Prime Minister of Australia
Overview
 
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown is the formal constitutional term used in the Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the monarch, or viceroy, on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives...

, leader of the Cabinet
Cabinet of Australia
The Cabinet of Australia is the council of senior ministers of the Crown, responsible to parliament. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister the Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, and serves at the former's pleasure. The strictly private...

 and Head of
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 Her Majesty's Australian Government
Government of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a federal constitutional monarchy under a parliamentary democracy. The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 as a result of an agreement among six self-governing British colonies, which became the six states...

, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia
Governor-General of Australia
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative in Australia at federal/national level of the Australian monarch . He or she exercises the supreme executive power of the Commonwealth...

. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful political office in Australia. Despite being at the apex of executive government in the country, the office is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

 specifically (although the Constitution does refer to "The Queen's Ministers of State for the Commonwealth [of Australia]" in general) and exists through an unwritten constitutional convention
Constitutional convention (political custom)
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most...

.

Barring exceptional circumstances, the prime minister is always the leader of the political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 or coalition with majority support in 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....

.
Timeline

1901    The British colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia federate as the Commonwealth of Australia; Edmund Barton is appointed the first Prime Minister.

1905    Alfred Deakin becomes Prime Minister of Australia for the second time.

1909    Alfred Deakin becomes Prime Minister of Australia for the third time.

1914    Andrew Fisher becomes Prime Minister of Australia for the third time.

1916    Prime Minister of Australia Billy Hughes is expelled from the Labor Party over his support for conscription.

1964    Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies opens the artificial Lake Burley Griffin in the middle of the capital Canberra.

1967    Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt disappears while swimming near Portsea, Victoria and was presumed drowned.

1967    Prime Minister of Australia Harold Holt is officially presumed dead.

1975    Australian constitutional crisis of 1975: Australian Governor-General Sir John Kerr dismisses the government of Gough Whitlam, appoints Malcolm Fraser as caretaker Prime Minister and announces a general election to be held in early December.

2007    Australians elect the centre-left Australian Labor Party at a federal election; the outgoing prime minister, John Howard, becomes the first since 1929 to lose his own seat.

Encyclopedia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown is the formal constitutional term used in the Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the monarch, or viceroy, on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives...

, leader of the Cabinet
Cabinet of Australia
The Cabinet of Australia is the council of senior ministers of the Crown, responsible to parliament. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister the Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, and serves at the former's pleasure. The strictly private...

 and Head of
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

 Her Majesty's Australian Government
Government of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a federal constitutional monarchy under a parliamentary democracy. The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 as a result of an agreement among six self-governing British colonies, which became the six states...

, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia
Governor-General of Australia
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative in Australia at federal/national level of the Australian monarch . He or she exercises the supreme executive power of the Commonwealth...

. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful political office in Australia. Despite being at the apex of executive government in the country, the office is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

 specifically (although the Constitution does refer to "The Queen's Ministers of State for the Commonwealth [of Australia]" in general) and exists through an unwritten constitutional convention
Constitutional convention (political custom)
A constitutional convention is an informal and uncodified procedural agreement that is followed by the institutions of a state. In some states, notably those Commonwealth of Nations states that follow the Westminster system and whose political systems derive from British constitutional law, most...

.

Barring exceptional circumstances, the prime minister is always the leader of the political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 or coalition with majority support in 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....

. The only case where a senator
Australian Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

 was appointed prime minister was that of John Gorton
John Gorton
Sir John Grey Gorton, GCMG, AC, CH , Australian politician, was the 19th Prime Minister of Australia.-Early life:...

, who subsequently resigned his Senate position and was elected as a member of the House of Representatives (Senator George Pearce
George Pearce
Sir George Foster Pearce KCVO was an Australian politician who was instrumental in founding the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia....

 was acting prime minister for seven months in 1916 while Billy Hughes
Billy Hughes
William Morris "Billy" Hughes, CH, KC, MHR , Australian politician, was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia from 1915 to 1923....

 was overseas).

Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

 is the current prime minister. She is the leader of 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...

, which holds a majority (with the support of three Independents and one Green) in the House of Representatives since the 2010 federal election. She is the first female Prime Minister of Australia.

Appointment

The Prime Minister of Australia is appointed by the Governor-General of Australia under Section 64 of the Australian Constitution
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

. This empowers the governor-general to appoint Ministers of the Crown
Minister of the Crown
Minister of the Crown is the formal constitutional term used in the Commonwealth realms to describe a minister to the reigning sovereign. The term indicates that the minister serves at His/Her Majesty's pleasure, and advises the monarch, or viceroy, on how to exercise the Crown prerogatives...

 and requires such ministers to be members of the House of Representatives or the Senate, or become members within three months of the appointment. Before being sworn in as a minister, a person must first be sworn in as a member of the Federal Executive Council
Federal Executive Council
The Federal Executive Council is the formal body holding executive authority under the Constitution of Australia. It is equivalent to the other Executive Councils in other Commonwealth Realms such as the Executive Council of New Zealand and is equivalent to the Privy councils in Canada and the...

 if they are not already a member. Membership of the Federal Executive Council entitles the member to the style of The Honourable (usually abbreviated to The Hon) for life, barring exceptional circumstances. The senior members of the executive council constitute the Cabinet of Australia
Cabinet of Australia
The Cabinet of Australia is the council of senior ministers of the Crown, responsible to parliament. The Cabinet is appointed by the Governor-General, on the advice of the Prime Minister the Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, and serves at the former's pleasure. The strictly private...

.

The prime minister is, like other ministers, normally sworn in by the governor-general and then presented with the commission (Letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

) of office. When defeated in an election, or on resigning, the prime minister is said to "hand in the commission" and actually does so by returning it to the governor-general. In the event of a prime minister dying in office, or becoming incapacitated, the governor-general can terminate the commission. Ministers hold office "during the pleasure of the governor-general" (s. 64 of the Constitution of Australia), so theoretically, the governor-general can dismiss a minister at any time, by notifying them in writing of the termination of their commission; however, his or her power to do so except on the advice of the prime minister is heavily circumscribed by convention.

Despite the importance of the office of prime minister, the constitution does not mention the office by name. The conventions of the Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

 were thought to be sufficiently entrenched in Australia by the authors of the constitution that it was deemed unnecessary to detail them. The formal title of the portfolio has always been simply "Prime Minister", except for the period of the Fourth Deakin Ministry
Fourth Deakin Ministry
The Fourth Deakin Ministry was the eighth Australian Commonwealth ministry, and ran from 2 June 1909 to 29 April 1910.Commonwealth Liberal Party*Hon Alfred Deakin, MP: Prime Minister *Hon Joseph Cook, MP: Minister for Defence...

 (June 1909 to April 1910), when it was known as "Prime Minister (without portfolio)".

If a government cannot get its appropriation (budget) legislation passed by the House of Representatives, or the house passes a vote of "no confidence" in the government, the prime minister is bound by convention to resign immediately. The governor-general's choice of replacement prime minister will be dictated by the circumstances.

Following a resignation in other circumstances, or the death of a prime minister, the governor-general will generally appoint as prime minister the person voted by the governing party as their new leader. There have been four notable exceptions to this:
  • When then prime minister Joseph Lyons
    Joseph Lyons
    Joseph Aloysius Lyons, CH was an Australian politician. He was Labor Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928 and a Minister in the James Scullin government from 1929 until his resignation from the Labor Party in March 1931...

    , leader of the United Australia Party
    United Australia Party
    The United Australia Party was an Australian political party that was founded in 1931 and dissolved in 1945. It was the political successor to the Nationalist Party of Australia and predecessor to the Liberal Party of Australia...

     (UAP), died suddenly in April 1939, the governor-general, Lord Gowrie
    Alexander Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie
    Brigadier General Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie VC, GCMG, CB, DSO & Bar, PC was a British soldier and colonial governor and the tenth Governor-General of Australia. Serving for 9 years and 7 days, he is the longest serving Governor-General in Australia's history...

    , called on Sir Earle Page
    Earle Page
    Sir Earle Christmas Grafton Page, GCMG, CH was the 11th Prime Minister of Australia, and is to date the second-longest serving federal parliamentarian in Australian history, with 41 years, 361 days in Parliament.-Early life:...

     to become caretaker prime minister. Page was the leader of the smaller party in the governing coalition, the Country Party
    National Party of Australia
    The National Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Traditionally representing graziers, farmers and rural voters generally, it began as the The Country Party, but adopted the name The National Country Party in 1975, changed to The National Party of Australia in 1982. The party is...

    . He held the office for three weeks until the UAP elected a new leader, Robert Menzies
    Robert Menzies
    Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

    .
  • In August 1941, Menzies resigned as prime minister. The UAP was so bereft of leadership at this time that the Country Party leader Arthur Fadden
    Arthur Fadden
    Sir Arthur William Fadden, GCMG was an Australian politician and, briefly, the 13th Prime Minister of Australia.-Introduction:...

     was invited to become prime minister, although the Country Party was the smaller of the two coalition parties. The government depended on support from two independents, who two months later voted against Fadden's budget and brought the government down, paving the way for John Curtin
    John Curtin
    John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...

     to be appointed as Labor prime minister.
  • In July 1945, John Curtin died suddenly. His deputy, Frank Forde
    Frank Forde
    Francis Michael Forde PC was an Australian politician and the 15th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the shortest serving Prime Minister in Australia's history, being in office for only eight days.-Early life:...

    , was sworn in the next day as prime minister, although the Labor Party had not had an opportunity to meet and elect a new leader. Forde served for eight days until Ben Chifley
    Ben Chifley
    Joseph Benedict Chifley , Australian politician, was the 16th Prime Minister of Australia. He took over the Australian Labor Party leadership and Prime Ministership after the death of John Curtin in 1945, and went on to retain government at the 1946 election, before being defeated at the 1949...

     was elected leader. Chifley was then sworn in, replacing Forde who became Australia's shortest-serving prime minister.
  • In 1967 then prime minister Harold Holt
    Harold Holt
    Harold Edward Holt, CH was an Australian politician and the 17th Prime Minister of Australia.His term as Prime Minister was brought to an early and dramatic end in December 1967 when he disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria, and was presumed drowned.Holt spent 32 years...

     disappeared while swimming on 17 December and was declared presumed dead on 19 December. The governor-general, Lord Casey
    Richard Casey, Baron Casey
    Richard Gardiner Casey, Baron Casey KG GCMG CH DSO MC KStJ PC was an Australian politician, diplomat and the 16th Governor-General of Australia.-Early life:...

    , commissioned the Leader of the Country Party, John McEwen
    John McEwen
    Sir John "Black Jack" McEwen, GCMG, CH , was an Australian politician and the 18th Prime Minister of Australia...

    , to form a government until the Liberal Party elected a new leader. McEwen was prime minister for 23 days, until the election of (then Senator) John Gorton
    John Gorton
    Sir John Grey Gorton, GCMG, AC, CH , Australian politician, was the 19th Prime Minister of Australia.-Early life:...

    .


There were only five other cases where someone other than the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives was prime minister:
  • Federation
    Federation of Australia
    The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

     occurred on 1 January 1901, but elections for the first parliament were not scheduled until late March. In the interim, a caretaker non-elected government was necessary. In what is now known as the Hopetoun Blunder
    Hopetoun Blunder
    The Hopetoun Blunder was a political event immediately prior to the Federation of the British colonies in Australia.Federation was scheduled to occur on 1 January 1901, but since the general election for the first Parliament of Australia was not to be held until March of that year, it was not...

    , the governor-general, Lord Hopetoun
    John Hope, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow
    John Adrian Louis Hope, 1st Marquess of Linlithgow KT, GCMG, GCVO, PC , also known as Viscount Aithrie before 1873 and as The 7th Earl of Hopetoun between 1873 and 1902, was a Scottish aristocrat, politician and colonial administrator. He is best known for his brief and controversial tenure as the...

    , invited Sir William Lyne
    William Lyne
    Sir William John Lyne KCMG , Australian politician, was Premier of New South Wales and a member of the first federal ministry.-Early life:...

    , the premier
    Premiers of New South Wales
    The Premier of New South Wales is the head of government in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The Government of New South Wales follows the Westminster system, with a Parliament of New South Wales acting as the legislature...

     of the most populous state, New South Wales
    New South Wales
    New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

    , to form a government. Lyne was unable to do so and returned his commission in favour of Edmund Barton
    Edmund Barton
    Sir Edmund Barton, GCMG, KC , Australian politician and judge, was the first Prime Minister of Australia and a founding justice of the High Court of Australia....

     who became the first prime minister and led the inaugural government into and beyond the election.
  • During the second parliament, three parties (Free Trade, Protectionist and Labor) had roughly equal representation in the House of Representatives. The leaders of the three parties, Alfred Deakin
    Alfred Deakin
    Alfred Deakin , Australian politician, was a leader of the movement for Australian federation and later the second Prime Minister of Australia. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Deakin was a major contributor to the establishment of liberal reforms in the colony of Victoria, including the...

    , George Reid
    George Reid (Australian politician)
    Sir George Houstoun Reid, GCB, GCMG, KC was an Australian politician, Premier of New South Wales and the fourth Prime Minister of Australia....

     and Chris Watson
    Chris Watson
    John Christian Watson , commonly known as Chris Watson, Australian politician, was the third Prime Minister of Australia...

     each served as prime minister before losing a vote of confidence.
  • During the 1975 constitutional crisis, on 11 November 1975, the governor-general, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Labor Party's Gough Whitlam
    Gough Whitlam
    Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

     as prime minister. Despite Labor holding a majority in the House of Representatives, Kerr appointed the Leader of the Opposition, Liberal
    Liberal Party of Australia
    The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

     leader Malcolm Fraser
    Malcolm Fraser
    John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

     as caretaker prime minister, conditional on the passage of the Whitlam government's Supply
    Confidence and supply
    In a parliamentary democracy confidence and supply are required for a government to hold power. A confidence and supply agreement is an agreement that a minor party or independent member of parliament will support the government in motions of confidence and appropriation votes by voting in favour...

     bills through the Senate
    Australian Senate
    The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

     and the calling of an election for both houses of parliament. Fraser accepted these terms and immediately advised a double dissolution. An election was called for 13 December
    Australian federal election, 1975
    Federal elections were held in Australia on 13 December 1975. All 127 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 64 seats in the Senate were up for election following a double dissolution of both Houses....

    , which the Liberal Party won in its own right (although the Liberals governed in a coalition with the Country Party).

Powers

Most of the prime minister's powers derive from his or her position as the head of the cabinet. In practice, the Federal Executive Council will act to ratify all decisions made by the cabinet and, in practice, decisions of the cabinet will always require the support of the prime minister. The powers of the governor-general to grant Royal Assent
Royal Assent
The granting of royal assent refers to the method by which any constitutional monarch formally approves and promulgates an act of his or her nation's parliament, thus making it a law...

 to legislation, to dissolve and prorogue parliament, to call elections and to make appointments are exercised on the advice of the prime minister.

The power of the prime minister is subject to a number of limitations. If the prime minister is removed as leader of his or her party, or if the government they lead loses a vote of no-confidence in the House of Representatives, they must resign the office or be dismissed by the governor-general.

The prime minister's party will normally have a majority in the House of Representatives and party discipline is exceptionally strong in Australian politics, so the passage of government-proposed legislation through the House of Representatives is mostly a formality. Attaining the support of the senate can be more difficult as government usually lacks an absolute majority because the senate's representation is based on overall proportion of votes and often includes minor parties.

Salary and benefits

Prime Ministerial pay history
Date established Salary
2 June 1999 $289,270
6 September 2006 $309,270
1 July 2007 $330,300
1 August 2010 $354,671

Salary

The prime minister is the highest-paid member of parliament.

Ministerial salary is expressed as an additional percentage on top of the basic parliamentary salary. The Remuneration Tribunal's Report Number 1 of 2006 confirms the prime minister's additional salary as 160% of her or his parliamentary salary, i.e. the prime minister earns in total 260% of the salary of an ordinary parliamentarian.

The prime minister's salary is about five times that of the average full-time adult salary of $67,116, as of February 2010.

Allowances

The Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

's No. 34 Squadron
No. 34 Squadron RAAF
No. 34 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force transport squadron. It is currently based at Canberra International Airport in the Australian capital Canberra, where it operates two Boeing 737 Business Jets and three Bombardier Challenger 604s.-History:...

 transports the prime minister within Australia and overseas by specially converted Boeing Business Jets and smaller Challenger aircraft. The aircraft contain secure communications equipment as well as office, conference room and sleeping compartments. The call-sign for the aircraft is "Envoy".

The prime minister's official residence is The Lodge in Canberra
Canberra
Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of over 345,000, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory , south-west of Sydney, and north-east of Melbourne...

, but not all prime ministers have chosen to make use of it. Jim Scullin
James Scullin
James Henry Scullin , Australian Labor politician and the ninth Prime Minister of Australia. Two days after he was sworn in as Prime Minister, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 occurred, marking the beginning of the Great Depression and subsequent Great Depression in Australia.-Early life:Scullin was...

 preferred to live at the Hotel Canberra
Hotel Canberra
The Hotel Canberra, also known as Hyatt Hotel Canberra is in Yarralumla, near Lake Burley Griffin and Parliament House, in Canberra. It was built to house politicians when the Federal Parliament moved to Canberra. It was constructed by the contractor John Howie between 1922-1925. Originally...

 (now the Hyatt Hotel); Ben Chifley
Ben Chifley
Joseph Benedict Chifley , Australian politician, was the 16th Prime Minister of Australia. He took over the Australian Labor Party leadership and Prime Ministership after the death of John Curtin in 1945, and went on to retain government at the 1946 election, before being defeated at the 1949...

 lived in the Kurrajong Hotel; and John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 made Kirribilli House
Kirribilli House
Kirribilli House is the official Sydney residence of the Australian Prime Minister. The house is located at the far eastern end of Kirribilli Avenue in the harbourside suburb of Kirribilli...

 in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 his primary residence, using The Lodge when in Canberra on official business. On her appointment on 24 June 2010, the current prime minister Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

 said she would not be living in The Lodge until such time as she is returned to office by popular vote at the next general election. (She became prime minister mid-term after replacing the incumbent, Kevin Rudd, who resigned in the face of an unwinnable party-room ballot.) The official residences are fully staffed and catered for both the prime minister and his or her family. A considerable amount of official entertaining is conducted at these residences.

Kevin Rudd had a staff at The Lodge consisting of a senior chef and an assistant chef, a child carer, one senior house attendant, and two junior house attendants. At Kirribilli House
Kirribilli House
Kirribilli House is the official Sydney residence of the Australian Prime Minister. The house is located at the far eastern end of Kirribilli Avenue in the harbourside suburb of Kirribilli...

 in Sydney, there is one full-time chef and one full-time house attendant.

Prime ministers are usually granted certain privileges after leaving office, such as office accommodation, staff assistance, and a Life Gold Pass, which entitles the holder to travel within Australia for "non-commercial" purposes at government expense.

Only one prime minister who had left the parliament ever returned. Stanley Bruce
Stanley Bruce
Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, CH, MC, FRS, PC , was an Australian politician and diplomat, and the eighth Prime Minister of Australia. He was the second Australian granted an hereditary peerage of the United Kingdom, but the first whose peerage was formally created...

 was defeated in his own seat in 1929
Australian federal election, 1929
Federal elections were held in Australia on 12 October 1929. All 75 seats in the House of Representatives were up for election, with no Senate seats up for election, as a result of Billy Hughes and other rebel backbenchers crossing the floor over industrial relations legislation, depriving the...

 while prime minister, but was re-elected to parliament in 1931
Australian federal election, 1931
Federal elections were held in Australia on 19 December 1931. All 75 seats in the House of Representatives, and 18 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election...

.

Former prime ministers continue to be important national figures, and in some cases go on to successful post-prime ministerial careers. Some notable examples have included: Edmund Barton
Edmund Barton
Sir Edmund Barton, GCMG, KC , Australian politician and judge, was the first Prime Minister of Australia and a founding justice of the High Court of Australia....

, who was a justice of the High Court
High Court of Australia
The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, has the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and...

; George Reid
George Reid (Australian politician)
Sir George Houstoun Reid, GCB, GCMG, KC was an Australian politician, Premier of New South Wales and the fourth Prime Minister of Australia....

, Andrew 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...

, Joseph Cook
Joseph Cook
Sir Joseph Cook, GCMG was an Australian politician and the sixth Prime Minister of Australia. Born as Joseph Cooke and working in the coal mines of Silverdale, Staffordshire during his early life, he emigrated to Lithgow, New South Wales during the late 1880s, and became General-Secretary of the...

 and Stanley Bruce, who were High Commissioners to the United Kingdom; Arthur Fadden
Arthur Fadden
Sir Arthur William Fadden, GCMG was an Australian politician and, briefly, the 13th Prime Minister of Australia.-Introduction:...

, who was treasurer under another prime minister, Robert Menzies
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

 and Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Michael Rudd is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010. He has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2010...

 who became Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

's Foreign Minister after the 2010 Federal Election.

List of prime ministers

Below is a list of Prime Ministers of Australia by name, date assumed office, date left office, political party, total time in office and state represented in parliament. The state(s) represented in parliament is not necessarily the one with which the person had the strongest association; the most extreme example being Bob Hawke who was born in South Australia, spent his formative years in Western Australia, worked in and represented Victoria and retired to New South Wales.

The parties shown are those to which the prime ministers belonged at the time they held office. Several prime ministers belonged to parties other than those given before and after their prime ministerships.

For a list showing further details, see List of Prime Ministers of Australia.
# Name Post-
Nominals
Took office Left office Party Term In Office State Represented
in Parliament
1 Sir Edmund Barton
Edmund Barton
Sir Edmund Barton, GCMG, KC , Australian politician and judge, was the first Prime Minister of Australia and a founding justice of the High Court of Australia....

 
GCMG KC Protectionist
Protectionist Party
The Protectionist Party was an Australian political party, formally organised from 1889 until 1909, with policies centred on protectionism. It argued that Australia needed protective tariffs to allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment. It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in...

2 years, 267 days New South Wales
2 Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin , Australian politician, was a leader of the movement for Australian federation and later the second Prime Minister of Australia. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Deakin was a major contributor to the establishment of liberal reforms in the colony of Victoria, including the...

 
Protectionist
Protectionist Party
The Protectionist Party was an Australian political party, formally organised from 1889 until 1909, with policies centred on protectionism. It argued that Australia needed protective tariffs to allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment. It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in...

0 years, 217 days Victoria
3 Chris Watson
Chris Watson
John Christian Watson , commonly known as Chris Watson, Australian politician, was the third Prime Minister of Australia...

 
Labor
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...

0 years, 114 days New South Wales
4 George Reid
George Reid (Australian politician)
Sir George Houstoun Reid, GCB, GCMG, KC was an Australian politician, Premier of New South Wales and the fourth Prime Minister of Australia....

 
PC
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

Free Trade
Free Trade Party
The Free Trade Party which was officially known as the Australian Free Trade and Liberal Association, also referred to as the Revenue Tariff Party in some states and renamed the Anti-Socialist Party in 1906, was an Australian political party, formally organised between 1889 and 1909...

0 years, 322 days New South Wales
Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin , Australian politician, was a leader of the movement for Australian federation and later the second Prime Minister of Australia. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Deakin was a major contributor to the establishment of liberal reforms in the colony of Victoria, including the...

 
Protectionist
Protectionist Party
The Protectionist Party was an Australian political party, formally organised from 1889 until 1909, with policies centred on protectionism. It argued that Australia needed protective tariffs to allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment. It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in...

3 years, 132 days Victoria
5 Andrew 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...

 
Labor
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...

0 years, 202 days Queensland
Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin , Australian politician, was a leader of the movement for Australian federation and later the second Prime Minister of Australia. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Deakin was a major contributor to the establishment of liberal reforms in the colony of Victoria, including the...

 
Commonwealth Liberal
Commonwealth Liberal Party
The Commonwealth Liberal Party was a political movement active in Australia from 1909 to 1916, shortly after federation....

0 years, 332 days Victoria
Andrew 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...

 
Labor
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...

3 years, 57 days Queensland
6 Joseph Cook
Joseph Cook
Sir Joseph Cook, GCMG was an Australian politician and the sixth Prime Minister of Australia. Born as Joseph Cooke and working in the coal mines of Silverdale, Staffordshire during his early life, he emigrated to Lithgow, New South Wales during the late 1880s, and became General-Secretary of the...

 
PC Commonwealth Liberal
Commonwealth Liberal Party
The Commonwealth Liberal Party was a political movement active in Australia from 1909 to 1916, shortly after federation....

1 year, 86 days New South Wales
Andrew 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...

 
Labor
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...

1 year, 41 days Queensland
7 Billy Hughes
Billy Hughes
William Morris "Billy" Hughes, CH, KC, MHR , Australian politician, was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia from 1915 to 1923....

 
CH
Order of the Companions of Honour
The Order of the Companions of Honour is an order of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V in June 1917, as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion....

 KC
Labor
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...

/Nationalist
Nationalist Party of Australia
The Nationalist Party of Australia was an Australian political party. It was formed on 17 February 1917 from a merger between the conservative Commonwealth Liberal Party and the National Labor Party, the name given to the pro-conscription defectors from the Australian Labor Party led by Prime...

7 years, 106 days New South Wales, Victoria
8 Stanley Bruce
Stanley Bruce
Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, CH, MC, FRS, PC , was an Australian politician and diplomat, and the eighth Prime Minister of Australia. He was the second Australian granted an hereditary peerage of the United Kingdom, but the first whose peerage was formally created...

 
CH MC
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 PC
Nationalist
Nationalist Party of Australia
The Nationalist Party of Australia was an Australian political party. It was formed on 17 February 1917 from a merger between the conservative Commonwealth Liberal Party and the National Labor Party, the name given to the pro-conscription defectors from the Australian Labor Party led by Prime...

6 years, 256 days Victoria
9 James Scullin
James Scullin
James Henry Scullin , Australian Labor politician and the ninth Prime Minister of Australia. Two days after he was sworn in as Prime Minister, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 occurred, marking the beginning of the Great Depression and subsequent Great Depression in Australia.-Early life:Scullin was...

 
Labor
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...

2 years, 77 days Victoria
10 Joseph Lyons
Joseph Lyons
Joseph Aloysius Lyons, CH was an Australian politician. He was Labor Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928 and a Minister in the James Scullin government from 1929 until his resignation from the Labor Party in March 1931...

 
CH United Australia
United Australia Party
The United Australia Party was an Australian political party that was founded in 1931 and dissolved in 1945. It was the political successor to the Nationalist Party of Australia and predecessor to the Liberal Party of Australia...

7 years, 92 days Tasmania
11 Sir Earle Page
Earle Page
Sir Earle Christmas Grafton Page, GCMG, CH was the 11th Prime Minister of Australia, and is to date the second-longest serving federal parliamentarian in Australian history, with 41 years, 361 days in Parliament.-Early life:...

 
GCMG Country 0 years, 20 days New South Wales
12 Robert Menzies
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

 
KC MP United Australia
United Australia Party
The United Australia Party was an Australian political party that was founded in 1931 and dissolved in 1945. It was the political successor to the Nationalist Party of Australia and predecessor to the Liberal Party of Australia...

2 years, 122 days Victoria
13 Arthur Fadden
Arthur Fadden
Sir Arthur William Fadden, GCMG was an Australian politician and, briefly, the 13th Prime Minister of Australia.-Introduction:...

 
Country 0 years, 40 days Queensland
14 John Curtin
John Curtin
John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...

 
Labor
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...

3 years, 272 days Western Australia
15 Frank Forde
Frank Forde
Francis Michael Forde PC was an Australian politician and the 15th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the shortest serving Prime Minister in Australia's history, being in office for only eight days.-Early life:...

 
Labor
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...

0 years, 8 days Queensland
16 Ben Chifley
Ben Chifley
Joseph Benedict Chifley , Australian politician, was the 16th Prime Minister of Australia. He took over the Australian Labor Party leadership and Prime Ministership after the death of John Curtin in 1945, and went on to retain government at the 1946 election, before being defeated at the 1949...

 
Labor
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...

4 years, 160 days New South Wales
Sir Robert Menzies
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

 
KT CH QC
Queen's Counsel
Queen's Counsel , known as King's Counsel during the reign of a male sovereign, are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her [or His] Majesty's Counsel learned in the law...

Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

16 years, 39 days Victoria
17 Harold Holt
Harold Holt
Harold Edward Holt, CH was an Australian politician and the 17th Prime Minister of Australia.His term as Prime Minister was brought to an early and dramatic end in December 1967 when he disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria, and was presumed drowned.Holt spent 32 years...

 
CH Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

1 year, 328 days Victoria
18 John McEwen
John McEwen
Sir John "Black Jack" McEwen, GCMG, CH , was an Australian politician and the 18th Prime Minister of Australia...

 
Country 0 years, 23 days Victoria
19 John Gorton
John Gorton
Sir John Grey Gorton, GCMG, AC, CH , Australian politician, was the 19th Prime Minister of Australia.-Early life:...

 
CH PC Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

3 years, 60 days Victoria
20 William McMahon
William McMahon
Sir William "Billy" McMahon, GCMG, CH , was an Australian Liberal politician and the 20th Prime Minister of Australia...

 
PC Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

1 year, 271 days New South Wales
21 Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

 
Labor
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...

2 years, 342 days New South Wales
22 Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

 
CH PC Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

7 years, 121 days Victoria
23 Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

 
AC Labor
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...

8 years, 285 days Victoria
24 Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

 
Labor
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...

4 years, 83 days New South Wales
25 John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 
AC Liberal
Liberal Party of Australia
The Liberal Party of Australia is an Australian political party.Founded a year after the 1943 federal election to replace the United Australia Party, the centre-right Liberal Party typically competes with the centre-left Australian Labor Party for political office...

11 years, 268 days New South Wales
26 Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Michael Rudd is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010. He has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2010...

 
Labor
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...

2 years, 204 days Queensland
27 Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

 
Incumbent Labor
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...

Victoria

Living former prime ministers

There are currently six living former prime ministers of Australia:
NameTerm of officeDate of birth
Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

1972–1975 11 July 1916 (age 95)
Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

1975–1983 21 May 1930 (age 81)
Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

1983–1991 9 December 1929 (age 82)
Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

1991–1996 18 January 1944 (age 68)
John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

1996–2007 26 July 1939 (age 72)
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Michael Rudd is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010. He has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2010...

2007–2010 21 September 1957 (age 54)


The greatest number of living former prime ministers at any one time was eight. This has occurred twice:
  • Between 7 October 1941 (when John Curtin
    John Curtin
    John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...

     succeeded Arthur Fadden
    Arthur Fadden
    Sir Arthur William Fadden, GCMG was an Australian politician and, briefly, the 13th Prime Minister of Australia.-Introduction:...

    ) and 18 November 1941 (when Chris Watson
    Chris Watson
    John Christian Watson , commonly known as Chris Watson, Australian politician, was the third Prime Minister of Australia...

     died), the eight living former prime ministers were Bruce, Cook, Fadden, Hughes, Menzies, Page, Scullin and Watson
  • Between 13 July 1945 (when Ben Chifley
    Ben Chifley
    Joseph Benedict Chifley , Australian politician, was the 16th Prime Minister of Australia. He took over the Australian Labor Party leadership and Prime Ministership after the death of John Curtin in 1945, and went on to retain government at the 1946 election, before being defeated at the 1949...

     succeeded Frank Forde
    Frank Forde
    Francis Michael Forde PC was an Australian politician and the 15th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the shortest serving Prime Minister in Australia's history, being in office for only eight days.-Early life:...

    ) and 30 July 1947 (when Sir Joseph Cook
    Joseph Cook
    Sir Joseph Cook, GCMG was an Australian politician and the sixth Prime Minister of Australia. Born as Joseph Cooke and working in the coal mines of Silverdale, Staffordshire during his early life, he emigrated to Lithgow, New South Wales during the late 1880s, and became General-Secretary of the...

     died), the eight living former prime ministers were Bruce, Cook, Fadden, Forde, Hughes, Menzies, Page and Scullin.


Seven former prime ministers were alive between 18 November 1941 and 13 July 1945, and between 30 July 1947 and 13 June 1951.

Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

 has achieved a greater age than any other prime minister. The most recently deceased prime minister was John Gorton
John Gorton
Sir John Grey Gorton, GCMG, AC, CH , Australian politician, was the 19th Prime Minister of Australia.-Early life:...

 (1968–1971), who died on 19 May 2002.

Birthplace

Ten of Australia's prime ministers were born in Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

, seven in New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, three in Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 and one each in South Australia
South Australia
South Australia is a state of Australia in the southern central part of the country. It covers some of the most arid parts of the continent; with a total land area of , it is the fourth largest of Australia's six states and two territories.South Australia shares borders with all of the mainland...

 and Tasmania
Tasmania
Tasmania is an Australian island and state. It is south of the continent, separated by Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania—the 26th largest island in the world—and the surrounding islands. The state has a population of 507,626 , of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart...

. Six were born overseas: five in the United Kingdom (Hughes and Cook in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Fisher and Reid in Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

, Gillard in Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

) and Watson in Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

.

Education

Melbourne Grammar School
Melbourne Grammar School
Melbourne Grammar School is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school predominantly for boys, located in South Yarra and Caulfield, suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia....

 produced the most number of future prime ministers (Deakin, Bruce and Fraser). Other secondary schools where more than one future prime minister studied include Geelong Grammar School
Geelong Grammar School
Geelong Grammar School is an independent, Anglican, co-educational, boarding and day school. The school's main campus is located at Corio, on the northern outskirts of Geelong, Victoria, Australia, overlooking Corio Bay and Limeburners Bay....

 (Gorton, Fraser), Sydney Grammar School
Sydney Grammar School
Sydney Grammar School is an independent, non-denominational, selective, day school for boys, located in Darlinghurst, Edgecliff and St Ives, all suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia....

 (Barton, McMahon) and Wesley College, Melbourne
Wesley College, Melbourne
Wesley College, Melbourne is an independent, co-educational, Christian day school in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Established in 1866, the college is a school of the Uniting Church in Australia. Wesley is the largest school in Australia by enrolment, with 3,511 students and 564 full-time staff...

 (Menzies, Holt).

Five future prime ministers graduated from University of Sydney
University of Sydney
The University of Sydney is a public university located in Sydney, New South Wales. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the southwestern outskirts of the Sydney CBD. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest university in Australia and Oceania...

 (Barton, Page, McMahon, Whitlam, Howard). Four studied at the University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

 (Deakin, Menzies, Holt, Gillard) and three at Oxford University
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 (Gorton, Fraser, Hawke). Rudd studied at the Australian National University
Australian National University
The Australian National University is a teaching and research university located in the Australian capital, Canberra.As of 2009, the ANU employs 3,945 administrative staff who teach approximately 10,000 undergraduates, and 7,500 postgraduate students...

. Eight prime ministers did not complete any form of higher education.

Occupation

Eleven prime ministers practised law before entering into politics (in addition Hawke acquired a law degree, but never practised law). Seven prime ministers (all Australian Labor Party) had served as trade union officials. Other occupations that prime ministers had performed include journalism (Watson, Scullin, Curtin), teaching (Lyons and Forde), diplomacy (Forde and Rudd), mining (Fisher, Cook), medicine (Page), engine driving (Chifley) and accountancy (Fadden).

Three prime ministers served in the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 (Bruce, Page and McEwen; of whom only Bruce was involved in actual combat). Four served in the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (Holt, Gorton, McMahon, and Whitlam; of whom Gorton and Whitlam served as air crew in the Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

).

Prior to participating in federal politics, prime ministers had been elected to the state Parliaments of New South Wales (Barton, Watson, Reid, Cook, Hughes), Queensland (Fisher, Fadden, Forde), Victoria (Deakin, Menzies) and Tasmania (Lyons). In addition Page had been the Mayor of Grafton
Grafton, New South Wales
The city of Grafton is the commercial hub of the Clarence River Valley. Established in 1851, Grafton features many historic buildings and tree-lined streets. Located approximately 630 kilometres north of Sydney and 340 km south of Brisbane, Grafton and the Clarence Valley can be reached...

.

Personal circumstances

All prime ministers except for Gillard have married at least once. McEwen married twice, but was the only Prime Minister to be a widower throughout his premiership. Bruce, Scullin, Chifley, McEwen and Gillard were childless, while Lyons had twelve children (one died in infancy).

Religious Beliefs

Six prime ministers have been Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 (Barton, Bruce, Holt, McMahon, Howard and Rudd), one was a Baptist
Baptist Union of Australia
The Baptist Union of Australia is the oldest and largest national cooperative body of Baptists in Australia. Its current National President is Reverend Dr John Beasy. The BUA is now known as Australian Baptist Ministries - ABM...

 (Hughes), five were Catholic (Scullin, Lyons, Forde, Chifley and Keating), two were Methodists
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 (Cook, Page), six were Presbyterian (Fisher, Reid, Menzies, Fadden, McEwen and Fraser), one was a Spiritualist
Spiritualism
Spiritualism is a belief system or religion, postulating the belief that spirits of the dead residing in the spirit world have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living...

 (Deakin), one was a Unitarian
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

 (Watson), and five professed no religion (Curtin, Gorton, Whitlam, Hawke and Gillard).

Convictions

John Curtin is the only prime minister to serve time in gaol (three days for failing to comply with an order for a compulsory medical examination for conscription, during World War I).

Births and deaths

Seventeen prime ministers were born prior to the Federation of Australia
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

, 1 January 1901. The earliest-born prime minister was George Reid
George Reid (Australian politician)
Sir George Houstoun Reid, GCB, GCMG, KC was an Australian politician, Premier of New South Wales and the fourth Prime Minister of Australia....

, born 25 February 1845.

Three prime ministers died in office: Joseph Lyons (1939), John Curtin (1945) and Harold Holt (1967). Holt's was a most unusual case he disappeared while swimming, was declared presumed dead two days later, and his body was never recovered. It was not until almost 38 years later, in 2005, that he was officially declared by the Victorian Coroner to have drowned at the time of his disappearance.

The first person born after Federation to serve as prime minister was Harold Holt
Harold Holt
Harold Edward Holt, CH was an Australian politician and the 17th Prime Minister of Australia.His term as Prime Minister was brought to an early and dramatic end in December 1967 when he disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach near Portsea, Victoria, and was presumed drowned.Holt spent 32 years...

, born 5 August 1908. (Sir William McMahon
William McMahon
Sir William "Billy" McMahon, GCMG, CH , was an Australian Liberal politician and the 20th Prime Minister of Australia...

, who was a later prime minister, was born 23 February 1908, and is the earliest-born of the prime ministers born after Federation.)

The first person born after the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 to serve as prime minister was Malcolm Fraser
Malcolm Fraser
John Malcolm Fraser AC, CH, GCL, PC is a former Australian Liberal Party politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role...

, born 21 May 1930. (Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

, who succeeded Fraser, was born 9 December 1929, and is the earliest-born of the prime ministers born after WWI.)

The first person born after the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to serve as prime minister, is Kevin Rudd
Kevin Rudd
Kevin Michael Rudd is an Australian politician who was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010. He has been Minister for Foreign Affairs since 2010...

, born 21 September 1957. Incumbent prime minister Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

 also falls into this category, born 29 September 1961.

The only prime ministers born during either of the world wars are Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

, born 11 July 1916, during the First World War, and Paul Keating
Paul Keating
Paul John Keating was the 24th Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1991 to 1996. Keating was elected as the federal Labor member for Blaxland in 1969 and came to prominence as the reformist treasurer of the Hawke Labor government, which came to power at the 1983 election...

