No, William McWilliams Wasn’t The Last Country Party Member From Tasmania

The man shown here is Llewellyn Atkinson. He was the Country Party member for Wilmot (Tas) from 1921 until 1928.

He’s been dead since 1945 and now not even Nationals leader Michael McCormack knows that he was the last Country Party member from Tasmania.

Atkinson
Llewellyn Atkinson; Photo credit: Psephos

Yesterday, Tasmanian Senator Steve Martin joined The Nationals. Elected in a recount of Jacqui Lambie Network votes a few months back, Martin briefly sat as an independent before signing up to the former Country Party.

Martin was welcomed into the party room yesterday as the first-ever Country Party/Nationals senator from Tasmania.

According to an ABC report, McCormack told the media: “The last National Party member in parliament (from Tasmania) was William McWilliams, a former Country Party leader all the way back in 1927.”

Umm, no. McWilliams left the Country Party in 1922 and only returned to Parliament in 1928 as an independent.

The misinformation was dutifully repeated by Guardian Australia and The Australian.

The Land also repeated the fake history and then made it worse by suggesting that McWilliams had been the Country Party’s “inaugural leader in 1903”, at least fifteen years before the party was formed.

In a variation on the theme, The Conversation told us there had been no Country Party representation in Tasmania “since the early 1920s, when William McWilliams was briefly leader of the Country Party”.

Again, no. There were two lower house Country Party members – in Braddon and Wilmot – between 1921 and 1928. [Read more…]


John Howard Speech On 50th Anniversary Of Election Of Menzies Government

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has spoken on the 50th anniversary of the election of the Menzies-led coalition government on December 10, 1949.

Howard spoke to a gala function in The Great Hall of Parliament House.

Text of John Howard’s address in The Great Hall of Parliament House.

John HowardThank you very much, Shane. To John and Nancy Gorton, Tamie and Malcolm Fraser, former prime ministers of Australia, to John Anderson the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Peter Costello the Deputy Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party, my numerous other friends, former members, fellow Liberals and distinguished Australians.

This is an important night, it’s also an emotional, sentimental and very special moment in the history of our party. It’s almost 50 years since, to the day, that the first Coalition Government was elected to office in 1949. It is, in fact, 38 years to the day when I cast my first vote in the 1961 federal election. And by way of reminder to all of us who naturally look to the next election as well as reflecting on the previous election 1961 was a reminder of the fragility, the potential fragility, of political office no matter how high you may imagine you are riding at any particular time. [Read more…]


Earle Page’s Speech Attacking Robert Menzies

Sir Earle Page was Prime Minister for three weeks in April 1939, following the death of Joseph Lyons and pending the United Australia Party’s election of Robert Menzies as its new leader.

PagePage held the office of prime minister for 20 days from April 7 until April 26. Menzies was sworn in as prime minister on April 27.

On April 19, the House of Representatives met to express condolences for Lyons. On April 20, the House met again. At the end of proceedings, Page rose to move the adjournment motion. He then made a speech excoriating Menzies, who had just been elected leader of the United Australia Party. Page questioned his judgment and loyalty and his lack of war service.

Page said he had offered to resign his seat of Cowper in favour of the former prime minister, Stanley Melbourne Bruce, who was then serving as High Commissioner in London. Page had served as Treasurer in the Bruce-Page Nationalist-Country Party coalition government from 1923 until 1929. He now suggested Bruce could return to head up a national government in what appeared to be the certainty of impending war. Bruce had declined the offer. [Read more…]