Thomas Collins (Australian politician)

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The Honourable
Thomas Collins
Thomas Collins.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Hume
In office
9 December 1931 – 21 August 1943
Preceded by Parker Moloney
Succeeded by Arthur Fuller
Personal details
Born (1884-04-06)6 April 1884
Yass, New South Wales
Died 15 April 1945(1945-04-15) (aged 61)
Young, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Country Party
Spouse(s) Ruby Violet Summerhayes
Occupation Company manager

Thomas Joseph "Tom" Collins (6 April 1884 – 15 April 1945) was an Australian politician and stock and station agent, born at Yass, New South Wales to storekeeper John Collins and Mary, née Hartigan. In 1902, having attended the local Catholic school, he enlisted in the 5th Battalion, Australian Commonwealth Horse, to fight in the Boer War. However, by the time Collins's unit arrived, the war had finished.

Collins moved to Young in 1906, where in 1911 he began his own business, which prospered. On 17 February 1914 he married Ruby Violet Summerhayes. He had always been interested in politics and had contested the federal seat of Newcastle in 1913, being a close associate of Charles Hardy, leader of the Riverina Movement. In 1931, having built his firm, Collins, Ellerman & Co., to one of the largest stock and property businesses in New South Wales, he defeated Parker Moloney for the federal seat of Hume for the Country Party. He was never a significant parliamentarian, despite his entertaining manner, and was mainly a representative of rural issues.

Collins was embroiled in the United Australia Party-Country Party leadership conflict which ensued after the death of Prime Minister Joseph Lyons in 1939. The Country Party leader, Sir Earle Page, attempted to prevent Sir Robert Menzies from becoming Prime Minister by exploiting UAP divisions. Collins voiced support of Page on radio, but the following day Page attacked Menzies in parliament, causing Sir Arthur Fadden and Bernard Corser to resign from the Country Party. Collins too distanced himself from Page and, together with Oliver Badman, announced he would not attend party meetings headed by Page.

On 26 April Menzies formed a government, and Page resigned as leader of the Country Party. Collins, Fadden, Corser and Badman were not permitted to vote in the subsequent leadership ballot, in which Page supporter Archie Cameron became leader. Menzies, perhaps in gratitude, made Collins Minister Assisting the Prime Minister (dealing with external territories) and Minister Assisting the Minister for the Interior. In 1941 he was appointed Postmaster-General and held the office until Labor won the elections later that year. Collins himself lost his seat in 1943.

Known for his charity, skill and support of many sports, Collins considered standing again for parliament, but died on 15 April 1945 of a sudden coronary sclerosis. He was survived by his wife and daughter.

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
George McLeay
Postmaster-General
1941
Succeeded by
Bill Ashley
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Parker Moloney
Member for Hume
1931–1943
Succeeded by
Arthur Fuller