Saturday, March 4, 2017

From Sir Edmund Barton to Malcolm Turnbull: All The Prime Ministers of Australia into a single page of History

Credit: Magshop
Below is a list of Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth of Australia.

The parties shown are those to which the prime ministers belonged at the time they held office and the electoral divisions shown are those they represented while in office. Several prime ministers belonged to parties other than those given and represented other electorates before and after their time as Prime Ministers.

Sir Edmund Barton The first Prime Minister of Australia  (1849–1920) Protectionist 1 January 1901 24 September 1903

Sir Edmund Barton, GCMG, PC, KC (18 January 1849 – 7 January 1920) was an Australian politician and judge. He served as the first Prime Minister of Australia from 1901 to 1903 and became a founding justice of the High Court of Australia.

The first Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Edmund Barton. Credit: Wikipedia
Barton first became an MP in 1879, in the Parliament of New South Wales. He contributed to the federation movement through the 1890s, eventually contesting the inaugural 1901 federal election as head of a caretaker Protectionist Party federal government, after the initial confusion of the Hopetoun Blunder. No party won a majority; however, he was able to form government with support from the Australian Labor Party, against the opposition Free Trade Party.


Barton resigned as Prime Minister in 1903 to become a judge of the High Court of Australia, serving until his death in 1920.



Alfred Deakin 2nd Prime Minister of Australia  (1856–1919) Protectionist 24 September 1903 27 April 1904

Alfred Deakin (3 August 1856 – 7 October 1919) was a leader of the movement for Australian federation and later the second Prime Minister of Australia. Deakin was a major contributor to the establishment of liberal reforms in the colony of Victoria, including pro-worker industrial reforms. He also played a major part in establishing irrigation in Australia.

2nd Prime Minister of Australia Credit: Wikipedia
Throughout the 1890s Deakin was a participant in conferences of representatives of the Australian colonies that were established to draft a constitution for the proposed federation. He played an important role in ensuring that the draft was liberal and democratic and in achieving compromises to enable its eventual success. Between conferences, he worked to popularise the concept of federation and campaigned for its acceptance in colonial referenda. He then fought hard to ensure acceptance of the proposed constitution by the Government of the United Kingdom.

As Prime Minister, Deakin completed a significant legislative program that makes him, with Labor's Andrew Fisher, the founder of an effective Commonwealth government. He expanded the High Court, provided major funding for the purchase of ships, leading to the establishment of the Royal Australian Navy as a significant force under the Fisher government, and established Australian control of Papua. Confronted by the rising Australian Labor Party in 1909, 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. The Deakin-led Liberal Party government lost to Fisher Labor at the 1910 election, which saw the first time a federal political party had been elected with a majority in either house in Federal Parliament. Deakin resigned from Parliament prior to the 1913 election, with Joseph Cook winning the Liberal Party leadership ballot.


Chris Watson 3rd Prime Minister of Australia  (1867–1941) Labour 27 April 1904 18 August 1904


John Christian Watson (born John Christian Tanck; 9 April 1867 – 18 November 1941), commonly known as Chris Watson, was an Australian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of Australia. He was the first prime minister from the Australian Labour Party, and the world's first Labour Party government at a national level. He was of Chilean birth, making him the only prime minister not born in Australia or the UK to date, with German and New Zealand ancestry.

3rd Prime Minister of Australia  Credit: Wikipedia
Previously serving in state parliament for seven years, Watson was elected to federal parliament at the inaugural 1901 election, where the state Labour parties received a combined 15.8 percent of the first past the post primary vote against two more dominant parties. The Caucus chose Watson as the inaugural parliamentary leader of the Labour Party on 8 May 1901, just in time for the first meeting of parliament. Labour led by Watson increased their vote to 31 percent at the 1903 election and 36.6 percent at the 1906 election. From the first election, Labour held the balance of power, giving support to Protectionist Party legislation in exchange for concessions to enact the Labour Party policy platform.

Watson's term as Prime Minister was brief – only four months, between 27 April and 18 August 1904. The Watson Government did pass a handful of bills, but more importantly it set a Labour Party Prime Minister precedent. He resigned as Labour leader in 1907 and from Parliament in 1910. Labour led by Andrew Fisher would go on to win the 1910 election with over 50 percent of the primary vote, representing a number of firsts: it was Australia's first elected federal majority government; Australia's first elected Senate majority; the world's first Labour Party majority government at a national level; after the 1904 Watson minority government the world's second Labour Party government at a national level.

According to Percival Serle, Watson "left a much greater impression on his time than this would suggest. He came at the right moment for his party, and nothing could have done it more good than the sincerity, courtesy and moderation which he always showed as a leader". Alfred Deakin wrote of Watson: "The Labour section has much cause for gratitude to Mr Watson, the leader whose tact and judgement have enabled it to achieve many of its Parliamentary successes"



George Reid 4th Prime Minister of Australia (1845–1918) Free Trade 18 August 1904 5 July 1905

Sir George Houstoun Reid, GCB, GCMG, KC (25 February 1845 – 12 September 1918) was a Scottish-born Australian politician, Premier of New South Wales and the fourth Prime Minister of Australia.

Sir George Reid, 4th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: Wikipedia
Reid was the last leader of the Liberal tendency in New South Wales, led by Charles Cowper and Henry Parkes and which Reid organised as the Free Trade and Liberal Association in 1889. He was more effective as Premier of New South Wales from 1894 to 1899 than he was as Prime Minister in 1904 and 1905. This partly reflected the disappearance of the rationale for the Free Trade Party with the imposition of tariffs by the federal government and the disappearance of the political centre ground. 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.


Andrew Fisher 5th Prime Minister of Australia  (1862–1928) Labour 13 November 1908 2 June 1909

Andrew Fisher (29 August 1862 – 22 October 1928) was an Australian politician who served as Prime Minister of Australia on three separate occasions between 1908 and 1915. Fisher's second government between 1910 and 1913 completed a vast legislative programme which made him, along with Protectionist Alfred Deakin, the founder of the statutory structure of the new nation. The Fisher government legacy of reforms and national development lasted beyond the divisions that would later occur with World War I and Billy Hughes' conscription push.

5th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: Wikipedia
Fisher's second Prime Ministership resulting from the 1910 federal election represented a number of firsts: it was Australia's first elected federal majority government, Australia's first elected Senate majority and the world's first Labour Party majority government at a national level. After the minority governments of 1904 Chris Watson and his own in 1908-1909 it was the world's third Labour Party government at a national level. It was the first time a Labour Party had controlled any house of a legislature, and the first time the party controlled both houses of a bicameral legislature. At the time, it represented the culmination of Labour's involvement in politics. Passing 113 Acts, the 1910–13 government was a period of reform unmatched in the Commonwealth until the 1940s under John Curtin and Ben Chifley. Serving a collective total of four years and ten months, Fisher is second to Bob Hawke as Australia's longest serving Labor Prime Minister.

'Labour' was changed to 'Labor' during 1912 at the instigation of King O'Malley


Joseph Cook 6th Prime Minister of Australia (1860–1947) Commonwealth Liberal 24 June 1913 17 September 1914

6th Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Cook Credit: Wikipedia 
Sir Joseph Cook, GCMG (7 December 1860 – 30 July 1947) was an Australian politician who was the sixth Prime Minister of Australia. A founding member of the Australian Labor Party, during his early life he worked in the coal mines of his birthplace of Silverdale, in Staffordshire, England, before emigrating to Lithgow, New South Wales, during the late 1880s.


Billy Hughes 7th Prime Minister of Australia (1862–1952) 27 October 1915 9 February 1923

William Morris "Billy" Hughes, CH, QC (25 September 1862 – 28 October 1952) was a British-born Australian politician who was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia, from 1915 to 1923.

Born and raised in London, Hughes was the son of Welsh parents. At age 22, he immigrated to Australia and entered into politics. Over the course of 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 (1894–1916) 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 as a Member of Parliament Credit: Wikipedia
Originally Prime Minister as leader of the Labor Party, his support of World War I conscription in Australia led him, along with 24 other pro-conscription members, to form National Labor. National Labor merged with the Commonwealth Liberal Party to form the Nationalist Party. His prime ministership came to an end when the Nationalist party was forced to form a coalition with the Country Party, who refused to serve under Hughes. He was the longest-serving prime minister up to that point, and the fifth longest serving over all. He would later lead the United Australia Party to the 1943 election, though Arthur Fadden served as Coalition leader.

He died in 1952 at age 90, while still serving in Parliament. He is the longest-serving member of the Australian Parliament, and one of the most colourful and controversial figures in Australian political history.



Stanley Bruce 8th Prime Minister of Australia  (1883–1967) Nationalist (Coalition) 9 February 1923 22 October 1929

Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, CH, MC, PC, FRS (15 April 1883 – 25 August 1967) was the eighth Prime Minister of Australia (1923–29). Bruce made wide-ranging reforms and mounted a comprehensive nation-building program in government, but his controversial handling of industrial relations led to his dramatic defeat at the polls in 1929. He later pursued a long and influential diplomatic career as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, at the League of Nations and as Chairman of the Food and Agriculture Organization Council.

Portrait of Stanley Bruce as Prime Minister Photograph, Sepia toned, Original Size 48.4 x 39.0 cm, Retouched National Library of Australia, Credit: Wikipedia
Born into a wealthy Melbourne family, Bruce studied at the University of Cambridge and spent his early life tending to the importing and exporting business of his late father. He served on the front lines of the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I and returned to Australia wounded in 1917, becoming a spokesperson for government recruitment efforts. He gained the attention of the Nationalist Party and Prime Minister Billy Hughes, who encouraged a political career. He was elected to parliament in 1918, becoming treasurer in 1921 and then prime minister in 1923.

In office Bruce pursued an energetic and diverse agenda. He comprehensively overhauled federal government administration and oversaw its transfer to the new capital city of Canberra. He implemented many reforms to the Australian federal system that strengthened the role of the Commonwealth. He established the Commonwealth Peace Officers and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the forerunners of the Australian Federal Police and the CSIRO. His "men, money and markets" scheme was an ambitious attempt to rapidly expand Australia's population and economic potential through massive government investment and closer ties with Great Britain and the rest of the British Empire. However, his endeavours to overhaul Australia's industrial relations system brought his government into frequent conflict with the labour movement, and his radical proposal to abolish Commonwealth arbitration in 1929 prompted members of his own party to cross the floor to defeat the government. In the resounding loss at the subsequent election the Prime Minister lost his seat, an event unprecedented in Australia and one that would not occur again until 2007.

Captain Bruce of the Royal Fusiliers during World War I Credit: Wikipedia
Although he returned to parliament in 1931, Bruce's service in the Lyons Government was brief. Instead he pursued an international career, accepting appointment as High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in 1933. Bruce became an influential figure in British government circles and at the League of Nations, emerging as a tireless advocate for international cooperation on economic and social problems, especially those facing the developing world. Particularly passionate on improving global nutrition, Bruce was one of the key figures in the establishment of the Food and Agriculture Organization, serving as the first chairman of its governing council from 1946 to 1951. He was elevated to the peerage in 1947 and became the first Australian to sit in the House of Lords, as well as the first Chancellor of the Australian National University. Although his diplomatic career went largely unnoticed in Australia, he continued throughout his life in London to vociferously advocate for Australian interests (particularly during World War II) and asked that his remains be returned to Canberra when he died in 1967.


James Scullin 9th Prime Minister of Australia  (1876–1953) Labor 22 October 1929 6 January 1932

James Henry "Jim" Scullin (18 September 1876 – 28 January 1953) was an Australian Labor Party politician and the ninth Prime Minister of Australia. Scullin led Labor to government at the 1929 election. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 transpired just two days after his swearing in, which would herald the beginning of the Great Depression in Australia. Scullin's administration would soon be overwhelmed by the economic crisis, with interpersonal and policy disagreements causing a three-way split of his party that would bring down the government in late 1931. Despite his chaotic term of office, Scullin remained a leading figure in the Labor movement throughout his lifetime, and served as an éminence grise in various capacities for the party until his retirement in 1949.

Created between 1929 and 1932. Gelatin Silver Credit: wikipedia
The son of working-class Irish-immigrants, Scullin spent much of his early life as a laborer and grocer in Ballarat. An autodidact and passionate debater, Scullin would join the Australian Labor Party in 1903, beginning a career spanning five decades. He was a political organizer and newspaper editor for the party, and was elected to the House of Representatives first in 1910 and then again in 1922 until 1949. Scullin quickly established himself as a leading voice in parliament, rapidly rising to become deputy leader of the party in 1927 and then Leader of the Opposition in 1928.

After Scullin had won a landslide election in 1929, events took a dramatic change with the crisis on Wall Street and the rapid onset of the Great Depression around the world, which hit heavily indebted Australia hard. Scullin and his Treasurer Ted Theodore responded by developing several plans during 1930 and 1931 to repay foreign debt, provide relief to farmers and create economic stimulus to curb unemployment based on deficit spending and expansionary monetary policy. Although the Keynesian Revolution would see these ideas adopted by most Western nations by the end of the decade, in 1931 such ideas were considered radical and the plans were bitterly opposed by many who feared hyperinflation and economic ruin. The still opposition-dominated Senate, and the conservative-dominated boards of the Commonwealth Bank and Loan Council, repeatedly blocked the plans.

Scullin during the 1940s Credit: wikipedia
With the prospect of bankruptcy facing the government, Scullin backed down and instead advanced the Premiers' Plan, a far more conservative measure that met the crisis with severe cutbacks in government spending. Pensioners and other core Labor constituencies were severely affected by the cuts, leading to a widespread revolt and multiple defections in parliament. After several months of infighting the government collapsed, and was resoundingly defeated by the newly formed United Australia Party at the subsequent 1931 election.

Scullin would remain party leader for four more years but the party split would not be healed until after Scullin's return to the backbenches in 1935. Scullin became a respected elder voice within the party and leading authority on taxation and government finance, and would eventually play a significant role in reforming both when Labor returned to government in 1941. Although disappointed with his own term of office, he nonetheless lived long enough to see many of his government's ideas implemented by subsequent governments before his death in 1953.


Joseph Lyons 10th Prime Minister of Australia (1879–1939) United Australia (Coalition) 6 January 1932 7 April 1939

Joseph Aloysius Lyons, CH (15 September 1879 – 7 April 1939) was the tenth Prime Minister of Australia, serving from January 1932 until his death. He had earlier served as Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928, and was the first and only prime minister from Tasmania.

Joseph Lyons, 1938 Credit: Wikipedia
Lyons was born in Stanley, Tasmania, and was a schoolteacher and trade unionist before entering politics. He was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1909, representing the Labor Party, and became a government minister in 1914, under John Earle. Lyons was elected party leader after the Labor government's defeat at the 1916 state election. He became premier in October 1923, after Walter Lee lost a no-confidence motion, and served until being defeated at the 1928 state election. He afterward entered federal politics.

Elected to the Division of Wilmot at the 1929 federal election, Lyons was immediately made a minister in the new government formed by James Scullin. However, he resigned from cabinet in January 1931 over a policy dispute, and two months later left the party altogether. He and several other Labor defectors subsequently helped to form the new United Australia Party (UAP), which elected Lyons as its leader. The UAP won government at the 1931 federal election, and was re-elected in 1934 and 1937. Lyons died of a heart attack in April 1939, becoming the first prime minister to die in office. His widow, Enid Lyons, later became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives.


Sir Earle Page 11th Prime Minister of Australia (1880–1961) Country (Coalition) 7 April 1939 26 April 1939

11th Prime Minister of Australia Earle Credit: wikipedia
Sir Earle Christmas Grafton Page, GCMG, CH (8 August 1880 – 20 December 1961) was an Australian politician who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Australia in 1939. With 41 years, 361 days in Parliament, he is the third-longest serving federal parliamentarian in Australian history, behind only Billy Hughes and Philip Ruddock


Robert Menzies 12th Prime Minister of Australia (1894–1978) United Australia (Coalition) 26 April 1939 28 August 1941

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, KT, AK, CH, PC, QC, FAA, FRS (20 December 1894 – 15 May 1978), was the Prime Minister of Australia from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total.

Portrait of Sir Robert Gordon Menzies (1941). Credit: wikipedia
Menzies studied law at the University of Melbourne and became one of Melbourne's leading lawyers. He was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1932 to 1934, and then transferred to federal parliament, subsequently becoming Attorney-General and Minister for Industry in the government of Joseph Lyons. In April 1939, following Lyons' death, Menzies was elected leader of the United Australia Party (UAP) and sworn in as prime minister. He authorised Australia's entry into World War II in September 1939, and in 1941 spent four months in England to participate in meetings of Churchill's war cabinet. On his return to Australia in August 1941, Menzies found that he had lost the support of his party and consequently resigned as prime minister. He subsequently helped to create the new Liberal Party, and was elected its inaugural leader in August 1945.

Declaration of War Broadcast, September 1939 Credit: wikipedia
At the 1949 federal election, Menzies led the Liberal–Country coalition to victory and returned as prime minister. His appeal to the home and family, promoted via reassuring radio talks, matched the national mood as the economy grew and middle-class values prevailed, and the Labor Party's support had also been eroded by Cold War scares. After 1955, his government also received support from the Democratic Labor Party, a breakaway group from the Labor Party. Menzies won seven consecutive elections during his second term, eventually retiring as prime minister in January 1966. His legacy has been debated, but his government is remembered today for its development of Canberra (the national capital), its expanded post-war immigration scheme, its emphasis on higher education, and its national security policies, which saw Australia contribute troops to the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency, the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation, and the Vietnam War.


Arthur Fadden 13th Prime Minister of Australia (1894–1973) Country (Coalition) 28 August 1941 7 October 1941

Sir Arthur William Fadden Credit: wikipedia
Sir Arthur William Fadden, GCMG (13 April 1894 – 21 April 1973) was an Australian politician and the 13th Prime Minister of Australia. He became Prime Minister in 1941, after the resignation of Robert Menzies. He was the first Australian Prime Minister born in Queensland.


John Curtin 14th Prime Minister of Australia (1885–1945) Labor 7 October 1941 5 July 1945

John Joseph Ambrose Curtin (8 January 1885 – 5 July 1945) was the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1941 to 1945, and the Leader of the Labor Party from 1935 to 1945. Having first formed a minority government in 1941, Curtin led Labor to victory (and majority government) at the 1943 election, which remains Labor's greatest victory in a federal election (both in the House of Representatives and the Senate). As the Member for Fremantle, Curtin was the first and to date only prime minister to represent an electorate outside the Eastern states.

14th Prime Minister of Australia John Curtin Credit: wikipedia
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 prime ministers. With the end of the war in sight, Curtin died in office on 5 July 1945 and was succeeded briefly by Frank Forde and then by Ben Chifley.


Frank Forde 15th Prime Minister of Australia (1890–1983) Labor 6 July 1945 13 July 1945.

Frank Forde 15th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Francis Michael Forde (18 July 1890 – 28 January 1983) was an Australian politician and the 15th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the shortest serving Prime Minister in Australia's history, being in office for only eight days.


Ben Chifley 16th Prime Minister of Australia (1885–1951) Labor 13 July 1945 19 December 1949

Joseph Benedict "Ben" Chifley (22 September 1885 – 13 June 1951) was an Australian politician who was the 16th Prime Minister of Australia from 1945 to 1949. He became Leader of the Labor Party on the death of John Curtin, and went on to retain a majority in both Houses of the Australian Parliament at the 1946 election, before his government was defeated at the 1949 election. 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 the Labor Government of Andrew Fisher, which passed 113 Acts from 1910 to 1913.

Ben Chifley 16th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Amongst the Chifley Labor Government's legislation was the post-war immigration scheme, the establishment of Australian citizenship, the Snowy Mountains Scheme, over-viewing the foundation of airlines Qantas and TAA, improvements in social services, the creation of the Commonwealth Employment Service, the introduction of federal funds to the States for public housing construction, the establishment of a Universities Commission for the expansion of university education, the introduction of a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and free hospital ward treatment, the reorganisation and enlargement of the CSIRO, the establishment of a civilian rehabilitation service, the founding of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and the establishment of the Australian National University.

One of the few successful referendums to modify the Australian Constitution, the 1946 Social Services referendum, took place during Chifley's term


Harold Holt 17th Prime Minister of Australia (1908–1967) Liberal (Coalition) 26 January 1966 19 December 1967

Harold Edward Holt, CH (/hoʊlt/; 5 August 1908 – 17 December 1967), was an Australian politician and the 17th Prime Minister of Australia from 1966 to 1967. He was born in Stanmore, New South Wales and won a scholarship to study law at the University of Melbourne. Holt went into business as a solicitor, during which time he joined the United Australia Party (UAP). In 1935, aged just 27, he was elected for Fawkner. Holt spent 32 years in Parliament, including many years as a senior Cabinet Minister, but was Prime Minister for only 22 months before he disappeared in December 1967 while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria and was presumed drowned.

Harold Holt 17th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
As Minister for Immigration (1949–1956), Holt was responsible for the relaxation of the White Australia policy. As Treasurer (1958–1966) under Robert Menzies, he initiated major fiscal reforms including the establishment of the Reserve Bank of Australia, and launched and guided the process to convert Australia to decimal currency. As Prime Minister, he oversaw landmark changes including the decision not to devalue the Australian dollar in line with the British pound, and the 1967 constitutional referendum in which an overwhelming majority of Australians voted in favour of giving the Commonwealth power to legislate specifically for indigenous Australians. He controversially expanded Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, with the slogan "All the way with LBJ".


John McEwen 18th Prime Minister of Australia (1900–1980) Country (Coalition) 19 December 1967 10 January 1968

John McEwen 18th Prime Minister of Australia  Credit: wikipedia
Sir John McEwen, GCMG, CH (29 March 1900 – 20 November 1980) was an Australian politician and the 18th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the last member of the Country Party to serve as Prime Minister. He was nicknamed "Black Jack" by Robert Menzies due to his dark 'beetle-browed' appearance and temper 


John Gorton 19th Prime Minister of Australia (1911–2002) Liberal (Coalition) 10 January 1968 10 March 1971

Sir John Grey Gorton GCMG, AC, CH (9 September 1911 – 19 May 2002) was the 19th Prime Minister of Australia and long serving minister in the governments of Sir Robert Menzies, Harold Holt, Sir John McEwen and Sir William McMahon.

Gorton became Prime Minister after being elected Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia, following the disappearance of Harold Holt in December 1967 while swimming. Gorton assumed the prime ministership while still a member of the Australian Senate, the only Prime Minister to have done so. Due to the Westminster tradition of Prime Ministers being a member of the Australian House of Representatives, Gorton stood for and won Holt's now vacant and ultra-safe seat of Higgins at the subsequent by-election by an increased margin.

Gorton (middle) in 1951 Credit: wikipedia
Gorton would go on to lead the Liberal-Country Coalition Government to their twelfth straight win at the 1969 Australian federal election. After long-term internal bickering and power shifting within the governing Liberal Party, Gorton resigned the party leadership and was succeeded by his former treasurer, William McMahon, in March 1971. Before entering politics, he was a skilled and respected pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force and was considered a "war hero" for his service during World War II.


William McMahon 20th Prime Minister of Australia (1908–1988) Liberal (Coalition) 10 March 1971 5 December 1972

Sir William "Billy" McMahon, GCMG, CH PC (23 February 1908 – 31 March 1988), was an Australian politician who was the Leader of the Liberal Party and the 20th Prime Minister of Australia from 10 March 1971 to 5 December 1972. McMahon was a member of the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Lowe from his election in 1949 until his resignation in 1982. He rose to power at a bad time for the Coalition after over two decades in power, and he led his government to a loss to the Labor Party led by Gough Whitlam. He was the longest continuously serving government minister in Australian history - serving 21 years and 6 months - and held the longest tenure as Prime Minister without leading his party to victory at an election, being Prime Minister for 1 year and 270 days.
William McMahon 20th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
McMahon was born in Sydney, Australia, to an Australian mother and an Irish-Australian father, and was one of four children. When his mother died in 1917, when he was 9, McMahon was brought up by relatives and guardians, the most prominent among them his maternal uncle, who became Lord Mayor of Sydney in 1932. McMahon's father died when he was 18. McMahon was educated at Abbotsholme College, Killara, and at Sydney Grammar School and attended the University of Sydney, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and returned to study economics, a factor that made him an apt Treasurer, but was a factor in the downfall of his premiership. While at university, McMahon competed in boxing and took interest in theatre, music and art.

After first graduating, McMahon worked as a solicitor, before serving in the Army during the Second World War. He was commissioned in the Citizens Military Force (now Australian Army Reserve) and later transferred to the Australian Imperial Force. He achieved the rank of captain in 1942 and was promoted to major in 1943, before he was classified medically unfit for overseas service. He was confined to staff work in Australia, where he was quartermaster for the Australian II Corps and the Australian Second Army.

After a tour of Europe to observe problems created by the Second World War, McMahon returned to the University of Sydney to complete his Bachelor of Economics degree, and was elected to Parliament in 1949, representing the seat of Lowe in the House of Representatives. McMahon became a minister in 1951. He became Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in 1966. In 1971, when Prime Minister John Gorton resigned after a leadership vote ended in a tie, McMahon became leader, thus becoming Prime Minister himself.

The McMahon Government was formed at a turbulent time for the Coalition, and in the 1972 federal election, McMahon led his party to defeat. McMahon remained a member of Parliament until 1982, when he resigned.


Gough Whitlam 21st Prime Minister of Australia (1916–2014) Labor 5 December 1972 11 November 1975

Edward Gough Whitlam AC QC (/ˈɡɒf ˈwɪtləm/ 11 July 1916 – 21 October 2014) was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1972 to 1975. The Leader of the Labor Party from 1967 to 1977, Whitlam led his party to power for the first time in 23 years at the 1972 election. He won the 1974 election before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. Whitlam remains the only Australian prime minister to have his commission terminated in that manner.

Whitlam served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II for four years as airforce navigator in the Pacific and worked as a barrister following the war. He was first elected to Parliament in 1952, representing Werriwa in the House of Representatives. Whitlam became Deputy Leader of the Labor Party in 1960, and in 1967, after the retirement of Arthur Calwell, was elected Leader and became the Leader of the Opposition. After narrowly losing the 1969 election, Whitlam led Labor to victory at the 1972 election after 23 years of continuous Liberal-Country Coalition Government.

Gough Whitlam 21st Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
The Whitlam Government implemented a large number of new programs and policy changes, including the termination of military conscription, institution of universal health care and free university education, and the implementation of legal aid programs. With the opposition-controlled Senate delaying passage of bills, Whitlam called a double dissolution election in 1974 in which he won a majority in the House of Representatives, albeit a slightly reduced one, and picked up three Senate seats. The government and the opposition then had equal numbers in the Senate where they again voted against the six trigger bills which had formed the basis for the 1974 double dissolution. The Whitlam government then instituted the first and only 1974 joint sitting enabled under s. 57 of the Constitution as part of the double dissolution process. All six of the "trigger" bills were then passed at the Joint Sitting in August 1974.

Despite the government's second election victory, the opposition, reacting to government scandals and a flagging economy suffering from the 1973 oil crisis and the 1973–75 recession, continued to obstruct the government's program in the Senate. In late 1975, the Opposition Senators refused to allow a vote on the government's appropriation bills, returning them to the House of Representatives with a demand that the government go to an election, thus denying the government supply. Whitlam refused to back down, arguing that his government, which held a clear majority in the House of Representatives, was being held to ransom by the Senate. The crisis ended on 11 November, when Whitlam arrived at a pre-arranged meeting with the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, at Government House in order to call a half-Senate election. Kerr had agreed to the draft documents and the date for the half-Senate election—13 December—with Whitlam over the preceding days. Whitlam described it as "the greatest shock I had ever experienced" when Kerr instead dismissed him without warning and commissioned the opposition leader, Malcolm Fraser, as prime minister. Later that afternoon, the House of Representatives passed a motion of no confidence in Fraser and called on the Governor-General to reinstate the Whitlam government. Kerr refused to see the Speaker of the House or receive the motion of the House of Representatives and prorogued parliament with Fraser still in office. Labor lost the subsequent election by a landslide.

Gough Whitlam in Cooktown, Queensland in 1944 Credit: wikipedia
Whitlam stepped down after losing again at the 1977 election, and retired from parliament in 1978. Upon the election of the Hawke Government in 1983, he was appointed as Ambassador to UNESCO, a position he filled with distinction, and was elected a member of the UNESCO Executive Board. He remained active into his nineties. The circumstances of his dismissal and the legacy of his government remain a large part of Australian political discourse.


Malcolm Fraser 22nd Prime Minister of Australia (1930–2015) Liberal (Coalition) 11 November 1975 11 March 1983

John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL ( 21 May 1930 – 20 March 2015) was an Australian politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Liberal Party from 1975 to 1983.

Malcolm Fraser 22nd Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Elected to the Australian Parliament seat of Wannon in 1955 at the age of 25, Fraser was appointed to the Cabinet in 1966. After rising to become Minister for Defence in 1969, he was regarded as a contender for the leadership of the Liberal Party following their defeat in 1972, but he lost that contest to Billy Snedden. Fraser challenged Snedden in 1975 and was elected Leader of the Liberal Party, becoming the Leader of the Opposition.

