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MELZER, Jean Isabel (1926–2013)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1974–81 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

MELZER, Jean Isabel (1926–2013)
Senator for Victoria, 1974–81 (Australian Labor Party)

Jean Isabel Melzer, the first woman in the Australian Labor Party to be elected to the Senate from Victoria, was born in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick, on 7 February 1926. She was the eldest of the three daughters of George Kenneth McLeod and Lilian Rosa, née Ford. Jean was educated at state schools at Ormond and Ormond East, Gardenvale Central School, and from

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MESSNER, Anthony John (1939–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1975–90 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

MESSNER, Anthony John (1939– )
Senator for South Australia, 1975–90 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Anthony John (Tony) Messner was born in East Melbourne on 24 September 1939, the only child of Colin Thomas Messner, bank officer, and Thelma Doreen Messner, née Virgo. Messner’s parents originally came from South Australia, but his father’s employment with the Bank of Adelaide resulted in the family moving between Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth during his early life. Tony Messner was educated at

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MILLEN, Edward Davis (1860–1923)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–23 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)</span>

MILLEN, Edward Davis (1860–1923)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–23 (Free Trade; Anti-Socialist Party; Liberal Party; Nationalist Party)

As Australia’s first Minister for Repatriation, Edward Millen was a central figure in the establishment of Australia’s repatriation policies and machinery. Born in Deal, Kent, on 7 November 1860, the son of John Bullock Millen, a pilot of the Cinque Ports, and Charlotte, née Davis, he began his working life as an adjuster of marine insurance. Migrating to New South Wales around 1880, Millen

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MILLEN, John Dunlop (1877–1941)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1920–38 (Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)</span>

MILLEN, John Dunlop (1877–1941)
Senator for Tasmania, 1920–38 (Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)

John Dunlop Millen, mining engineer, was born on 3 May 1877, at Londonderry, Ireland, son of John Millen, draper, and Kate, née Dickson. In 1884 the family migrated to Queensland where Millen senior established himself as a draper in Toowoomba. The younger John was educated at Toowoomba Grammar School, after which he obtained a diploma from Sydney Technical College. Millen secured the position of

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MILLINER, Bertie Richard (1911–1975)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1968–75 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

MILLINER, Bertie Richard (1911–1975)
Senator for Queensland, 1968–75 (Australian Labor Party)

Bertie Richard Milliner was born in Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, on 17 July 1911. He was the sixth son of Arthur, a glazier, and Ellen, née Batchelor. Educated at Kelvin Grove Boys’ State School from 1918 until 1925, Milliner spent his entire life in the inner west Brisbane suburbs of Kelvin Grove and Newmarket. On 26 March 1938 he married a schoolteacher, Thelma Elizabeth Voght,

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MISSEN, Alan Joseph (1925–1986)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1974–86 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

MISSEN, Alan Joseph (1925–1986)
Senator for Victoria, 1974–86 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Alan Missen, law reformer and a champion of civil liberties at home and abroad, was an exemplary parliamentarian whose impact on political life was far out of proportion to his backbench status. Alan Joseph Missen was born in the Melbourne suburb of Kew on 22 July 1925, the only child of Clifford Athel Missen, a moulder, and (Ethel) Violet Maud Missen, née Bartley. Alan’s

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MOONEY, Patrick Frederick (1880–1942)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1931–32 (Lang Labor)</span>

MOONEY, Patrick Frederick (1880–1942)
Senator for New South Wales, 1931–32 (Lang Labor)

‘Bluey’ Mooney was a senator for only six months. He brought to the Senate chamber a pugnacity that reflected his earlier industrial experience and his intense loyalty to the then premier of New South Wales, J. T. Lang. His entry to the Senate on 23 December 1931 meant that the number of Lang Labor followers in the Senate rose briefly to three, the others

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MORRIS, John Joseph (1936–2013)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1985–90 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

MORRIS, John Joseph (1936–2013)
Senator for New South Wales, 1985–90 (Australian Labor Party)

John Joseph Morris was born at Young Wallsend (now known as Edgeworth, a suburb of Newcastle), NSW, on 12 June 1936, the youngest of six children of Thomas Wallace Hope Morris, a boilermaker, and his wife Minnie Doreen, née Gavin. His paternal grandfather, also Thomas Morris, had served as an alderman of Fairfield Municipal Council and was described as ‘a keen follower of the

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MORRIS, Sir Kenneth James (1903–1978)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1963–68 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

MORRIS, Sir Kenneth James (1903–1978)
Senator for Queensland, 1963–68 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Kenneth James Morris, pastoralist, manufacturer, soldier and politician, was born in Brisbane on 22 October 1903, eighth child born to James Reuben Morris, a farmer born in Northhampton, England, and his wife Christina McKenzie, née Grant, born in Geelong, Victoria. Morris was educated at state schools at Ithaca Creek and Mapleton between 1912 and 1917, and at Brisbane Grammar School from 1918 to 1919.

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MORROW, William (1888–1980)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1947–53 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

MORROW, William (1888–1980)
Senator for Tasmania, 1947–53 (Australian Labor Party)

William (Bill) Morrow, railwayman, union official and peace activist, was born on 22 October 1888 at Rockhampton, Queensland, the fourth of eleven children of William Morrow, railwayman, and his wife Amelia, née Greenhalgh. When Bill was nine the family, who had lived in various towns and camps in central Queensland, moved north to Mareeba, where Morrow senior was employed as a permanent-way inspector on

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MULCAHY, Edward (1850–1927)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1904–10, 1919–20 (Protectionist; Nationalist Party)</span>

MULCAHY, Edward (1850–1927)
Senator for Tasmania, 1904–10, 1919–20 (Protectionist; Nationalist Party)

Edward Mulcahy, draper, was born in Limerick, Ireland, on 28 March 1850, one of a large family born to James Mulcahy, blacksmith, and Mary Anne, née McMahon. The Mulcahys arrived in Tasmania in June 1854, where James worked as a mechanic for the Hobart engineering firm of Davidson and Clark, while the young Edward became friends with Clark’s son, the future federationist, Andrew Inglis

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MULLAN, John (1871–1941)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1913–17 (Labor Party)</span>

MULLAN, John (1871–1941)
Senator for Queensland, 1913–17 (Labor Party)

John Mullan, ‘a small, pugnacious figure, with a Paderewski-like mop of curly black hair’, impressed his contemporaries as ‘a fluent and somewhat combative debater, with a sprightly Irish wit . . . as nimble and elusive in the dialectical wrestling bouts of the debating floor as the fabled leprechaun of Irish folk-lore’.[1] Mullan was born in Loughlinstown, near Dublin, Ireland, on 8 September 1871,

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MULVIHILL, James Anthony (1917–2000)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1965–83 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

MULVIHILL, James Anthony (1917–2000)
Senator for New South Wales, 1965–83 (Australian Labor Party)

James Anthony (Tony) Mulvihill, railwayman, party official, and environmentalist, was born in North Ryde, Sydney, on 27 April 1917. He was the only child of James Bernard (Jim) Mulvihill and Agnes Ellen, née McNamara. His father, Jim, worked for most of his life at the gasworks at Mortlake, at that time a community with many Irish and English gas and railway workers. He was

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MURPHY, Lionel Keith (1922–1986)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1962–75 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

MURPHY, Lionel Keith (1922–1986)
Senator for New South Wales, 1962–75 (Australian Labor Party)

Lionel Keith Murphy was the most divisive figure in the history of the Senate. His supporters saw him as inspirational: an enlightened and bold reformer whose unceasing mental and physical energy achieved much of permanent value. Opponents regarded him as dangerous, reckless and lacking in fundamental political nous. Doubts about Murphy’s judgment were also held privately by some members of his own party. Years

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MURRAY, Reginald James (1906–1962)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1947–51 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

MURRAY, Reginald James (1906–1962)
Senator for Tasmania, 1947–51 (Australian Labor Party)

Reginald James Murray was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on 27 April 1906 to Walter James Murray, a commercial traveller, and Nellie, née Miller. Walter Murray’s birthplace was Edinburgh; Nellie was born in Hobart. After Reginald’s birth, the family moved to Brisbane, Queensland, and later to Hobart, Tasmania, where Reg (as he came to be known) developed the ‘natural curiosity . . . of

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NASH, Richard Harry (1890–1951)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1943–51 (Australan Labor Party)</span>

NASH, Richard Harry (1890–1951)
Senator for Western Australia, 1943–51 (Australan Labor Party)

Richard Harry Nash was born on 2 July 1890 in Ascot Vale, Victoria, to Harry Avers Nash, a storeman, and Elizabeth Phoebe, née Stroud, who had emigrated from England. In 1897 Dick, as he was known, and his parents arrived in Kalgoorlie. After attending Lake View State School near Boulder, he trained as a junior mechanic, but in 1904 joined the staff of the

