Hugh Mahon
Hugh Mahon was an Irish-born Australian politician and a member of the first Commonwealth Parliament
Parliament of Australia
The Parliament of Australia, also known as the Commonwealth Parliament or Federal Parliament, is the legislative branch of the government of Australia. It is bicameral, largely modelled in the Westminster tradition, but with some influences from the United States Congress...

 for the Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

. He was the only Member of Parliament ever expelled from the Federal Parliament.

Mahon was born at Killurin
Killurin is a village in County Wexford, Ireland on the R730 regional road. Sited along the banks of the River Slaney, it is approximately 7 miles north-west of Wexford town.-Castle:...

, near Tullamore
Tullamore is a town in County Offaly, in the midlands of Ireland. It is Offaly's county town and the centre of the district.Tullamore is an important commercial and industrial centre in the region. Major international employers in the town include 'Tyco Healthcare' and 'Boston Scientific'. In...

, King's County
County Offaly
County Offaly is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Midlands Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the ancient Kingdom of Uí Failghe and was formerly known as King's County until the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922. Offaly County Council is...

, Ireland and migrated with his family to the United States in 1867, where he learnt about printing. He returned to Ireland in about 1880 and was jailed in 1881 for political agitation along with Irish National Land League
Irish National Land League
The Irish Land League was an Irish political organization of the late 19th century which sought to help poor tenant farmers. Its primary aim was to abolish landlordism in Ireland and enable tenant farmers to own the land they worked on...

 leaders including Charles Stewart Parnell
Charles Stewart Parnell
Charles Stewart Parnell was an Irish landowner, nationalist political leader, land reform agitator, and the founder and leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party...

, but was released due to ill-health. He migrated to Australia in 1882 to avoid re-arrest and worked for newspapers in Goulburn
Goulburn, New South Wales
Goulburn is a provincial city in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia in Goulburn Mulwaree Council Local Government Area. It is located south-west of Sydney on the Hume Highway and above sea-level. On Census night 2006, Goulburn had a population of 20,127 people...

 and Sydney, before acquiring a newspaper in Gosford
Gosford, New South Wales
Gosford is a city located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia, approximately 76 km north of the Sydney central business district...

. He married Mary Alice L'Estrange in 1888 and subsequently sold his newspaper to follow her back to her birthplace, Melbourne. In 1895, he moved to Coolgardie, Western Australia
Coolgardie, Western Australia
Coolgardie is a small town in the Australian state of Western Australia, east of the state capital, Perth. It has a population of approximately 800 people....


Political career

Mahon stood unsuccessfully for the state seat of North Coolgardie
Electoral district of North Coolgardie
North Coolgardie was an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of Western Australia from 1897 to 1904.The district was located in the Western Australian outback. It existed for just two terms of parliament, and was represented in that time by Henry Gregory...

 in 1897, but won the new federal seat of Coolgardie
Division of Coolgardie
The Division of Coolgardie was an Australian Electoral Division in Western Australia. The division was created in 1900 and was one of the original 75 divisions contested at the first federal election. It was abolished in 1913. It was named for the gold-mining centre of Coolgardie, on which it was...

 at the 1901 election for Labour. He was Postmaster-General in the Watson
Chris Watson
John Christian Watson , commonly known as Chris Watson, Australian politician, was the third Prime Minister of Australia...

 government in 1904 and Minister for Home Affairs
Minister for Home Affairs (Australia)
The Australian Minister for Home Affairs has been Brendan O'Connor since 6 June 2009. The Home Affairs portfolio brings together agencies such as the Australian Customs Service , the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, which were previously the...

 in the Fisher
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher was an Australian politician who served as the fifth Prime Minister on three separate occasions. Fisher's 1910-13 Labor ministry completed a vast legislative programme which made him, along with Protectionist Alfred Deakin, the founder of the statutory structure of the new nation...

 government of 1908–09. In 1913, the seat of Coolgardie was abolished and partly replaced by Dampier
Division of Dampier
The Division of Dampier was an Australian Electoral Division in Western Australia. The division was created in 1913 and abolished in 1922. It was named for the navigator William Dampier, the first Englishman to see Australia, and was located in rural Western Australia, including the towns of...

, for which he stood unsuccessfully. He re-entered Parliament in the seat of Kalgoorlie
Division of Kalgoorlie
The Division of Kalgoorlie was an Australian Electoral Division in the state of Western Australia, named after the city of Kalgoorlie. The Division, which was proclaimed in 1900 as one of the original 75 divisions to be contested at the first Federal election, covered most of the land area of...

; following the death of the incumbent, Charles Frazer
Charles Frazer (Australian politician)
Charles Edward Frazer was an Australian politician.Frazer was born in Yarrawonga, Victoria and educated locally until he was 15, when he left for Western Australia during its goldrush...

, a by-election was called, but at the close of nominations on 22 December 1913 Mahon was the sole candidate and was declared elected unopposed. He became Minister for External Affairs
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Australia)
In the Government of Australia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs is responsible for overseeing the international diplomacy section of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In common with international practice, the office is often informally referred to as Foreign Minister...

 in December 1914 until the Labor Party split in 1916.

Mahon lost his seat in 1917, but won it back in 1919. After the death in October 1920 of the Irish nationalist Terence McSwiney, who had been on hunger strike, Mahon attacked British policy in Ireland and the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, referring to it as "this bloody and accursed despotism" at an open-air meeting in Melbourne on 7 November. Prime Minister Billy Hughes
Billy Hughes
William Morris "Billy" Hughes, CH, KC, MHR , Australian politician, was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia from 1915 to 1923....

 moved to expel him and on 12 November the House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

 passed a resolution that Mahon had made "seditious and disloyal utterances at a public meeting," and was "guilty of conduct unfitting him to remain a member of this House and inconsistent with the oath of allegiance which he has taken as a member of this House". Mahon became the only MP ever to be expelled from the Federal Parliament, since, under Section 8 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act, 1987, neither house of the Parliament now has the power to expel a member.

Mahon failed to win back his seat at the December 1920 Kalgoorlie by-election
Kalgoorlie by-election, 1920
A by-election was held for the Australian House of Representatives seat of Kalgoorlie on 18 December 1920. This was triggered by the expulsion of Labor Party MP Hugh Mahon....

, suffering a 3.5 percent swing.

After a trip to Europe and Ireland, Mahon died in 1931 in the Melbourne suburb of Ringwood
Ringwood, Victoria
Ringwood is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, east of Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Maroondah. At the 2006 Census, Ringwood had a population of 15,185....

, and was survived by his wife and four children.
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