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The Italian influence on political change in the Murrumbidgee NSW 1941-2007.

At the beginning of last century, the hero of Joseph Furphy's Such is Life roamed around a Riverina the extent of which no-one agreed on. These days, statisticians have agreed on the boundaries of the region as shown in the map. This article focusses on the valley of the Murrumbidgee River, from Narrandera in the east to Hay in the west. Before Narrandera the last hills of the southwest slopes level out and from there to Hay the land is flat. Annual rainfall which just east of Narrandera is enough for regular wheat cropping, is only 300 mm at Hay. Until the establishment of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) there were no towns between the two, and cattle and sheep grazed the drier land.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The original electoral division within the Riverina was the seat of Murrumbidgee. It has existed in some form or another from the beginning of responsible government in 1856 until the present, and in the Riverina it has always been the largest seat in terms of area. Within the electorate itself, there have sometimes been as many as six subdivisions, but for the last sixty years and more, two of them have dominated: as many as 80 per cent of all the electors have lived in the subdivisions of Griffith and Leeton.

These two subdivisions have long been congruent with the area of the MIA, and they have been home to thousands of native-born Italians and their descendants. (1) By the end of the 1960s, the Municipality of Griffith (formerly Wade Shire) had more people of Italian birth per head of population than any other town or city in NSW or even Australia, and there were also some hundreds of people of Italian birth and their descendants living in the adjoining local government area of Leeton Shire. (2)

In both Leeton and Griffith, most of them derived their living from irrigation farming. Forty years later, it is generally agreed that 60 per cent of the population of the MIA is Italian, or of Italian descent. Why did this concentration occur and why did it endure? How did it affect the Italians' social attitudes and political allegiances? Did it produce a regional political consciousness similar to some other regions in NSW?

The way in which the MIA was established provides part of an answer to all of these questions. After a disastrous drought at the beginning of the twentieth century, the NSW Government began planning a massive public irrigation scheme on the Murrumbidgee River, and by 1913 it had released the first blocks for settlement. The conditions on which they were granted reflected the Labor Government's closer settlement policy which aimed to establish a 'vigorous yeomanry' wherever it could. Originally, most of the blocks were of one or two hectares only, on which orchardists could grow fruit for the government's cannery at nearby Leeton, and there were some 'large area' blocks of about 20 hectares for dairying. All land was available on cheap lease (there was no freehold), but there were strict rules on tenancy to prevent 'landlordism', speculation and aggregation into large estates.

The First World War interrupted settlement but from 1919 the Government encouraged returned soldiers to take up blocks and by 1923 (the peak year) they occupied 878, or almost half, of all the blocks available. But the blocks were too small, the soldiers were inexperienced and sometimes debilitated by the War; then the falling prices of the late 1920s and the Great Depression made it even harder for them to get a decent living. Their failure offered opportunity to prospective Italian settlers:
 Although there were many efficient and industrious farmers among
 the soldier settlers, taken as a group the returned men were not
 conspicuous either for hard work or meek submission to the poor
 living standards that were typical of the MIA at the time. On the
 other hand, both these features were accepted as normal by the
 Italians, for most of them came from poor peasant communities. (3)


On Census Day 1933, there were 444 males and 171 females who had been born in Italy living in Wade Shire, where the town of Griffith was situated. (4) In 1947, the Census found 646 males and 400 females of Italian birth in Wade, and there were probably about another 400 males living close by. (5)

Most of this increase seems to have been due to the migration to the MIA of Italians already in Australia, since Australia received practically no immigrants in the thirties or during the years of the Second World War. But a sizeable colony of Italians had established themselves in the sugar-growing country of Queensland in the twenties, and several of them seemed to have headed south attracted by the kinder climate and better opportunities that the MIA offered. During the war some came involuntarily, as prisoners of war and interned enemy aliens transported to the Riverina area around Griffith and allocated to farm work there. (6) The demand for food during the war years had produced a boom in vegetable growing on the small irrigated blocks, to the great benefit of the local Italians who showed more interest in market gardening than the local Australians. At the 1947 Census, 37 per cent of the Italian-born males in Wade Shire were either employers of labour, or self-employed. Just over three-quarters of them were naturalised Australian citizens. (7)

This does not mean that they had been--to use the official policy term--'assimilated', because pressures to naturalise in the thirties and forties were very strong, and besides Australian citizenship was necessary to securing the bank loan that poor Italians needed if they were to establish themselves on irrigation blocks. It does mean that in 1947 the Italian-born of the MIA had had some experience of Australian society, and some considerable success in establishing themselves in its economy.

