Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956

Paul Strangio

Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956
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Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956

Paul Strangio

When Frank Hardy published Power Without Glory, his notorious novel about corruption and venality in the Victorian Labor Party, it quickly came to be seen as a true account of the party. Until now, there has been no authoritative chronicle of the struggles of political Labor in Victoria, from its origins in the mid-nineteenth century through to the calamitous split of the 1950s. By conventional measures these were fallow years. Ensnared by the colony’s powerful liberal protectionist tradition in the late nineteenth century, Victorian Labor then found itself hindered by a grossly unfair electoral system and the lack of a constituency outside Melbourne’s industrial suburbs. But exile from government also meant that the party developed its own distinctive traditions and culture. It was a unique and intriguing species among the state Labor parties. Meticulously researched and elegantly written, Neither Power Nor Glory fills an important gap in Australian political history and our understanding of the Labor Party. It is also a timely antidote to nostalgia about Labor’s past. In Victoria at least, that past was anything but golden.

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