Sir George Houstoun Reid

(1845—1918) prime minister of Australia

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(b. 25 Feb. 1845, d. 13 Sept. 1918).

Prime Minister of Australia 1904–5 The son of a Presbyterian minister from Scotland, he arrived in Australia in 1852. He became a lawyer in 1879, and entered the parliament of New South Wales (NSW) as a committed proponent of free trade (1880–4, 1885–1901). Reid became leader of the opposition in 1891, and was premier of NSW from 1894 to 1899, cautiously supporting a federation of Australian states. Elected to the federal government in 1901, he supported a defensive coalition against the growing Labor Party. On this basis, in 1904 he formed a government in a coalition with protectionists. With a majority of only one seat, he was unable to enact any major legislation. He retired from parliament in 1908, and became Australia's first high commissioner in London (1910–16). He was elected unopposed to the British House of Commons in 1916.

Subjects: History.

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