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

William Bowie Stewart Campbell Sawers

William Bowie Stewart Campbell Sawers (1844-1916)

Member for New England (New South Wales) 1901-1903

William Sawers was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland. Sawers was educated in Scotland and arrived in Australia in 1865. He was a wealthy pastoralist and served in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as the member for Bourke 1885-86 and Tamworth 1898-1901.

In 1901 Sawers successfully contested the federal seat of New England as a Protectionist, and was elected to the House of Representatives. Sawers often contributed to debate in the chamber and took great interest in defence issues. Sawers had travelled to Japan and drew on this experience when debating the White Australia policy. He opposed female suffrage on the basis of demographics, believing that female representation was greater in the cities than in the country.

Sawers was defeated in the 1903 election.

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