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

Miles Staniforth Cater Smith

Miles Staniforth Cater Smith (1869-1934)

Senator for Western Australia 1901-1906

Miles Staniforth Smith was born in Kingston, Victoria. He moved to Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, in 1896 to establish an office for Reuter’s Telegram Co., became a member of the local council and was Mayor of Kalgoorlie 1900-01. Staniforth Smith was an active supporter of federation.

In 1901 Staniforth Smith was elected top of the poll to represent Western Australia in the Senate at the first federal election. A strong Freetrader, he sat in opposition to the Barton and Deakin governments in the first Parliament. In 1904 he supported Watson’s Labor government. He was active in the debates surrounding the Papua Bill of 1906.

On retirement from the Senate in 1906, Staniforth Smith joined the Papuan Government service and became Director of Agriculture and Mines and Commissioner for Lands and Surveys. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in 1916 (44th Battalion), was commissioned later that year and served as battalion intelligence officer. He was wounded in 1917 and spent the rest of the war on staff duties in Britain. He was Acting Administrator for the Northern Territory 1919-21.

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