These were the people who wrote home to family and relatives to encourage them to migrate, especially after 1954 when the Australian and Italian governments reached agreement on a scheme for assisting Italian immigration. At the 1954 Census, there were 1 617 persons who had been born in Italy living in Wade Shire, and perhaps a total of 4 200 people 'of Italian origin' in the MIA as a whole. By 1966, the peak year, there were just over one thousand more Italian-born living in Wade, and 465 in Leeton Shire. In the entire MIA, the number of people 'of Italian origin' was perhaps 7 300, more than 80 per cent of whom lived in Wade. (8)

In the early stages of this migration particularly, most of the new settlers came from the north of Italy. In the province of Treviso, Cavaso del Tomba and some other villages sent thousands of their inhabitants. Most of this was chain migration, but it was assisted by a bias towards northern Italians in the minds of Australian immigration officials in Canberra and Italy. Most of the migrants came from rural areas and had some experience of farming, although not of irrigation farming. (9)

Typically, their first few years gave them opportunities to learn. They began their new life by living in the home of the family or friends who had sponsored them, and got their board, but often only low wages, in return for work on their sponsors' blocks. In season, the work was hard and the hours long, but their ambition to acquire their own land sustained them. Many of them graduated to 'home maintenance' blocks, small areas which allowed them to grow their own food while working at part employment. Canal digging and maintenance put them in contact with the Australian Workers' Union. (10)

Married men saved to bring out wife and family; bachelors sought wives by proxy, or on a trip home. Banks helped them with loans; they liked Italian borrowers because they were willing to become Australian citizens and worked hard. This was also true of women who worked long hours with their husbands to establish or renovate the blocks.

By the end of the 1960s the hopes of those who had originally planned the MIA were being amply fulfilled, but in a way they had not imagined. There was an industrious and thriving yeomanry, but it was almost entirely Italian. Of the 523 farms between eight and 27 hectares (which made up two-thirds of all farms in the MIA), Italians had 420, or just over 80 per cent. They also owned the great majority of farmlets under eight hectares. (11)

But by then, the aims and methods of the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission, which allocated land and water, had already changed, and would change further. Even by the twenties, the Commission had been criticised for not making larger blocks available, for not allowing the amalgamation of blocks, and for prohibiting freehold tenure. The Commission had relented on all these issues, and by the sixties was planning the release of large area holdings on land outside the original irrigation area. Some of those at Coleambally, about fifty kilometres south of Griffith, were above 300 hectares, and encouraged the growing of rice together with broadacre crops and fat lamb raising. In 1969, only four Italians, as compared with thirty-five Australians, held properties of 291 hectares and over. But another dozen owned properties above 190 hectares, and in the seventies and eighties Italians holding these larger properties increased both in number and proportion. Some share-farmed, sub-leased to others, and became employers of labour. (12)

Other changes accompanied these changes in landholding. The proportion of Italians who earned their living by farming declined. At the 1947 Census, about half of all Italian males of all ages in Wade Shire worked as farmers; by 1971, that proportion was down to a little less than a third, and the growth of white-collar occupations accounted for the difference. (13) The role of women also began to change, and they now only rarely worked on the blocks alongside their husbands. Houses Italians owned became larger and more elaborate, as the owners proclaimed their success. Some of the older generation were thought by then to be millionaires. (14)

The success of the Italian settlers provoked some hostility among the Australians. This had been apparent in the twenties, especially among ex-servicemen who resented the transfer of farms to Italians who, they said, undermined the Australian way of life by working too hard and accepting a lower standard of living. (15) In 1941, the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission prohibited the sale of land to unnaturalised Italians, and when the number of Italians in the MIA began to increase after the war, refused to permit the transfer of farms to 'persons of Italian origin' whether they were naturalised or not. (16) In 1947 the Supreme Court of NSW ruled that the Commission had no power to discriminate in this way, although it was entitled to use its discretion in the granting of individual transfers. The Commission appealed against this decision to the High Court of Australia, which decided that the Commission's decisions were entirely at its own discretion, and not subject to legal jurisdiction. (17)

