Saturday, June 10, 2006

Aussie socialist was first leader of New Zealand Labour Party

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1868 Harry Holland (Henry Edmund Holland; (d. October 8, 1933), Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia-born New Zealand writer (Red Roses on the Highways, 1924) politician and unionist.

In 1890 Holland, unemployed, left the Salvation Army, believing that its response to poverty was inadequate, joining the small Australian Socialist League two years later. Following this, with his friend Tom Batho ('The Vag'), he began a career of socialist journalism, launching the Sydney Socialist in October 1894. The year 1896 saw him convicted of libelling the superintendent of the New South Wales Labour Bureau, and he served three months in prison. On his release, he transferred his newspaper to Newcastle, calling it the Socialist Journal of the Northern People, then in 1900 he published it out of Sydney as the People.

In 1901 he organised the Tailoresses' Union of New South Wales. In 1909, after having worked editing labour papers in Grenfell and Queanbeyan and launching the International Socialist Review for Australasia, Holland was convicted of sedition (he had advocated violent revolution against capitalism during the Broken Hill miners’ strike) and was jailed for two years. The labor movement also widely condemned his militancy, and in 1911 Holland suffered an emotional collapse. In 1912 he left Australia for New Zealand. The following year he was imprisoned again for three months for the use of seditious language. In 1916 he helped form the New Zealand Labour Party and became its first leader, was elected to Parliament in 1918 and occupied the chair of that party until his death. In 1933, Holland died of a heart attack and was given a state funeral. His successor, the moderate Michael Joseph Savage, went on to lead the Labour Party to victory in the 1935 elections.

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Blogger Idiot/Savant said...

I was going to argue that the first leader of the NZLP was in fact Alfred Hindmarsh, but his position seems to have been informal. Meanwhile, if you're wanting to know about Holland's sedition conviction in NZ, there's more here.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Pip said...

Thanks for the useful info. Please excuse my delay ... this comment slipped between the cracks.

1:19 PM  

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