june memories / 05



5th June, 1914 : The Prime Minister, Joseph Cook, this morning announced the simultaneous dissolution of both houses of Parliament, forcing the first double dissolution election since the Federation. There had been speculation that he would make such a move, and when the House met this morning members; minds were so concentrated on the matter that only two or three voices were heard during the Lord’s Prayer. Mr Cook’s announcement caused an eruption of cheers and whistling from both sides of the chamber. The Prime Minister is believed to have advised the Governor-General, Sir Ronald Munro Ferguson, that, after just on a year in office, effective government was impossible with his Liberal-Conservative majority of one in the House of Representatives, and a minority in the Senate.

Mr Cook’s use of the double dissolution to try to rid himself of a troublesome Senate prompted the Labor spokesman, William Morris Hughes, to predict that political gibbets all over Australia would be furnished with the bodies of beaten Liberals. He said that Mr Cook, a former Labor member “who rose from the darkness of the coal mine to wipe his lips with snow-white linen at Government House”, would be cast into darkness.

[In the September’s “War Time” elections Labor, led by Andrew Fisher, won.]

About Avadoro Worden

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