James Fraser (Western Australian politician)

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The Honourable
James Fraser
James Macintosh Fraser.jpg
Senator for Western Australia
In office
1 July 1938 – 30 June 1959
Personal details
Born (1889-03-12)12 March 1889
Forres, Morayshire, Scotland
Died 27 August 1961(1961-08-27) (aged 72)
Victoria Park, Western Australia
Nationality Scottish Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Ellen Simmons
Occupation Tramways worker

James McIntosh Fraser (12 March 1889 – 27 August 1961) was an Australian trade unionist and politician.

Fraser was born in Forres, Morayshire, Scotland and educated locally. He emigrated to Australia and married Ellen Simmons in April 1912 in Perth. He was turned down for military service during World War I and instead returned to a position at the Royal Arsenal in London, where he had worked before emigrating. After the war he returned to Perth as a motorman with the Western Australian Government Tramways and he became an officer of the Tramway Employees' Union.[1]

Political career[edit]

Fraser became a member of the State executive of the Australian Labor Party in the 1920s and he was a member of Perth City Council from 1929 to 1937. He was elected to the Senate in the 1937 election. He was appointed Minister for External Territories in the Curtin ministry in October 1941. In September 1943, he became Minister for Health and Minister for Social Services and was responsible for implementing the Labor government's ambitions to expand social security programs. During World War II, his three sons served in the Second Australian Imperial Force, one was captured by the Japanese in the Battle of Singapore and another died as a prisoner of war in Germany. In June 1946, he became Minister for Trade and Customs (losing the Social Services portfolio) on the death of Richard Keane, but was not re-elected to the ministry in November 1946. As a backbencher, he became a forceful critic of Labor leader, H. V. Evatt, whom he regarded as unelectable, and seconded a motion to declare the party's leadership positions vacant in October 1954. He retired from parliament in 1959.[1]

Fraser died in the Perth suburb of Victoria Park, survived by his wife, two sons and one of his two daughters.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Lee, Andrew (1996). "Fraser, James McIntosh (1889–1961)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 30 October 2007. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Allan McDonald
Minister for External Territories
Succeeded by
Eddie Ward
Preceded by
Jack Holloway
Minister for Health
Minister for Social Services

Succeeded by
Nick McKenna
Preceded by
John Dedman
Minister for Trade and Customs
Succeeded by
Ben Courtice