Philip McBride

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The Right Honourable
Sir Philip McBride
Philip McBride.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Grey
In office
19 December 1931 – 21 September 1937
Preceded by Andrew Lacey
Succeeded by Oliver Badman
Senator for South Australia
In office
21 October 1937 – 30 June 1944
Preceded by Oliver Badman
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Wakefield
In office
28 September 1946 – 14 October 1958
Preceded by Albert Smith
Succeeded by Bert Kelly
Personal details
Born (1892-06-18)18 June 1892
Died 14 July 1982(1982-07-14) (aged 90)
Nationality Australian
Political party UAP (1931–44)
Liberal (1944–58)

Sir Philip Albert Martin McBride KCMG (18 June 1892 – 14 July 1982) was an Australian politician. He was a United Australia Party member of the Australian House of Representatives for Grey from 1931 to 1937 and the Australian Senate from 1937 to 1944, and a Liberal Party of Australia member of the House of Representatives for Wakefield from 1946 to 1958. He served as a minister in both of Robert Menzies' governments, as Minister for the Army and Minister for Repatriation (1940), Minister for Supply and Development and Minister for Munitions (1940–1941), Minister for the Interior (1949–1950), and Minister for Defence (1950–1958).

Early life and pastoralist career[edit]

McBride was born at Burra, the son of pastoralist James McBride and his wife Louisa (née Lane), and was educated at Burra Public School and Prince Alfred College in Adelaide. He worked on the family farms with his father, went into partnership with him in 1915, and in 1920 formed the family business into a company, A. J. and P. A. McBride, Ltd., with McBride as managing director. The company controlled a number of pastoral stations across South Australia, including Braemar Station, Faraway Hill Station, Lincoln Park Station, Mernowie Station, Teetulpa Station, Wilgena Station, Wooltana Station and Yardea Station. He would serve as chairman of the company for fifty years. He was president of the Stockowners' Association Association of South Australia from 1929 to 1931 and represented South Australia on the Australian Woolgrowers Council during the 1930s. McBride unsuccessfully contested the 1927 state election in Newcastle and the 1930 state election in Burra.[1][2][3][4]

Federal politics[edit]

He was elected to the House of Representatives at the 1931 election, when he won Grey for the United Australia Party, defeating incumbent Labor MP Andrew Lacey.[5] As a backbencher, he advocated for increased assistance to farmers and lower tariffs, and was concerned with the interests of the wheat and wool industries, being that he represented one of the largest electorates in Australia. He was easily re-elected in 1934.[4][1]

Prior to the 1937 federal election, he made a deal with fellow grazier Senator A. O. Badman to swap seats and move to the Senate.[1][4] A deal between McBride and Badman was not public at the time, as both men had contested the Senate preselection, which Badman had lost, and Badman's preselection win for Grey was reported by the media as having been unexpected.[6][7] Badman resigned from the Senate and contested and won Grey at the federal election, while McBride, already endorsed for the Senate ticket at the 1937 election, the victors of which would not take their seats until July 1938, was appointed to Badman's Senate vacancy in the interim. The deal had also been unusual in that McBride and Badman caucused with separate federal parties; while both were members of the same state party, the Liberal and Country League, Badman was aligned with the UAP's coalition partner, the Country Party.[1][4]

McBride was Assistant Minister for Commerce from April 1939 to September 1940; he resigned several directorships at the time of his promotion to avoid conflicts of interest. In the wake of the death of senior minister Geoffrey Street in the 1940 Canberra air disaster, McBride was assigned Street's portfolios of Minister for the Army and Minister for Repatriation. However, following the 1940 federal election in October, he was shifted to the role of Minister for Munitions and Minister for Supply and Development, the latter being a ministry that he had campaigned to create. He was a member of the War Cabinet from 1940 and the Advisory War Council from 1941. Following the UAP's defeat in parliament in 1941 and Labor leader John Curtin's accession as Prime Minister, McBride was made Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, but was defeated at the 1943 election, his term expiring in June 1944.[1][4]