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NEAL, Laurence William (1947– )<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1980–81 (National Country Party)</span>

NEAL, Laurence William (1947– )
Senator for Victoria, 1980–81 (National Country Party)

The question asked about Laurence William Neal, National Country Party (NCP) senator from Victoria, was how did ‘an academic at La Trobe University, a political scientist, a city dweller since the age of 18’ become ‘the representative of a party of farmers?’ Described by the Melbourne Age as ‘soft-spoken, pleasant, and super mild—more like a kindly young Anglican vicar’, Neal’s credentials were atypical of

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NEEDHAM, Edward (1874–1956)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1907–20, 1923–29 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

NEEDHAM, Edward (1874–1956)
Senator for Western Australia, 1907–20, 1923–29 (Australian Labor Party)

Edward (Ted) Needham was born at Ormskirk in Lancashire, probably on 30 September 1874. His parents were Patrick Needham, a labourer, and Margaret, née Fahy, both of Irish Roman Catholic background. Ted Needham was very short of stature. During his years in the Senate, he and another Labor senator, Arthur Rae, used to ridicule each other’s lack of height. Once, when asked by a

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NEGUS, Sydney Ambrose (1912–1986)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1971–74 (Independent)</span>

NEGUS, Sydney Ambrose (1912–1986)
Senator for Western Australia, 1971–74 (Independent)

Sydney Ambrose Negus, a somewhat quixotic figure, thus announced his intention to use membership of the Senate to further a campaign in the public interest. Standing as an independent on the single issue of death duties, he had easily won the fifth Senate seat for Western Australia at the elections of 21 November 1970. His election was as much a surprise to himself as

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NEILD, John Cash (1846–1911)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–10 (Free Trade)</span>

NEILD, John Cash (1846–1911)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–10 (Free Trade)

John Cash Neild was born in the prosperous English port city of Bristol on 4 January 1846 to a surgeon of the same name and his wife Maria, née Greenwood, the daughter of a banker. In 1853, the family migrated to New Zealand, but the resurgence of war with the Maori led them to move to Sydney in 1860. Young Neild began work with

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NEWLANDS, Sir John (1864–1932)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1913–32 (Australian Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)</span>

NEWLANDS, Sir John (1864–1932)
Senator for South Australia, 1913–32 (Australian Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)

John Newlands, railwayman, advocate for the Northern Territory and President of the Senate at the opening of Parliament House in Canberra in 1927, was born on 4 August 1864, at Dallaschyle, near Cawdor, Nairnshire, Scotland, the son of an agricultural labourer, Andrew Newlands, and his wife, Ann. John used the name ‘Newland’ until May 1926 when he changed his name by deed poll to

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NEWMAN, Jocelyn Margaret (1937– 2018)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1986–2002 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

NEWMAN, Jocelyn Margaret (1937– 2018)
Senator for Tasmania, 1986–2002 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Jocelyn Margaret Mullett (later Newman), was born in Melbourne on 8 July 1937, the eldest of three surviving children of Lyndhurst Mullett, solicitor, and his wife Margaret, née Maughan, a comptometrist. She was educated at Mont Albert Central School and Presbyterian Ladies’ College. At the University of Melbourne she was active in student politics, co-edited the student newspaper, Farrago, was elected ‘Miss University’ in

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NICHOLLS, Theophilus Martin (1894–1977)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1944–68 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

NICHOLLS, Theophilus Martin (1894–1977)
Senator for South Australia, 1944–68 (Australian Labor Party)

Theophilus Martin (Theo) Nicholls, lifelong unionist and traditional Labor man with practical sense and a visionary streak, was born on 21 August 1894, at Wilmington, South Australia, the eighth child of Martin Nicholls, a miner, and Elizabeth, née Gum. When he was three, the family moved to Port Pirie. As a young man, he worked at Broken Hill for four years, from about 1908.

