Splitting image

Dr Evatt, the ALP Split and the NSW Steering Committee
Arthur Gietzelt

The landmark 1954-55 Labor Party split is re-examined in Arthur Gietzelt's posthumously published account.

'I remember crying on December 10, 1949 when Ben Chifley was defeated by Menzies. That was 66 years ago next Saturday. Since the 50s, I have spent a lot of my life in this building, starting as a Young Labor delegate, a delegate to Trades and the Labor Council and attending the Henry Lawson Labor College. And doing all the other things that you do in this building. It's all here in Splitting Image, the book by former Senator and Left leader Arthur Gietzelt and his family. It deals with Dr Evatt and the ALP Split and the formation of the Steering Committee. It's our own proud history of the first two decades.'

- Bruce Childs, remarks at the Sydney Trades Hall, 8 December 2016.

Arthur Gietzelt, who died in January 2014, was a key insider in the 'Great Split' and a strong supporter of the then leader of the federal parliamentary Labor Party, Doc Evatt. This book offers an important exposé of how Labor's left wing fought for the party's traditions and values against 'The Movement', the notoriously secretive organisation led by the Catholic layman B.A. Santamaria. The Movement attempted to take over the party, an ambition that also caused ructions within the Catholic Church.

Arthur Gietzelt AO was a member and later secretary of the NSW Steering Committee, a life member of the ALP, and a member of the ALP National Executive from 1971, rising to Junior Vice-President in 1983 and Senior Vice-President in 1986. He was also the mayor of Sutherland Shire for nine terms, a Labor Senator, and the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in the Hawke government.

A distinguished friend of the Evatt Foundation, Arthur has written an avowedly participant account of the Split, and a memoir that will also stand as a historical document. 'This book', as ANU historian, Frank Bongiorno, wrote, 'provides a perpective on how a man of the Left understood these events, times and people'.

Splitting Image comprises 26 chapters, some 400 pages, and is extensively referenced and illustrated with many rare and valuable images.

Title: Gietzelt, A. (2016), Splitting Image: Dr Evatt, the ALP Split and the NSW Steering Committee. The Gietzelt Family.

Paperback, illustrated: RRP: $15.00, viii+389 pp.

The book is available from the Evatt Foundation:

Print: $15.00 + $14.50 postage: $29.50

ISBN 978-0-646-95544-5