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

Edward Augustine St Aubyn Harney

Edward Augustine St Aubyn Harney (1865-1929)

Senator for Western Australia 1901-1903


Edward Harney was born in Dublin, Ireland and migrated to Coolgardie, Western Australia in the mid-1890s. Little is known of his life prior to entering federal politics other than that he was a lawyer.

In 1901 Harney, a Freetrader, was elected to represent Western Australia in the Senate at the first federal election. Harney attended less than one-quarter of the sittings of the Senate, and did not stand for re-election in 1903.

In 1905 Harney was appointed King’s Counsel and shortly afterwards moved to England to further his legal career. In 1922 he became a Member of the British House of Commons for South Shields and served until his death in 1929. A persuasive speaker, Harney was known as the “Demosthenes from the West”.

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