Member of the Privy Council (1911)

13 November 1908 — 2 June 1909 201 days
29 April 1910 — 24 June 1913 3 years, 57 days
17 September 1914 — 27 October 1915 1 year, 40 days

Andrew Fisher became Australia's fifth prime minister after the Labour Party he led withdrew support from Alfred Deakin's Liberal Protectionist Party.


29 August 1862
Crosshouse, Scotland


22 October 0003
London, England


Margaret Fisher


Australian Labor Party

13 November 1908 — 2 June 1909 201 days
29 April 1910 — 24 June 1913 3 years, 57 days
17 September 1914 — 27 October 1915 1 year, 40 days


Fisher's second term in office came after the Labour Party won the 1910 election. From 1912 the Labour Party officially adopted the American spelling, ‘Labor’, with ‘Labour’ and ‘Labor’ often used interchangeably beforehand. Fisher lost office at the 1913 election, but was prime minister again in 1914 after a double dissolution election. 

Andrew Fisher rose from humble origins to establish the Labor Party as a major force in Australian politics and lead a stable and effective federal government. He remained true to his progressive ideals and left Australia with a strong sense of national progress and a belief in what national government could achieve.

As a young man, Fisher was a staunch unionist in the Ayrshire mines in Scotland, resulting in restricted work opportunities and subsequent emigration to Australia with his brother in 1885.

By the late 1880s Fisher was working in flourishing gold mines at Gympie and became leader of the Amalgamated Miners’ Union and then the Workers’ Political Organisation, a forerunner to the Queensland Labor Party. In 1893 Fisher was elected as a Labor member for Gympie in the state parliament.

After losing his seat at the 1896 state elections, Fisher was re-elected to parliament in 1899, and served briefly as a minister in the seven day Dawson Labor government. At the first federal election in 1901, Fisher won the seat of Wide Bay. Fisher was Minister for Trade and Customs in the Watson government in 1904 and became deputy leader to Watson in 1905.

Fisher became Labor leader in 1907 after the resignation of Watson and then prime minister in 1908 and on two subsequent occasions. Fisher’s substantial 1910 election win gave him control of both chambers and allowed him to embark on a blistering program of public policy that brought into existence some enduring and significant legislation and national institutions.

Fisher retired from politics in 1915 and took up the position of Australian High Commissioner in London.   


360° VIEW


The Labor Party led by Andrew Fisher prevailed decisively in the 1910 election and achieved a majority in the Senate, winning all 18 seats contested. It was the first election to be contested by only two major parties, and the size of the win meant his government became the first to complete a full three year parliamentary term.

The Fisher government was notable for its serious commitment to implementing the entire legislative program it had promised to voters. The 113 acts passed by the Fisher government were transformative, and included public policies relating to banking and currency, transport, defence, welfare and industrial relations.

Fisher extended the concept of Federation into a practical and working system of federal government. After his party lost power again in 1913, Fisher comfortably won the next election in 1914. Deteriorating health, hastened by responsibility for Australia’s First World War commitment, led to Fisher’s resignation as prime minister in October 1915.

However, Fisher had made the federal government a far more powerful and significant institution which could change the lives of ordinary Australians.

Andrew Fisher and a group of farmers pose in front of a building.

Prime Minister Andrew Fisher with farmers from the Murgon district, c. 1913. Photo: Queensland State Archives

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