Australian Labor Party (NSW)

political group split from the Australian Labor Party in the 1930s

The Australian Labor Party (NSW) was an Australian political party commonly known as Lang Labor. It was the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party which broke away from the national party and acted independently from 1931 to 1936.

Australian Labor Party (New South Wales)
LeaderJack Lang
Lang Labor members of the 14th Parliament, Old Parliament House, Canberra, 1935

In 1931 Jack Lang, the Premier of New South Wales, announced the "Lang Plan". This plan would reduce the effects of the Great Depression. The main feature of the plan was to stop making loan repayments to foreign banks. This was the opposite of the policy of the federal Labor government led by James Scullin. As a result, Lang's supporters, led by Jack Beasley and Eddie Ward, were forced out of the federal Caucus.

This led to a split between the Federal and State leaders of the Labor party. In 1931 Lang's supporters voted with the United Australia Party Opposition in the House of Representatives to bring down the Scullin government. This caused an early election. The New South Wales Branch ran candidates as the Australian Labor Party (New South Wales). They were known as "Lang Labor" candidates. Supporters of the federal party (led in New South Wales by Ted Theodore and Ben Chifley) were known as Federal Labor candidates.

The elections were a huge defeat for Labor, but most of the Lang members had safe working class seats and survived. Ward was narrowly defeated in East Sydney. (He was re-elected at a by-election in 1932). Theodore and Chifley were both defeated, and Federal Labor won only three seats in New South Wales. At the 1934 federal elections Federal Labor won only one seat (Newcastle).

In 1935 John Curtin became the new federal Labor leader. In February 1936 he brought about a reconciliation with the New South Wales Branch. At the 1937 elections Labor ran as a united party in New South Wales.


  • Lang, J. T. (1970). The Turbulent Years, Alpha Books
  • McMullin, Ross (1991). The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891–1991, OUP