About Andrew Fisher
- Born: 29 August 1862
- Died: 22 October 1928
- Partner: Margaret Jane Fisher
- Political party: Australian Labor Party
- Image: NAA: A1200, L61720
Andrew Fisher was Australia's 5th Prime Minister. Like Alfred Deakin, Fisher held the office three times, in 1908-09, 1910-13 and 1914-15. Although very different in background, these two men were both key figures in the foundation of the new nation's statutory structure.
Andrew Fisher’s politics were formed at the coalface. At the age of 10, he became one of many boys working in Scottish mines. He was still a coalminer when he migrated to Queensland 13 years later.
Fisher was a founding member of both the Labor Party in Queensland and of the federal parliamentary Labor Party. He held the House of Representatives seat of Wide Bay from 1901 until 1915.
When Fisher was Prime Minister, a number of important projects were undertaken:
- Royal Australian Navy established
- Commonwealth Bank set up
- the Northern Territory of South Australia transferred to the Commonwealth
- federal capital of Canberra founded
- construction of the trans-Australian railway line linking Perth to the other capitals started
As well as introducing maternity allowances, Fisher acknowledged the need for greater political equality for women.
Tall and handsome, Andrew Fisher always retained his distinctive Scots accent.
Did you know?
- was the first prime minister to hold a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, in 1910
- founded the Commonwealth Bank in 1912
- with his government, named wattle as Australia’s national flower and placed it on Australia’s Coat of Arms
- contested the prime ministerial office with his main political opponent, Alfred Deakin, for 10 of Australia’s first 15 years
- was married to Margaret Fisher, who led the Australian group in the British suffrage march in London, 1911