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Anti-communism in Tasmania in the late 1950s with special reference to the Hursey case

Jones, Peter D 1995 , 'Anti-communism in Tasmania in the late 1950s with special reference to the Hursey case', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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While the strength of the Democratic Labor Party
(DLP) was concentrated in Victoria, Tasmania was
also significant for several reasons : it was the
electoral base of Senator George Cole, the DLP's
leader in the Senate up to 1964; Hobart was the
venue of the ALP Federal Conference when the Split
occurred in 1955; and it was the only state with a
Labor Government throughout the Menzies years.
While the Anti-Communist Labour Party, later the
DLP, contested all State and Federal elections
after 1956, they failed to make significant
inroads into the ALP vote, although Senator George
Cole (first elected on the ALP ticket in 1949) was
able to maintain his Senate seat until 1964 -
largely because of the Tasmanian tradition of
voting for personalities rather than ideologies.
The DLP vote in both State and Federal elections
failed to affect the overall results, except in
the 1959 state election, when DLP preferences in
Franklin gave an extra unexpected extra seat to
the Liberal Party and resulted in a situation
where two Independents held the balance of power.
Nonetheless, the ALP remained in power for the
next five years, and was again returned to office
in 1964, when the DLP vote dropped by a half. No
candidates stood at State level after 1969 or for
the Senate after 1974.
While Tasmania had a staunch anti-communist
Catholic Archbishop in Guilford Young, there were
less Catholics as a proportion of the overall
population than on the mainland, and many of them
remained in the ALP - including Premier Cosgrove,
Senator O'Byrne and trade unionists like Fred
There was only a small industrial base in Tasmania
so the DLP had largely to rely on allegations of
communist influence in the unions on the mainland.
The Communist Party had few members in key
positions in the trade unions, while the ALP
leadership was dominated by the Right. Premier
Cosgrove supported the Communist Party Dissolution
Bill in 1951 and the ALP in Tasmania gave little
active support to H.V. Evatt when he was leader of
the party.
The fear of communism was maintained through a
succession of visits by exiles from communistoccupied
countries, especially addressing church groups and New Australians, as well as feature
articles and letters in the press and constant
emphasis in homilies delivered by Catholic priests
to their congregations and school students.
One significant event in the late 1950's concerned
the refusal of two wharf ies, Frank and Denis
Hursey - father and son, to pay their ten shilling
ALP levy to the WWF, and the struggle over this
issue, both on the wharf and in the courts, was to
last from 1957 to 1959. Well known in the Hobart
community, the Hurseys had a higher- level of
support on the mainland than in Tasmania itself.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Jones, Peter D
Keywords: Hursey, Frank, Anti-communist movements
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1995 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Includes bibliographical references. Thesis (M.Hum.)--University of Tasmania, 1996

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