Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

Mr. Big, the Big Fella and the Split: Fault Lines in Bankstown’s Labor Politics, 1955

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (2008), 95, (1), 197–212.

Abstract

Rodney Cavalier has shown how useful micro local studies can be in shedding light on broader events such as the Labor Split of 1954-55. This returns to one of his case studies in south-west Sydney. The redoubtable figure of Raymond Fitzpatrick, newspaper proprietor and contractor of Bankstown is introduced to Australian labour historiography. Known as the ‘Mr Big of Bankstown’ Fitzpatrick serves as an uncomfortable reminder that the labour tradition in Australia includes racketeers and gangsters. The article also examines the enduring legacy of the 1931 Split in the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales. Twenty-four years later the considerable shadow of former premier J.T. Lang must also be taken into account in negotiating the terrain of Labor politics in Sydney. So must the role of local movers and shakers like Ray Fitzpatrick. Local tensions impacting upon Charles Morgan, MHR for Reid, the federal seat surrounding Bankstown, shaped one of Australia’s constitutional landmarks, the Fitzpatrick and Browne privilege case of 1955. This article relates how the scheming politician responded to threats to his position posed by Fitzpatrick, Lang and the Split.

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Author details

Moore, Andrew

Table of Contents

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