First Prime Minister of Australia

The questions for the citizenship test are a waste of time and effort. It is feel good politics that adds to the overhead of an individual being in sync with the asinine bureaucratic machinations of the nation-state. One of the questions is who was the first Prime Minister of Australia. The multiple choice questions do not impart any of the drama that went into that episode of Australian history.
The options are: a. Sir Edmund Barton, b. Sir Henry Parkes, c. John Curtin and d. Sir Robert Menzies.

When the Commonwealth was established it was up to the new Governor-General to ask a politician to form the first government. The Earl of Hopetoun was the first Governor-General and had previously served as the Governor of Victoria.

It was assumed that Edmund Barton would be asked to form the first government, instead Hopetoun asked William Lyne, the NSW Premier. It made sense, NSW was the biggest colony and Lynne was leading the government in that colony, but the federalists would not have a bar of it. Lynne had originally told Barton he would not try to form a government, but try he did.

The federalists such as Deakin declined to form government under Lynne, who was forced to ask Hopetoun to request that Barton form a government. Lynne did serve in the Barton Cabinet but after Deakin took over Australian politics with the Fusion Party, a forerunner to the Liberal Party, Lynne was on the outer and denounced Deakin. Lynne died soon after losing his seat in 1913.

Multiple choice citizenship tests do such a great job at pointing out how diverse, interesting and rich Australian history is (not).
cam 2007-05-18 12:31:33.0