John Christian Watson

(1867—1941) trade unionist and prime minister of Australia

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(b. 9 Apr. 1867, d. 18 Nov. 1941).

Prime Minister of Australia 1904 Born in Valparaiso (Chile), he arrived in Sydney in 1886, became active in the Trades and Labour Council (TLC) from 1890, becoming a representative for Labor in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 1894. He took part in adapting the Labor movement for the advent of an Australian federation, and in 1901 became the leader of the federal parliamentary party. He was the first Prime Minister from the Australian Labor Party, though the brevity of his minority government (four months) prevented him from enacting any major legislation. In 1916, he was expelled from Labor for his support for conscription and he subsequently backed Hughes and the Nationalist Party.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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