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Joseph Lyons: The People's Prime Minister

He chaired the committee of economists and state and federal treasury officials whose report to the Loan Council became the 'Premiers' plan' for economic management in the Depression, and was supported by JM Keynes. Copland was a delegate to the League of Nations in and adviser to the economic conference in London that year, and Commonwealth prices commissioner — He was an economic adviser to Prime Minister John Curtin — In between, Copland was founding vice-chancellor of the Australian National University — One of the most influential Commonwealth government officials in the s, he was permanent head of three departments: Prime Minister's Department —29 and Department of External Affairs —28 during the Bruce government, and Department of Home Affairs —32 during the Scullin and Lyons governments.

He also represented Australia on the Pacific War Council. After the war he was Australian representative on the council of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

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In Dixon was nominated as the United Nations representative to mediate in the dispute between India and Pakistan over the states of Jammu and Kashmir. He was a member of the Australian delegation at the Versailles peace conference that established the League of Nations in and the San Francisco peace conference establishing the United Nations in In he became the first chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission and from —49 was adviser in the United States to the Department of External Affairs. Tasmanian government statistician —23 and pioneer Australian economist, Giblin was professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne —40, and a member of the Commonwealth Grants Commission —36 , the Commonwealth Bank Board —42 , and the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Finance and Economic Policy — Giblin formed the Fabian discussion group in the Tasmanian Labor Party and was a Tasmanian parliamentarian — He was a friend and advisor of Joseph Lyons.

Businessman and financier, president of the Victorian Chamber of Manufacturers —25 and chairman of the Commonwealth Bank Board — Member of the House of Representatives —29 and —34 Corangamite and Senator for Victoria — During his time in office he travelled extensively throughout Australia before returning to England to perform his official duties. Clerk of House of Representatives 23 March — 25 June Green had been a West Australian parliamentarian —13 and — In the Bruce—Page government, in the Lyons government Minister for Trade and Customs 6 January — 14 January , and minister without portfolio directing negotiations for Trade Treaties 12 October — 11 March Gullett had been an Australian war correspondent — He was one of the three Cabinet ministers killed in an air crash at Canberra on 13 August Guy was assistant Minister for Trade and Customs 13 October — 12 October in the Lyons government and had been a Tasmanian parliamentarian — He was a friend of both Joseph and Enid Lyons.

Secretary to the British Cabinet, secretary to the committee of Imperial defence and Clerk of the Privy Council —38, secretary of the Imperial conferences of , , , and Minister for the Interior 12 October — 9 November in the Lyons government.

How Joe and Enid Lyons Transcended Sectarianism

A backbencher in the Lyons government, Holman was a former Premier of New South Wales —20 and state parliamentarian — Labor and — Nationalist. He was a judge of the High Court for 25 years, serving as Chief Justice — Isaacs had also been a Victorian parliamentarian from — and a delegate to the —98 federation convention. British economist. His theories became the foundation of modern economics. Labor Member of the House of Representatives —49 Reid. Lang had been a New South Wales parliamentarian —46 and was state Premier — Latham had been a member of the Australian delegation to the Versailles peace conference in Premier of Victoria 21 March — 28 April Dame Enid Lyons was Prime ministerial wife — Speaker of House of Representatives — After a bitter conscription referendum campaign and a split in the Labor Party, the government was defeated and Lyons became leader of the opposition in November He stood unsuccessfully for the federal seat of Darwin in A car accident put his life at risk, and left him lame in one leg.

In October Lyons became premier and treasurer and held both posts until He was a cautious premier and state treasurer, who brought the budget from deficit to surplus through application of financial orthodoxy.

Lyons rejected suggestions he stand at the federal election. He was immediately brought into cabinet as Postmaster-General. He was reportedly disappointed not to be made treasurer 21 , given his experience, but Scullin preferred Theodore, who was also a former premier and sta te treasurer.

When Theodore stepped down due to corruption charges dating back to his time as Queensland premier, Scullin took over as treasurer with Lyons as assistant treasurer.


In August Scullin left for the Imperial Conference in London for over four months, leaving Fenton as acting prime minister and Lyons as acting treasurer from 25 August to 10 January But it did not overcome his fiscal orthodoxy. Caucus preferred the Theodore-Gibbons plan which did not include cuts in government spending. Even more alarming to Lyons was their proposal to postpone for a year redemption of some Commonwealth bonds, which he viewed as tantamount to repudiation.

Lyons attended the meeting which adopted the Melbourne Plan of orthodox measures. Lyons may have hoped to become treasurer when Scullin returned from London in January Lyons felt this was inappropriate as Theodore had not yet been cleared of corruption charges. Lyons has long been on more friendly terms with the conservative side of politics than was usual for Labor members. He found the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party uncongenial and had little affinity with the machine politics practised in Sydney and Melbourne.

Lyons purportedly offered Chifley the treasurership if he also left Labor but Chifley declined.

He possessed what in polite circles was described as a. His thinking on financial and economic matters was barren of originality and there is almost nothing one can point to in the Lyons period in the form of new or improved organisation for the administration of the economy.


Treasury enhanced its influence under Lyons. The Depression led to an in creased role for Treasury, in part at the expense of state treasuries, through the growth in importance of the Loan Council.

Australia Led By Prime Minister

The Commonwealth Bank also played an important role. Both men had been members of the group of Melbourne identities who had been involved in persuading Lyons to leave the Labor party. Lyons was a lonely man as prime minister, cut off from his former Labor colleagues and lacking a strong affinity with many of his former opponents who were now his UAP colleagues.

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Joseph Lyons — Prime Ministers — Australian Prime Ministers

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