Read more here about the achievements of Labor leadership in the early 20th Century.
Below is a summary of some of the major achievements of the Whitlam, Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Gillard Labor Governments.
Whitlam Government (1972-1975)
The 1972 election of the Whitlam Government was a landmark victory for the Labor Party, following 23 years of Coalition rule and policy inertia. Gough Whitlam’s ambitious reforms included initiatives in the fields of education, health, social welfare and urban improvements – always embedding environmental outcomes, prosperity and nation building in its modernising mission. A commitment to increasing women’s workforce participation, via a broad and visionary range of measures, vastly improved the lives and opportunities of Australian women.
Some achievements of the Whitlam Government include:
Hawke Government (1983-1991)
Bob Hawke led Labor’s return to office in the 1983 election, and to a record four terms, with subsequent election wins in 1984, 1987 and 1990. He is the longest-serving Labor Prime Minister, and the third-longest serving Australian leader. The key focuses of the Hawke Government were globalisation, micro-economic reform and industrial relations. Lasting achievements include floating the Australian dollar, dismantling tariffs and deregulating the banking system to assist in the expansion of the national economy. Other successes included the establishment of Medicare, Landcare, a landmark wages accord with the unions, the Family Assistance Scheme, superannuation schemes for all workers, legislation against gender discrimination in the workplace, wildlife conservation and a focus on Aboriginal Affairs.
Some achievements of the Hawke Government include:
Keating Government (1991-1996)
In 1993, Paul Keating led Labor to a historic fifth term of Government and continued with a progressive reform program that included measures to boost national savings and reduce unemployment. Focus turned to expanding trade relations and fostering new alliances with Australia’s Asia-Pacific neighbours, while developing a vision of the nation’s future as a republic of equal citizens, not bound by old ties to Britain. Other key achievements of the Keating Government included a review of the Sex Discrimination Act; reconciliation through formal recognition of the land rights of Australia’s Indigenous peoples, and new legislation to ensure protection of endangered species.
Some achievements of the Keating Government:
Rudd Government (2007-2010 and 2013)
In 2007, Kevin Rudd led Labor to a landslide election victory, defeating the long-serving Liberal-National Government led by John Howard. The new Labor government wasted no time taking action on climate change through ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and distinguished itself in delivering the first national apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples for the Stolen Generations and by committing to ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Major reforms were set in motion in domestic policy areas including health, education, industrial relations, social security and infrastructure. The Rudd Government was also widely acknowledged for its sound management of the Global Financial Crisis; including planning an economic stimulus package that saw Australia become the only major developed economy – among 33 nations surveyed by the IMF – to avoid a recession.
Some achievements of the Rudd Government include:
Gillard Government (2010-2013)
Julia Gillard has the distinction of being Australia’s first and only woman Prime Minister, overseeing a highly productive term in which 570 bills were passed by the Senate. Key achievements include the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the child abuse royal commission, creating an emissions trading scheme, education funding and reform, improving the provision and sustainability of health care, aged care and dental care, and paid parental leave. Gillard’s ‘misogyny speech’, as well as her tenure as the nation’s first woman prime minister, changed the ways that politics and sexism were talked about in Australia, and heightened awareness of the need to address parliamentary and other workplace cultures.
Some achievements of the Gillard Government include: