Joseph Benedict Chifley was an Australian politician who served as the 16th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1945 to 1949. He was leader of the Labor Party from 1945 until his death. Chifley was born in New South Wales, he joined the state railways after leaving school qualifying as an engine driver. He was prominent in the trade union movement before entering politics, was a director of The National Advocate. After several previous unsuccessful candidacies, Chifley was elected to parliament in 1928. In 1931, he was appointed Minister for Defence in the government of James Scullin, he served in cabinet for less than a year before losing his seat at the 1931 election, which saw the government suffer a landslide defeat. After his electoral defeat, Chifley remained involved in politics as a party official, siding with the federal Labor leadership against the Lang Labor faction, he served on a royal commission into the banking system in 1935, in 1940 became a senior public servant in the Department of Munitions.
Chifley was re-elected to parliament that year, on his third attempt since 1931. He was appointed Treasurer in the new Curtin Government in 1941, as one of the few Labor MPs with previous ministerial experience; the following year Chifley was additionally made Minister for Postwar Reconstruction, making him one of the most powerful members of the government. He became prime minister following Curtin's death in office in 1945, defeating caretaker prime minister Frank Forde in a leadership ballot. At the 1946 election, Chifley was re-elected with a reduced majority – the first time that an incumbent Labor government had won re-election; the war had ended a month after he took office, over the following four years his government embarked on an ambitious program of social reforms and nation-building schemes. These included the expansion of the welfare state, a large-scale immigration program, the establishment of the Australian National University, ASIO, the Snowy Mountains Scheme; some of the new legislation was challenged in the High Court, as a result the constitution was amended to give the federal government extended powers over social services.
Some of Chifley's more interventionist economic policies were poorly received by Australian business an attempt to nationalise banks. His government was defeated at the 1949 election, which brought Robert Menzies' Liberal Party to power for the first time, he stayed on as Leader of the Opposition until his death, which came a few months after the 1951 election. For his contributions to post-war prosperity, Chifley is regarded as one of Australia's greatest prime ministers, he is held in high regard by the Labor Party, with his "light on the hill" speech seen as seminal in both the history of the party and the broader Australian labour movement. Joseph Benedict Chifley was born at 29 Havannah Street, New South Wales, on 22 September 1885, he was the first of three sons born to Mary Anne and Patrick Chifley II. His father – a blacksmith – was born in Bathurst to Irish immigrants from County Tipperary, while his mother was born in County Fermanagh, in present-day Northern Ireland. At the age of five, Chifley was sent to live with his widowed grandfather, Patrick Chifley I, who had a small farm at Limekilns.
An aunt, Mary Bridget Chifley, kept house for them. Chifley began his education at the local state school, known as a "half-time school" due to it being too small to offer daily classes, he moved back to his parents' home at the age of 13, following his grandfather's death in January 1899, attended a Patrician Brothers school for about two years. He was a voracious reader from a young age, would supplement his limited formal education by attending classes at night schools or mechanics' institutes. After leaving school, Chifley's first job was as a cashier's assistant at a local department store, he worked at a tannery for a period, in September 1903 joined the New South Wales Government Railways as a "shop boy" at the Bathurst locomotive shed. Over the following decade, he was promoted through the ranks to engine-cleaner and fireman, finally in March 1914 to engine-driver; the position of driver was considered prestigious, Chifley had to sit various examinations before being certified. He developed an intimate technical understanding of his locomotives, became a lecturer and instructor at the Bathurst Railway Institute.
Chifley drove both goods passenger trains. He was based in Bathurst and worked on the Main Western line, except for a few months in 1914 when he drove on the Main Southern line and worked out of Harden. Chifley became involved with the labour movement as a member of the Locomotive Enginemen's Association, he never held executive office, preferring to work as an organiser, but did serve as a divisional delegate to state and federal conferences. He developed a reputation for compromise, maintaining good relations with both the railway management and the more militant sections of the union. However, Chifley was one of the local leaders of the 1917 general strike, as a result was dismissed from the railway, he and most of the other strikers were reinstated, but lost seniority and related privileges. Despite repeated lobbying, their pre-1917 benefits were not restored until 1925. After the strike, the state government of William Holman de-registered their union, placing it at a severe disadvantage against other railway unions.
