Saturday 2:15pm

How Labour built neoliberalism: Australia’s Accord, the labour movement and the neoliberal project

Organising workers

As Bill Shorten’s Labor Party prepares for power, the legacy of the Hawke/ Keating government of 1983 - 1996 is a frequent topic of debate. The class-collaborationist Prices and Incomes Accord of those years is celebrated by some as a high point of union influence in government, while socialists critique the Accord as a key factor in defusing union militancy and introducing neoliberalism.


Elizabeth Humphrys works as a political economist at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is the author of How Labour Built Neoliberalism: Australia’s Accord, the Labour Movement and the Neoliberal Project (Brill, 2018)

Lee Rhiannon is a lifelong campaigner for social justice and the environment. She was a Greens member of parliament in the NSW upper house from 1999 to 2010, and in the Australian Senate from 2011 to 2018.

Tom Bramble has written widely on working class struggle and industrial relations. He is the author of Trade Unionism in Australia: A History from Flood to Ebb Tide (Cambridge, 2008). Tom is on the national executive of Socialist Alternative.


Elizabeth Humphrys, How Labour made neoliberalism (article)

Elizabeth Humphrys, Living the dream under the Accord (podcast)

Tom Bramble, Trade unionism in Australia: a history from flood to ebb tide (book)

Tom Bramble, Our unions in crisis: how did it come to this? Marxist Left Review 2018

Jerome Small, Will Labor change the rules? Red Flag, 22 October 2018

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