Labour History

Social Democratic Governments and Business

Labour History (2010), 98, (1), 1–6.


Given their traditional links to trade unions and the ideological Left, social democratic parties frequently face questions concerning their relationship with business. Three main issues arise in the labour history literature in regard to this relationship: ideological capture, business lobbying and corruption. The contributions to the thematic section of this issue offer a range of new and, in some ways, confronting, perspectives on the relationship between business and social democratic parties against the background of the push towards neo-liberalism in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom since the 1980s. These articles also show that any study of the relationship between social democratic governments and business must go beyond the general and theoretical to engage with the particular and the empirical.

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1.G. Patmore, Australian Labour History,Longman Cheshire,, 1991, pp.80-. Google Scholar

2.T. Irving andA. Seager, ‘Labour and politics in Canada and Australia: towards a comparative approach to developments to 1960’, Labour History, no.71, 1996, p.263. Google Scholar

3.Ibid. Google Scholar

4.Irving and Seager,‘Labour and politics’, p.268;R. Massey, ‘A Century of Laborism, 1893-1991: a historical interpretation’, Labour History, no.66, 1994, p.46;S. Scalmer, ‘Labor’s golden age and changing forms of workers’representation in Australia’, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, vol.84, no.2, 1998, p.189. Google Scholar

5.Irving andSeager, ‘Labour and politics’, pp.263. Google Scholar

6.C. Cunneen, William John McKell. Boilermaker, Premier, Governor-General,University of New South Wales Press,, 2000, pp.184-187. Google Scholar

7.G. Patmore, ‘The “Birmingham of Australia” and Federation: Lithgow, 1890-1914’, inM. Hearn andG. Patmore, Working the Nation: Working Life and Federation 1890-1914,Pluto Press,, 2001, p.194. Google Scholar

8.F. Bongiorno, The People’s Party: Victorian Labor and the Radical Tradition,Melbourne University Press,, 1996, ch. 7. Google Scholar

9.C. McConville, ‘Conflicting Loyalties’, inV. Burgmann andJ. Lee, Staining the Wattle: A People’s History of Australia since 1788, vol. 1,Penguin,, 1988, p.18. Google Scholar

10.Ibid., pp.18-19. Google Scholar

11.R. Tiffen, Scandals: Media, Politics & Corruption in Contemporary Australia,University of NSW Press,, 1999, pp.24-6. Google Scholar

12.G. Gallop, ‘Towards a new era in strategic government’inJ. Wanna, A Passion for Policy. Essays in Public Sector Reform,ANU E Press,, 2007, pp.75-89. Google Scholar

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Author details

Gallop, Geoff

Patmore, Greg