At another level, prejudice manifested itself in the use of disparaging language and the occasional street brawl. The Italians protected themselves against this behaviour by mirroring their co-operation at work in their social organisation after work. The short distances between the small farms made it easy for them to form a number of clubs which not only supplied food and drink but catered for card games, bocce and other sports. By the 1970s, these clubs had about 3 000 members of Italian birth or descent. They admitted Australians, but Australian membership was small. (18)

There were other divisions in the membership. 'Clubs catered for men, and women remained on the fringe'. (19) The membership of women in the clubs was less than 10 per cent. This was true of clubs whether they catered mainly for Veneti or Calabresi. The North-South division was sharpest in the Catholic Club at Yoogali, where Calabresi were only 3 per cent of the memberhip; and in the Coronation Club, where Veneti were in the same proportion. (20) Some Veneti 'were more open and critical than Australians [on the subject of] their alleged superiority', (21) an attitude reflected in the very low rates of their intermarriage with Calabresi. (22) These social divisions among the Italians were to have some important consequences for the Labor Party and the representation of Griffith and, therefore, the Murrumbidgee electorate in the NSW State Parliament.

The town of Griffith and its nearby irrigation areas corresponded approximately with Wade Shire in the period up to 1984 and constituted a subdivision of the electorate of Murrumbidgee. For the whole of the period, Griffith subdivision was easily the numerically largest in the electorate. Leeton, which adjoined Griffith on its eastern boundary, was the next largest; in 1984 it had about 7 500 electors compared with 11 500 in Griffith. (23)

When Italians began to arrive in the MIA in large numbers after the Second World War, the Member for the Murrumbidgee was [Ambrose] George Enticknap. In 1953, at the first election held after the Italian-Australian Agreement on assisted immigration in 1951, Enticknap was again the Labor candidate. In the Griffith subdivision, he won 60 per cent of the primary vote, and held Murrumbidgee with 69 per cent of all votes cast. He was appointed Minister for Conservation, which positioned him perfectly to legislate on the supply and use of land and water for irrigation and farming. He held that post most of the time until his retirement in 1965, by when he had represented Murrumbidgee as a Labor member continuously for twenty-four years. At his last election in 1962, (24) he had three opponents, and won after the distribution of one of the minor candidate's preferences. (25)

Labor's candidate at the 1965 election was Albert Jaime ('AI') Grassby. Grassby was a journalist who had become a Field Officer with the Department of Agriculture. In the course of his work, he visited hundreds of farms in the district. He also became locally famous as the presenter of a regular radio music session, and the organiser of a social club which catered for all immigrants, but especially attracted Southern Italians who by then had come to Griffith in such numbers as to reduce significantly the Northerners' majority. (26)

Grassby used his contacts to build new branches and revive old ones. After narrowly gaining pre-selection, he went on to win Murrumbidgee, although not resoundingly: even after the distribution of all the other three candidates' preferences, he had only 52 per cent of the final vote. But in the subdivision of Griffith, the electors gave him 60 per cent of the primary vote, and he topped the poll in all of its 16 booths except two small ones.

Grassby did even better at the next general elections in 1968, when just on seven out of every ten electors in the Griffith subdivision gave him their primary vote, and his primary vote throughout the whole electorate rose to 63 per cent. But soon after, he resigned as Member for Murrumbidgee to contest (and win) the Federal seat of which it was a large part. This meant that Labor had to find another candidate for a by-election in 1970.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This was Alan Robert Lindsay ('Lin') Gordon, who by the usual tests had excellent qualifications: a pharmacist at Leeton he had been President of Leeton's Chamber of Commerce, a district golf and tennis champion, and Leeton Shire President. (27) But at the by-election, Labor's primary vote in Murrumbidgee dropped by over nine percentage points to 54; in Griffith subdivision, it fell from Grassby's 69 to a bare majority of 50 per cent.

Once elected, Gordon was able to strengthen his position. Like his predecessor Enticknap, he was appointed to portfolios which oversaw the use of irrigation water and land. During his time as Minister, the Government built or rebuilt a number of dams and weirs on the Murrumbidgee, and he was well placed to help constituents with their problems of land and water use. (28) When he contested Murrumbidgee for the last time in 1981, he won with an overall primary vote which was almost the same as at his first election, despite a very unfavourable boundary change. In Griffith subdivision, his primary vote was up three percentage points from what it had been then, to 53. Labor's vote was a long way short of Grassby's best, but it was still enough for a fairly comfortable victory, and to continue Labor's forty-year hold on the seat.

