British Journal of Political Science


The Paradox of Partisan Trade Unionism: the Australian Case

D. W. Rawson*

Let me state at once the paradox referred to in the title. In nearly all capitalist countries, including Britain and Australia, most important trade unions are partisan in politics. That is, they openly, and as a matter of permanent policy, support a particular political party against its rivals. In a few countries, again including Britain and Australia, they actually become a part of such a party, through affiliation. If we look at the affairs and activities of the trade unions, there is little to suggest that this is an unpopular policy among their members.


* Department of Political Science, Australian National University.