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O’CHEE, William George (1965–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1990–99 (National Party of Australia)</span>

O’CHEE, William George (1965– )
Senator for Queensland, 1990–99 (National Party of Australia)

Bill O’Chee was an unconventional parliamentarian: at twenty-four years of age he was the youngest person to sit in the Senate, the first with Chinese ancestry to be elected to the federal Parliament, and he was an Australian representative in world championship skeleton races, an extreme one-person form of bobsledding. O’Chee sometimes sported a bright pink tie and drove an expensive Lotus Elise sports

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O’CONNOR, Richard Edward (1851–1912)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–03 (Protectionist)</span>

O’CONNOR, Richard Edward (1851–1912)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–03 (Protectionist)

The first Leader of the Government in the Senate, Richard EdwardO’Connor, was born at Glebe, Sydney on 4 August 1851, the son of Richard O’Connor, librarian of the New South Wales Legislative Council and later Clerk of the Parliaments, and Mary Ann, née Harnett. He attended St Mary’s College, Lyndhurst, and Sydney Grammar School before entering the University of Sydney where, in 1870, he

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O’FLAHERTY, Sidney Wainman (1886–1967)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1944–62 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

O’FLAHERTY, Sidney Wainman (1886–1967)
Senator for South Australia, 1944–62 (Australian Labor Party)

A Labor man who believed in ‘the gospel of socialism’, and who affirmed that it had been his lifelong theme to obtain social justice for the workers, Sid O’Flaherty was once expelled from the South Australian Labor Party. A decade later he was the party’s state president, a member of the Federal Executive, and number one on the ticket for the Senate, where he

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O’HALLORAN, Michael Raphael (1893–1960)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1928–35 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

O’HALLORAN, Michael Raphael (1893–1960)
Senator for South Australia, 1928–35 (Australian Labor Party)

Michael Raphael O’Halloran, who travelled the outback to meet and make friends with swagmen, labourers, railway men and graziers, once said that it was easy ‘for a man to be a politician’, but ‘hard for a politician to be a man’. He was born on 12 April 1893 at Yanyarrie, near Carrieton in South Australia. His father, James Andrew O’Halloran, was a farmer of

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O’KEEFE, David John (1864–1943)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1901–06, 1910–20 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

O’KEEFE, David John (1864–1943)
Senator for Tasmania, 1901–06, 1910–20 (Australian Labor Party)

In May 1901, the Melbourne Age in describing the men of the new Federal Parliament referred to Senator O’Keefe of Tasmania as ‘a moderate Labor representative, a moderate protectionist and a moderate believer in many other things’.[1]David John O’Keefe was born, probably on 21 August 1864, at Longford, Tasmania, to David John O’Keefe, farmer, and Mary Ann, née McCullagh. After leaving Carrick State School

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O’LOGHLIN, James Vincent (1852–1925)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1907, 1913–20, 1923–25 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

O’LOGHLIN, James Vincent (1852–1925)
Senator for South Australia, 1907, 1913–20, 1923–25 (Australian Labor Party)

James Vincent O’Loghlin, the only senator to be on active service in World War I, was born at Gumeracha, in the Adelaide Hills, on 25 November 1852, the son of James O’Loghlin and his wife Susan, née Kennedy. His father, who was a farmer, had emigrated to South Australia from County Clare, Ireland, in 1840. O’Loghlin spent the first half of his life in

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O’SULLIVAN, Sir Michael Neil (1900–1968)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1947–62 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

O’SULLIVAN, Sir Michael Neil (1900–1968)
Senator for Queensland, 1947–62 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Solicitor and company director, Michael Neil (known as Neil) O’Sullivan was born on 2 August 1900 at Toowong, Queensland, the fifth child of Queensland-born parents, Patrick Alban O’Sullivan, a 37‑year‑old solicitor, and his wife Mary Bridget, née Macgroarty, twenty-nine, from Gympie. Neil was a descendant of an Irish Catholic family. His grandfather, Patrick (1818–1904), was a soldier, transported in 1838 for retaliating with his

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O’BYRNE, Justin Hilary (1912–1993)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1947–81 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

O’BYRNE, Justin Hilary (1912–1993)
Senator for Tasmania, 1947–81 (Australian Labor Party)

Justin Hilary O’Byrne was a World War II fighter pilot and prisoner of war, and President of the Senate during the 1975 constitutional crisis. He was born on 1 June 1912 in Launceston, Tasmania, the seventh of ten children. His father, Patrick Augustus O’Byrne, a wine and spirit merchant in Launceston, was the son of Irish migrants who had settled at Westbury. His mother,

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OAKES, Charles William (1861–1928)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1913–14 (Liberal Party)</span>

OAKES, Charles William (1861–1928)
Senator for New South Wales, 1913–14 (Liberal Party)

Charles William Oakes, jeweller, was a senator for one year and a New South Wales parliamentarian for more than twenty. He was born at Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, on 30 November 1861, the son of James Richard Oakes, a storekeeper from Lancashire, and his wife, Agnes Jane, née Revelle. In 1870, the family moved to Sydney, where Charles was educated at Paddington Superior

