|The Right Honourable
|15th Prime Minister of Australia|
6 July 1945 – 13 July 1945
|Governor-General||HRH The Duke of Gloucester|
|Preceded by||John Curtin|
|Succeeded by||Ben Chifley|
|Member of the Australian Parliament for Capricornia|
16 December 1922 – 28 September 1946
|Preceded by||William Higgs|
|Succeeded by||Charles Davidson|
|Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
12 May 1917 – 5 October 1922
|Preceded by||John Adamson|
|Succeeded by||George Farrell|
|Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
12 March 1955 – 3 August 1957
|Preceded by||Ernest Riordan|
|Succeeded by||Bill Longeran|
18 July 1890|
Mitchell, Queensland, British Empire
|Died||28 January 1983
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Resting place||Toowong Cemetery|
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
|Spouse(s)||Veronica Catherine O'Reilly (1894–1967)|
|Relations||Leneen Forde (daughter-in-law)|
Francis Michael Forde (18 July 1890 – 28 January 1983) was an Australian politician and the 15th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the shortest serving Prime Minister in Australia's history, being in office for only eight days.
Forde was born at Mitchell, Queensland, the second of six children of Irish immigrant parents. His father was working as a grazier at the time of his birth. Forde was educated at St. Mary's College, Toowoomba, a Catholic school, and became a teacher. Settling in Rockhampton, he became active in the Labor Party and in workers' education groups.
Forde soon advanced in the Labor ranks. When Labor won the 1929 election, he became Assistant Minister for Trade and Customs in the Scullin government. In the last days of the government he became Minister for Trade and Customs. As one of the few senior Labor MPs to survive defeat at the 1931 election, Forde became Deputy Opposition Leader in 1932. When Scullin retired in 1935, Forde contested the leadership ballot but was defeated by one vote by John Curtin, mainly because he had supported Scullin's economic policies.
Forde was a loyal deputy, and in 1941 when Labor returned to power he became Minister for the Army, a vital role in wartime.
On 5 July 1945 Curtin died; as Deputy Leader, Forde was sworn in as Prime Minister on 6 July by the Governor-General, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. At the leadership ballot on 13 July, he contested the leadership with Ben Chifley and Norman Makin. Chifley won, with Forde elected Deputy Leader once more. As Minister for Defence he was much criticised for the slowness with which military personnel were being demobilised. As a result, he lost his seat at the 1946 election, though the Labor Party itself comfortably retained office.
High Commissioner and return to state politics
Chifley appointed Forde High Commissioner to Canada, and he held this position until 1953. He returned to Australia and tried to re-enter Parliament at the 1954 election, in the seat of Wide Bay, without success. In 1955, at a by-election, he returned to the Queensland Parliament as MP for Flinders. He is the only Prime Minister who later served in a State Parliament.
At the 1957 Queensland state election the Labor Party split resulted not only in Labor falling from power, but also in Forde being defeated in his own seat by Bill Longeran of the Country/National Party by one vote. Forde disputed the result and the election was declared void on 4 March 1958. However, at the by-election held on 17 May 1958, Longeran defeated Forde by over 400 votes. Had Forde been elected, he would probably have become Labor leader in Queensland, given that Premier Vince Gair and most of Gair's followers had been expelled from the party.
Forde retired to Brisbane where he devoted himself to Catholic charity work. In his living room hung a large portrait of wartime US General Douglas MacArthur. On 11 April 1964, at the request of Prime Minister Robert Menzies, Forde represented Australia at MacArthur's funeral in Norfolk, Virginia.
Forde died in 1983. He was accorded a state funeral which, on 3 February, proceeded from St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St Lucia to the Toowong Cemetery, the same day that Bob Hawke was elected ALP leader. Indeed, it was at Forde's funeral that Senator John Button told then Labor leader Bill Hayden that he must step aside in favour of Hawke, which he did. Forde was the last surviving member of the Scullin, Curtin and his own Cabinet. Furthermore, he was the last surviving MP from when Stanley Bruce was Prime Minister.
Forde was the only deputy Labor leader who served under three leaders (Scullin, Curtin and Chifley) until Jenny Macklin (Crean, Latham and Beazley, 2001–06). The electoral Division of Forde and the Canberra suburb of Forde are named after him.
Forde married Veronica (Vera) Catherine O'Reilly in 1925 and they had four children:
- Mary Therese (1927-2016)
- Mercia (b. 1930)
- Clare (1932–2010)
- Francis Gerard Forde (1935–1966); his widow, Leneen Forde, became Governor of Queensland.
During the years that he spent in Ottawa as High Commissioner to Canada two of his daughters (Mary and Mercia) became married to Canadians. Mary (m. William Robert Thompson) eventually settled with her husband in Kingston, Ontario, Canada while Mercia (m. Ian Ferrier) returned to Australia and settled with her husband in St. Lucia, Brisbane. Francis Gerald Forde (m. Leneen Forde) also settled in St. Lucia, while Clare (m. John Attridge) settled in Canberra. Between his four children, Frank and Vera Forde had 15 grandchildren.
- Francis Forde, Prime Minister from 6 July 1945 to 13 July 1945 – National Museum of Australia
- Carrol (2004), p. 168
- "Frank Forde, Early years". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Frank Forde, Scullin government 1929–31". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Frank Forde, Deputy Leader of the Opposition 1932–???41". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Frank Forde, Curtin government 1941–45". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Frank Forde, In office". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Frank Forde, After office". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- "Longeran, Hon. William Horace (Bill)". Former Members. Queensland Parliament. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- "General Macarthur's Funeral (1964)". British Pathe. 13 April 1964. Retrieved 3 November 2016 – via YouTube.
- "Family Notices.". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). ACT: National Library of Australia. 31 January 1983. p. 10. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
- "Frank Forde, Vera Forde". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- Forde, Francis Michael – Brisbane City Council Grave Location Search
- Carroll, Brian, Australia's Prime Ministers: From Barton to Howard, Rosenberg Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1-877058-22-X
- Hughes, Colin A (1976), Mr Prime Minister. Australian Prime Ministers 1901–1972, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, Victoria, Ch.16. ISBN 0-19-550471-2
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frank Forde.|
- "Francis Forde". Australia's Prime Ministers. National Archives of Australia. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- Saunders, Malcolm. "Forde, Francis Michael (Frank) (1890–1983)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
- "Francis Forde". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
|Parliament of Australia|
|Member for Capricornia
|Minister for Trade and Customs
Henry Somer Gullett
|Minister for the Army
|Prime Minister of Australia
|Minister for Defence
|Party political offices|
|Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party
|Australian High Commissioner to Canada
Sir Douglas Copland
|Parliament of Queensland|
|Member for Rockhampton
|Member for Flinders