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Democratic Labor Party

The Democratic Labor Party or DLP is an Australian political party which played a role of some significance from 1955 to 1974. It was formed by distinctly Catholic right-wing factions of the Australian Labor Party following the 1955 ALP Split. The DLP was known for its staunch anti-Communism and claimed that the ALP was under the influence of the Communist Party of Australia - a famous 1960s DLP election advertisement shows two cars with the hammer and sickle symbol on the registration plate of the ALP car.

The philosophical figurehead of the DLP (although not its political leader) was BA ("Bob") Santamaria. By directing their preferences to the Liberal Party, the DLP played a key role in keeping Labor out of office in Australia from 1955 to 1972.

In 1974, Gough Whitlam offered the DLP leader, Senator Vincent Gair, the ambassadorship to Ireland, in the hope that his departure would make it easier for Labor to obtain a Senate majority in the forthcoming double dissolution election. Although Whitlam's ploy was foiled by Joh Bjelke-Petersen, it did have the effect of discrediting the DLP-- the party lost all five of its Senate seats and never recovered.

The DLP still exists and stands candidates, although it receives only a small number of votes; it has a website at [1]. The unions which supported the DLP rejoined the ALP fold, while many of the voters who supported the party continue to fall within relatively influential swinging demographics.