Chifley worked to secure its re-registration, which occurred in 1921, and
Treasurer of Australia
The Treasurer of Australia is the minister in the Government of Australia responsible for government expenditure and revenue raising. The Treasurer plays a key role in the economic policy of the government; the current holder of the position is Josh Frydenberg, whose term began on 24 August 2018. The Treasurer administers his functions through the Department of the Treasury and a range of other government agencies. According to constitutional convention, the Treasurer is always a member of the Parliament of Australia with a seat in the House of Representatives; the office is seen as equivalent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the United Kingdom or the Secretary of the Treasury in the United States or, in some other countries, the finance minister. The Treasurer is the minister in charge of government expenditure; the Treasurer oversees economic policy: fiscal policy is within the Treasurer's direct responsibility, while monetary policy is implemented by the politically independent Reserve Bank of Australia, the head of, appointed by the Treasurer.
The Treasurer oversees financial regulation. Each year in May, the Treasurer presents the Federal Budget to the Parliament; the Prime Minister and Treasurer are traditionally members of the House, but the Constitution does not have such a requirement. The Treasurer is a senior government post. Service as Treasurer is seen as an important qualification for serving as Prime Minister: to date, six Treasurers have gone on to be Prime Minister. Paul Keating and Wayne Swan are the only two to have been named "Euromoney Finance Minister of the Year" by Euromoney magazine. Along with the Treasurer, other ministers have responsibility for the Department of the Treasury; the Treasurer together with these other ministers are known as the "Treasury Ministers". At present, the Treasury Minister positions are: Treasurer Minister for Revenue and Financial Services Minister for Small BusinessThe work of the Department of Finance is related to the work of the Department of the Treasury; the ministers who have responsibility for the Department of Finance are: Minister for Finance Special Minister of State Eleven organisations nominally fall under the auspices of the Australian Treasurer.
The agencies undertake a range of activities aimed at achieving strong sustainable economic growth and the improved well-being of Australians. This entails the provision of policy advice to portfolio ministers who seek to promote a sound macroeconomic environment, it entails the effective implementation and administration of policies that fall within the portfolio ministers' responsibilities. The Department of the Treasury creates reports for four output groups; these groups are macroeconomic, fiscal and markets: Macroeconomic reports include: domestic economic policy advice and forecasting. Fiscal reports include: budget policy advice and coordination. Revenue reports include: income support policy advice. Markets reports include: foreign investment policy administration. In addition, the Royal Australian Mint is responsible for producing Australia's circulating currency; the Australian Bureau of Statistics is Australia's official statistical agency. Its reports are created for informed decision-making and discussion within governments and the community, based on the provision of a high quality and responsive national statistical service.
It principally relates to the production of economic and social statistics. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission outputs are directed at enhanced social and economic welfare of the Australian community by fostering competitive, efficient and informed Australian markets, it strives for compliance with competition, fair trading and consumer protection laws and appropriate remedies when the law is not followed. The Australian Office of Financial Management manages the Commonwealth's net debt portfolio, its reports on debt management directed at ensuring that the Commonwealth net debt portfolio is managed at least cost, subject to the Government's policies and risk references. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is the financial supervisor responsible for prudentially regulating the banking, other deposit-taking and superannuation industries, it aims at enhanced public confidence in Australia's financial institutions through a framework of prudential regulation which balances financial safety and efficiency, competition and competitive neutrality.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is the independent government body that enforces and administers the Corporations Law and Consumer Protection Law for investments and general insurance and banking. Its outputs aim at a fair and efficient financial market characterised by integrity and transparency and supporting confident and informed participation of investors and consumers. Outputs include: policy and guidance about the laws administered by ASIC.
National Party of Australia
The National Party of Australia is an Australian political party. Traditionally representing graziers and rural voters it began as the Australian Country Party in 1920 at a federal level, it would briefly adopt the name National Country Party in 1975, before adopting its current name in 1982. Federally, in New South Wales, to an extent in Victoria and in Western Australia, it has, in government, been the minor party in a centre-right Coalition with the Liberal Party of Australia, its leader has served as Deputy Prime Minister. In Opposition the Coalition was maintained, but otherwise still continued to work in co-operation with the Liberal Party of Australia. In Queensland however, they were the senior coalition party between 1925 and 2008, after which they merged with the junior Liberal Party of Australia to form the Liberal National Party; the current leader of the National Party is Michael McCormack, who won a leadership spill following Barnaby Joyce's resignation in February 2018. The deputy leader of the Nationals, since 7 December 2017, is Bridget McKenzie.
