Labor newspapers


The office of the Clipper, on the corner of Elizabeth and Macquarie streets, Hobart (AOT, PH30/1/4942)

Labor Newspapers in Tasmania began with the Launceston Tasmanian Democrat (189199), following the establishment of a Trades and Labor Council in that city by WP McMahon. The experienced journalist WA Woods (subsequently a Labor MHA), editor of the Democrat and assistant to James Paton on the Hobart Clipper (18931909), edited the latter after 1903. The Clipper helped in establishing a pledged Labor Party in the same year. The Zeehan and Dundas Herald, once edited by David O'Keefe, a foundation Labor senator, also supported the Party. The existing Daily Post replaced the Clipper in 1910, coming under direct Labor control, with the eccentric Edmund Dwyer-Gray as editor, in 1912. The Australian Workers' Union World, still edited by Dwyer-Gray, succeeded the Daily Post in 1918. Dwyer-Gray, victim of internecine Labor disputes, was sacked in 1922, the World collapsing in 1924.

Returning from Sydney, where he had worked for Jack Lang, Dwyer-Gray established in 1925 the weekly People's Voice (later the Voice) as a new Hobart Labor paper. He continued to edit it until his death in 1945, despite holding office as Treasurer and, briefly, Premier. With many pages devoted to sport, the Voice emphasised Dwyer-Gray's synthesis of Labor and Douglas (Social) Credit philosophy, and often accused the federal Labor governments of Curtin and Chifley of neglecting expansionary economics. The Voice, then strongly anti-communist, disappeared in 1953. Subsequently, Labor, continuously in government in Tasmania from 1934 to 1969, relied on party newsletters and broadsheets.

Further reading: R Davis, Eighty years' Labor, Hobart, 1983; ADB 8 (Dwyer-Gray), 12 (Woods).

Richard Davis