Father of the Australian House of Representatives

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In Australian parliamentary practice, the Father of the House of Representatives is the member of the Australian House of Representatives who has served longer, continuously, than any other currently serving member. It is an informal, honorific title which carries no parliamentary responsibilities. Where two or more members have had equal lengths of continuous service, more than any other currently serving members, they are known as the joint Fathers of the House of Representatives.

The current Father of the House is Kevin Andrews, who acquired the title on 10 May 2016 after the retirement from Parliament of the then Father, Philip Ruddock.

The only Father of the House of Representatives with broken service but whose latter period of continuous service was sufficiently long to qualify was Eddie Ward.

The first House of Representatives was elected in March 1901. The election was held on Friday 29 March in South Australia and Tasmania, and on Saturday 30 March in the other states. Despite that slight variation in the election date, all the members elected to the first Parliament were considered to have had equal seniority. It follows that there could not be a "longest-serving member" until only one member from the first Parliament was still in the House. That occurred on 8 April 1935 with the death of David Watkins, leaving Billy Hughes as the first Father of the House of Representatives. Hughes was also the first Father of the Parliament from 1938.

Since that date the Fathers and joint Fathers of the House of Representatives have been as follows, with joint Fathers being shown in small type:

From To Member Continuous
term started
Status
9 April 1935 28 October 1952 Billy Hughes 30 March 1901 Father
29 October 1952 9 December 1961 Sir Earle Page 13 December 1919 Father
10 December 1961 31 July 1963 Eddie Ward 6 February 1932[1] Father
1 August 1963 16 February 1966 Joseph Clark
John McEwen
Sir Robert Menzies
15 September 1934 Joint Fathers
17 February 1966 29 September 1969 Joseph Clark
John McEwen
15 September 1934 Joint Fathers
30 September 1969 1 February 1971 John McEwen 15 September 1934 Father
2 February 1971 2 November 1972 Arthur Calwell 21 September 1940 Father
3 November 1972 11 November 1975 Fred Daly 21 August 1943 Father
12 November 1975 10 November 1977 Kim Beazley (senior) 18 August 1945 Father
11 November 1977 19 September 1980 Clyde Cameron
Sir William McMahon
10 December 1949 Joint Fathers
20 September 1980 4 January 1982 Sir William McMahon 10 December 1949 Father
5 January 1982 31 March 1983 Malcolm Fraser
Sir James Killen
Sir Billy Snedden
10 December 1955 Joint Fathers
1 April 1983 21 April 1983 Sir James Killen
Sir Billy Snedden
10 December 1955 Joint Fathers
22 April 1983 15 August 1983 Sir James Killen 10 December 1955 Father
16 August 1983 18 January 1984 Doug Anthony 14 September 1957 Father
19 January 1984 19 February 1990 Tom Uren 22 November 1958 Father
20 February 1990 31 August 1998 Ian Sinclair 30 November 1963 Father
1 September 1998 9 May 2016 Philip Ruddock 22 September 1973 Father
10 May 2016 Incumbent Kevin Andrews 11 May 1991 Father

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eddie Ward also served between 7 March 1931 and 19 December 1931.