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The First Federal ALP Government – 1904

Australia’s first Labor Government took office on April 27, 1904, led by Prime Minister John Christian Watson.

The government resigned four months later, after it was defeated in the House of Representatives, on August 17, 1904.

Note: Higgins was not a member of the ALP. He is the only minister in any Federal Labor government since 1901 not to have been a member of the party. Watson wanted a qualified and experienced lawyer in the post of Attorney-General. Even though Hughes had gained a law degree during his time in parliament, he apparently did not feel that he had sufficient experience to take on the position.

The First ALP Ministry – 1904 – J.C. Watson
No. Ministry Name
Prime Minister Watson, John Christian
Treasurer Watson, John Christian
Minister for External Affairs Hughes, William Morris
Attorney-General Higgins, Henry Bournes, KC
Minister for Home Affairs Batchelor, Egerton Lee
Minister for Trade and Customs Fisher, Andrew
Minister for Defence Dawson, Senator Anderson
Postmaster-General Mahon, Hugh
Vice-President of Executive Council McGregor, Senator Gregor


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