William Beckett (Australian politician)
William James Beckett CBE (10 June 1870 – 7 May 1965) was an Australian politician.
Born in Prahran to Irish-born taxi proprietor Samuel Beckett and Scottish-born Margaret Cameron, he attended both state and private schools before becoming a second-hand furniture dealer at Fitzroy with his brother Henry. On 22 February 1893 he married Alice Maud Street, with whom he had two children. In 1914 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council as Labor member for Melbourne North; that year he was also elected to Fitzroy City Council, where he would serve until 1932 (mayor 1921–22, 1925–26). From July to November 1924 he was a minister without portfolio, and from May 1927 to November 1928 and from December 1929 to June 1931 he was Minister for Forests and Public Health. From around 1930 he lived in St Kilda. Defeated in 1931, Beckett was re-elected for Melbourne East in 1934, switching to Melbourne in 1940. From 1937 to 1943 he was the Labor Party's leader in the Legislative Council. He held his seat until 1952; in 1953 he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Beckett died at St Kilda in 1965 and is buried in St Kilda Cemetery.
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