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

The Ministry of May 1901

Barton Ministry, May 1901

Barton Ministry, May 1901
National Library of Australia

The members of the ministry of May 1901, photographed after the appointment of Lord Tennyson as second Governor-General of Australia in 1902.

Back row: Senator James Drake, Senator Richard O’Connor, Sir Philip Oakley Fysh, Charles Cameron Kingston, Sir John Forrest. Seated: Sir William Lyne, Edmund Barton, Lord Tennyson, Alfred Deakin, Sir George Turner.


The Constitution provided that members of the ministry were to be appointed from members of the Parliament.

Two of the ministers appointed on 1 January 1901 did not become members of the first Parliament. Sir Neil Lewis, the Premier of Tasmania, did not stand for election, and James Dickson, from Queensland, died on 10 January 1901. They were replaced by Sir Philip Fysh (Tasmania) and Senator James Drake (Queensland).

All members of the ministry of May 1901 supported the government’s program in the Parliament, although not all were clearly of the same political group or party.