Fraser was appointed as caretaker prime minister on 11 November 1975 by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, following the controversial dismissal of the Whitlam Government in which he played a key role. He went on to win the largest parliamentary majority as a proportion of seats in Australian political history at the subsequent election. After two further election victories in 1977 and 1980, he was defeated by the Bob Hawke-led Australian Labor Party in 1983 and left parliament shortly after.

Fraser was the last Liberal Party Prime Minister to practise Keynesian economics. In retirement, Fraser became involved in international relief and humanitarian aid issues and, domestically, as a forthright liberal voice for human rights. Shortly after Tony Abbott won the 2009 Liberal Party leadership spill, Fraser ended his Liberal Party membership, stating the party was "no longer a liberal party but a conservative party".

On 20 March 2015, Fraser died at the age of 84 after a brief illness.


Bob Hawke 23rd Prime Minister of Australia (1929–) Labor 11 March 1983 20 December 1991

Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC, GCL (born 9 December 1929) is an Australian politician who was the Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Labor Party from 1983 to 1991.

After graduating from the University of Oxford in 1956, Hawke was allowed to join the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) as a research officer. Having risen to become responsible for wage arbitration, he was elected President of the ACTU in 1969, where he achieved an unprecedented level of popularity. After a decade as ACTU President, Hawke announced his intention to enter politics, and was immediately elected to the House of Representatives as the Labor MP for Wills.

Bob Hawke 23rd Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Three years later, he led Labor to a landslide election victory at the 1983 election and was sworn in as Prime Minister. He led Labor to victory at three more elections in 1984, 1987 and 1990, thus making him the most electorally successful Labor Leader in history. The Hawke Government created Medicare and Landcare, brokered the Prices and Incomes Accord, formed APEC, floated the Australian dollar, deregulated the financial sector, introduced the Family Assistance Scheme, announced "Advance Australia Fair" as the official national anthem and initiated superannuation pension schemes for all workers.

Bob Hawke, elected President of the ACTU. Credit: wikipedia
Hawke was eventually replaced by Paul Keating at the end of 1991, who would go on to deliver the Labor government a record fifth consecutive victory and a record 13 years in government at the 1993 election. He remains to date Labor's longest-serving Prime Minister, Australia's third-longest-serving Prime Minister, and at the age of 87 years, 83 days, Hawke is currently the oldest living former Australia Prime Minister. To date, he is the only Australian Prime Minister to be born in South Australia.


Paul Keating 24th Prime Minister of Australia (1944–) Labor 20 December 1991 11 March 1996

Paul John Keating (born 18 January 1944) is an Australian politician who was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Labor Party from 1991 to 1996. Born in a working-class Sydney suburb and having left school at 15, Keating was first elected to the House of Representatives at 25, winning the seat of Blaxland in 1969.

Keating was appointed Treasurer of Australia by newly elected Prime Minister Bob Hawke in 1983. Although lacking any formal education in economics, Keating went on to become arguably[who?] the most reforming Treasurer in Australian history. During his time as Treasurer, the Australian dollar was floated, the financial sector deregulated, certain state sector industries were privatised, a capital gains tax was introduced, and a Prices and Incomes Accord was struck. In 1990 he was elected Deputy Leader of the Labor Party and made Deputy Prime Minister.

Paul Keating in 2007  Credit: wikipedia
Keating later challenged Hawke for the leadership in June 1991, and resigned from the ministry following defeat. Six months later he challenged Hawke again, this time successfully, and subsequently became Prime Minister. He would go on to deliver the Labor government a record fifth consecutive victory and a record 13 years in government at the 1993 election, defeating the opposition led by John Hewson and his 650-page Fightback! policy package, despite consistently poor government opinion polls following the effects of the early 1990s recession. 

Bust of Paul Keating located in the Prime Minister's Avenue in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Credit: wikipedia
The Keating Government introduced native title to Aborigines, greatly increased the social wage and the family benefits system, saw increased bilateral relations between Australia and countries in Asia, and vehemently promoted a vision of Australia as a republic. After being defeated by John Howard at the 1996 election, Keating resigned as Prime Minister and retired from Parliament.


John Howard 25th Prime Minister of Australia (1939–) Liberal (Coalition) 11 March 1996 3 December 2007

John Winston Howard, OM, AC (born 26 July 1939), was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. Only Sir Robert Menzies has served in the position longer.

John Howard 25th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Born in Sydney, Howard was a solicitor at Clayton Utz before entering politics, having studied law at the University of Sydney. A member of the Liberal Party and former president of the Young Liberals, he first stood for office at the 1968 New South Wales state election, but lost narrowly. At the 1974 federal election, Howard was elected to the Division of Bennelong, which he would go on to represent until 2007. He was promoted to cabinet in 1977, and later in the year replaced Phillip Lynch as Treasurer of Australia, remaining in that position until the defeat of Malcolm Fraser's government in 1983.

John Howard in June 1997, just over a year after becoming Prime Minister. Credit: wikipedia
In 1985, Howard was elected leader of the Liberal Party for the first time, thus replacing Andrew Peacock as Leader of the Opposition. He led the Liberal–National coalition to the 1987 federal election, but lost to Bob Hawke's Labor government, and was removed from the leadership in 1989. Remaining a key figure in the party, Howard was re-elected leader in 1995 (replacing Alexander Downer), and subsequently led the Coalition to victory at the 1996 federal election.

After defeating Paul Keating's Labor government in 1996, the Howard Government was re-elected at the 1998, 2001 and 2004 elections. Howard's actions as prime minister included new gun laws (in response to the Port Arthur massacre), the introduction of a nationwide value-added tax, immigration reform, and industrial relations reform. Australia also contributed troops to the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War under his government, and led the International Force for East Timor. The Howard government was defeated at the 2007 federal election, with the Labor Party's Kevin Rudd succeeding him as prime minister. Howard also lost his own seat at the election, becoming only the second prime minister to do so (after Stanley Bruce in 1929).


