Our Story

Being Labor means that you are part of a movement that is dedicated to ensuring all Australians have access to a good education, quality health services and opportunities to succeed and prosper. As a party, we believe in the values of equality, opportunity, fairness and reform, and have a proud history of fighting for and delivering these goals.

From workers’ rights and entitlements, like the minimum wage, superannuation and annual leave, to anti-discrimination laws and universal health and education systems – the Labor Party has always been the party dedicated to keeping Australia fair.

For 130 years Labor has been the force of fairness, equality and reform in Australia.

The Australian Labor Party has its roots in the workers’ rights movements of the late 19th Century. Many decades of struggle and suppression motivated organised labour to establish Labor Electoral Leagues to pursue political representation – all for the betterment of Australian working men and women.

Queensland holds a special place in the history of the Australian Labor Party. When striking shearers met under the Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine in 1891, they formed the first Labour party in the country. For 130 years since, Labor, in partnership with our great trade union movement, has continued to stand up for workers’ rights, and a dignified life for all Queenslanders. We are proudly Australia’s oldest political party.

Queensland Labor in Government

Queensland Labor has a proud record in both State and Federal Government, from the world’s first Labor Government led by Anderson Dawson for just 6 days to the current Labor Government.

The second Labor Prime Minister was Queenslander Andrew Fisher, serving three times, he established old-age and disability pensions, enshrined new workers’ rights in legislation, established the Commonwealth Bank, and began construction on the Trans-Australian Railway.

Early Labor Premiers TJ Ryan and Ted Theodore established the foundation of states based workers’ rights legislation and oversaw the creation of state-run enterprises to further develop our state.  Both going on to serve in Federal Parliament as major Labor figures – further entrenching the Queensland Party as a major force in the ALP.

One of our great early Labor Premiers was William Forgan Smith, who served for a decade during the Great Depression and much of the Second World War. Establishing an example for future Labor Governments, Forgan Smith’s economic policy during the Great Depression focused on unemployment relief and creating jobs by investing in major infrastructure projects including the Story Bridge, Somerset Dam and the St Lucia Campus of the University of Queensland.  

His economic record proved to be world-leading and his infrastructure projects still benefit Queenslanders today.

This proud legacy was continued with the election of Wayne Goss, who ended 32 years of conservative rule, overcoming the ‘Bjelkemander’ electoral system to become Premier where he modernised our state and implemented landmark reforms to end the police and political corruption of the Bjelke-Petersen era.

Queensland Labor has also played key roles in Labor Federal Governments, from the Hawke Government which established Medicare to the election of Queenslander Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister in 2007, with fellow Queenslander Wayne Swan as Treasurer. In the true legacy of Theodore and Forgan Smith, the Rudd Government’s response to the Global Financial Crisis put working people first and prevented recession in Australia.

Labor in Modern Queensland

State Labor continues to stand up for Queenslanders, delivering a strong economy generating jobs, an advanced and accessible health care system, record investment in our schools, vital infrastructure and modern transport, secure and safe working conditions, and commitment to maintaining our national and marine parks, as well as tackling climate change.

Since day one, our Queensland Labor Government has put Queensland jobs first by investing in local infrastructure, backing small businesses, delivering Free TAFE for under 25s so more people can get quality training, and reopening our economy faster by keeping Queenslanders safe during the pandemic.

Working Queenslanders know that they once again have a Government that places top priority in the dignity of work, job security and workplace health and safety. Our Queensland Labor Government stands for the Labor values of fairness, equality and social justice.