During his two years out of parliament, he was appointed chairman of Elder Smith and Company in 1944, and regained his directorship of Elder's Trustee and Executor Company and his position on the boards of the Adelaide Steamship Company and Wallaroo-Mt Lyell Fertilisers in 1945. He was involved in the development of the Liberal Party of Australia to replace the failing UAP, and served on its provisional executive in 1944–45.[8] He returned to parliament for the Liberal Party at the 1946 general election, winning the seat of Wakefield. Following the election of the Menzies government in 1949, he became Minister for the Interior from 1949 to 1950, and again resigned his directorships. In 1950, he was appointed Minister for Defence, a position he retained until his retirement from politics in 1958. He was described as having been a "close confidant" to Menzies and "an influential member of [Menzies'] inner circle", and when he retired was the last of the "Old Guard" of ministers who had supported Menzies when he had lost the leadership in 1941.[3][9]

After retiring from parliament, he again served as chairman of Elder Smith and Co Ltd (later Elder Smith Goldsbrough Mort Ltd), was on the board of the Bank of Adelaide and Wallaroo-Mount Lyell Fertilisers Ltd, and was a member of the Australian Wool Board.[3][10] He was also federal president of the Liberal Party from 1960 to 1965.[11]

He died at Medindie in 1982 and was cremated. He was survived by his widow and two of his sons.[1]

His company, J. A. and P. A. McBride, Ltd. still survives today, and still owns several pastoral stations from when Philip McBride ran the company.[12]


McBride was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1953 and made a Privy counsellor in 1959.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Lee, David. "McBride, Sir Philip Albert (1892–1982)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Mr. P. A. McBride Will Be New Stockowners' President". Observer. LXXXVI (4,498). South Australia. 7 September 1929. p. 5. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. ^ a b c "OBITUARY". The Canberra Times. 56 (17,094). 17 July 1982. p. 12. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "McBride, Sir Philip Albert Martin (1892–1982)". Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "ADELAIDE.". The Australasian. CXXXI (4,329). Victoria, Australia. 26 December 1931. p. 8. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "SENATE ELECTIONS". The Mercury. CXLVI (20,751). Tasmania. 4 May 1937. p. 11. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  7. ^ "Surprise Win in Grey Plebiscite by Senator Badman". The News. XXVIII (4,330). Adelaide. 9 June 1937. p. 7. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ "NEW LIBERAL PARTY UNLIKELY TO ATTRACT ALL". The Courier-mail (3467). Queensland, Australia. 17 October 1944. p. 3. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ "BEHIND THE HEADLINES". The Biz. New South Wales, Australia. 21 May 1958. p. 23. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ "IN BRIEF Appointed to Wool Board". The Canberra Times. 44 (12,609). 30 April 1970. p. 3. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  11. ^ "Liberal leader to retire". The Canberra Times. 40 (11,304). 4 November 1965. p. 1. Retrieved 17 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  12. ^ "Properties". AJ & PA McBride Pty Ltd. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Geoffrey Street
Minister for the Army
Succeeded by
Percy Spender
Minister for Repatriation
Succeeded by
George McLeay
Preceded by
Robert Menzies
Minister for Munitions
Succeeded by
Norman Makin
Preceded by
Frederick Stewart
Minister for Supply and Development
Succeeded by
George McLeay
Preceded by
Herbert Johnson
Minister for the Interior
Succeeded by
Eric Harrison
Preceded by
Eric Harrison
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Athol Townley
Preceded by
Thomas White
Minister for Air
Succeeded by
William McMahon
Preceded by
Josiah Francis
Minister for the Navy
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Andrew Lacey
Member for Grey
Succeeded by
Oliver Badman
Preceded by
Albert Smith
Member for Wakefield
Succeeded by
Bert Kelly