The prime minister of Australia is appointed by the governor-general of Australia under Section 64 of the Australian Constitution. This empowers the governor-general to appoint ministers of the Crown and requires such ministers to be members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, or become members within three months of the appointment. Before being sworn in as a minister, a person must first be sworn in as a member of the Federal Executive Council if they are not already a member. Membership of the Federal Executive Council entitles the member to the style of The Honourable (usually abbreviated to The Hon) for life, barring exceptional circumstances. The senior members of the Executive Council constitute the Cabinet of Australia.
The Official residence of Australian Prime Minister is ‘The Lodge’. The Lodge was built for £28,319 by Sydney builder Mr. J. G. Taylor between 1926 and 1927 as the Prime Minister’s temporary residence until a larger house was found or built. But a larger house was never built. Stanley Bruce was the first Prime Minister to live in there moving on 4th May 1927. Some of the Prime Minister’s chose not to stay in The Lodge. Sculllin as PM stayed in Hotel Canberra which is now Hotel Hyatt. Hotel Kurrajong was Ben Chifley’s Primary Residence where as John Howard choose Kiribilli House in Sydney.
The Prime Minister’s car bears the number plate “C1” which means “Commonwealth 1”.
The current yearly remuneration for the Prime Minister of Australia is around $507,338 , which is peanuts compared to the earnings of some of the company executives.
The office of the Prime Minister of Australia from the inception of the Federation was and is occupied by exceptionally able, intelligent and talented leaders. The vision and the administrative ability of these leaders enabled us to maintain our position as one of the best places to live in planet earth. The list of all Australian Prime Ministers from 1901 are below.
Edmund Barton (18 January 1849 – 7 January 1920)
The First Prime Minister of Australia
Edmund Barton was the first Prime Minister of Australia and one of the key architects of Australia’s Constitution. He became the Prime Minister representing Protectionist Party at a grand Ceremony in Centennial Park, Sydney on 1st January 1901. An early piece of legislation of the Barton government was the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, which put the White Australia policy into law. In 1903 Barton resigned to become one of the three judges who founded Australia’s High Court. He served as a judge for 17 years until his death in 1920.
Alfred Deakin (3 August 1856 – 7 October 1919)
Handsome, Intelligent and well learned, Alfred Deakin served as Australia’s second (1903–04), fifth (1905–08) and seventh (1909–10) Prime Minister. His courteous manners earned him the nickname Affable Alfred. He merged his Protectionist Party with Joseph Cook’s Anti-Socialist Party to create the Commonwealth Liberal Party (known commonly as the Fusion), the main ancestor of the modern Liberal Party of Australia.
Chris Watson (9 April 1867 – 18 November 1941)
He was the first prime minister from the Australian Labour Party, and the first prime minister from the labour movement in the world. He was of Chilean birth, but Watson maintained that his father was a British Seaman. In fact his father was a Chilean Citizen of German descent and Watson was born in Valparaiso in Chile. Watson’s term as Prime Minister lasted only four months, between 27 April and 18 August 1904.
Chris Watson’s first job was as a stable hand at Government house in Sydney.
George Reid (25 February 1845 – 12 September 1918)
He was the fourth Prime Minister of Australia serving from 1904 to 1905. Although a supporter of Federation, he took an equivocal position on it during the campaign for the first referendum in June 1898, earning himself the nickname of “Yes-No Reid.” Reid’s career was aided by his quick wit and entertaining oratory; he was described as being “perhaps the best platform speaker in the Empire”, both amusing and informing his audiences “who flocked to his election meetings as to popular entertainment”. In 1910, Reid was appointed as Australia’s first High Commissioner in London.
Reid was extremely popular in Britain, and in 1916, when his term as High Commissioner ended, he was elected unopposed to the House of Commons for the seat of St George.
Andrew Fisher (29 August 1862 – 22 October 1928)
The Scotland born Andrew Fisher was Prime Minister of Australia for three times, in 1908–09, 1910–13 and 1914–15. In 1910 his Government was Australia’s first federal majority government; Australia’s first Senate majority, and the world’s first Labour Party majority government at a national level. Andrew Fisher is considered as one of the Best Australian Prime Minister. Fisher carried out many reforms in defence, constitutional matters, finance, transport and communications, and social security, achieving the vast majority of his aims in his first government, such as establishing old-age and disability pensions, a maternity allowance and workers compensation, issuing Australia’s first paper currency, forming the Royal Australian Navy, the commencement of construction for the Trans-Australian Railway, expanding the bench of the High Court of Australia, founding Canberra and establishing the government-owned Commonwealth Bank.
Andrew Fisher started working in a mine when he was ten years old and toiled underground for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. But he attended school walking four kilometres every night.
