Social democracy in Australia, and even more in parts of its old European heartland, is seen to be in decline, possibly terminal. Is this pessimism justified? What are the forces that have made for decline, and is there any way out of it? This talk will be mainly about the Australian Labor Party’s prospects and direction, in the context of its history and recent performance, but it will also set Australian developments in a global context. In particular, it will explore the role of declining trust in undermining social democracy, and make some suggestions about what we might do about it.
Frank Bongiorno AM is Professor of History and Head of the School of History at the Australian National University. He is the author or co-author of various publications on the history of the Australian Labor Party, but has also published The Sex Lives of Australians: A History (2012) and The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia (2015). He was recently the co-editor with Benjamin T. Jones and John Uhr of Elections Matter: Ten Federal Elections That Shaped Australia (2018). Frank is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and the Australian Academy of Humanities. He is a member of the Australian Fabians and has previously served on its National Executive
Terry Hampson was a mainstay of the Fabians from the 1960's. With Peter Beattie and Dr Denis Murphy, he was central to the reformation of the ALP in Queensland during the late 70's and early 1980 's.He was Assistant State Secretary to Peter Beattie and later Secretary of the ALP. He was later Councillor for Marchant. He was an avid conservationist, partnering with John Sinclair to save Fraser Island as a World Heritage Area and also preserved the Mountains to Mangroves green belt in Brisbane. Terry was an avid Labor historian. In the 1980's he had the original 8 Hour Day Banner on the party office wall. He was also one of the driving forces behind the Workers Centre at Barcaldine and spent many years at the front of the Labor Day March at Barcaldine.