Andrew Fisher - Encyclopedia




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"ANDREW FISHER (1862-), Australian statesman, was born at Crosshouse, Kilmarnock, Aug. 29 1862, and began life as a coal-miner. He emigrated to Queensland at the age of 23 and eight years later was elected to the Queensland Legislature. He was Minister of Railways in the short-lived Dawson Ministry of 1899, and in 1901 was elected a member of the Commonwealth Parliament, retaining his scat for 15 years. He joined Mr. Watson's Labour Cabinet of 1904 as Minister for Trade and Customs, and when Mr. Watson in 1907 resigned his leadership of the Labour party Mr. Fisher succeeded him. In 1908 he became Prime Minister, but his administration lasted only six months. At the general election of 1910, however, his party was returned with a sweeping majority, and he was Prime llinister for three years, during which period he tackled the question of imperial defence, adopted Lord Kitchener's report of 1909, passed a measure establishing universal military training, and invited Adml. Henderson to visit Australia and report on its naval needs. In 1913 his party was in a minority in the Lower House and he therefore resigned in favour of Mr. (afterwards Sir) Joseph Cook; but at the special election of Aug. 1914 he was again returned to power and took vigorous action for Australia's participation in the World War. At the end of 1915 he resigned and took up the High Commissionership vacated by Sir George Reid. This office he held until 1921. He represented Australia at the coronation of King George V. (1911), and was that year sworn of the Privy Council.

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