The 1984 election ended that. With Gordon now in retirement, Labor's candidate was Margaret ('Peggy') Delves. She had been his Electorate Secretary for eight years, knew the electorate well, came from a well-known local farming family, and worked hard campaigning. (29) She faced three opponents; her primary vote was well below what Gordon had scored in 1981 in all four subdivisions, but most of all in Griffith, where it slumped from 53 to 38 per cent. The eventual winner and the new Member for the Murrumbidgee was Adrian Cruickshank, who was the Country Party candidate. That Party (re-named the National Party) has held the seat ever since.

All explanations of Labor's defeat agree that one of the causes was that its candidate was a woman; the electors, and particularly the Southern Italians, were not ready for that. But most explanations also agree on something more: that A1 Grassby's defence of the Southern Italians involved in drug trafficking and in the murder of Donald Bruce Mackay punished the innocent with the guilty, and that this by implication harmed the Labor Party's electoral prospects.

Drug trafficking around Griffith had attracted national attention after the murder and disappearance in 1977 of Mackay, a Liberal candidate at elections in 1973, 1974 and 1976. He had passed on information about marijuana cultivation which led to the conviction of several Southern Italians and the loss of millions of dollars for their syndicate, which was widely believed to have arranged Mackay's murder. (30) Northern Italians in Griffith wished to make it clear that they were not the kind of people who would associate with criminals. They did so by rejecting Grassby's attempts to implicate Mackay's family and his defence of Southern Italians; they distanced themselves from him and his political party.

This reasoning helps to explain further the catastrophic drop in Labor's vote in the Griffith subdivision. But like the explanation in terms of prejudice against a female candidate, neither it nor even the two together can explain the increasing and enduring hold of the Country/National Party on the seat of Murrumbidgee since 1984. A more satisfying explanation is there was a tension between underlying trends and the personal vote of the Labor candidates.

What happened at Coleambally suggests an explanation of this kind. The Coleambally area lies just south of the original MIA, and it developed as a large holding irrigation area under the care of the Member for Murrumbidgee when he was Minister for Conservation in successive Labor governments in the fifties and sixties. Holdings were generally larger than 300 hectares, and title to land was offered in fee simple. The new owners grew wealthy through large-scale rice growing and mixed farming. A growing proportion of them were Italians and their sons who had got their start on small plots in the old irrigation area.

In 1971, at Lin Gordon's first general election, the Labor primary vote at Coleambally was 37 per cent. It sagged as low as 21 per cent in the seventies, and recovered but only to 36 per cent at his last general election in 1981. Thinking back to the origins of the Coleambally farmers, Gordon said: 'They came to vote for us on their bicycles, and they came to vote against us in their Mercedes'.

At the same time, similar if less dramatic changes were occurring in the old irrigation area. A relaxing of regulations and changes to the law in the seventies allowed the amalgamation of farms and made easier their purchase with fee simple title; farmers were allowed a freer choice in their use of water and land, and they shared in the prosperity that followed the strong demand for the MIA's primary products. By 1984, the MIA 'had changed from being a workers' area into being a farm owners' area', (31) and the years that followed confirmed that trend.

The electors who gave the National Party consistent victories in the MIA after 1984 were no longer typically the Italian immigrant who had arrived in the post-war immigration boom. The agricultural sector continued to employ fewer Italians after 1984; by 2001, only about 19 per cent of the workforce in Leeton were employed in agriculture, and about 17 per cent in Griffith. Many of those who still worked at farming had already 'climbed the agricultural ladder' by the early seventies, and the trend continued. They had graduated from lessees to proprietors, and sometimes employers. Their prosperity was established. Very few native-born Italians replaced them at the bottom of the ladder. By the seventies, improving economic conditions in Italy eventually ended the flow of immigrants to Australia. As the post-war immigrants aged, those who replaced them in the workforce were 'of Italian descent'. Those who remained in agriculture no longer worked long hours on small blocks to pay off bank loans, and increasingly sons and daughters took white-collar jobs in the service industries and professions.

