John Perkins (Australian politician)

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The Honourable
John Perkins
John Arthur Perkins.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Eden-Monaro
In office
6 March 1926 – 12 December 1929
Preceded by Austin Chapman
Succeeded by John Cusack
In office
19 December 1931 – 21 August 1943
Preceded by John Cusack
Succeeded by Allan Fraser
Personal details
Born (1878-05-18)18 May 1878
Gocup, New South Wales
Died 13 July 1954(1954-07-13) (aged 76)
Manly, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Nationalist (1926–1929)
UAP (1931–43)
Spouse(s) Evelyn Mary Bray
Occupation Local councillor

John Arthur Perkins (18 May 1878 – 13 July 1954) was an Australian politician. He was a member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1926 to 1943, representing the seat of Eden-Monaro for the Nationalist Party of Australia and its successor the United Australia Party. He was a minister in the governments of Joseph Lyons and Robert Menzies.

Early life and state politics[edit]

Perkins was born at Gocup near Tumut, New South Wales, and educated at Tumut Public School and Cooma Public School. He was a small farmer at Cooma from 1894 to 1899, when he leased the property and became a newsagent and stationer in Cooma. He was a Municipality of Cooma councillor from 1902 to 1909 and was Mayor of Cooma in 1904 and 1908. He was also president of the Cooma School of Arts, president of the Parents' and Citizens' Association, a justice of the peace, the local coroner, a director of the Monaro Grammar School, a member of the local land board and Grand Master of the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity. Perkins was an unsuccessful candidate for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Monaro in 1904 and in 1907. He married Evelyn Mary Bray in 1909.[1][2][3][4]

He was appointed to a casual vacancy for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Goulburn in November 1921 following the death of Nationalist MP William Millard. As the countback method used to fill vacancies under the 1920-1927 proportional representation experiment (in which each seat had multiple members) was unable to fill the seat, the legislation was changed to allow for him to fill Millard's seat by appointment.[5][3] He resigned from the Legislative Assembly in January 1926 upon his winning Nationalist Party preselection to contest a a federal by-election for the seat of Eden-Monaro.[6]

Federal parliamentary career[edit]

In January 1926 Perkins won the Federal seat of Eden-Monaro at a by-election, but lost the seat in 1929 to John Cusack, retaking it in 1931. He was government whip from 1926 to 1929 and was appointed Minister for the Interior in the Lyons government in October 1932, responsible among other things for administering the Northern Territory. The anthropologist, A. P. Elkin congratulated him on his efforts "to make inter-racial conditions in the North more equable and more just". Nevertheless, criticism of Australia's treatment of indigenous Australians in the British press led Lyons to drop him from Cabinet in 1934. He was minister without portfolio from November 1937 to November 1938, Minister in charge of Territories for two days in November 1938 and then Minister for Trade and Customs until April 1939, when he became Minister without portfolio administering External Territories until March 1940.[1] He was defeated by Allan Fraser in the 1943 elections.[7]

Perkins spent the last ten years of his life researching the history of the Monaro region, with some of his records being donated to the State Library of New South Wales upon his death. He died in the Sydney suburb of Manly in 1954, and was accorded a state funeral; he was cremated.[1][8][9][10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McDonald, D. I. "Perkins, John Arthur (1878 - 1954)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2017-01-17. 
  2. ^ "MR. J. A. PERKINS.". Newcastle Morning Herald And Miners' Advocate (17,230). New South Wales, Australia. 4 January 1932. p. 6. Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. ^ a b "GOULBURN SEAT.". The Sydney Morning Herald (26,173). New South Wales, Australia. 23 November 1921. p. 12. Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ "Mr John Arthur Perkins (1878 - 1954)". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  5. ^ "Aspiring Politicians". The Argus (Melbourne) (23,490). Victoria, Australia. 16 November 1921. p. 12. Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "EDEN-MONARO". Daily Advertiser. New South Wales, Australia. 22 January 1926. p. 2. Retrieved 18 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ "Members of the House of Representatives since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 11 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  8. ^ "FUNERAL SERVICE". The Sydney Morning Herald (36,370). New South Wales, Australia. 16 July 1954. p. 7. Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ "Late J. A. Perkins Wrote History Of Eden-Monaro". Goulburn Evening Post. New South Wales, Australia. 16 July 1954. p. 1 (Daily and Evening). Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ "Death Of Mr. J. A. Perkins". Newcastle Morning Herald And Miners' Advocate (24,264). New South Wales, Australia. 14 July 1954. p. 7. Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Archdale Parkhill
Minister for the Interior
1932–1934
Succeeded by
Eric Harrison
Preceded by
Billy Hughes
Minister in charge of Territories
1937
Preceded by
Thomas White
Minister for Trade and Customs
1938–1939
Succeeded by
John Lawson
Preceded by
Eric Harrison
Minister without portfolio administering
External Territories

1939–1940
Succeeded by
Horace Nock
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
William Millard
Member for Goulburn
1921 – 1926
Served alongside: Rutledge/Stokes, Bailey/Tully
Succeeded by
Henry Bate
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Austin Chapman
Member for Eden-Monaro
1926–1929
Succeeded by
John Cusack
Preceded by
John Cusack
Member for Eden-Monaro
1931–1943
Succeeded by
Allan Fraser