The Progressive Labour Party (PLP) was formed in November 1996, when approximately 100 delegates from many parts of the country assembled to form a new political party. It was described as a "chance for the left to unite around a commonly agreed, democratically decided program". As a result, a new chapter opened in Australian political history.
At the Founding Conference, major objectives were identified and an initial “Political Program” issued. It stated that the new party aimed at the "development of policies that are democratic, egalitarian and sustainable".
Since being founded, the Party has held Annual Conferences in a number of different states and cities and has developed a suite of progressive policies that have gained widespread support in the community. We have also fielded candidates in elections for the various different levels of government most notably gaining 50,000 and 70,000 votes respectively at the level of State and Federal Senate.
The party decided that, if the opportunity arose, it would seek to be part of a broader electoral Alliance (or Coalition) of progressive groups and parties that could act as a counterbalance to the neoliberal policies of both major parties. The idea of such an approach is to swing the political debate away from the Right and towards the Left and so provide the possibility for a genuine Left leaning alternative government in Australia. Our approach to such Alliances and Coalitions is to ally, to the greatest extent possible, with parties and groups that support, an independent foreign policy, workers’ rights, preservation of the environment and biodiversity, women’s rights, secular society, and a range of other progressive issues. One of the founding members of the PLP was Robert Leach who edited an influential book called “The Alliance Alternative in Australia”.
Party Communications and Literature
The PLP communicates with our members and the population at large, including likeminded parties in other countries, via numerous means. These include: our Website, a PLP Facebook page with a large following, a regular newsletter, leaflets based on our policies and via meetings. We engage in publicity and campaigns on various important issues - including at election time.