About the Chifley Research Centre

About the Chifley Research Centre

Governance | JB Chifley

The Chifley Research Centre is committed to the advancement of public policy debate and progressive thinking in Australia. To this end, the Centre:

•Promotes policy discussion in universities and throughout political and industrial forums;
•Commissions academic research into pressing and long term public policy issues affecting Australia;
•Provides strategic policy advice to the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party;
•Works in conjunction with other research and intellectual bodies to promote better understanding of the Australian political and policy environment.
The CRC takes a broad approach to public policy research but prioritises three important policy themes through its work:

•Dealing with the legacy of neglect
•Tackling the challenges of the future
•New politics and new ways of governing
Through these themes the CRC aims to provide a strong foundation for debate and practical policy making. We aim to provide the commentary and analysis that can assist government, the Labor Party and the progressive community to respond to the issues of today in new and creative ways.

Chifley also looks to partner in our work with progressive and independent academics, university research organisations, international think-tanks and our very own Australian network of think-tanks.

You can find out more about our work on this website, or by contacting the centre on info@chifley.org.au

Governance of the Chifley Research Centre

The activities of the Chifley Research Centre are overseen by a Board of Directors.

The Chifley Research Centre is supported by the Commonwealth Government through a grant in aid administered by the Department of Finance and Deregulation. It has Deductible Gift Recipient status under the Income Tax Act 1997, making all donations to it tax deductible.


JB (Ben) Chifley

please visit our new Labor History page www.laborhistory.org.au

Joseph Benedict (Ben) Chifley was Australian Prime Minister from 1945 until 1949. As PM he is remembered for significant public policy achievements such as full employment, welfare state reforms, the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, and the establishment of Trans-Australian Airlines and the Australian National University.

In Chifley’s most famous speech in 1949 he described the ‘light on the hill’ – the objective towards which the Australian labour movement must continually strive. In his own words:

“I try to think of the Labour movement, not as putting an extra sixpence into somebody’s pocket, or making somebody Prime Minister or Premier, but as a movement bringing something better to the people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people. We have a great objective – the light on the hill – which we aim to reach by working for the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand”.

Born in Bathurst 22 September 1885, Ben Chifley was brought up on a farm by his grandfather. A voracious reader, he joined the New South Wales Railway in 1903 and became an engine driver in 1914. In the meantime he developed a keen interest in finance and economics, an interest he maintained throughout his political career.

As a federal parliamentarian Chifley held Macquarie (1928-1931 and 1940-1951) for the ALP, a Party he led from the time of John Curtin’s death in 1945 until his own passing in 1951. His frontbench responsibilities included the defence, treasury and post-war reconstruction portfolios. He remained treasurer after his ascension to the prime ministership.

Chifley died as leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party in 1951 in Canberra. He remains a cherished figure in Australian history, an icon of the Australian Labor Party, and an inspirational example to all.

Chifley is best remembered for his reorganisation of the Australian economy during wartime, and also his efforts in laying the foundations for the welfare state from 1945. His belief in democratic socialism, the guiding philosophy of the Labor Party, led him to attempt to nationalise the banking sector, a move that was eventually defeated in the High Court. His contribution to other areas of Australia’s post-war consensus included in national reconstruction, through great national projects like the Snowy Mountains Hydro, and in the wave of post-war immigration that has so enriched Australia

In Ben Chifley’s memory, the Chifley Research Centre endeavours to develop informed, reformist public policy dedicated to the pursuit of the light on the hill he articulated so enduringly. Like Chifley, we work towards a more progressive Australia.

Celebrating 120 Years of Labor
Labor History 于 2011年11月09日 15:16 (星期三) 发给 …等 1 人。完整信息
发件人:Labor History< info@chifley.org.au >;(由 6899154.a26848.1786610625.1@mbounces.com 代发, 帮助)时 间:2011年11月09日 15:16 (星期三)
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Dear sihong,

“We start out with the assertion that every man, or woman either, is entitled to the whole produce of his or her labour; and from our literary point of view we are prepared to sweep the floor with anyone who denies it.”

So spoke Arthur Rae, one of the first members of parliament in NSW for the newly formed Australian Labor Party in 1891.

Like so many of the founders of Australian Labor, the diminutive Arthur Rae was a dyed in the wool unionist, in his case literally. Rae was one of the founders of the Amalgamated Shearer’s Union of Australasia, which would go on to become the modern AWU.

His words show the determination of early Labor to deliver for working people and their communities across the nation. Nothing was going to get in the way of a new party, with such a noble cause.

Celebrating 120 Years of the Australian Labor Party

2011 marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Australia’s oldest, largest and progressive political party. So in this Labor History update, we’re focusing on Labor’s earliest years.
Striking Shearer’s library, Barcaldine 1891

To celebrate our anniversary we’ve just released new material on www.laborhistory.org.au.
Look at pictures of the 1891striking unionists’ camps in Barcaldine where the idea of a Labor Party was born.

Look at the first Labor government anywhere in the world, when Anderson Dawson led the 6-day Queensland Labor government in 1899.

Read Labor’s federal platform from 1902, where the Party Conference set out Labor’s fighting platform to take to the people.

Read extracts from the NSW ALP Jubilee Celebration in 1940 on the early women activists of Labor, Bertha McNamara and Henrietta Greville.

Introducing “A Little History of the Australian Labor Party”

Recently the Chifley Research Centre funded ‘A Little History of the Australian Labor Party’ a great new resource for party members and supporters to engage in the Labor story. You can view Senator John Faulkner launching the book here, and purchase a copy here.


Balmain Institute: Born-in-Balmain

The recently launched Balmain Institute held a grand procession as part of its celebrations of 120 years since the founding of the Balmain branch ALP. The procession featured a wonderful array of banners and rarely seen Labour paraphernalia from the NSW Trades and Labor Hall collection.


Nick Martin
Chair, Chifley Research Centre

Authorised by Nick Martin, Unit 5, 9 Sydney Avenue, Barton 2600

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