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

Andrew (Anderson) Dawson

Andrew (Anderson) Dawson (1863-1910)

Senator for Queensland 1901-1906

Anderson Dawson was born in Rockhampton, Queensland. Orphaned early in life, Dawson settled in Charters Towers and worked at various occupations including mining, journalism and bullock-driving. An active unionist, Dawson was the member for Charters Towers in the Queensland Legislative Assembly 1893-1901. He served as Premier and Chief Secretary of the short-lived minority Labor government from 1 to 7 December 1899, earning the title “first Labour premier in the world”.

In 1901 Dawson came second in the poll to represent Queensland in the Senate at the first federal election. He was the chairman of the first meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, and was Minister for Defence in the 1904 Watson Labor ministry. His continued support for Liberal-Labor alliances put him out of favour with the party and led to his political demise. Dawson lost his seat at the 1906 federal election.

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