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

Rev James Black Ronald

Reverend James Black Ronald (1861-1941)

Member for Southern Melbourne (Victoria) 1901-1906

James Black Ronald was born in Scotland and educated in Edinburgh.  He was a minister of the Presbyterian Church.

In 1901 Ronald, a Labor candidate, was elected to represent the federal seat of Southern Melbourne in the House of Representatives at the first federal election. Ronald was the only clergyman elected to the first Parliament and is believed to be the only Labor member to have graduated from university.

Ronald was defeated at the 1906 election. He joined the Nationalist Party in 1917 but failed to gain pre-selection for Melbourne Ports. He unsuccessfully contested the seat of Fawkner as an independent in 1929.

Ronald was known for his extreme views on the White Australia Policy, claiming that the Chinese “should be either poll-axed or poll-taxed in such a manner as would make the country too hot for them.”  He advocated a “snow-white Australia if you will”.

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