Father of the Australian Senate

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This is a list of Fathers of the Australian Senate.

The Father of the Senate is an informal title that carries no parliamentary responsibilities. It is held by the senator who has served longer, continuously, than any other currently serving senator. Where two or more senators have equal lengths of continuous service, more than any other currently serving senators, they are known as the joint Fathers of the Senate. Joint Fathers are shown in small type in the following list.[citation needed]

The only Father of the Senate with broken service but whose latter period of continuous service was sufficiently long to qualify was Sir Walter Cooper.

The first Senate was elected on 29 and 30 March 1901. Despite the different election dates, all the members elected to that First Parliament were considered to have had equal seniority. It follows that there could not be a "longest-serving Senator" until only one Senator from the First Parliament was still serving. That occurred on 14 September 1923 with the death of Hon Edward Millen, leaving Sir George Pearce as the sole longest-serving Senator, and thus the inaugural Father of the Senate.

Since that date the Fathers and joint Fathers of the Senate have been:

From To Senator Continuous
term started
Duration Status
15 September 1923 30 June 1938 Sir George Pearce 29 March 1901 37 years, 93 days Father
1 July 1938 30 June 1947 Thomas Crawford
Harry Foll
1 July 1917 29 years, 364 days Joint Fathers
1 July 1947 30 June 1950 Joe Collings
Gordon Brown
1 July 1932 17 years, 364 days Joint Fathers
1 July 1950 30 June 1965 Gordon Brown 1 July 1932 32 years, 364 days Father
1 July 1965 30 June 1968 Sir Walter Cooper 1 July 1935[1] 32 years, 365 days Father
1 July 1968 24 May 1971 Bert Hendrickson
Justin O'Byrne
Dame Annabelle Rankin
*
1 July 1947 23 years, 327 days Joint Fathers (* The possibility of a woman becoming a longest-serving Senator was not contemplated in Australian Senate Practice, and there was no move to amend the text by the then-current Senate)
25 May 1971 30 June 1971 Bert Hendrickson
Justin O'Byrne
1 July 1947 23 years, 364 days Joint Fathers
1 July 1971 30 June 1981 Justin O'Byrne 1 July 1947 33 years, 364 days Father
1 July 1981 23 January 1987 Doug McClelland 1 July 1962 24 years, 206 days Father
24 January 1987 27 February 1989 Arthur Gietzelt
Peter Durack
1 July 1971 17 years, 241 days Joint Fathers
28 February 1989 30 June 1993 Peter Durack 1 July 1971 21 years, 364 days Father
1 July 1993 30 June 1999 Mal Colston
Brian Harradine
13 December 1975 23 years, 199 days Joint Fathers
1 July 1999 30 June 2005 Brian Harradine 13 December 1975 29 years, 199 days Father
1 July 2005 30 June 2008 John Watson 1 July 1978 29 years, 365 days Father
1 July 2008 30 June 2014 Ron Boswell 5 March 1983 31 years, 117 days Father
1 July 2014 incumbent John Faulkner 4 April 1989 25 years, 139 days Father
  1. ^ Walter Cooper had also served between 17 November 1928 and 30 June 1932.

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