Archibald Peake

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Archibald Peake
Archibald Peake.jpg
25th Premier of South Australia
Elections: 1910, 1912, 1915, 1918
In office
5 June 1909 – 3 June 1910
Preceded by Thomas Price
Succeeded by John Verran
In office
17 February 1912 – 3 April 1915
Preceded by John Verran
Succeeded by Crawford Vaughan
In office
14 July 1917 – 8 April 1920
Preceded by Crawford Vaughan
Succeeded by Henry Barwell
Personal details
Political party Liberal and Democratic Union,
Liberal Union

Archibald Henry Peake (15 January 1859 – 6 April 1920) was an Australian politician and the 25th Premier of South Australia, serving on three separate occasions in the 1910s.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Peake's family migrated from Chelsea, London in 1862, initially settled in Victoria, before moving to South Australia two years later. Peake was educated at state schools under his father, but in later life widened his education by studying in English history and literature. He entered the service of the district council of Narracoorte, became district clerk in 1878. In 1893 he contested Albert in an election for the House of Assembly and was beaten by 50 votes, but four years later won the seat by two votes. He resigned his position as district clerk when he entered politics, and afterward was in business at Mount Barker as a member of the firm of auctioneers, Monks and Peake.

Parliamentarian[edit]

Peake was elected to the South Australian House of Assembly as the Member for Albert[1] representing Narracorte. After his election, Peake was at first an independent supporting the Liberal Governments of Charles Kingston and Frederick Holder. He became disillusioned with the Government of John Jenkins leading him to become leader of a group of 15 members under the Liberal banner.

Peake was elected as one of three members for the new seat of Victoria and Albert in May 1902, he held this seat until March 1915.[2] Peake's group joined the Labor Government of Thomas Price in a coalition with Peake holding the positions of Treasurer and Attorney General after they won a six-seat majority. As Treasurer, he delivered three surplus budgets in a row as agricultural conditions improved.

In the 1906 election, Labor came close to a majority in their own right. However, Peake and his party resisted a change to the arrangements and it was only his good relationships with Price that held the coalition together. Peake had formed the Liberal and Democratic Union which had a network of branches in 1906.

Premier[edit]

After Price's death, the Labor Party demanded the Premier position for its new leader John Verran. Peake refused and was able to form a Government which lasted for a year. The Liberal and Democratic Union relied on support from the conservative Australasian National League and the Farmers' and Producers' Political Union with representatives of both parties joining the Government.

Following the Labor victory in the 1910 state election, the Liberal and Democratic Union merged with the conservative parties to form the Liberal Union under Peake's leadership. It was affiliated with the Commonwealth Liberal Party at the Federal level. Peake was elected as Premier at the 1912 election as Verran's Government had been unable to deal with a number of significant industrial disputes.

Peake's Government created the Industrial Arbitration Court which established a minimum wage for state awards but limited the right to strike. During his premiership, he reached agreement with the Federal, New South Wales and Victorian Governments over the Murray River leading to the River Murray Commission which is now the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. Peake was a teetotaller Presbyterian who held a plebiscite establishing six o'clock closing for hotels in 1915 which became the law in South Australia for the next fifty years.

Peake lost to the Labor Party under Crawford Vaughan at the 1915 election and lost his seat. However, he was elected as Member for Alexandra and became Leader of the Opposition. Vaughan lost his majority after the Labor Party split over conscription. Peake became Premier of a coalition government of Liberals and Nationalist Party of Australia members.

This government reformed apprenticeship arrangements and reformed divorce laws. It won a solid majority at the 1918 election and established soldier settlements. However, the Nationalists crossed the floor to amend the Industrial Code Bill in concert with the ALP leading Peake to demand their full support. They refused leading Peake to form a totally Liberal Government. However, he died of a cerebral haemorrhage hours after the new Ministry was sworn in.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hon Archibald Peake". Former Member of Parliament Details. Parliament of South Australia. 
  2. ^ "Statistical Record of the Legislature, 1836 - 2007". Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Price
Premier of South Australia
1909–1910
Succeeded by
John Verran
Preceded by
John Verran
Premier of South Australia
1912–1915
Succeeded by
Crawford Vaughan
Preceded by
Crawford Vaughan
Premier of South Australia
1917–1920
Succeeded by
Henry Barwell
Party political offices
Preceded by
none
Leader of the Liberal and Democratic Union
1906–1910
Succeeded by
none
Preceded by
none
Leader of the Liberal Union
1910–1920
Succeeded by
Henry Barwell