About William Hughes
- Born: 25 September 1862
- Died: 28 October 1952
- Partner: Mary Ethel Hughes
- Political party:
- Australian Labor Party (as PM)
- Nationalist Party (as PM)
- United Australia Party
- Liberal Party
- Image: NAA: A5954, 1299/2 PHOTO PL251/4
William Morris Hughes, Australia's 7th Prime Minister, was also the longest serving until 1957 when Robert Menzies overtook Hughes’ record term in office. Hughes’ other record still stands: no parliamentarian has surpassed his 51 years and 7 months of continuous service as a member of Australia’s House of Representatives – from the 1st parliament in 1901 to the 20th in 1952.
Before Federation, Hughes had been a Labor member of the New South Wales parliament from 1894 to 1901. In March 1901, he won the seat of West Sydney in the first House of Representatives. He served in the Labor Cabinets of Chris Watson and Andrew Fisher. He then replaced Andrew Fisher as Prime Minister in 1915 and led Australia during World War I.
Hughes’ campaign for conscription during the 1914-18 war split the Labor Party and affected political alignment in Australia for the next 50 years. After the war, Hughes was instrumental in the international recognition of Australia as an independent nation through its membership of the League of Nations.
Hughes lost office in February 1923, but served in parliament for almost 3 decades more.
Did you know?
- in 1915 founded the Advisory Council for Science and Industry, later CSIRO
- was Australia's longest-serving parliamentarian – a member of the House of Representatives for 51 years and 7 months
- helped found 3 political parties, and was expelled from them all: the Labor Party (expelled 1916), the Nationalist Party (expelled 1929), and the United Australia Party (expelled 1944)
- had more than 100 prime ministerial secretaries
- was honoured with 15 ‘Freedom of the City’ awards – more than any other prime minister
- was Australia's longest-serving prime minister with a record of 7 years 3 months and 14 days until 1957 when Robert Menzies overtook his record