The Australian Labor Party, also referred to as the ALP is Australia's oldest political party. It had been created as a political strategy by the labour movement during the 1890's at a time where Australia was going through some industrial difficulties. The ALP is left wing, incorporating socialist ideologies, where equality is the fundamental value. The structure of the Labor party is distinctive and includes such organizations as factions. The role of factions within the party during the 1980's and 1990's will be analysed in the following.
In order to fully understand the role of factions in the Labor party, the word "faction" needs to be defined. A faction is a group of people based on representatives in parliament who want to take on a broad range of policies through consciously organised political activity. The reason as to why factions even exist is because of the fact that in large political parties such as the ALP, it is obvious that there would be differing view points on a wide range of issues even though the central idea is the same. Factions within the ALP are thought to be based on left and right wing ideologies but also they are actually based on personalities, regional and common interests. Even further, within factions there are usually sub-groups of "fractions".
The affiliated unions of the ALP are the centre of the factional system because there provide the voting numbers which makes factions able to determine the result of different issues. It should be known that different unions have different factional positions, these are examples:.
Major unions aligning with the left:.
- Construction, forestry, mining and energy union (CFMEU).
- Australian manufacturing workers union (AMWU).
- Liquor, hospitality and miscellaneous workers union (LHMU).
Major unions aligning with the right:.
- Shop distributive and allied employees association (SDA).
- Australian workers union (AWU).
- National union of workers (NUW).