Australian politics, society & culture

Stephen Holt

Issue: 
LE Body text: 

James Kirby is correct to say that Australia’s first ‘rich list’ was created for the Communist Party ( ‘Owners of Australia’, May 2011) but he does not mention the true pioneer. The 1955 Communist pamphlet Who Owns Queensland? piggybacked off an already existing template. In 1937 James Rawling, the Communist Party’s highly effective research officer, wrote Who Owns Australia? Rawling’s brief was to expose how the riches of Australia were controlled by a tiny group of interlocked financiers and monopolists. His punchy pamphlet went through four editions and was an important expression of the Communist Party’s attempt, in the late 1930s, to engage in a more populist and less sectarian style of politics. Australia needs to acknowledge his significant contribution.

Stephen Holt

Canberra, ACT