Archie Cameron

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The Honourable
Archie Cameron
Archiecameron.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Barker
In office
15 September 1934 – 9 August 1956
Preceded by Malcolm Cameron
Succeeded by Jim Forbes
12th Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
In office
22 February 1950 – 9 August 1956
Preceded by Sol Rosevear
Succeeded by Sir John McLeay
Personal details
Born (1895-03-22)22 March 1895
Happy Valley, South Australia
Died 9 August 1956(1956-08-09) (aged 61)
Sydney
Nationality Australian
Political party Country (federal, 1927–40)
LCL (state, 1932-1934)
UAP (1940–44)
Liberal (1944–56)
Spouse(s) Margaret Eileen Walsh
Occupation Farmer
Religion Roman catholic

Archie Galbraith Cameron (22 March 1895 – 9 August 1956), was an Australian politician. He was Leader of the Country Party 1939-40, and Speaker of the House of Representatives 1950-56.

Biography[edit]

Archie Cameron was born in Happy Valley, South Australia, and was the son of a Scottish-born farmer. He was educated at state schools and worked on his father's farm at Happy Valley until 1916, when he joined the First Australian Imperial Force and fought on the Western Front. He was gassed while in the front, suffering severe damage to his heart and lungs. After World War I Cameron took up farming at Loxton, and became active in the newly formed Country Party. In 1922, he married Margaret Eileen Walsh.[1]

Political career[edit]

In 1927, Cameron was elected to the seat of Wooroora in the South Australian House of Assembly, and became leader of the state branch of the Country Party. He helped shepherd the merger of the SA Country Party with the Liberal Federation to form the Liberal and Country League. As part of the deal, in 1934 he was elected to the House of Representatives for Barker, a safe conservative seat in rural South Australia. Cameron was an extreme conservative with a violent temper, and not really suited to parliamentary life. But in 1937 he was appointed an assistant minister in the government of Joseph Lyons. He briefly served as acting minister for commerce in 1938, and during that time became the first minister to be "named" by the Speaker. Later that year, he became Postmaster-General. He temporarily suspended radio 2KY's licence because he objected to political views expressed on it.[1]

In 1939 Lyons died, and the Country Party leader, Dr Earle Page, refused to serve under his successor, Robert Menzies. The Country Party then rebelled against Page's leadership, deposed him and elected Cameron as their new leader.

Cameron took the Country Party back into the coalition government under Menzies, becoming Minister for Commerce and Minister for the Navy. After the 1940 election, however, the Country Party tired of Cameron's domineering style, and replaced him as leader with Arthur Fadden. Cameron then immediately resigned from the ministry, and from the Country Party: he joined Menzies's party, the United Australia Party. He rejoined the Army and spent the rest of the war on active service in the Directorate of Military Intelligence at Army Headquarters, Melbourne, where he did useful work on the Japanese order of battle.[1]

In 1945 Cameron joined Menzies's new party, the Liberal Party, and when the Liberals won the 1949 elections Menzies appointed him Speaker of the House: mainly, it was said, to keep him out of the Cabinet. He presided over the House with an autocratic style that caused a number of celebrated rows with members on both sides. Cameron's health never recovered from his World War I gassing, and in August 1955 he contracted influenza. He eventually died of myocardial infarction in August in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. He was survived by his wife and son, but not a daughter.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Playford, John (1993). "Cameron, Archie Galbraith (1895–1956)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 18 November 2007. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Alexander McLachlan
Postmaster-General
1938–1939
Succeeded by
Eric Harrison
Preceded by
George McLeay
Ministers for Commerce
1940
Succeeded by
Earle Page
Preceded by
Frederick Stewart
Ministers for the Navy
1940
Succeeded by
Billy Hughes
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Sol Rosevear
Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
1949–1956
Succeeded by
Sir John McLeay
Preceded by
Malcolm Cameron
Member for Barker
1934–1956
Succeeded by
Jim Forbes
Party political offices
Preceded by
Earle Page
Leader of the Country Party
1939–1940
Succeeded by
Arthur Fadden