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Who Were The Youngest And Oldest Prime Ministers?

Clive Palmer asked one of his unique questions in the House of Representatives today.

Palmer, the member for Fairfax, rose at 2.21pm and asked Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull the following:

Hansard transcript of Clive Palmer question to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Listen to the exchange:

Mr PALMER (Fairfax) (14:21): My question is to the Prime Minister. As Australia’s third-oldest Prime Minister, if you are still Prime Minister after the election, will you serve a full term in parliament or will you retire to your unit in New York and do a switcheroo with the member for Warringah, sustaining yourself with innovation and growth opportunities your investments have provided for the people of the Cayman Islands? It has never been a more exciting time to be a Cayman Islander! Are you a seat warmer?

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister can address any part of the question.

Mr TURNBULL (Wentworth—Prime Minister): I thank the honourable member for his question. If he had not found it so amusing as to be laughing right through it, we might have been able to hear most of it. Nonetheless, I gather the honourable member is inquiring about my health. I thank him for his interest and I can assure him I am in the very best of form.

Palmer got one thing right. Turnbull is the third oldest person to assume the office of prime minister. He was 60 when he was sworn in on September 15, 2015. He turned 61 on October 24.

Two other PMs were in their 60s when they took office. John McEwen was the oldest, 67 when he stood in for three weeks after Harold Holt disappeared in December 1967. William McMahon had just turned 63 when he took office in March 1971.

Most Australian prime ministers got there in their 50s – 17 out of 29 so far.

Another 7 were in their 40s.

Just two prime ministers were in their 30s. Stanley Melbourne Bruce was 39 when he took office on February 9, 1923. He turned 40 two months later on April 15.

The youngest person ever to become prime minister was John Christian Watson, Australia’s first Labor prime minister. He was 37 years and 18 days old when he became PM on April 27, 1904. He lasted just four months in the job.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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