Joseph Cook (7 December 1860 – 30 July 1947)
He was the 6th Prime Minister of Australia. As leader of the Liberal Party, Cook became Prime Minister following the 1913 elections; but he only had a one-seat majority in the lower house and no majority at all in the upper house, so he repeatedly sought to obtain a double dissolution. He was Prime Minister from 24 June 1913 – 17 September 1914.
Billy Hughes (25 September 1862 – 28 October 1952)
William Morris Hughes was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia, from 27 October 1915 – 9 February 1923. As the longest serving member of Australian Parliament, his 51-year federal parliamentary career (and an additional seven years prior to that in a colonial parliament), Hughes changed parties five times: from Labor (1901–16) to National Labor (1916–17) to Nationalist (1917–30) to Australian (1930–31) to United Australia (1931–44) to Liberal (1944–52). He was expelled from three parties, and represented four different electorates in two states. Hughes died on 28 October 1952, aged 90, at his home in Lindfield. His state funeral was held at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney and was one of the largest Australia has seen: some 450,000 spectators lined the streets.
Stanley Melbourne Bruce (15 April 1883 – 25 August 1967)
This Melbourne born was the eighth Prime Minister of Australia (9 February 1923 – 22 October 1929). His “men, money and markets” scheme was an ambitious attempt to rapidly expand Australia’s population and economic potential through massive government investment.
James Scullin (18 September 1876 – 28 January 1953)
He was the ninth Prime Minister of Australia serving from 22 October 1929 – 6 January 1932. He was a labor party politician. He was the Prime Minister of Australia during the Great Depression. He implemented many radical reforms to lessen the effects of Depression in Australia.
Joseph Lyons (15 September 1879 – 7 April 1939)
The Tasmanian born Lyon, was the 10th Prime Minister of Australia leading the United Australia Party and was Prime Minister of Australia from January 1932 until his death(6 January 1932 – 7 April 1939). He was the first Prime Minister to die in office. He benefited politically from the gradual worldwide recovery from Great Depression that took place after 1932. Lyons was the only Australian Prime Minister to be in office during the reigns of three monarchs (George V, Edward VIII, and George VI), He was very popular during his time and his death caused widespread grief among the Australian public.
Joseph Lyon was the first Prime Minister to win three consecutive elections.
Joseph Lyon did not believe in family planning. He and his wife Enid together had 12 children.
Earle Page (8 August 1880 – 20 December 1961)
He was the 11th Prime Minister of Australia and served just 20 days from 7 April – 26 April 1939. When Lyons died suddenly in 1939, the Governor-General Lord Gowrie appointed Page as caretaker Prime Minister. He held the office for three weeks until the UAP elected former deputy leader Robert Menzies as its new leader, and hence Prime Minister. While ten Australian Prime Ministers were knighted (and Bruce was elevated to the peerage), Page is the only one who was knighted before becoming Prime Minister.
Robert Menzies (20 December 1894 – 15 May 1978)
He is the 12th Prime Minister of Australia. Serving a collective total of 18 years, five months and 12 days, he is Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He held the office twice, from 1939 to 1941 and from 1949 to 1966.Born into a poor family he completed his education through scholarships. He is also the founder of Liberal Party . He left office at the age of 71 years, 1 month and 26 days, making him the oldest person ever to be Prime Minister. The Menzies era saw Australia become an increasingly affluent society, with average weekly earnings in 1965 50% higher in real terms than in 1945. The increased prosperity enjoyed by most Australians during this period was accompanied by a general increase in leisure time, with the five-day workweek becoming the norm by the mid-Sixties, together with three weeks of paid annual leave.
Arthur Fadden (13 April 1894 – 21 April 1973)
He is the 13th Prime Minister of Australia from 29 August 1941 – 7 October 1941 . His Prime Ministership lasted only 40 days. In August 1941 Robert Menzies resigned as Prime Minister. On 28 August a joint UAP-Country meeting chose Fadden as Coalition leader even though the Country Party was the smaller of the two non-Labor parties. Fadden was duly sworn in as Prime Minister. In the event, The two independent parliamentarians who had been keeping the Coalition in office for the last year, Arthur Coles and Alex Wilson, voted against Fadden’s budget. Coles and Wilson had been so disgusted with how Menzies had been treated that they refused to support the Coalition any longer. This was the last occasion to date on which an Australian government was forced to resign after being defeated on the floor of the House of Representatives.
John Curtin (8 January 1885 – 5 July 1945)
He is the 14th Prime Minister of Australia served from 7 October 1941 to 5 July 1945. Curtin successfully led Australia through the period when the nation was directly threatened by the Japanese advance in World War II, and is today widely regarded as one of the country’s greatest ever Prime Ministers.
John Curtin was the only Prime Minister to die in the official residence ‘The Lodge’.