Kevin Rudd 26th Prime Minister of Australia (1957–) Labor 3 December 2007 24 June 2010

Kevin Michael Rudd (born 21 September 1957) is an Australian former politician who was twice Prime Minister of Australia, from 2007 to 2010 and again in 2013.

Having previously served as a diplomat, and then as an official for the Queensland Government, Rudd was initially elected to the House of Representatives for Griffith in 1998. He was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet in 2001 as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs. In December 2006, he successfully challenged Kim Beazley to become the Leader of the Labor Party, subsequently becoming the Leader of the Opposition. Under Rudd, Labor overtook the incumbent Liberal/National Coalition led by John Howard in the polls, making a number of policy announcements on areas such as industrial relations, health, climate change, education (e.g. "Digital Education Revolution"), and the National Broadband Network.
26th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Labor won the 2007 election by a landslide, with a 23-seat swing in its favour, and Rudd was sworn in as the 26th Prime Minister of Australia on 3 December. The Rudd Government's first acts included signing the Kyoto Protocol and delivering an apology to Indigenous Australians for the Stolen Generations. The previous government's industrial relations legislation, WorkChoices, was largely dismantled, Australia's remaining Iraq War combat personnel were withdrawn, and the "Australia 2020 Summit" was held. In response to the global financial crisis, the government provided economic stimulus packages, and Australia was one of the few developed countries to avoid the late-2000s recession.

Despite a long period of popularity in opinion polls, a significant fall in Rudd's personal ratings in the middle of 2010 was blamed on a proposed Resource Super Profits Tax and the deferral of the Senate-rejected Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. With the next election drawing near, there was growing dissatisfaction with Rudd's leadership within the Labor Party. Eventually, Rudd's deputy, Julia Gillard, announced on 23 June 2010 that she would challenge him for the leadership the following day. Knowing he would be defeated if he contested the leadership, on the morning of the ballot Rudd resigned as prime minister. After his resignation, he successfully re-contested his seat at the 2010 election, after which Labor formed a minority government.

Kevin Rudd in November 2005 Credit: wikipedia
He was subsequently promoted back to the Cabinet by Prime Minister Julia Gillard as minister for foreign affairs, a post he remained in until he resigned on 22 February 2012, following which Gillard called a leadership spill. Rudd contested the leadership, but lost.Following persistent tensions, Gillard announced another caucus ballot on the leadership on 26 June 2013, from which Rudd emerged victorious. He was sworn in as prime minister for a second time the following day, and formed his second Cabinet, which contained a record number of women. He also became the first serving Australian prime minister to publicly support same-sex marriage. Despite an initial rise in opinion polls following his return, Labor was defeated in the 2013 election. Rudd resigned as prime minister for a second time on 18 September, and announced on 13 November that he would be stepping down from Parliament within a few days. On 22 November, Rudd formally tendered his resignation to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In February 2014, he was named a Senior Fellow with John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he completed a major research effort on the future of China-United States relations. In September 2014, he became a Distinguished Fellow at the Paulson Institute, a think tank at the University of Chicago. He is also the inaugural President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, and chairs the Independent Commission on Multilateralism and the Sanitation and Water for All global partnership.

In 2016, Rudd asked the Government of Australia (then a government of the Liberal/National Coalition) to nominate him for Secretary-General of the United Nations. At its meeting on 28 July, the Cabinet was divided on his suitability for the role and, on that basis, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull decided to decline the request; since nomination by the Australian government was considered a necessary prerequisite for candidacy, Turnbull's decision essentially ended Rudd's campaign; Rudd later confirmed as much. However, there remains dispute over what if any earlier assurances Turnbull may have given to Rudd and about what happened in the Cabinet meeting.


Julia Gillard 27th Prime Minister of Australia (1961–) Labor 24 June 2010 27 June 2013

Julia Eileen Gillard, AC (born 29 September 1961) is a former Australian politician who was the 27th Prime Minister of Australia from 2010 to 2013, as leader of the Australian Labor Party. She was previously the 13th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, and held the cabinet positions of Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion from 2007 to 2010. She was the first and to date only woman to hold the positions of deputy prime minister, prime minister and leader of a major party in Australia.

Julia Gillard 27th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Born in Barry, Wales, in the United Kingdom, Gillard migrated with her family to Adelaide, South Australia, in 1966. She attended Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. Subsequently, Gillard studied at the University of Adelaide, but cut short her courses to move to Melbourne, Victoria, in 1982, where she worked with the Australian Union of Students and was the organisation's president from 1983 to 1984. Gillard later graduated from the University of Melbourne, with a Bachelor of Laws degree (1986) and a Bachelor of Arts degree (1989). In 1987, she joined the law firm Slater & Gordon and became a partner in 1990, specialising in industrial law. A departure from the law firm in 1996 saw Gillard serve as chief of staff to the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria John Brumby, which preceded her own entry into federal politics.

Gillard meets with US Ambassador Jeff Bleich on 26 November 2009 Credit: wikipedia
Gillard was first elected to the Australian House of Representatives at the 1998 federal election for the seat of Lalor. Following the 2001 federal election, she was elected to the Shadow Cabinet and was given the portfolio of Population and Immigration. In 2003, she took on the responsibility for both Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs and Health. In December 2006, when Kevin Rudd was elected as Labor Leader and became Leader of the Opposition, Gillard was elected unopposed as his deputy. Upon Labor's victory in the 2007 federal election, Gillard became the first female Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, and held the cabinet portfolios of Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion. On 24 June 2010, after Rudd lost the support of his party and resigned, Gillard was elected unopposed as the Leader of the Labor Party, thus becoming the 27th Prime Minister of Australia. The subsequent 2010 federal election saw the first hung parliament since the 1940 federal election. Gillard was able to form a minority government with the support of a Green MP and three independent MPs. On 26 June 2013, after a leadership spill, Gillard lost the leadership of the Labor Party to Rudd. Her resignation as Prime Minister took effect the following day. Gillard retired from politics on 5 August 2013, before the impending federal election.