, born 18 January 1944, during the Second World War.

Seven prime ministers were born in the month of September, two more than the next most popular month, August. The seven were: John Gorton
John Gorton
Sir John Grey Gorton, GCMG, AC, CH , Australian politician, was the 19th Prime Minister of Australia.-Early life:...

 (9 September), Joseph Lyons
Joseph Lyons
Joseph Aloysius Lyons, CH was an Australian politician. He was Labor Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928 and a Minister in the James Scullin government from 1929 until his resignation from the Labor Party in March 1931...

 (15th), James Scullin
James Scullin
James Henry Scullin , Australian Labor politician and the ninth Prime Minister of Australia. Two days after he was sworn in as Prime Minister, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 occurred, marking the beginning of the Great Depression and subsequent Great Depression in Australia.-Early life:Scullin was...

 (18th), Kevin Rudd (21st), Ben Chifley (22nd), Billy Hughes
Billy Hughes
William Morris "Billy" Hughes, CH, KC, MHR , Australian politician, was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia from 1915 to 1923....

 (25th) and Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

 (29th). None were born in June, October or November.

Two prime ministers share the same birthday: Sir Edmund Barton
Edmund Barton
Sir Edmund Barton, GCMG, KC , Australian politician and judge, was the first Prime Minister of Australia and a founding justice of the High Court of Australia....

 and Paul Keating, born on 18 January in 1849 and 1944 respectively. Two other prime ministers share the same death day: James Scullin and Frank Forde
Frank Forde
Francis Michael Forde PC was an Australian politician and the 15th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the shortest serving Prime Minister in Australia's history, being in office for only eight days.-Early life:...

, died on 28 January in 1953 and 1983 respectively.

Three Prime Ministers died outside of Australia: Reid, Fisher and Bruce died in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. Reid and Fisher are buried there.

Ages

The three youngest people when they first became prime minister were:
  • Chris Watson 37
  • Stanley Bruce 39
  • Robert Menzies 44


The three oldest people when they first became prime minister were:
  • John McEwen 67
  • William McMahon 63
  • Ben Chifley 59 years 10 months (George Reid was 59 years 6 months).


The three youngest people to last leave the office of prime minister were:
  • Chris Watson 37
  • Arthur Fadden 46 years 5 months 22 days
  • Stanley Bruce 46 years 6 months 7 days


The three oldest people to last leave the office of prime minister were:
  • Robert Menzies 71
  • John Howard 68
  • John McEwen 67

Time in office

The longest-serving Prime Minister was Sir Robert Menzies
Robert Menzies
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, , Australian politician, was the 12th and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia....

, who served in office twice: from 26 April 1939 to 28 August 1941, and again from 29 December 1949 to 26 January 1966. In total Robert Menzies spent 18 years, 5 months and 12 days in office. He served under the United Australia Party and the Liberal Party respectively.

The shortest-serving Prime Minister was Frank Forde
Frank Forde
Francis Michael Forde PC was an Australian politician and the 15th Prime Minister of Australia. He was the shortest serving Prime Minister in Australia's history, being in office for only eight days.-Early life:...

, who spent a total of 8 days under the Labor Party from 6–13 July 1945

Post-office longevity

Note: The following analysis leaves aside the two most recent ex-incumbents, John Howard and Kevin Rudd, who are both living.

Ben Chifley
Ben Chifley
Joseph Benedict Chifley , Australian politician, was the 16th Prime Minister of Australia. He took over the Australian Labor Party leadership and Prime Ministership after the death of John Curtin in 1945, and went on to retain government at the 1946 election, before being defeated at the 1949...

 died only one year six months after leaving the prime ministership. Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin , Australian politician, was a leader of the movement for Australian federation and later the second Prime Minister of Australia. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Deakin was a major contributor to the establishment of liberal reforms in the colony of Victoria, including the...

 lasted nine years five months.

All the others lasted at least 10 years. Nine of them (Bruce, Cook, Fadden, Forde, Fraser, Gorton, Hughes, Watson, and Whitlam) lived more than 25 years after leaving the office, and all but two of these survived longer than 30 years (Hughes lasted 29 years and 8 months; Fraser has lasted more than 28 years and is still living).

The longest-surviving was Stanley Bruce
Stanley Bruce
Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1st Viscount Bruce of Melbourne, CH, MC, FRS, PC , was an Australian politician and diplomat, and the eighth Prime Minister of Australia. He was the second Australian granted an hereditary peerage of the United Kingdom, but the first whose peerage was formally created...

, who died 37 years and 10 months after leaving the office. If Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

 lives until 25 September 2013, he will exceed Bruce's record. (He would then be 97 years old.)

See also

  • Prime Minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

  • List of Prime Ministers of Australia
  • Prime Ministers Avenue in Horse Chestnut Avenue in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens
    Ballarat Botanical Gardens
    The Ballarat Botanical Gardens Reserve, located on the western shore of picturesque Lake Wendouree, in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, covers an area of 40 hectares which is divided into 3 distinct zones. The central Botanical Gardens reserve in the 'gardenesque' style of the Victorian pleasure...

     contains a collection of bronze busts of all former Australian Prime Ministers.
  • Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
    Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
    The Deputy Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the second-most senior officer in the Government of Australia. The Deputy Prime Ministership has been a ministerial portfolio since 1968, and the Deputy Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime...

  • List of Australian Leaders of the Opposition
  • Historical ranking of Australian Prime Ministers
    Historical ranking of Australian Prime Ministers
    Historical rankings of Prime Ministers of Australia are surveys conducted to construct rankings of the success and popularity of the individuals who have served as Prime Minister of Australia....

  • Spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia
    Spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia
    The spouse of the Prime Minister of Australia is a position that until 24 June 2010 was occupied exclusively by women, thus the spouse was often known as the Prime Minister's wife....


External links

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