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

David John O'Keefe

David John O’Keefe (1864-1943)

Senator for Tasmania 1901-1906, 1910-1914, 1914-1920, Member for Denison 1922-1925

David John O’Keefe was born in Longford, Tasmania. O’Keefe worked as a miner, small businessman and newspaper editor, as well as reporting and writing on mines and mining.

In 1901 O’Keefe was elected as a Labor senator for Tasmania at the first federal election. He is one of the few members of the first Parliament to have served in both houses of the Federal Parliament. He was defeated in the Senate elections of 1906 but was re-elected for another term in 1910, during which he served as Chairman of Committees (1910-14). He was the member for Denison in the House of Representatives from 1922 until his defeat in 1925.

After leaving federal politics, O’Keefe moved to Western Australia where he managed a real estate firm. In 1934, having returned to Tasmania, he became a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly where he served as Speaker 1934-42. O’Keefe was awarded a CMG in 1941 and died while still in office in 1943.

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