Communist Party of Australia

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The Communist Party of Australia was formerly the Socialist Party of Australia, which in turn split from the original and now defunct CPA in the late 1960s. The SPA rebranded as the Communist Party of Australia in 1996.



Communist Party of Australia October 26, 2019 ·


With Alexander Edward Denton, Vinnie Molina, Elias Alevizos, Elizabeth Hulm, Anna Pha, Damiano Dentice, Lauren Wilson, Jamie Morgan and Alexander Vos.

Key personnel

Central Committee:

The Guardian:

Sydney Central Branch:

Western Sydney Branch:

Maritime Branch:

Western NSW Branch:


Darwin Branch:

South Australia State Committee:

Tasmania Branch:

Melbourne Branch:

West Australian Branch:

As of January 2013;[2]

Central Committee:

District contacts:

As of June 2010;[3] Central Committee:

District contacts:

CPA Centenary webinar


On the occasion of our centenary we celebrate with CPA speakers and international guests.

Participants included Vinnie Molina, Andrew Irving, Zachary..., Elizabeth Hulm, Christopher Crouch ,Warren Smith, Ivan Urzua, Ariel Lorenzo, Jenny, Cian, Burt, Dean Turner, Benji Whiskin, Lily Zanrosso, Morren, Amador Eshtrak, Max Middleton, Viv Dayman, Anna Pha, Denis Doherty, Hannah Middleton, Victorina Beitseen, Mick Beatty, Ovidio Orrelana, Karla Orellana, Seamus Carey, Peter Wills, Matthew Hole, Casey Davidson, Evan Turner, Romina Beitseen, Thalia Anthony, Amaranta Leon, Robert Griffiths, Katjoesja Buissink. Tobyn Fitch-Rabbitt, Alex Martin, David Matters, Charli Kurzman, Alexander Edward Denton, Kisten McCandless, Saul Ruiz, Nick Rogers, Will Coventry, Khalil Albawy, Valentin Cartillier.[4]


Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members may have had a chance to read the April 2003 edition of the Sea and Waterfront Voice. The edition marks the 20th anniversary of the Maritime Unionist Socialist Activities Association (MUSAA).

A glance through the Voice's pages will reveal a number of familiar names. MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin, national assistant secretary Mick Doleman and numerous other MUA officials from various branches have all contributed articles.

The overlap between MUA officials and MUSAA members is considerable. Crumlin is the national secretary of MUSAA. MUA Central NSW (Sydney) branch secretary Robert Coombs is a local MUSAA leader. Around half of all MUA officials are also MUSAA members.

MUSAA traces its origins back to the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). Up until the 1950s, the CPA had blindly followed the policy dictates of USSR leader Joseph Stalin.

A series of events shook the CPA to its core.

In 1956, three years after Stalin's death, Nikita Khrushchev gave his "secret speech", denouncing the political terror, murder of opponents and the "cult of personality" that occurred under Stalin.

That same year, the CPA refused to condemn the Red Army invasion of Hungary that crushed a workers' uprising. A wave of resignations from the party soon followed.

Another crisis hit the CPA in 1968, when Soviet tanks were sent to Czechoslovakia to put down the "Prague Spring" uprising.

This time, the CPA came out in opposition to the Soviet invasion. This marked the beginning of its shift away from blind allegiance to the twists and turns of Soviet foreign policy. However, CPA leaders responded to the negative experience of Stalinism by abandoning Marxist ideas and shifting rightward towards the Labor Party.

The CPA membership became polarised between the majority who denounced the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the minority who supported it.

Those who defended the use of Soviet tanks eventually split from the CPA and formed the pro-Moscow Socialist Party of Australia (SPA) in 1971.

The SPA was to suffer its own split a decade later.

In 1983, Prime Minister Bob Hawke's newly elected Labor government introduced the Prices and Incomes Accord, with the support of trade union officials from the CPA. The accord was an agreement between the federal government and the Australian Council of Trade Unions that limited unions engaging in industrial action for better wages and conditions, in return for promised increases to the "social wage".

The accord resulted in a sharp decrease in the real value of wages, a big increase in corporate profits and the weakening of delegate structures and union power.

The SPA and other left groups correctly opposed the accord as a tool for driving down workers' wages and living standards, while shackling unions.

A large group of SPA union officials, however, disagreed with the party's anti-accord position. They preferred to side with the Hawke government and ALP and CPA union officials in implementing the anti-worker accord.

A handful of these pro-accord officials were expelled from the SPA in 1983. A series of resignations from the SPA soon followed.

The split was mainly concentrated in NSW. The union officials who left the SPA included Pat Clancy, Bill Brown, Tom McDonald and Stan Sharkey from the Building Workers' Industrial Union (BWIU). Others were Pat Geragthy from the Seamen's Union of Australia (SUA), Tom Supple, Merv McFarlane and Wal Jennings from the Waterside Workers' Federation (WWF) and Don Henderson and John Garrett from the Firemen and Deckhands Union (FDU).

Numerous MUSAA members also joined the avidly pro-Moscow and pro-accord Association of Communist Unity (ACU) that was formed by Clancy, Brown, McDonald and Sharkey in 1984.

Union officials from the ACU and MUSAA extended their support for Labor and the accord through to supporting Hawke's attempt to smash the militant Builders' Labourers Federation (BLF).

Under Norm Gallagher, the BLF was one of the few unions that refused to accept the accord's wage-restraint proposals. Special legislation was introduced by the federal, NSW and Victorian Labor governments to de-register the BLF.

The main union to benefit from the dismemberment of the BLF was the BWIU, still under the leadership of Clancy, McDonald and Sharkey. They openly co-operated with employers and the police in order to force BLF members into the BWIU. They even drew up their own blacklist of BLF members who were then refused work in the industry.

With the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the original CPA and the ACU in the early 1990s, many MUSAA members joined the Labor Party.

The Socialist Party of Australia renamed itself the Communist Party of Australia in 1996. It appears to have forgiven the earlier sins of MUSAA. The CPA entered into an alliance with MUSAA in 1997, which still exists today.[5]



  1. [1]
  2. [] The Guardian , 1578 JANUARY 23, 2013
  3. [2] The guardian , No 1458, June 9, 2010, page 12
  4. []
  5. [3]