The Country Party was formally founded in 1913 in Western Australia, nationally in 1920 from a number of state-based parties such as the Victorian Farmers' Union and the Farmers and Settlers Party of New South Wales. Australia's first Country Party was founded in 1912 by Harry J. Stephens, editor of The Farmer & Settler, but under fierce opposition from rival newspapers, failed to gain momentum; the VFU won a seat in the House of Representatives at the Corangamite by-election held in December 1918, with the help of the newly introduced preferential voting system. At the 1919 federal election the state-based Country Parties won federal seats in New South Wales and Western Australia, they began to win seats in state parliaments. In 1920 the Country Party was established as a national party led by William McWilliams from Tasmania. In his first speech as leader, McWilliams laid out the principles of the new party, stating "we crave no alliance, we spurn no support but we intend drastic action to secure closer attention to the needs of primary producers" McWilliams was deposed as party leader in favour of Dr Earle Page in April 1921 following instances where McWilliams voted against the party line.
McWilliams would leave the Country Party to sit as an Independent. According to historian B. D. Graham, the graziers who operated the sheep stations were politically conservative, they disliked the Labor Party, which represented their workers, feared that Labor governments would pass unfavorable legislation and listen to foreigners and communists. The graziers were satisfied with the marketing organisation of their industry, opposed any change in land tenure and labour relations, advocated lower tariffs, low freight rates, low taxes. On the other hand, Graham reports, the small farmers, not the graziers, founded the Country party; the farmers advocated government intervention in the market through price support schemes and marketing pools. The graziers politically and financially supported the Country party, which in turn made the Country party more conservative; the Country Party's first election as a united party, in 1922, saw it in an unexpected position of power. It won enough seats to deny the Nationalists an overall majority, was the Nationalists' only realistic coalition partner.
However, Page let it be known that his party would not serve under Hughes, forced his resignation. Page entered negotiations with the Nationalists' new leader, Stanley Bruce, for a coalition government. Page's terms were stiff—five seats in a Cabinet of 11, including the Treasurer portfolio and the second rank in the ministry for himself. Nonetheless, Bruce agreed, the "Bruce-Page Ministry" was formed—thus beginning the tradition of the party's leader ranking second in Coalition cabinets. Page remained dominant in the party until 1939 and served as an interim Prime Minister between the death of Joseph Lyons and the election of Robert Menzies as his successor, but Page's refusal to serve under Menzies led to his resignation as leader; the coalition was re-formed under Archie Cameron in 1940, continued until October 1941 despite the election of Arthur Fadden as leader after the 1940 Election. Fadden was well regarded within conservative circles and proved to be a loyal deputy to Menzies in the difficult circumstances of 1941.
When Menzies was forced to resign as Prime Minister, the UAP was so bereft of leadership that Fadden succeeded him. However, the two independents, propping up the government rejected Fadden's budget and brought the government down. Fadden stood down in favour of Labor leader John Curtin; the Fadden-led Coalition made no headway against Curtin, was defeated in the 1943 election. After that loss, Fadden became deputy Leader of the Opposition under Menzies, a role that continued after Menzies folded the UAP into the Liberal Party of Australia in 1944. Fadden remained a loyal partner of Menzies, though he was still keen to assert the independence of his party. Indeed, in the lead up to the 1949 federal election, Fadden played a key role in the defeat of the Chifley Labor government making inflammatory claims about the "socialist" nature of the Labor Party, which Menzies could "clarify" or repudiate as he saw fit, thus appearing more "moderate". In 1949, Fadden became Treasurer in the second Menzies government and remained so until his retirement in 1958.
His successful partnership with Menzies was o
Harold Edward Holt, was an Australian politician who served as the 17th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1966 until his presumed drowning death in 1967. He was the leader of the Liberal Party during that time. Holt lived in Melbourne from a young age, he was the first prime minister born in the 20th century. He studied law at the University of Melbourne and opened his own legal practice. Holt entered parliament at the Fawkner by-election in 1935, he was a protégé of Robert Menzies, was added to cabinet when Menzies became prime minister in 1939. Aged only 30 at the time of his appointment, he held a series of minor portfolios until the government's defeat in 1941, under both Menzies and Arthur Fadden. Holt's tenure was interrupted by a brief stint in the Australian Army, which ended when he was recalled to cabinet following the deaths of three ministers in the 1940 Canberra air disaster, he joined the new Liberal Party upon its creation in 1945. When Menzies regained the prime ministership in 1949, Holt became a senior figure in the new government.
As Minister for Immigration, he expanded the post-war immigration scheme and relaxed the White Australia policy for the first time. He was influential as Minister for Labour and National Service, where he handled several industrial relations disputes. Holt was elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party in 1956, after the 1958 election replaced Arthur Fadden as Treasurer, he oversaw the creation of the Reserve Bank of Australia and the decimal Australian dollar, but was blamed for a credit crunch that cost the Coalition the 1961 election. However, the economy soon rebounded and Holt retained his place as Menzies' heir apparent. Holt became prime minister in January 1966, elected unopposed as Liberal leader following Menzies' retirement, he fought a general election that year, winning a landslide victory. The Holt Government continued the dismantling of the White Australia policy, amended the constitution to give the federal government responsibility for indigenous affairs, took Australia out of the sterling area.
Holt promoted greater engagement with Asia and the Pacific, made visits to a number of East Asian countries. His government expanded Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, maintained close ties with the United States under President Lyndon B. Johnson. While visiting the White House, Holt proclaimed that he was "all the way with L. B. J.", a remark, poorly received at home. After just under two years in office, Holt disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach, Victoria, in rough conditions, his body was never recovered, he was declared dead in absentia. Holt was the third Australian prime minister to die in office, was succeeded by John McEwen on an interim basis and by John Gorton, his death was commemorated in a number of ways, among them by the establishment of the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre. Holt was born on 5 August 1908 at his parents' home in Stanmore, New South Wales, he was the first of two sons born to Thomas James Holt. His parents had married seven months before his birth, in January 1908.
On his father's side, Holt was descended from James Holt, a cobbler from Birmingham, who arrived in New South Wales in 1829. His paternal grandfather, Thomas Holt Sr. owned a large farming property in Nubba, was twice elected mayor of nearby Wallendbeen. Holt's father trained as a schoolteacher in Sydney and when Harold was born worked as a physical education teacher at the Cleveland Street School in Surry Hills. Holt's mother was born in Eudunda, South Australia, had Cornish, English and Irish ancestry, his maternal grandmother Hannah Maria Berkholz was a Barossa German born in Angaston, South Australia. In 1914, Holt's parents moved to Adelaide, where his father became the licensee of a hotel in Payneham, he and his brother stayed behind in Sydney, living with an uncle and attending Randwick Public School. In late 1916, Holt was sent to live with grandparents in the country, where he attended the Nubba State School, he returned to Sydney the following year, for three years was enrolled at Abbotsholme College, a private school in Killara.
In 1920, Holt began boarding at Melbourne. He was a popular and talented student, winning a scholarship in his final year and graduating second in his class. Holt spent school holidays with his relatives in Nubba or with schoolmates, rather than with his parents – his father had begun working as a talent agent, touring the country on the Tivoli circuit, while his mother died in 1925, he was 16 at the time, was unable to attend the funeral. In 1927, Holt began studying law at the University of Melbourne, living at Queen's College on a scholarship, he represented the university in cricket and football, was active in various student organisations, serving as president of the Law Students' Society and of the Queen's College social club. Holt won prizes for oratory and essay-writing, was a member of the inter-university debating team, he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1930. Holt's father – living in London – invited to him to continue his studies in England, but he declined the offer. Holt served his articles of clerkship with the firm of Fink, Miller.
He was admitted to the Victorian Bar in late 1932, opened his own legal practice the following year. However, clients during the Depr
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, was an Australian politician who twice served as Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He played a central role in the creation of the Liberal Party of Australia, defining its policies and its broad outreach, he is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total. Menzies became one of Melbourne's leading lawyers, he was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1932 to 1934, transferred to federal parliament, subsequently becoming Attorney-General and Minister for Industry in the government of Joseph Lyons. In April 1939, following Lyons's death, Menzies was elected leader of the United Australia Party and sworn in as prime minister, he authorised Australia's entry into World War II in September 1939, in 1941 spent four months in England to participate in meetings of Churchill's war cabinet. On his return to Australia in August 1941, Menzies found that he had lost the support of his party and resigned as prime minister.
He subsequently helped to create the new Liberal Party, was elected its inaugural leader in August 1945. At the 1949 federal election, Menzies led the Liberal–Country coalition to victory and returned as prime minister, his appeal to the home and family, promoted via reassuring radio talks, matched the national mood as the economy grew and middle-class values prevailed. After 1955, his government received support from the Democratic Labour Party, a breakaway group from the Labor Party. Menzies won seven consecutive elections during his second term retiring as prime minister in January 1966, his legacy has been debated, but his government is remembered today for its development of Canberra, its expanded post-war immigration scheme, its emphasis on higher education, its national security policies, which saw Australia contribute troops to the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, the Vietnam War. Robert Gordon Menzies was born on 20 December 1894 at his parents' home in Victoria.
He was the fourth of five children born to James Menzies. Menzies was the first Australian prime minister to have two Australian-born parents: his father was born in Ballarat and his mother in Creswick, his grandparents on both sides had been drawn to Australia by the Victorian gold rush. His maternal grandparents were born in Cornwall, his paternal grandfather named Robert Menzies, was born in Renfrewshire and arrived in Melbourne in 1854. The following year he married the daughter of a cobbler from Fife. Menzies was proud of his Scottish heritage, preferred his surname to be pronounced in the traditional Scottish manner rather than as it is spelled; this gave rise to his nickname "Ming", expanded to "Ming the Merciless" after the comic strip character. His middle name was given in honour of Charles George Gordon; the Menzies family had moved to Jeparit, a small Wimmera township, in the year before Robert's birth. At the 1891 census, the settlement had a population of just 55 people, his elder siblings had been born in Ballarat, where his father was a locomotive painter at the Phoenix Foundry.
Seeking a new start, he moved the family to Jeparit to take over the general store, which "survived rather than prospered". During Menzies's childhood, three of his close relatives were elected to parliament, his uncle Hugh was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly in 1902, followed by his father in 1911, while another uncle, Sydney Sampson, was elected to the federal House of Representatives in 1906. Each of the three represented rural constituencies, were defeated after a few terms. Menzies's maternal grandfather John Sampson was active in the trade union movement, he was the inaugural president of the Creswick Miners' Association, which he co-founded with future Labor MP William Spence, was prominent in the Amalgamated Miners' Association. Growing up, Menzies and his siblings "had the normal enjoyments and camaraderies of a small country town", he began his formal education in 1899 at a single-teacher one-room school. When he was about eleven, he and his sister were sent to Ballarat to live with his paternal grandmother.
In 1906, Menzies began attending the Humffray Street State School in Bakery Hill. The following year, aged 13, he ranked first in the state-wide scholarship examinations; this feat financed the entirety of his secondary education, which had to be undertaken at private schools as Victoria did not yet have a system of public secondary schools. In 1908 and 1909, Menzies attended a small private school in Ballarat Central, he and his family moved to Melbourne in 1910. Menzies was "not interested in and incompetent at sport", but excelled academically. In his third and final year at Wesley he won a £40 exhibition for university study, one of 25 awarded by the state government. In 1913, Menzies entered the Melbourne Law School, he won a variety of prizes and scholarships during his time as a student, graduating as a Bachelor of Laws in 1916 and a Master of Laws in 1918. He did, fail Latin in his first year. One of his prize-winning essays, The Rule of Law During the War, was published as a brochure with an introduction by Harrison Moore, the law school dean.
In 1916, Menzies was elected president of the Student Representatives' Council and editor of the Melbourne University Mag
Sir Percy Claude Spender, was an Australian politician and judge. He served in the House of Representatives from 1937 to 1951, including as a cabinet minister under Robert Menzies and Arthur Fadden, he was Ambassador to the United States and a member of the International Court of Justice, including as president of the court from 1964 to 1967. Spender was born on 5 October 1897 in Darlinghurst, New South Wales, he was the fifth of six children born to Frank Henry Spender. Spender's mother died in 1902 and his father remarried, giving him a stepsister and two half-siblings, he began his education at Darlinghurst Public School, attended Fort Street High School. After failing his matriculation exam, he found work as a clerk with the Sydney City Council. Spender passed the entrance exam to the University of Sydney, where he graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1918, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in September 1918, but did not see active service before the war ended a few months later. Spender subsequently completed a Bachelor of Laws, graduating in 1922 with first-class honours and the University Medal in law.
He was admitted to the bar in 1923 and made a King's Counsel in 1935. Spender entered politics at the 1937 election when he was elected to the House of Representatives as member for Warringah, he ran as an "independent UAP" candidate, unexpectedly defeating the sitting member, Sir Archdale Parkhill. On 20 October 1938, Spender announced that he would join the UAP, but that he would "continue to stand for independent expression of thought and action and against the principle of preselection of candidates". Robert Menzies became prime minister in April 1939 and appointed himself as Treasurer, as was common at the time. Spender was promoted to cabinet as a minister without portfolio, but ran the Department of the Treasury in Menzies' stead, he was given the title "Minister without portfolio assisting the Treasurer", in November 1939 was named Acting Treasurer. He was a member of two subcommittees within cabinet – the Economic Cabinet and War Cabinet – and in January 1940 was additionally made Vice-President of the Executive Council.
Spender was appointed Treasurer a few months in March 1940. He would recall in his memoirs that he had been "in full charge of Treasury throughout". Spender's primary objective as Treasurer was to accelerate the country's transition to a war economy. Australian troops were fighting in Europe and the Middle East, although the Pacific War would not begin until November 1941 it was believed by many that the appeasement of Japan had failed and fighting closer to home was inevitable. Spender was concerned that permanent officials at Treasury, including departmental secretary Stuart McFarlane, were not taking the situation enough, he began to rely more on the advice of temporary staff and independent economists like Lyndhurst Giblin. According to political historian John Hawkins, Spender was "the most academically qualified economist among pre-WWII treasurers", he promoted interventionist Keynesian policies, such as borrowing money and raising taxes to spend on defence-related projects and thereby reduce unemployment.
He wished to control private investing so that capital would be available to the government for defence purposes, introducing requirements for private banks to place a set proportion of deposits with the Commonwealth Bank. After the 1940 federal election, Arthur Fadden was elected leader of the Country Party, the UAP's coalition partner, demanded the position of Treasurer. Spender was instead made Minister for the Army, which he would hold until the government's defeat on a confidence motion in October 1941. Anticipating Japan's entry into the war, he pressed for Australian troops to be moved from the Middle Eastern theatre closer to home, he "invited Australian generals to communicate directly with him and challenged British reassurances about the defences of Singapore". Menzies resigned as UAP leader in October 1941, Spender was an unsuccessful candidate for the leadership, he was eliminated on the first ballot, with Billy Hughes subsequently defeating Allan McDonald by a narrow margin. Spender was a candidate for the UAP leadership in 1943, when Hughes resigned.
He was again eliminated on the first ballot, polling only a handful of votes. In February 1944, the UAP voted to withdraw its members from the Advisory War Council. Spender refused to resign from the council, was expelled from the UAP as a result on 23 February 1944; the party voted 21 to 5 in favour of an expulsion motion moved by Robert Menzies –, responsible for the creation of the council as a nonpartisan body. John Curtin subsequently sent Spender a letter thanking him for staying on. Billy Hughes was expelled in similar circumstances two months later. Spender sat as an independent after being expelled from the UAP, he declined. In May 1945, Spender became a financial member of the Mosman branch of the Liberal Party of Australia. However, he was not admitted to the parliamentary Liberal Party until 13 September 1945, when the Advisory War Council was abolished. Hughes was re-admitted at that point. Upon Menzies' return to power in 1949, Spender was made Minister for External Affairs and Minister for External Territories.
Spender's greatest influence on Australian politics occurred during this period. He led Australian delegations to the British Commonwealth Conference in Colombo, Ceylon and to the Fifth S
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of Australia is the head of government of Australia. The individual who holds the office is the most senior Minister of State, the leader of the Federal Cabinet; the Prime Minister has the responsibility of administering the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, is the chair of the National Security Committee and the Council of Australian Governments. The office of Prime Minister is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia but exists through Westminster political convention; the individual who holds the office is commissioned by the Governor-General of Australia and at the Governor-General's pleasure subject to the Constitution of Australia and constitutional conventions. Scott Morrison has held the office of Prime Minister since 24 August 2018, he received his commission after replacing Malcolm Turnbull as the leader of the Liberal Party, the largest party in the Coalition government, following the Liberal Party leadership spill earlier the same day. The Prime Minister of Australia is appointed by the Governor-General of Australia under Section 64 of the Australian Constitution, which empowers the Governor-General, as the official representative of the Crown, to appoint government ministers of state on the advice of the Prime Minister and requires them to be members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, or become members within three months of the appointment.
The Prime Minister and Treasurer are traditionally members of the House, but the Constitution does not have such a requirement. Before being sworn in as a Minister of State, a person must first be sworn in as a member of the Federal Executive Council if they are not a member. Membership of the Federal Executive Council entitles the member to the style of The Honourable for life, barring exceptional circumstances; the senior members of the Executive Council constitute the Cabinet of Australia. The Prime Minister is, like other ministers sworn in by the Governor-General and presented with the commission of office; when defeated in an election, or on resigning, the Prime Minister is said to "hand in the commission" and does so by returning it to the Governor-General. In the event of a Prime Minister dying in office, or becoming incapacitated, or for other reasons, the Governor-General can terminate the commission. Ministers hold office "during the pleasure of the Governor-General", so theoretically, the Governor-General can dismiss a minister at any time, by notifying them in writing of the termination of their commission.
According to convention, the Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party or largest party in a coalition of parties in the House of Representatives which holds the confidence of the House. Some commentators argue that the Governor-General may dismiss a Prime Minister, unable to pass the government's supply bill through both houses of parliament, including the Australian Senate, where the government doesn't command the majority, as happened in the 1975 constitutional crisis. Other commentators argue that the Governor General acted improperly in 1975 as Whitlam still retained the confidence of the House of Representatives, there are no accepted conventions to guide the use of the Governor General's reserve powers in this circumstance. However, there is no constitutional requirement that the Prime Minister sit in the House of Representatives, or be a member of the federal parliament, though by convention this is always the case; the only case where a member of the Senate was appointed Prime Minister was John Gorton, who subsequently resigned his Senate position and was elected as a member of the House of Representatives.
Despite the importance of the office of Prime Minister, the Constitution does not mention the office by name. The conventions of the Westminster system were thought to be sufficiently entrenched in Australia by the authors of the Constitution that it was deemed unnecessary to detail them; the formal title of the portfolio has always been "Prime Minister", except for the period of the Fourth Deakin Ministry, when it was known as "Prime Minister". If a government cannot get its appropriation legislation passed by the House of Representatives, or the House passes a vote of "no confidence" in the government, the Prime Minister is bound by convention to advise the Governor-General to dissolve the House of Representatives and hold a fresh election. Following a resignation in other circumstances or the death of a Prime Minister, the governor-general appoints the Deputy Prime Minister as the new Prime Minister, until or if such time as the governing party or senior coalition party elects an alternative party leader.
This has resulted in the party leaders from the Country Party being appointed as Prime Minister, despite being the smaller party of their coalition. This occurred when Earle Page became caretaker Prime Minister following the death of Joseph Lyons in 1939, when John McEwen became caretaker Prime Minister following the disappearance of Harold Holt in 1967; however in 1941, Arthur Fadden became the leader of the Coalition and subsequently Prime Minister by the agreement of both coalition parties, despite being the leader of the smaller party in coalition, following the resignation of UAP leader Robert Menzies. Excluding the brief transition periods during changes of government or leadership elections, there have only been a handful of cases where someone other than the leader of the majority party