Security in the larger society paralleled security in getting a living. In the fifties and sixties the Italians of the MIA were deliberately inconspicuous in the wider society for fear of provoking resentment. They had banded together in clubs, and built up their own organisations of mutual help. More socially and politically skilled leaders among them had acted as their agents in administrative and political matters. (32) This mode of dependence was changing by the eighties. In 1984, Griffith elected its first 'Italian' mayor. The number of Italians on the town council had increased to four (of a total of twelve) by 1990. (33) Before he was elected in 1984, Adrian Cruickshank's campaign had publicised the candidate's interest in learning Italian. Years later, the electors of Leeton and Griffith chose as their representative and Member for Murrumbidgee Adrian Piccoli, a son of Italian migrants. By that time, Tony Catanzariti, another son of Italian migrants, had stood, unsuccessfully, as the endorsed Labor candidate for Murrumbidgee. In 2003, he was elected as a Member of the Legislative Council.

The careers of the two men are symbolic. Tony Catanzariti's parents were Calabresi who came to the MIA in the 1950s, when he was one year old. He joined the Australian Labor Party in 1969, and became an official of the Party at branch and electorate level. He held office in several Italian social and sporting clubs, and later became a member of several administrative boards and governing bodies: Murrumbidgee Electricity, Riverina Regional Development Board, and the Board of Governors of Charles Sturt University.

Adrian Piccoli's father migrated from Treviso, in Northern Italy, to Griffith in the 1950s. His mother's parents were Italian, but she was born in Australia; similarly, his wife is the daughter of Italian parents who migrated in the 1950s from the province of Friulia, in Northern Italy, and worked on the Snowy River Hydroelectric Scheme. He graduated from the Australian National University in Economics and Law, worked as a solicitor in Griffith, and then became an irrigation rice farmer before being elected as the Member for Murrumbidgee in 1999. His main club and sporting interests have been with the Griffith Rugby Club and the NSW Field and Game Association.

Conclusion

The Italians who came to the MIA after the Second World War joined Italian settlers already well established economically, despite some social and governmental prejudice. The new arrivals found ready accommodation with their sponsors, and ample opportunity for learning the more specialised techniques of irrigation they had been prepared for by their rural background. Like those who had come before the war, they found that their willingness to work long and hard and accept conditions and incomes which some Australians rejected gave them an advantage in acquiring the small cheap blocks that had been the foundation of the MIA.

Part of their success in making their way in the local economy rested on their willingness to work co-operatively, and that co-operation carried over into the ways in which they adapted to Australian society. They formed organisations of self-help, which interacted with official administration through recognised spokesmen, and they founded clubs for the enjoyment of their leisure time. But they did not form a homogeneous community. The Veneti brought to Griffith, and maintained, their belief in superiority over Southerners, and traditional male attitudes towards women remained strong into the 1980s.

Traditional thinking of this kind also helped end local Labor's forty-three year continuous hold on the seat of Murrumbidgee until 1984. But some, and occasionally much, of that support had been personal. Changes to the regulations governing the use of water and irrigation land coupled with strong demand for MIA produce had created among the immigrant Italians and their descendants a class of farmers who were wealthy owners of land, not lessees or low-paid labourers working long hard hours to pay off loans. The increasing numbers who did not stay on the land worked at white collar jobs and made their way in the professions.

This greater prosperity accompanied the growing ability of Italians and their descendants to control their lives beyond the farm and the workplace. They were no longer people of little consequence in their local economy and society. Some of them thought of themselves as people of prosperity and greater status than those who had for so long voted Labor--to the great benefit of the National Party. In Murrumbidgee, Griffith and Leeton subdivisions ceased to be reliable Labor enclaves, and their voting profiles increasingly resembled that of the electorate as a whole.

Notes

(1) Other authors have used the terms 'Italian', 'Italian descent' and 'First-generation Italian' in ambiguous and confusing ways. We use the term 'Italian' to refer only to those born in Italy.

(2) In the 1940s, both Griffith and Leeton local government areas had other names. Griffith was Wade Shire; Leeton, Willimbong.

(3) Trevor Langford-Smith and John Rutherford, Water and Land, Canberra, 1966, p. 98.

(4) NSW, Birthplaces of Males and Females, Census of the Commonwealth of Australia 1933.

(5) C.A. Price, Southern Europeans in Australia, Melbourne, 1963. Price does not publish his estimate of the female Italian-born, and does not define Griffith in Census terms; neither do most other writers on the subject.

(6) See, for example, E.O. Schlunke's short story, 'The Enthusiastic Prisoner' in The Penguin Century of Australian Stories, Melbourne, 2000.

(7) Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1947, NSW, Occupational Status, Birthplace, and Nationality.

