Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

Andrew Fisher and the Era of Liberal Reform

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (2012), 102, (1), 71–86.

Abstract

The double victory of Andrew Fisher in the 1910 federal election was a great political triumph for Australia’s labour movement. However the policy achievements of the Fisher Government can best be understood by applying a gendered comparative lens that takes us beyond the boundaries of the nation-state and enables us to focus on social policy issues not always at the centre of labour history. In this article I compare the approach of three governments, those of Fisher in Australia, Ballance and then Seddon in New Zealand and Asquith in the United Kingdom (UK) to three issues of the day – progressive taxation, old-age pensions and the rights of women. I use the theoretical framework of ‘policy transfer’ to examine how these three government drew on a common fund of social research and policy discourse and built on each other’s legislative innovations to progress their agenda.

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Endnotes

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Author details

Sawer, Marian