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  • Title
    Communist Party of Australia aggregated collection, ca. 1917-1992
  • Creator
  • Level of description
  • Date

    ca. 1917-1992
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    8 boxes textual material
    140 boxes, 19 'X' items
    16 sound tape reels, 5 sound cassettes, and 2 videotape reels
    4 albums (192 photographic prints and 1 printed item)
    1 box
    4 metal forms
    74 boxes and 3 outsize items
    64 drawings
    68 photographic prints
    2 posters
    1 banner
    3 boxes textual material
    1 folder textual material

    The Communist Party of Australia was formed in 1920 and dissolved in 1991.

    Among its media activities, the Party published Tribune, a weekly newspaper (1939 - 3 April 1991), and The Australian Left Review and a radio broadcast in New South Wales in the 1950s, “The Voice of the Countryside”.

    As a legal political party, it contested state and federal elections.

    Organisationally, the National Congress constituted the highest authority of the Party, ruling on the Party’s statement of aims, constitution and rules. The National Committee had the authority to decide new policies in pursuit of the Party’s objectives between National Congresses. The National Executive held political and organisational leadership between meetings of the National Committee to which it was responsible. The organisational structure of the Party extended to State and District Committees and to party branches in sections (e.g. industry) and areas.

    The Party was banned in 1940-1942 because of its endeavours to defeat the war effort. Security agencies regarded the CPA as a subversive organisation, and surveillance of the Party was heightened in the Cold War period. In 1950 in an attempt to ban the Party the Menzies Coalition government passed the Communist Party Dissolution Act which was declared invalid by the High Court. In 1951 the Menzies government suffered defeat in the Communist Party Dissolution Referendum when it sought to alter the constitution to empower it to ban the Party: a majority “no” vote was returned.

    The Party’s greatest support derived from the trade union movement. The Party suffered ideological splits throughout its history, resulting in the formation of rival socialist parties including the Australian Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist), 1964 and the Socialist Party of Australia, 1972.

    Over time, the Party was involved in many campaigns and movements including unemployment, workers control, peace and disarmament, student groups, women’s liberation, ecology and Aboriginal issues.
  • Scope and Content
    This aggregated collection comprises:

    Communist Party of Australia, records, 1922-23, 1945-1967
    Presented by L. Aarons, 1972

    Communist Party of Australia records and pictorial material, ca. 1917-1987
    Presented by Brian Aarons, 1987

    Communist Party of Australia - further records and pictorial material, 1920-1991
    Presented by Brian Aarons, 1987 and 1991

    Communist Party of Australia - further records, ca. 1919-1991
    Presented by Brian Aarons and Beverley Symons on behalf of SEARCH Foundation, 1992 and 1993

    Communist Party of Australia. Sydney District Committee - further records, 1979-1992
    Presented by Search Foundation in 2000
  • Source
    Presented by the Communist Party of Australia, 1972-2000
  • Access Conditions
    Restricted: Written permission for access required from SEARCH Foundation -
  • Published Information
    See bibliographies in Communism in Australia : a resource bibliography / compiled by Beverley Symons with Andrew Wells and Stuart Macintyre([Canberra] : National Library of Australia, 1994), and Communism in Australia : a supplementary resource bibliography, c. 1994-2001 / compiled by Beverley Symons ; with the assistance of Stuart Macintyre ([Newtown, N.S.W.] : Sydney Branch, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, 2002)
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