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Arthur Fadden

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Rt Hon Arthur Fadden
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Rt Hon Arthur Fadden

Sir Arthur William Fadden (April 13 1894April 21 1973), Australian politician and 13th Prime Minister of Australia, born at Ingham, Queensland, the son of a Presbyterian police officer. He was educated as state schools, and later studied accountancy while working as a clerk. Once he had qualified he became assistant Town Clerk of Mackay, then Town Clerk. In the 1920s he established a successful accountancy firm with offices in Brisbane and Townsville. He was active in the Country Party from its foundation.

In 1932 Fadden was elected for one term to the Queensland Legislative Assembly. He was defeated in 1935 but the following year he was won a by-election in the federal seat of Darling Downs. He was a blunt, effective debater and soon made an impression. When Archie Cameron resigned suddenly as Country Party leader in 1940, there was a deadlock between Earle Page and John McEwen in the ballot to replace him, and Fadden was chosen as a compromise candidate. He was appointed Minister for Supply and Development, then Minister for Air, then Treasurer (finance minister).

In August 1941 Robert Menzies resigned as Prime Minister. The United Australia Party was so bereft of leadership by this time that Fadden was invited to become Prime Minister, although the Country Party was the smaller of the two conservative parties. But the two independent MPs who were keeping the government in office were so disgusted at the way Menzies had been treated that they voted against Fadden's budget, and in October he resigned: Labor under John Curtin then took office. Fadden joked that he was like the Flood: he had "reigned for 40 days and 40 nights".

Fadden continued as Opposition Leader, and led the conservatives to a crushing defeat in the 1943 elections. He then handed the Opposition leadership back to Menzies and his new Liberal Party, while remaining Country Party leader. Always an outspoken conservative, in the late 1940s he became a violent anti-communist, urging Menzies to adopt the policy of banning the Communist Party.

When Menzies won the 1949 elections, Fadden once again became Treasurer, a post he held for eight years. Although inflation was very high in the early 1950s, forcing him to impose several "horror budgets," he generally presided over a booming economy, with times especially good for farmers. He was a loyal deputy to Menzies and was knighted in 1951. His often-extreme political views were concealed behind a jolly public manner and he enjoyed his nickname "Artie." He retired in 1958 and lived quietly until his death in 1973.

Fadden Ministry

28 August 1941 to 7 October 1941

  • Rt Hon Arthur Fadden, MP: Prime Minister, Treasurer (CP)
  • Rt Hon Billy Hughes, MP: Attorney-General, Minister for the Navy (UAP)
  • Rt Hon Robert Menzies, KC MP: Minister for Defence Co-ordination (UAP)
  • Hon Percy Spender, KC MP: Minister for the Army (UAP)
  • Senator Hon George McLeay: Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister for Supply and Development (UAP)
  • Hon John McEwen, MP: Minister for Air, Minister for Civil Aviation (CP)
  • Senator Hon Hattil Foll: Minister for the Interior, Minister for Information (UAP)
  • Rt Hon Sir Earle Page, GCMG MP: Minister for Commerce (CP)
  • Hon Sir Frederick Stewart, MP: Minister for External Affairs, Minister for Health, Minister for Social Services (UAP)
  • Senator Hon Philip McBride: Minister for Munitions (UAP)
  • Hon Eric Harrison, MP: Minister for Trade and Customs (UAP)
  • Hon Harold Holt, MP: Minister for Labour and National Service (UAP)
  • Senator Hon Herbert Collett: Minister for Repatriation (UAP)
  • Hon Thomas Collins, MP: Postmaster-General (CP)
  • Senator Hon John Leckie: Minister for Aircraft Production (UAP)
  • Hon Larry Anthony, MP: Minister for Transport (CP)
  • Hon Eric Spooner, MP: Minister for War Organisation of Industry (UAP)
  • Hon Joseph Abbott, MP: Minister for Home Security (CP)
  • Hon Allan McDonald, MP: Minister for External Territories (UAP)


Further Reading

  • Arthur Fadden, They Called Me Artie, Jacaranda Press (1969)


External links

  • Arthur Fadden (http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/meetpm.asp?pmId=13) - Australia's Prime Ministers / National Archives of Australia


Preceded by:
Archie Cameron
Leader of the Country Party of Australia
1940–1958
Succeeded by:
John McEwen
Preceded by:
Robert Menzies
Treasurer of Australia
1940–1941
Succeeded by:
Ben Chifley
Preceded by:
Robert Menzies
Prime Minister of Australia
1941
Succeeded by:
John Curtin
Preceded by:
John Curtin
Leader of the Opposition
1941-1943
Succeeded by:
Robert Menzies
Preceded by:
Ben Chifley
Treasurer of Australia
1949–1958
Succeeded by:
Harold Holt

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