This article examines the case study of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) from December 2006 to October 2013. During this period the party fought three federal elections. In 2007 they won government after 11 years in opposition. In 2010 they were required to form a minority government to stay in power and in 2013 they were comprehensively defeated. Beneath the surface though, party leaders were able to exercise agency to stretch their influence beyond their prescribed authority and to contribute directly to unexpected structural reform in the party. Altering the way the party leader was selected had up to this point been resisted by Australia's major parties. This article will explore the context in which this period of stretch and reform occurred and will compare the ALP case to the pre-existing literature on institutional stretch and expansion of the leadership selectorate.
- party leaders