Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher Andrew Fisher (29 August 186222 October 1928) was an Australian politician who served three separate terms as Prime Minister of Australia – from 1908 to 1909, from 1910 to 1913, and from 1914 to 1915. He was the leader of the Australian Labor Party from 1907 to 1915.

Fisher was born in Crosshouse, Ayrshire, Scotland. He left school at a young age to work in the nearby coal mines, becoming secretary of the local branch of the Ayrshire Miners' Union at the age of 17. Fisher emigrated to Australia in 1885, where he continued his involvement with trade unionism. He settled in Gympie, Queensland, and in 1893 was elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly as a representative of the Labor Party. Fisher lost his seat in 1896, but returned in 1899 and later that year briefly served as a minister in the government of Anderson Dawson.

In 1901, Fisher was elected to the new federal parliament representing the Division of Wide Bay. He served as Minister for Trade and Customs for a few months in 1904, in the short-lived government of Chris Watson. Fisher was elected deputy leader of the Labor Party in 1905, and replaced Watson as leader in 1907. At the time, Labor supported the Protectionist Party minority government of Alfred Deakin. Deakin resigned as prime minister in November 1908 after Labor withdrew their support, and Fisher subsequently formed a minority government of his own. It lasted only a few months, as in June 1909 Deakin returned as prime minister at the head of the new Commonwealth Liberal Party (a merger of the Protectionists and the Anti-Socialist Party).

Fisher returned as prime minister after the 1910 election, which saw Labor attain majority government for the first time in its history. Fisher's second government passed wide-ranging reforms – it established old-age and disability pensions, enshrined new workers' rights in legislation, established the Commonwealth Bank, oversaw the continued expansion of the Royal Australian Navy, began construction on the Trans-Australian Railway, and formally established what is now the Australian Capital Territory. At the 1913 election, however, Labor narrowly lost its House of Representatives majority to the Liberal Party, with Fisher being replaced as prime minister by Joseph Cook.

After just over a year in office, Cook was forced to call a new election, the first double dissolution. Labor won back its majority in the House, and Fisher returned for a third term as prime minister. He struggled with the demands of Australia's participation in World War I, and in October 1915 resigned in favour of Billy Hughes. Fisher subsequently accepted an appointment as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, holding that position from 1916 to 1920. After a brief return to Australia, he retired to London, dying there at the age of 66. In total, Fisher served as prime minister for just under five years; Bob Hawke is the only member of the Labor Party to have served for longer (8 years). Provided by Wikipedia
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Published in 1990
doi: 10.2973/odp.proc.sr.110.154.1990
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Published in 1993
doi: 10.2973/odp.proc.sr.131.138.1993
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