Gillard alongside partner Tim Mathieson, Quentyn Bryce, Wayne Swan and Michael Bryce on 24 June 2010 Credit: wikipedia

Following her departure from politics, in August 2013 Gillard became an honorary visiting professor at the University of Adelaide, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution's Center for Universal Education in October. Gillard released her political memoirs, My Story, in September 2014. She has been on the board of the mental health organisation beyondblue since December 2014, and was made an honorary fellow of Aberystwyth University in June 2015. In addition to her various appointments, Gillard has served as the chairwoman of the Global Partnership for Education since February 2014.


Tony Abbott 28th Prime Minister of Australia (1957–) Liberal (Coalition) 18 September 2013 15 September 2015

Anthony John "Tony" Abbott (born 4 November 1957) is an Australian politician who was the 28th Prime Minister of Australia, from 18 September 2013 to 15 September 2015. Abbott was leader of the Liberal Party of Australia from 2009 to 2015, and has been a member of parliament for Warringah since 1994.

Tony Abbott 28th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Abbott was born in London, to an Australian mother and a British father, and emigrated to Sydney, Australia, with his parents in 1960. Prior to entering Parliament, Abbott took the degrees of Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Sydney, then attended The Queen's College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, graduating as a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. He later proceeded by seniority to Master of Arts.

Margie and Tony Abbott in 2015 Credit: wikipedia
After graduating from Oxford, Abbott trained as a Roman Catholic seminarian, and later worked as a journalist, a manager, and a political adviser. In 1992, he was appointed Director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, a position he held until his election to Parliament in 1994. Abbott was first appointed to Cabinet following the 1998 election, as part of the Second Howard Ministry, becoming Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business.

Tony Abbott being sworn in as Prime Minister by Quentin Bryce, 18 September 2013 Credit: wikipedia

In 2003, Abbott became Minister for Health and Ageing, retaining this position until the defeat of the Howard Government at the 2007 election. Initially serving in the Shadow Cabinets of Brendan Nelson and then Malcolm Turnbull, Abbott resigned from the front bench in November 2009, in protest against Turnbull's support for the Rudd Government's proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Forcing a leadership ballot on the subject, Abbott defeated Turnbull by 42 votes to 41, to become the Party's leader and Leader of the Opposition.

Abbott led the Coalition at the 2010 election, which resulted in a hung parliament. Following negotiations, Labor formed a Government, with the support of one Greens MP and three Independent MPs. Abbott was re-elected as Liberal Leader unopposed. Abbott went on to lead the Coalition to victory in the 2013 election and was sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister of Australia on 18 September 2013. On 14 September 2015, Abbott was defeated in a vote for the Liberal leadership (54 votes to 44) by Malcolm Turnbull, who replaced Abbott as Prime Minister the following day.


Malcolm Turnbull 29th Prime Minister of Australia (1954–) Liberal (Coalition) 15 September 2015 Incumbent 


Malcolm Bligh Turnbull (born 24 October 1954) is the 29th and current Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Liberal Party. He assumed both offices after defeating Tony Abbott in a leadership spill on 14 September 2015. The Turnbull Government was re-elected at the 2016 federal election.

Malcolm Turnbull 29th Prime Minister of Australia Credit: wikipedia
Turnbull attended Sydney Grammar School before going to the University of Sydney, where he attained a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws. Turnbull then attended Brasenose College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, where he attained a Bachelor of Civil Law. For over two decades prior to entering politics, Turnbull worked in both personal and managerial positions as a journalist, a lawyer, a merchant banker, a venture capitalist, and Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement. A self-made multi-millionaire, Turnbull purchased a stake of internet service provider Ozemail in 1994 for $500,000 and sold his stake just months before the dot com bubble burst in 1999 for $57 million, paving the way to his current estimated net worth of above $200 million with entries in the BRW Rich 200 list.

Turnbull sworn in as Prime Minister by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove following the September 2015 Liberal leadership ballot. Credit: wikipedia

Though Turnbull had attempted Liberal preselection at a 1981 by-election and later at the 2001 federal election, he was first elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Wentworth in New South Wales at the 2004 federal election. Elevated to the Howard Cabinet in January 2007, he briefly served as Minister for the Environment and Water. Following the defeat of the Liberal Government at the 2007 federal election, Turnbull declared himself a candidate in the subsequent leadership election, but lost to Brendan Nelson by three votes. Following a period of poor opinion polling, Turnbull challenged and defeated Nelson by four votes and became Leader of the Opposition.

Turnbull was considered to be a part of the progressive wing of the Liberal Party, with his views on issues such as climate change, republicanism, same-sex marriage and abortion differing from the conservative wing. This led to persistent tensions within the Liberal Party, with Turnbull's support for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme proposed by the Rudd Government in late 2009 eventually causing a split. Tony Abbott, who was opposed to the Scheme, subsequently challenged Turnbull and defeated him for the leadership by a single vote. Initially intending to leave politics, Turnbull remained in Parliament and eventually became Minister for Communications in the Abbott Government following the defeat of the Labor Government at the 2013 federal election.

Turnbull and his wife Lucy Turnbull, 2003–04 Sydney Lord Mayor, in January 2012Credit: wikipedia
On 14 September 2015, citing consistently poor opinion polling for the Government, Turnbull resigned as Minister for Communications and challenged Abbott in a leadership ballot that he won by ten votes. Turnbull was subsequently sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia the following day and formed the Turnbull Government. Opinion polling prior to the 2016 federal election indicated a honeymoon period which lasted for several months until the beginning of April, when Turnbull entered net negative satisfaction rating territory and the Coalition's two-party polling lead had evaporated, right through to the knife-edge 2016 election. In the following days of uncertainty, Turnbull negotiated with the crossbench and secured confidence and supply support from Bob Katter, Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan in the event of a hung parliament and resulting minority government. However, at the closest federal majority result since the 1961 election, the Liberal/National Coalition retained majority government by a single seat.

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