United Labor Party

Political Party

A core part of the United Trades and Labour Council’s mission was to be active politically. The defeat of the national maritime strike in 1890 helped motivated the council to form the United Labor Party in 1891, South Australia’s first political party. However, disillusion with the first Labor government, elected in 1910, was instant when, during a upsurge of strikes, it protected strikebreakers and jailed union pickets. During the First World War the movement split. Most members of the United Trades and Labour Council opposed conscription, but the majority of Labor MPs favoured it and left to form a new party. The union-backed rump of the United Labour Party in South Australia changed its name to Australian Labor Party.