History can provide a sharp tool in the hands of the labour movement. Political commentators have frequently referred to the advantages for the ALP in having a reasonably well-defined sense of history to refer to. Former Prime Minister Keating was commonly recognised for his ability to appeal to this in the electorate. History defines the labour movement and its future. To crudely paraphrase Toynbee: ‘if you have no history, you have no future, and if you have no future, you’re history’. Or to put this another way, ‘you cannot know the direction you’re going in unless you know where you’ve been’.
Recommended CitationMarkey, Ray, The Contemporary Relevance of Labour History, Illawarra Unity - Journal of the Illawarra Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, 1(2), 1997, 3-15.