(8) NSW, Birthplaces in Census of the Commonwealth of Australia 1954 and 1966. The estimates for people of 'Italian origin', were obtained by applying the estimated ratio quoted for 1954 to the 1966 figures.

(9) Stephanie Lindsay Thompson, Australia Through Italian Eyes, Melbourne, 1980, p. 22; and Price, Southern Europeans in Australia, p. 114.

(10) Thompson, Australia Through Italian Eyes, p. 102; W.D. Borrie, Italians and Germans in Australia, Melbourne, 1964, pp. 95 and 142.

(11) Rina Huber, From Pasta to Pavlova, Brisbane, 1977, Table 10, p. 68.

(12) Huber, Pasta to Pavlova, p. 68.

(13) Industry and Labour Force, Census of the Commonwealth of Australia 1947 and 1971.

(14) Huber, Pasta to Pavlova, p. 75.

(15) Langford-Smith, Water and Land, p. 97. This resentment was not confined to Griffith; see Thompson, Australia Through Italian Eyes, p. 75.

(16) Langford-Smith, Water and Land, p. 98. He attributed this decision 'at least in part' to pressure from the Griffith Returned Soldiers' League.

(17) Langford-Smith, Water and Land, p. 99. The Commission subsequently began to use its discretion to grant transfers.

(18) Huber, Pasta to Pavlova, pp. 97-115; table 20.

(19) Huber, Pasta to Pavlova, p. 114.

(20) Huber, Pasta to Pavlova, table 20.

(21) Price, Southern Europeans in Australia, p. 254

(22) Huber, Pasta to Pavlova, p. 89.

(23) In 1966, applying the estimate quoted for 1954 in footnote 8, there were about 5 900 people of Italian birth and descent in Griffith subdivision. In 1965, 7 507 electors had voted there.

(24) All electoral statistics are taken from the official publications General Election for the Legislative Assembly--Statistical Returns, except for those for 1970, which come from its By-Election equivalent.

(25) The influence of the Democratic Labor Party on electoral results in Murrumbidgee was negligible. For discussion, see the article by Whitford and Boadle in this volume, JRAHS.

(26) Heather Radi et al, Biographical Register of the NSW Parliament, 1901-1970, Canberra, 1979, p. 116.

(27) Radi et al, p. 112.

(28) Interview, Lin Gordon, Leeton, 28 May 2007, by Greg Robinson. Gordon doubted whether the work would have been done if he had been only the Member, and not the Minister.

(29) These details and all comments on elections 1970-1984 are based on interviews at Griffith and Leeton in March 2004 with A.R.L. Gordon; Les Spence, President Griffith Branch ALP; Tony Catanzariti MLC; Adrian Piccoli, National Party Member for Murrumbidgee; and his Electorate Secretary, Lyn Sparkes. The author thanks all of them for their patience and their frankness. See also J. Hagan, K. Turner, and Nancy Blacklow, 'The Riverina', in (ed.) J. Hagan, People and Politics in Regional NSW, Sydney, 2006.

(30) Evan Whitton, Can of Worms, Sydney, 1986, p. 306.

(31) Lyn Sparkes, Interview, Griffith, March 2004; and Lin Gordon, interview by Greg Robinson, Leeton, 28 May 2007.

(32) For a discussion of the Griffith Italians' approach to political self-confidence, see B. Kelly 'Ethnic Participation in Australian Political Systems: A Growth Case Study', in James Jupp, Ethnic Politics in Australia, Sydney, 1984.

(33) S. Castles, C. Alcorso, G. Rando and E. Vasta, Australia's Italians, Sydney, 1992, p.67. In 2007 six out of the twelve councillors including the mayor are 'of Italian descent'. The authors wish to thank Bernadette Kelly for helpful comment, and Greg Robinson for an interview he conducted on their behalf.

JIM HAGAN AND KEN TURNER

University of Wollongong

Booker Bay, NSW
Table 1: The declining ALP vote in Murrumbidgee from 1984

Year Overall % % in Griffith % in Leeton No. of
 of formal subdivision subdivision candidates
 primaries (Labor final %)

1984 38.7 38.22 42.07 4 (48.48)
1988 31.58 29.55 35.85 2
1991 29.3 32.82 31.73 5 (38.21)
1995 39.83 43.85 49.01 2
1999 32.7 37.14 37.14 5 (38.02)
2003 29.93 31.91 37.82 3 (32.17)
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Author:Hagan, Jim; Turner, Ken
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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