-select delegates to the Federal Conference.
During the ensuing turmoil, the ALP office was constantly under siege from Evatt forces. Loyal ALP officers guarded the premises day and night. As eventually the sledge hammers broke through the front door, Frank McManus slipped out a rear window with ALP records.
The fall of the John Cain (Snr) government in April 1955 led to the expulsion of loyal ALP members – including Members of Parliament – who would not bow to the communist assault on Australian workers, Australian unions, Australian industry and the Australian way of life.
These loyal ALP members persisted with their heritage, adopting the name Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist), and later Democratic Labor Party.
Irked by the loyalists’ continued use of the term ‘Labor’, Miscellaneous Workers Union delegate and ALP Vice-President, Mr R Cameron, challenged the DLP use of the term in its title and heritage. The Supreme Court of Victoria held in October 1960 that the ALP loyalists who were expelled and went on to form the DLP were in fact the legitimate officers of the ALP in Victoria – that is, real Labor. More than 50 years later, that sole finding of an Australian court stands.
DLP Victoria State Secretary: