Head of government
Head of government is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. The term "head of government" is differentiated from the term "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country; the authority of a head of government, such as a president, chancellor, or prime minister and the relationship between that position and other state institutions, such as the relation between the head of state and of the legislature, varies among sovereign states, depending on the particular system of the government, chosen, won, or evolved over time. In parliamentary systems, including constitutional monarchies, the head of government is the de facto political leader of the government, is answerable to one chamber or the entire legislature. Although there is a formal reporting relationship to a head of state, the latter acts as a figurehead who may take the role of chief executive on limited occasions, either when receiving constitutional advice from the head of government or under specific provisions in a constitution.
In presidential republics or in absolute monarchies, the head of state is usually the head of government. The relationship between that leader and the government, can vary ranging from separation of powers to autocracy, according to the constitution of the particular state. In semi-presidential systems, the head of government may answer to both the head of state and the legislature, with the specifics provided by each country's constitution. A modern example is the present French government, which originated as the French Fifth Republic in 1958. In France, the president, the head of state, appoints the prime minister, the head of government. However, the president must choose someone who can act as an executive, but who enjoys the support of the France's legislature, the National Assembly, in order to be able to pass legislation. In some cases, the head of state may represent one political party but the majority in the National Assembly is of a different party. Given that the majority party has greater control over state funding and primary legislation, the president is in effect forced to choose a prime minister from the opposition party in order to ensure an effective, functioning legislature.
In this case, known as cohabitation, the prime minister, along with the cabinet, controls domestic policy, with the president's influence restricted to foreign affairs. In directorial systems, the executive responsibilities of the head of government are spread among a group of people. A prominent example is the Swiss Federal Council, where each member of the council heads a department and votes on proposals relating to all departments. A common title for many heads of government is prime minister; this is used as a formal title in many states, but informally a generic term to describe whichever office is considered the principal minister under an otherwise styled head of state, as minister — Latin for servants or subordinates — is a common title for members of a government. Formally the head of state can be the head of government as well but otherwise has formal precedence over the Head of Government and other ministers, whether he is their actual political superior or rather theoretical or ceremonial in character.
Various constitutions use different titles, the same title can have various multiple meanings, depending on the constitutional order and political system of the state in question. In addition to prime minister, titles used for the democratic model, where there is an elected legislative body checking the Head of government, include the following; some of these titles relate to governments below the national level. Chancellor Chairman of the Executive Council Chief Minister Chief Executive First Minister Minister-President Premier President of the Council of Ministers President of the Council of State President of the Executive Council President of the Government Prime Minister State Counsellor State President Albanian: Kryeministër Bengali: For the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Pradan Mantri.
Marise Ann Payne is an Australian politician serving as Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Morrison Government since 28 August 2018. She has been a Senator for New South Wales since 1997. Payne attended the University of New South Wales, she was the first woman to serve as federal president of the Young Liberals. Payne was appointed to the Senate in place of Bob Woods, she was elected to a full term in 2001, has since been re-elected four more times. Payne was first added to the shadow ministry in 2007, when the Coalition returned to power in 2013 she was made Minister for Human Services in the Abbott Government. Payne was appointed Minister for Defence when Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister, becoming the first woman to hold the position. After Turnbull was replaced by Scott Morrison in August 2018, it was announced that she would replace Julie Bishop as Minister for Foreign Affairs in the new government. Payne was born in the daughter of Ann Noreen and William Elliott Payne, her father was a World War II veteran who worked as an farmer.
Payne grew up in Sydney's southern suburbs. She attended MLC School before going on to the University of New South Wales, where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees. In her second year at university, she was involved in a road accident near Michelago; the car she was travelling in as a passenger rolled over, she received serious injuries to her neck, fracturing her odontoid process. Payne joined the Liberal Party in 1982, was state president of the New South Wales Young Liberals from 1987 to 1988, she served as federal president of the Young Liberals from 1989 to 1991, the first woman to hold the position, as a member of the state executive of the New South Wales Liberals from 1991 to 1997. In 1991, Payne was an unsuccessful candidate to fill the casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Peter Baume. At the time she was serving as private secretary to Senator Robert Hill. In 1994, Payne was appointed vice-chair of the Australian Republican Movement, serving under chairman Malcolm Turnbull.
At the time, she was working as an adviser to Premier John Fahey and serving on the Liberal Party's state executive. Tony Abbott, the national executive director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, criticised her for accepting the position, stating "anyone who does not support constitutional monarchy is at odds with the party". John Howard accused her of a "conflict of interest", stating she had joined "an organisation dominated by Labor sympathisers". Following the resignation of Senator Bob Woods in March 1997, Payne was chosen by the Liberal Party to fill the casual vacancy, she took office on 9 April 1997, has subsequently been re-elected to the Senate at the 2001, 2007, 2013, 2016 elections. Her office is located in Sydney's western suburbs. Payne was a backbencher for her first decade in the Senate, from 1997 to 2007; when she took her seat, The Sydney Morning Herald ran a headline describing her as "The Senator John Howard Didn't Want". She was preselected in third place on the Coalition ticket at the 2001 election, with Howard intervening to ensure Helen Coonan ranked ahead of her as the first Liberal candidate.
Prior to the 2007 election, members of the Liberal Party's conservative faction attempted to have Payne removed from the ticket. However, for the sake of unity Howard and Bill Heffernan intervened to ensure that she retained a winning place on the Coalition ticket. Payne served on various Senate committees during that time, notably as chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee. Payne was appointed as a shadow parliamentary secretary after the Coalition lost the 2007 election, with responsibility for foreign affairs and international development assistance and indigenous affairs; when Tony Abbott became Leader of the Opposition in December 2009, she was appointed Shadow Minister for COAG and Modernising the Federation. After the 2010 election, she was instead made Shadow Minister for Housing and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Development and Employment; when the Coalition won the 2013 federal election, Payne was appointed Minister for Human Services in the Abbott Government.
In March 2014, she announced that Medicare offices would close on Saturdays, as there had been a "60 per cent reduction in walk-ins into Medicare shopfronts on Saturdays". In June 2014, she announced the creation of "myGov hybrid government shopfronts", which are designed to assist customers with setting up online accounts for government services such as Centrelink, the Australian Taxation Office, the National Disability Insurance Scheme. After Malcolm Turnbull defeated Tony Abbott in a leadership spill, Payne was elevated to the cabinet and appointed Minister for Defence in the Turnbull Government from 21 September 2015, she was the first woman to hold the position, which has existed since Federation in 1901. Neil James, the executive director of the Australia Defence Association, welcomed her appointment, stating: "Too many defence ministers have been shoved sideways into this portfolio in the twilight of the parliamentary careers because it's seen as a badge of seniority, defence suffers.
Marise Payne is a politician with a large part of her parliamentary career still ahead of her, with this appointment, unlike the last few, there’s more to be optimistic about than to be pessimistic about."Payne oversaw the final months of the long-anticipated 2016 Defence White Paper, which she launched in February 2016 with Turnbull and Chief of the Defence Force Mark Binskin. She launched the government's Int
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior, high-ranking official within the Government of the United Kingdom and head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Foreign Secretary is a member of the Cabinet, the post is considered one of the Great Offices of State, it is considered a position similar to that of Foreign Minister in other countries. The Foreign Secretary reports directly to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; the Foreign Secretary's remit includes: relations with foreign countries, matters pertaining to the Commonwealth of Nations and the Overseas Territories in addition to the promotion of British interests abroad. The Foreign Secretary has ministerial oversight for the Secret Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Headquarters; the Foreign Secretary works out of the Foreign Office in Whitehall, the post's official residences are 1 Carlton Gardens in London and Chevening in Kent.
Margaret Beckett, appointed in 2006 by Tony Blair, is the only woman to have held the post. The current Foreign Secretary is Jeremy Hunt, following Boris Johnson's resignation on 9 July 2018; the position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was created in the British governmental reorganisation of 1782, in which the Northern and Southern Departments became the Home and Foreign Offices, respectively. The position of Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs came into existence in 1968 with the merger of the functions of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs into a single Department of State; the India Office was a constituent predecessor department of the Foreign Office, as were the Colonial Office and the Dominions Office. Post created through the merger of the Commonwealth Office. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations Secretary of State for the Colonies Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs Foreign minister Great Offices of State FCO website
Sir John McEwen, was an Australian politician who served as the 18th Prime Minister of Australia, holding office from 19 December 1967 to 10 January 1968 in a caretaker capacity after the disappearance of Harold Holt. He was the leader of the Country Party from 1958 to 1971. McEwen was born in Victoria, he was orphaned at the age of seven and raised by his grandmother in Wangaratta and in Dandenong. McEwen left school at the age of 13 and joined the Australian Army at the age of 18, but the war ended before his unit was shipped out, he was nonetheless eligible for a soldier settlement scheme, selected a property at Stanhope. He established a dairy farm, but bought a larger property and farmed beef cattle. After several previous unsuccessful candidacies, McEwen was elected to the House of Representatives at the 1934 federal election, he was first elevated to cabinet by Joseph Lyons in 1937. McEwen became deputy leader of the Country Party under Arthur Fadden, he replaced Fadden as leader in 1958, remained in the position until his retirement from politics in 1971.
He served in parliament for 36 years in total. The Coalition returned to power in 1949 under Robert Menzies and under Harold Holt. McEwen came to have a major influence on economic policy in the areas of agriculture and trade; when Holt died in office in December 1967, he was commissioned as caretaker prime minister while the Liberal Party elected a new leader. He was 67 at the time, the oldest person to become prime minister and only the third from the Country Party. McEwen ceded power to John Gorton after 23 days in office, in recognition of his service was appointed deputy prime minister, the first time that position had been formally created. McEwen was born on 29 March 1900, at his parents' home in Victoria, he was the son of David James McEwen. His mother was born in Victoria, had English and Irish ancestry, his father was of Ulster Scots origin, born in County Armagh. He worked as a chemist, served a term on the Chiltern Shire Council; the family surname was spelled "MacEwen", but was simplified upon David McEwen's arrival in Australia in 1889.
In his memoirs, McEwen recounted that he had no memories of his parents. His mother died of lung disease in March 1902, just before his second birthday, she was the second of his father's three wives, McEwen had three half-siblings – Gladys and George. After their mother's death, McEwen and his sister were raised by their father, living in the rooms behind his chemist's shop, he died from meningitis in September 1907. John and Amy were sent to live with their widowed grandmother, Nellie Porter, while their younger half-brother went to live with his mother in Melbourne, they had never lived with their older half-sisters, sent to live in a children's home upon their mother's death in 1893. McEwen's grandmother ran a boardinghouse in Wangaratta, he grew up in what he described as "pretty frugal circumstances", in 1912 his grandmother moved the family to Dandenong, on the outskirts of Melbourne. McEwen attended state schools in Wangaratta and Dandenong until the age of thirteen, when he began working for Rocke, Tompsitt & Co. a drug manufacturer in central Melbourne.
He worked as a switchboard operator, for which he was paid 15 shillings per week. McEwen began attending night school in Prahran, in 1915 passed an examination for the Commonwealth Public Service and began working as a junior clerk at the office of the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor, his immediate superior there was Fred Whitlam, the father of another future prime minister, Gough Whitlam. With World War I ongoing, McEwen resolved to enter the military when he turned 18, he joined the Australian Army Cadets and completed a Royal Australian Navy course in radiotelegraphy, hoping to qualify for the newly opened Royal Military College, Duntroon. He passed the entrance exam, but instead chose to enlist as a private in the Australian Imperial Force, in order to be posted overseas sooner; the war ended before his unit shipped out. Despite the briefness of his service, McEwen was eligible for the Victorian government's soldier settlement scheme, he selected an 86-acre lot at Stanhope, on land that been a sheep station.
As with many other soldier-settlers, McEwen did not have the money or the expertise needed to run a farm. He spent several months working as a farm labourer and did the same as a stevedore at the Port of Melbourne saving enough money to return to Stanhope and establish his dairy farm. McEwen's new property was undeveloped, with only a single existing building and no fences, irrigation, or paddocks, he and the other soldier-settlers in the Stanhope district suffered a number of hardships in the early 1920s, including droughts, rabbit plagues, low milk prices. Many of them were forced off their properties, allowing those who survived to expand their holdings cheaply. In 1926, McEwen bought a larger farm nearby, which he named Chilgala, he switched from dairy to beef cattle, was able to expand his property by buying abandoned farms from the government. At its peak, Chilgala carried 1,800 head of cattle. McEwen had a reputation as one of the best farmers in the district, came to be seen by the other soldier-settlers as a spokesman and leader.
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
William Morris Hughes, was an Australian politician who served as the seventh Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1915 to 1923. He is best known for leading the country during World War I, but his influence on national politics spanned several decades. Hughes was a member of federal parliament from Federation in 1901 until his death, the only person to have served for more than 50 years, he represented six political parties during his career, leading five, outlasting four, being expelled from three. Hughes was born in London to Welsh parents, he emigrated to Australia at the age of 22, became involved in the fledgling labour movement. He was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1894, as a member of the New South Wales Labor Party, transferred to the new federal parliament in 1901. Hughes combined his early political career with part-time legal studies, was called to the bar in 1903, he first entered cabinet in 1904, in the short-lived Watson Government, was Attorney-General in each of Andrew Fisher's governments.
He was elected deputy leader of the Australian Labor Party in 1914. Hughes became prime minister in October 1915; the war was the dominant issue of the time, his support for sending conscripted troops overseas caused a split within Labor ranks. Hughes and his supporters were expelled from the party in November 1916, but he was able to remain in power at the head of the new National Labor Party, which after a few months merged with the Liberals to form the Nationalist Party, his government was re-elected with large majorities at the 1919 elections. Hughes established the forerunners of the Australian Federal Police and the CSIRO during the war, created a number of new state-owned enterprises to aid the post-war economy, he made a significant impression on other world leaders at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, where he secured Australian control of the former German New Guinea. At the 1922 election, the Nationalists lost their majority in parliament and were forced to form a coalition with the Country Party.
Hughes' resignation was the price for Country Party support, he was succeeded as prime minister by Stanley Bruce. He became one of Bruce's leading critics over time, in 1928, following a dispute over industrial relations, he and his supporters crossed the floor on a confidence motion and brought down the government. After a period as an independent, Hughes formed his own organisation, the Australian Party, which in 1931 merged into the new United Australia Party, he returned to cabinet in 1934, became known for his prescient warnings against Japanese imperialism. As late as 1939, he missed out on a second stint as prime minister by only a handful of votes, losing a UAP leadership ballot to Robert Menzies. Hughes is acknowledged as one of the most influential Australian politicians of the 20th century, he was a controversial figure throughout his lifetime, his legacy continues to be debated by historians. His strong views and abrasive manner meant he made political enemies from within his own parties.
Hughes' opponents accused him of engaging in authoritarianism and populism, as well as inflaming sectarianism. His former colleagues in the Labor Party considered him a traitor, while conservatives were suspicious of what they viewed as his socialist economic policies. However, he was popular among the general public ex-servicemen, who affectionately nicknamed him "the little digger". Hughes was born on 25 September 1862 at 7 Moreton Place, London, the son of William Hughes and the former Jane Morris, his parents were both Welsh. His father, who worked as a carpenter and joiner at the Palace of Westminster, was from North Wales and was a fluent Welsh speaker, his mother, a domestic servant, was from the small village of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain, spoke only English. Hughes was an only child. Hughes' mother died in May 1869, his father subsequently sent him to be raised by relatives in Wales. During the school term, he lived with his father's sister, Mary Hughes, who kept a boardinghouse in Llandudno named "Bryn Rosa".
He earned pocket money by doing chores for his aunt's tenants and singing in the choir at the local church. Hughes began his formal schooling in Llandudno, he spent his holidays with his mother's family in Llansantffraid. There, he divided his time between "Winllan", the farm of his widowed aunt, "Plas Bedw", the neighbouring farm of his grandparents. Hughes regarded his early years in Wales as the happiest time of his life, he was immensely proud of his Welsh identity, would become active in the Welsh Australian community speaking at Saint David's Day celebrations. Hughes called Welsh the "language of heaven". Like many of his contemporaries, he had no formal schooling in Welsh, had particular difficulties with spelling. Nonetheless, he received and replied to correspondence from Welsh-speakers throughout his political career, as prime minister famously traded insults in Welsh with David Lloyd George. At the age of eleven, Hughes was enrolled in St Stephen's School, one of the many church schools established by the philanthropist Lady Burdett-Coutts.
He won prizes in French, receiving the latter from Lord Harrowby. After finishing his elementary schooling, he was apprenticed as a "pupil-teacher" for five years, instructing younger students for fiv
Sir Joseph Cook, was an Australian politician who served as the sixth Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1913 to 1914. He was the leader of the Commonwealth Liberal Party from 1913 to 1917, after earlier serving as the leader of the Anti-Socialist Party from 1908 to 1909. Cook was born in Silverdale, Staffordshire and began working in the local coal mines at the age of nine, he emigrated to Australia in 1885, settling in New South Wales. He continued to work as a miner, becoming involved with the local labour movement as a union official. In 1891, Cook was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as a representative of the Labor Party, becoming one of its first members of parliament, he was elected party leader in 1893, but the following year left Labor due to a disagreement over party discipline. He was invited to become a government minister under George Reid, joined Reid's Free Trade Party. In 1901, Cook was elected to the new federal parliament representing the Division of Parramatta.
He became deputy leader of the federal Free Trade Party, again under George Reid, in 1908 replaced Reid as party leader and Leader of the Opposition. In what became known as "the fusion", Cook agreed to merge his party with Alfred Deakin's Protectionist Party in 1909, forming a unified anti-Labor party for the first time, he became deputy leader of the new Commonwealth Liberal Party, allowing Deakin to become prime minister again, served as Minister for Defence until the government's defeat at the 1910 election. Cook replaced Deakin as leader of the Liberals in January 1913, a few months won a one-seat majority over Andrew Fisher's Labor Party at the 1913 election, his party failed to secure a majority in the Senate, making governing difficult, as a result he engineered the first double dissolution. A new election was called for September 1914. Cook was unable to pass much legislation during his time in office, but did oversee the early stages of Australia's involvement in World War I, he subsequently became Leader of the Opposition for a third time.
In 1917, Cook was involved in a second party merger, joining the Liberals with Billy Hughes's National Labor Party to form the Nationalist Party. He became the de facto deputy prime minister under Hughes, serving as Minister for the Navy and Treasurer, he was a delegate to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, where he was a member of the committee that determined the borders of Czechoslovakia, along with Hughes was one of two Australians to sign the Treaty of Versailles. After leaving politics, Cook served as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 1921 to 1927, he died at the age of 86 as one of the last survivors of the first federal parliament. Cook was born on 7 December 1860 in a small cottage in Silverdale, England, he was the second of seven children born to William Cooke. His older sister Sarah died in 1865, but his three younger sisters and two younger brothers lived to adulthood. Cook's parents moved to a one-up-one-down a few months after his birth, before settling in a terraced house on Newcastle Street.
The children shared a single room and two beds, the family could afford meat. Cook's father was a coal miner under the butty system at the near Hollywood pit, he was killed in a mining accident in April 1873, forcing his oldest son to become the family's primary source of income. Cook's only formal education was at the school attached to the local Anglican church, he left school and began working in the coal mines at the age of nine, earning one shilling per day for ten to twelve hours of work. Beginning at four o'clock in the morning, his tasks were to attend to the horses and clean and oil the mining equipment. After the passage of the Elementary Education Act 1870, Cook was allowed to return to school until he reached the legal leaving age, he left school a second time after his father's death and returned to his former employment at the local colliery. However, as a result of his teacher's attention, together with that of his parents, an exceptionally strong ambition to improve his position became implanted in him.
This ambition was to become one of his most prominent characteristics, revealed first in a drive for self-improvement and on in life, his determination to succeed in politics. During his teenage years, he embraced Primitive Methodism, marked his conversion by dropping the "e" from his surname. On 8 August 1885, he married Mary Turner at Wolstanton and the couple had five sons and three daughters. Shortly after their marriage, the couple emigrated to New South Wales and settled in Lithgow, joining Cook's brother-in-law and a number of other former miners from Silverdale. Cook worked in the coal mines, becoming General-Secretary of the Western Miners Association in 1887. In 1888, he participated in demonstrations against Chinese immigration, he was active in the Land Nationalisation League, influenced by the ideas of Henry George and supported free trade, was a founding member of the Labor Party in 1891. Cook was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as MP for the coalfields seat of Hartley in 1891, in Labor's first big breakthrough in Australian politics.
It was the first time. In 1894, Cook was the leader of those parliamentarians who refused to accept the Labor Party's decision to make all members sign a "pledge" to be bound by decisions of the Parliamentary Labor Party. Cook's protest was based on Labor's attitude to the tariff question in particular, with h