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

Thomas Macdonald-Paterson

Thomas Macdonald-Paterson (1844-1906)

Member for Brisbane (Queensland) 1901-1903

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Thomas Macdonald-Paterson worked his passage to Australia as a ship’s schoolmaster in 1861. He qualified as a lawyer in Brisbane and was involved in a number of unsuccessful mining and pastoral ventures. Macdonald-Paterson was elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Rockhampton in 1878, and later represented Moreton Bay (1883-85) and North Brisbane (1896-1901). He was a member of the Queensland Legislative Council 1885-87, and Postmaster-General. He advocated the separation of central Queensland and was an ardent supporter of Premier Sir Samuel Griffith.

A Queensland representative at the National Australasian Convention of 1891, Macdonald-Paterson was a consistent supporter of federation. He advocated uniform Australia-wide laws on bankruptcy, banking and commerce, a ten year residency qualification for “new chums” standing for the Senate, and the abolition of the right to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

In 1901 Macdonald-Paterson was elected as a Freetrader to represent Brisbane in the House of Representatives at the first federal election. He was defeated in the 1903 election.

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