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In the following study I have attempted to give some account of the political and industrial organisation of the Labour Movement in Australia during the last twenty years. In that period Labour organisation has achieved in Australia a degree of formal perfection and a series of political triumphs which have not been equalled in any other land; the lessons learnt in that period will, I hope, be of value to Labour not only in Australia but in other Anglo-Saxon lands.
Map of Australia and Tasmania: Sketch map showing the principal places referred to in this book.
I have limited the scope of my study by the year 1921, both because from that time Labour passes into a new period of transition, the substantial tendencies of which are still obscure, and because my personal association with a Labour Government, as private secretary to the late John Storey, Premier of N.S.W., would make any revelation of the inner history of that period without a breach of confidence difficult.
I have assumed without criticism the hyphothesis that the present organisation of society involves some sort of exploitation and enslavement of the workers, and that the object of a Labour Movement as such must be to bring about such an alteration in social structure as shall end this. This seems to me the essential presupposition of a Labour Party or Trade Union as distinguished from a Radical-Liberal Party or a Friendly Society. But the adoption of this standpoint for expository purposes must not be taken to imply my personal acceptance of the theory in question. On the other hand the results of this book and the sequel, which I hope to publish subsequently on the work of Labour Governments, may be regarded as the most serious criticism of that whole position.V.G.CHILDE.