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OGDEN, James Ernest (1868–1932)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1923–32 (Australian Labor Party; Independent; Nationalist Party)</span>

OGDEN, James Ernest (1868–1932)
Senator for Tasmania, 1923–32 (Australian Labor Party; Independent; Nationalist Party)

James Ernest Ogden, miner, unionist and man of independent spirit, was born at Durdidwarrah, near Geelong, Victoria, on 8 March 1868, son of Robert Ogden, miner and farmer, and Hannah, née Fenby. Educated at Steiglitz State School, James later worked for his father growing grain and raising pigs, and also began training as a primary schoolteacher, though he never practised as a teacher due

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OLSEN, John Wayne (1945–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1990–92 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

OLSEN, John Wayne (1945– )
Senator for South Australia, 1990–92 (Liberal Party of Australia)

John Wayne Olsen, Liberal Party Premier of South Australia 1996–2001, served two years in the Senate from 7 May 1990, when he filled a casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Tony Messner. A colourful backgrounder in the Australian on 29 November 1996, the day after he became Premier of South Australia, argued that there was a defining moment in Olsen’s life when

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ORMONDE, James Patrick (1901–1970)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1958–70 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

ORMONDE, James Patrick (1901–1970)
Senator for New South Wales, 1958–70 (Australian Labor Party)

James Patrick Ormonde, miner and journalist, was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, on 23 March 1901, the son of Jeremiah Ormonde and Bridget, née Reilly. Ormonde came to Australia with his family at an early age, and grew up in Kurri Kurri on the New South Wales northern coalfields. He was educated at Marist Brothers College, West Maitland. On leaving school, he became, like his

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PALTRIDGE, Sir Shane Dunne (1910–1966)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1951–66 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

PALTRIDGE, Sir Shane Dunne (1910–1966)
Senator for Western Australia, 1951–66 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Like many of his peers, Shane Paltridge brought to the Senate significant life and work experiences, including business and war service. Born in Leederville, Perth, on 11 January 1910, he was the younger of two children of Archer Dunn Paltridge, a bank clerk, and Florence Marjorie, née Thomas, both of whom came from South Australia. Shane’s early life was punctuated by relocations, as his

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PANIZZA, John Horace (1931–1997)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1987–97 (Liberal Party of Australia; Independent Liberal)

PANIZZA, John Horace (1931–1997)
Senator for Western Australia, 1987–97 (Liberal Party of Australia; Independent Liberal)

John Horace Panizza was born on 23 March 1931 at Southern Cross, Western Australia, the eldest child of Bortolo (Robert) Panizza, a farmer, and his wife Caterina Cristina, née Della Bona. Born in Italy, Panizza’s parents came to Australia in 1921. Robert Panizza initially cut sugar cane in Ingham, Queensland, from where he went on to work in the mines near Broken Hill and

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PARER, Warwick (1936–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1984–2000 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

PARER, Warwick (1936– )
Senator for Queensland, 1984–2000 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Warwick Parer, entrepreneur, businessman and politician, was born in Wau, Papua New Guinea on 6 April 1936, son of Kevin Parer and his wife Annie (Nance), née McGahan. The Parers were pioneers of the timber, mining and aviation industries in New Guinea, where Kevin founded an airline, Parer’s Air Transport. Kevin Parer was reported to have been the first Australian to die at the

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PAYNE, Herbert James Mockford (1866–1944)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1920–38 (Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)</span>

PAYNE, Herbert James Mockford (1866–1944)
Senator for Tasmania, 1920–38 (Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)

Herbert James Mockford Payne was born at Hobart on 17 August 1866, son of Henry Payne, a gardener, and his wife Hannah, née Reed. Educated at the Central State School in Hobart, he married Margaret Annie Stones, at Ulverstone, on 18 January 1888 under Congregational forms, and by the end of that year was a draper’s assistant in Burnie. Soon he established his own

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PEARCE, Sir George Foster (1870–1952)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1901–38 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)</span>

PEARCE, Sir George Foster (1870–1952)
Senator for Western Australia, 1901–38 (Labor Party; National Labour Party; Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)

Sir George Foster Pearce, carpenter and trade union leader, was born on 14 January 1870 at Mount Barker, South Australia, one of ten children of James Pearce, a blacksmith who had emigrated from Cornwall, and his wife Jane, née Foster, of London. He left school at eleven and became a farm worker, but after several unhappy years on the land, he began a carpentry

