Report

Parliamentary relations: political families in the Commonwealth Parliament

31 Oct 2012
Description

In 2012 at least fifteen members of the Parliament have, or have had, a relative or spouse in federal or state parliament.

Since Federation there have been a number of political families in the Commonwealth Parliament. The first parliament included eight sons of state parliamentarians, and seven members who had brothers in state parliaments. In 2012 at least fifteen members of the Parliament have, or have had, a relative or spouse in federal or state parliament.

On 30 occasions since 1901 a son has succeeded his father into parliament and on two occasions a daughter has succeeded her father. Of these, 14 were Labor Party families, 17 non-Labor.  In the other case there was a significant shift in party allegiance: James Guy (Senator, Tas, 1914–20; ALP) was succeeded by his son, Allan Guy. Allan was initially elected as the Labor Member for Bass, but in 1931 joined Joseph Lyons, James Fenton and two other Labor members in forming the United Australia Party. He subsequently became a Liberal Senator for Tasmania.  In one unusual case, a father succeeded his son in Parliament: Francis Matthew John Baker (MHR, Oxley, 1931–34; Griffith, 1934–39; FLP) died in office, the result of a motor accident. Eighteen months later, his father Francis Patrick Baker (MHR, Maranoa, 1940–43; ALP) was elected.

In two cases, there have been three successive generations in the Commonwealth Parliament: the Anthonys: Hubert Lawrence (MHR, Richmond, 1937–57; CP), John Douglas (MHR, Richmond, 1957–84; CP, NCP, NPA) and Lawrence James (MHR, Richmond, 1996–2004; NPA, NP); and the Downers:  Sir John William (Senator, SA, 1901–03; Protectionist), Alexander Russell (MHR, Angas, 1949–64; LIB) and Alexander John Gosse (MHR, Mayo, 1984–2008; LIB).

This paper provides a comprehensive list of political families in the Commonwealth Parliament since 1901.

Publication Details
Published year only: 
2012
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