Commonwealth of Australia Coat of Arms
For Peace, Order and Good Government: The first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia
Early proposals
Six colonies
Drafting a constitution
Declaration of the Commonwealth
Conducting the first Federal election
Who could vote?
The election campaign
9 May 1901
The royal visit
The first federal parliamentarians
Ministry of May, 1901
Edmund Barton
Political parties
Legislative program
Relationship between the houses

Members of the First Parliament

John George Barrett

John George Barrett (1858-1928)

Senator for Victoria 1901-1903

John Barrett was born in Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria. Although he had no secondary schooling, he had a strong intellectual interest in history and politics and, following the example of his father, became active in trade unionism and industry reforms. A tinsmith by trade, he co-founded the Victorian Tinsmiths Society, and from 1893 to 1901 was Secretary of the Trades Hall Council. Barrett was the member for Carlton South in the Victorian Legislative Assembly 1895-97.

Barrett was elected as a Labor Senator for Victoria at the first federal election. A member of a number of committees, Barrett left the Labor Party and was defeated at the 1903 election which he contested as an independent.

Barrett spent the years after his federal service dedicated to temperance work. He tried twice to re-enter state politics but was unsuccessful.

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