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The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate covers the period 1901andndash;1929, the period in which the Parliament operated from Melbourne. This first volume provides short articles on Australia's Senators during the first thirty years of the Federal Parliament. These entries place particular emphasis on the events of a Senator's parliamentary experience, contributions to debates, committee work, parliamentary positions as well as ministerial appointments. It provides also a window on the colonial and post-colonial societies in which these ninety-nine Senators and their three Clerks lived and worked. It explains how miners, merchants, constitutionalists, soldiers, printers, trade unionists, adventurers and pastoralists became Senators, and how, in an essentially egalitarian society, they melded together as Australia's first federal parliamentarians. It tells of their work as legislators during a period when Australia was making a unique contribution to democracy itself, and reveals the excitement felt by conservatives and non-conservatives alike as they shaped the beginnings of an Australian nation. The contribution of these Senators to Australian public life was immense. The Federationists, Richard Baker, John Downer, Thomas Playford, Richard O'Connor, James Walker, Henry Dobson, William Trenwith, Simon Fraser, Josiah Symon and William Zeal retain some elemens of notoriety. Others, such as the South Australian farmer, William Russell, or Charles Montague Graham, a tailor on the Western Australian goldfields, were soon forgotten, even in their own time. The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate reveals to a new generation the influence and the significance of men who came from all sides of politics and the social spectrum, and were able parliamentarians and true representatives of the democratic process. This readable and authoritative work of reference will provide readers with a biographical account of all Australian senators, and a history of the Senate since 1901. It makes a scholarly contribution to historical and parliamentary knowledge and fills many gaps in our knowledge of less well-known senators whose careers have not been fully documented before.
Melbourne University Press
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