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PEARSON, Rex Whiting (1905–1961)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1951–61 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

PEARSON, Rex Whiting (1905–1961)
Senator for South Australia, 1951–61 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Rex Whiting Pearson, farmer and politician, was born at ‘Rutland Farm’, Tiparra, south of Kadina, upper Yorke Peninsula, on 13 January 1905, eldest of four sons of Thomas William Pearson and his wife, Julia Adams, née Rowe. The family, staunch Methodists like so many in that part of South Australia, share-farmed at Sandilands, south-east of Maitland, and Rex and his brother Glen attended local

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PIESSE, Edmund Stephen Roper (1900–1952)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1950–52 (Australian Country Party)</span>

PIESSE, Edmund Stephen Roper (1900–1952)
Senator for Western Australia, 1950–52 (Australian Country Party)

Edmund Stephen Roper Piesse, farmer and businessman, was the first of the ‘squires of the Katanning district’ to be elected to the federal Parliament. His father and three of his uncles had served in the Western Australian Parliament at various times from self-government in 1890 to 1935.[1] Piesse was born at Katanning, the centre of a developing mixed farming district in the Great Southern

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PLAIN, William (1868–1961)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1917–23, 1925–38 (Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)</span>

PLAIN, William (1868–1961)
Senator for Victoria, 1917–23, 1925–38 (Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)

William Plain, farmer, was born in Howford, Peeblesshire, Scotland, on 11 March 1868, the eldest son of James Plain, ploughman, and his wife Christina, née Naismyth. At age thirteen William began work as a ploughboy. In 1890 he arrived in Australia and settled in Victoria where he remained, except for two years from 1897 when he worked in Western Australia. He was a sharefarmer

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PLAYFORD, Thomas (1837–1915)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1901–06 (Protectionist)</span>

PLAYFORD, Thomas (1837–1915)
Senator for South Australia, 1901–06 (Protectionist)

Thomas Playford, fruit grower and politician of Adelaide, was born at Bethnal Green, London, on 26 November 1837, eldest surviving son of Thomas Playford and his second wife Mary Ann, née Perry. The senior Playford, whose occupation at the time of the birth of young Thomas was that of a clerk at the Horse Guards, migrated with his family to South Australia in 1844

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POKE, Albert George (1906–1989)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1956–74 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

POKE, Albert George (1906–1989)
Senator for Tasmania, 1956–74 (Australian Labor Party)

‘I was reared where it was tough. I was reared in the mud in the bush, brother. I can take it’. So Bob Poke (as he was always known) told a Senate opponent in 1969. There was little hyperbole in Poke’s invocation of his own hard times. He was born at Somerset, Tasmania, on 16 February 1906, second of nine children of Alfred John

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POULTER, Maxwell William (1913–1962)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1962 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

POULTER, Maxwell William (1913–1962)
Senator for Queensland, 1962 (Australian Labor Party)

In his youth, when accompanying his father, then a produce agent, around northern Tasmania, Max Poulter became aware of the disproportionate distribution of wealth within the local community. This discovery motivated his actions, political and social, and ultimately led to his election to the Senate, though he died before taking his seat. Maxwell William Poulter, school and university teacher, was born on 22 January

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POWELL, Janet Frances (1942–2013)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1986–93 (Australian Democrats, Independent)</span>

POWELL, Janet Frances (1942–2013)
Senator for Victoria, 1986–93 (Australian Democrats, Independent)

Janet Frances McDonald (later Powell), was born in Nhill, Victoria, on 29 September 1942, the second of three children of Colin George McDonald and his wife Frances May, née Kilpatrick. Her parents were wheat and sheep farmers at the small town of Propodollah in north-western Victoria. Janet attended the local primary school until it closed, then continued her education at Nhill Primary School, Queen’s

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POWER, John Maurice (1883–1925)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1924–25 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

POWER, John Maurice (1883–1925)
Senator for New South Wales, 1924–25 (Australian Labor Party)

‘Jack’ Power, labour reformer, was a senator who never was. Only forty when chosen by the New South Wales Parliament to fill a casual vacancy caused by the death of Senator Allan McDougall in October 1924, Power died two months later, before taking his seat. Had he lived, he would have been a senator only until June 1926, since he had not been selected for

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POYSER, Arthur George (1915–1986)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1966–75 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

POYSER, Arthur George (1915–1986)
Senator for Victoria, 1966–75 (Australian Labor Party)

Arthur George Poyser, labourer, tram conductor and ALP organiser, was born on 13 February 1915 at Ballarat, Victoria, the son of Arthur George Poyser, a carpenter, and his wife, Mary Jane, née Andrew. George, as he was known, grew up in a family that struggled to make ends meet. He attended Ashby State School in Geelong, going on to work in the textile industry.

