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Labor Party

Labor Party Social democratic party in Australia. Founded in 1891, it is the oldest surviving political party in Australia. It first held federal office in 1904. In 1916, the party split over involvement in World War I. Prime Minister W. M. Hughes led the majority, pro-conscription wing into the breakaway National Party. In 1929, the Labor Party returned to office under J. H. Scullin, but it fractured again over policies to combat the Great Depression. Between 1939 and 1949, the Labor government introduced important social welfare reforms. In 1955, the party split again over attitudes to communism. In 1972, the party returned to power under Gough Whitlam. Bob Hawke held office for a record four terms. Paul Keating succeeded Hawke as prime minister.

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