Australian Fabian Society

The Australian Fabians (also known as the Australian Fabian Society) was established in 1947. Inspired by the Fabian Society in the United Kingdom, it is dedicated to Fabianism, the focus on the advancement of socialist ideas through gradual influence and patiently promoting socialist ideals to intellectual circles and groups with power.

An earlier experiment with Fabianism in Australia was initiated in Adelaide in 1891 by the Rev Charles Marson,[1] who had joined the Fabians in London in 1885 and drew in trade unionists like David Charleston, Robert Guthrie and John McPherson as well as social reformers like James & Lucy Morice into the first overseas branch of the UK Fabian Society.[2] The Australian members retained their membership for ten years until the Adelaide branch was wound up in 1902.

The Australian Fabians have historically had close ties with the Australian Labor Party (ALP). This is evidenced by the number of past ALP prime ministers, federal ministers and state premiers who were active members of the Australian Fabians while in office. The role of patron of the Australian Fabians is currently vacant, but ceremonially filled by former Australian prime minister, the late Gough Whitlam.[3] This is a temporary arrangement and the position will be filled when an appropriate person to fund and uphold the society's values is found.

The Australian Fabians have had a significant influence on public policy development in Australia since the Second World War, with many of its members having held influential political offices in Australian governments.


The Australian Fabians' Statement of Purpose states:[4]

Australian Fabians promote the common good and foster the advance of social democracy in Australia through reasoned debate by:
a) Contributing to progressive political thinking by generating ideas that reflect a level of thinking that meets the challenges of the times.

b) Contributing to a progressive political culture by disseminating these ideas and getting them into the public domain.
c) Creating an active movement of people who identify with, are engaged in and who encourage progressive political debate and reform, and

d) Influencing the ideas and policies of political parties, especially the Australian Labor Party.

Notable members

Prime Ministers


Other members


  1. Sutcliffe,D The Keys of Heaven, biography of Charles Marson
  2. Mathews, Race Australia's First Fabians 1993 Cambridge University Press
  3. "Executive". Australian Fabians. Archived from the original on 2006-08-20.
  4. "Who We Are". Australian Fabians. Archived from the original on 2006-03-16.

External links

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