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PRATTEN, Herbert Edward (1865–1928)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1917–21 (Nationalist Party)</span>

PRATTEN, Herbert Edward (1865–1928)
Senator for New South Wales, 1917–21 (Nationalist Party)

An innovative and successful businessman, Herbert Edward Pratten was born at Mangotsfield in Gloucestershire (near Bristol), England, on 7 May 1865, the son of Herbert Graham Pratten, baker, and his wife, Ann Rebecca, née Vowles. He attended the Bristol Trades and Mining School and was appointed to a clerkship in the Bristol ironworks of John Lysaght, who exported iron and steel to Australia. In

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PRIMMER, Cyril Graham (1924–2003)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1971–85 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

PRIMMER, Cyril Graham (1924–2003)
Senator for Victoria, 1971–85 (Australian Labor Party)

Cyril Graham Primmer was born on 19 April 1924, at Warrnambool, Victoria, the eldest of eight children of James Primmer, a shearer, and his wife Annie Florence, née Duncan. The family lived at Mailors Flat, ten kilometres from Warrnambool. When Cyril was six his parents purchased a sheep and dairy farm at Kirkstall, a small town twenty kilometres west of Mailors Flat. Cyril received

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PROWSE, Edgar Wylie (1905–1977)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1962–73 (Australian Country Party)</span>

PROWSE, Edgar Wylie (1905–1977)
Senator for Western Australia, 1962–73 (Australian Country Party)

Edgar Wylie Prowse, farmer and politician, was born at Mount Kokeby in the Western Australian wheat belt on 22 March 1905, one of two surviving sons of the nine children of Albert (‘Ab’) Edward Cornwall Prowse, policeman and farmer, and Maud Helena Grace, née Quarmby, both from New South Wales. Encouraged by Ab’s brother John Henry (Jack), who had settled in Western Australia, the

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PULSFORD, Edward (1844–1919)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1901–10 (Free Trade)</span>

PULSFORD, Edward (1844–1919)
Senator for New South Wales, 1901–10 (Free Trade)

Edward Pulsford does not leap out of Hansard as one of the most exciting of senators. At first sight, the only claim one can make to establish Pulsford’s notoriety is that throughout his political career he was a staunch advocate of free trade. But by any measure, Edward Pulsford’s contribution to Australian public life was noticeable. In many ways, he aspired to the model

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PUPLICK, Christopher John Guelph (1948–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for NSW, 1978–1981, 1985–1990 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

PUPLICK, Christopher John Guelph (1948– )
Senator for NSW, 1978–1981, 1985–1990 (Liberal Party of Australia)

On 20 September 1978, Chris Puplick, then the youngest Australian senator since World War II, rose to make his first speech in the Senate, and declared that ‘There is no finer tradition in the history of mankind than the Liberal tradition’. As a believer ‘above all in the individual, in diversity, in tolerance, and in caring about my fellow creatures’, he ‘could be only

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QUIRKE, John Andrew (1950–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for South Australia, 1997–2000 (Australian Labor Party)</span>

QUIRKE, John Andrew (1950– )
Senator for South Australia, 1997–2000 (Australian Labor Party)

John Quirke resigned a seat that he had held for eight years in the South Australian Parliament to take up a casual vacancy in the Senate in September 1997. While he had little time to make his mark in federal Parliament before he was forced to resign due to ill health in 2000, he nonetheless made a solid contribution, particularly to the work of

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RAE, Arthur Edward George (1860–1943)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1910–14, 1929–35 (Labor Party; Lang Labor)</span>

RAE, Arthur Edward George (1860–1943)
Senator for New South Wales, 1910–14, 1929–35 (Labor Party; Lang Labor)

‘No Compromise’ and ‘No Surrender’ were statements which formed the basic political policy of diminutive labour militant Arthur Rae, and which encapsulate his long life of unremitting struggle on behalf of the working class. Bush worker, shearer, fanner, fruit grower, journalist, trade unionist, party official, peace activist, sometime poet and frequent politician, Rae was relentless in his avowal of socialism. Honest, forthright, combative and