Francis Forde (18 July 1890 – 28 January 1983)
He is the 15th and the shortest serving Australian Prime Minister being on the role for just 8 days from 6 July 1945 – 13 July 1945. On 5 July 1945 Curtin died; as Deputy Leader, Forde was sworn in as Prime Minister on 6 July by the Governor-General, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. At the leadership ballot on 13 July, he contested the leadership with Ben Chifley and Norman Makin. Chifley won.
The 16th Prime Minister of Australia representing Labor Party, served from 13 July 1945 – 19 December 1949. The radical reforming nature of the Chifley Government was such that between 1946 and 1949, the Australian Parliament passed 299 Acts, a record up until then, and well beyond the previous record of Labor’s Andrew Fisher, who passed 113 Acts from 1910 to 1913. He worked towards implementing labor’s policy of democratic socialism. Chifley lost office at the 1949 federal election, after his attempt to nationalise the banks.
Australia’s 17th Prime Minister, Harold Holt was in office from 26 January 1966 to 19 December 1967, when he was officially pronounced dead after drowning at sea near Cheviot Beach on Point Nepean near Portsea. His body was never found.
The 18th Prime Minister and the last member of the Country Party to serve as Prime Minister from 17 December 1967 – 10 January 1968.
John McEwen had a reputation for being miserly and for re-using anything he could, which earned him a nick name ‘Second hand Jack’.
He was the 19th Prime Minister of Australia and the only Australian Senator to have become the Prime Minister of Australia.
William McMahon (23 February 1908 – 31 March 1988)
The Liberal politician and the 20th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the longest continuously serving government minister in Australian history (21 years and 6 months) and held the longest tenure as Prime Minister without leading his party to victory at an election. He was the Prime Minister from 10 March 1971 – 5 December 1972.
Gough Whitlam (born 11 July 1916)
Gough Whitlam became Australia’s 21st Prime Minister on 5 December 1972. He served as Prime Minister from 5 December 1972 – 11 November 1975 . His Labor government, the first after more than two decades, set out to change Australia through a wide-ranging reform program. Whitlam’s term abruptly ended when his government was dismissed by the Governor-General on 11 November 1975. The Whitlam Government implemented a large number of new programs and policy changes, including the elimination of military conscription and criminal execution, institution of universal health care and fee-free university education, and the implementation of legal aid programs.
Malcolm Fraser (born 21 May 1930)
Malcolm Fraser was Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister. He began his term as caretaker Prime Minister on 11 November 1975, after Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismissed Gough Whitlam’s Labor government. The Fraser Coalition government was returned with the largest landslide of any federal election a month later, and remained in office until 1983. He served from 11 November 1975 – 11 March 1983.
Bob Hawk (born 9 December 1929)
The 23rd Prime Minister of Australia with eight years in office is Australia’s longest-serving Labor Prime Minister. He became Prime Minister after only two years in parliament, and only one month as Leader of the Opposition. His academic achievements were complemented by setting a new world speed record for beer drinking; he downed 2 1⁄2 imperial pints (1.4 l) – equivalent to a yard of ale – from a sconce pot in 11 seconds as part of a college penalty. the Hawke Government dismantled the tariff system, privatised state sector industries, ended the subsidisation of loss-making industries, and sold off the state-owned Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Paul Keating (born 18 January 1944)
24th Prime Minister of Australia, Paul Keating served as Prime Minister from 20 December 1991 – 11 March 1996. As Treasurer and as Prime Minister, Paul Keating transformed Australia’s financial system and economy. As Treasurer from 1983 to 1991 in the government of Bob Hawke, Paul Keating was the architect of Australia’s economic deregulation. The government floated the Australian dollar and allowed foreign banks to operate in Australia from 1983.
Paul Keating at the age of 15 left school, and instead worked as a pay clerk at Sydney’s electricity authority. He then worked as research assistant for a trade union and later joined Labor Party. In 1966, he became President of the ALP’s Youth Council. In the 1960s, Keating managed rock band “The Ramrods”. Though Ramrods never had any big hits, Keating still did a good job.
John Howard (born 26 July 1939)
The 25th Prime Minister of Australia and the second longest serving Prime Minister after Menzies, served as Prime Minister from 11 March 1996 – 3 December 2007. Howard also lost his own parliamentary seat at the election; he was the second Australian Prime Minister, after Stanley Bruce in 1929, to do so.
Kevin Rudd (born 21 September 1957)
The 26th Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd was twice Prime Minister of Australia, from 2007 to 2010, and again in 2013. His government was characterised by a commitment to fairness, expressed in education and employment reforms, health delivery and financial initiatives such as taxation adjustments. Kevin Rudd pointed to a 21st-century social democracy where the responsibility of government was to offset ‘the inevitable inequalities of the market with a commitment to fairness for all’.
Kevin Rudd when he was young, worked as a cleaner in the house of Journalist Laurie Oakes.
Julia Gillard (born 29 September 1961)
The 27th Prime Minister of Australia and the first woman to hold the post, served as Prime Minister from 24 June 2010 – 27 June 2013.