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RAE, Peter Elliot (1934–  )<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1968–86 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

RAE, Peter Elliot (1934– )
Senator for Tasmania, 1968–86 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Peter Rae’s eighteen-year Senate career was characterised by an independent spirit of inquiry and an energetic application to committee work. First elected in 1967 as the second candidate on Tasmania’s Liberal Party ticket, he commenced his term in the Senate on 1 July 1968 as the youngest senator in what was at that time a chamber of elders. He was re-elected in 1974, 1975,

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RANKIN, Dame Annabelle Jane Mary (1908–1986)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1947–71 (Liberal Party of Australia)</span>

RANKIN, Dame Annabelle Jane Mary (1908–1986)
Senator for Queensland, 1947–71 (Liberal Party of Australia)

Annabelle Jane Mary Rankin, the second woman to sit in the Senate, was born at South Brisbane on 28 July 1908, elder of two daughters of Colin Dunlop Wilson Rankin and his wife Annabelle Davidson Rankin, née Thomson, both born in Scotland. The family lived first near the small Queensland town of Childers where Colin was a sugar grower, and Annabelle rode her pony

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RANKIN, George James (1887–1957)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1950–56 (Australian Country Party)</span>

RANKIN, George James (1887–1957)
Senator for Victoria, 1950–56 (Australian Country Party)

George James Rankin was a soldier first and a politician second. In some ways he was representative of the politics of his day. His status as a soldier—indeed a war hero—gave him an advantage in gaining entry into the federal Parliament during the late 1930s. Rankin was born on 1 May 1887 at Bamawm, a tiny hamlet near the town of Rochester in northern

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READY, Rudolph Keith (1878–1958)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Tasmania, 1910–17 (Labor Party)</span>

READY, Rudolph Keith (1878–1958)
Senator for Tasmania, 1910–17 (Labor Party)

Rudolph Keith Ready, draper and businessman, was born at Latrobe, Tasmania, on 15 December 1878, the son of Samuel, a saddler, and Mary Minnie Susanna, née Mumford, who were pioneers of the Latrobe district. After a primary school education, Ready studied at the Latrobe Commercial College and worked as a junior in a drapery store. At the age of nineteen, he was employed by

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REID, Albert David (1886–1962)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for New South Wales, 1950–62 (Australian Country Party)</span>

REID, Albert David (1886–1962)
Senator for New South Wales, 1950–62 (Australian Country Party)

Albert David Reid, a ‘long, lean, leathery’ Anzac, devoted virtually all of his adult life to public service. At municipal, state and federal government levels he was a dedicated member of the Australian Country Party. Committed to the needs of rural Australia, he made a significant contribution to the development of water conservation policy, and was a highly respected senator. He had a distinguished

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REID, David Donald (1933– )<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Western Australia, 1974 (Australian Country Party)</span>

REID, David Donald (1933– )
Senator for Western Australia, 1974 (Australian Country Party)

David Donald Reid, farmer and landcare practitioner, was born on 10 May 1933 at Bridgetown, Western Australia, the only son of Donald Phillip Reid, primary producer, and his wife Marion Fraser, née Davies. He was educated at Bridgetown Primary School and Denmark Agricultural College from which he graduated with a Diploma of Agriculture in 1949 (in later years he completed part of a postgraduate

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REID, Matthew (1856–1947)<br /> <span class=subheader>Senator for Queensland, 1917–35 (Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)</span>

REID, Matthew (1856–1947)
Senator for Queensland, 1917–35 (Nationalist Party; United Australia Party)

Matthew Reid was born at Dalmellington, Ayrshire, Scotland, on 30 September 1856; only the name of his mother, Elizabeth Reid, is known. In his early years Reid worked as a carpenter, serving his apprenticeship in Glasgow and working in London, where he married Mary Smart on 24 June 1879. He joined the Amalgamated Carpenters’ Union, and was a member of Henry Hyndman’s Social Democratic

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REID, Robert (1842–1904)<br /><span class=subheader>Senator for Victoria, 1903 (Free Trade)</span>

REID, Robert (1842–1904)
Senator for Victoria, 1903 (Free Trade)

Robert Reid, a shrewd, highly successful softgoods wholesaler, and a pillar of the Collins Street Baptist Church, was fond of the biblical passage: ‘Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings’. Reid, born on 17 October 1842 at Leven, Fifeshire, Scotland, was the second son of Robert Reid, stationer and bookseller, and his wife Catherine, née Lambert. The family

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