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Joseph Lyons

Joseph Aloysius Lyons (September 15, 1879 - April 7, 1939) was the 10th Prime Minister of Australia from 1931 - 1939.

Something of note is that Joseph Lyons is the only Catholic ever to lead a non-Labor party at the Federal level.

Elected to the State Parliament of Tasmania in 1909 for the Labor Party, he eventually became Premier in 1923, until 1929, when he entered Federal Parliament in the Scullin landslide.

He was quite fiscally conservative, and during the Depression, he clashed publicly with other members of the Labor Party on how to manage the situation. Most notably, he frequently fought with Ted Theodore (the Federal Treasurer) and Jack Lang (the NSW Premier), both of whom proposed a radical solution to the crisis.

Abandoning the ALP (which subsequently tore itself apart), Lyons created a new party, the United Australia Party, which was based on Labor defectors, and former members of the conservative Nationalist party (which had collapsed in 1929, but itself was also based partly on Labor defectors).

Lyon's pacifist outlook (and his own support for the Appeasement effort), coupled with the conservative's traditional reliance on Britain for defence meant that Australia was ill-prepared for the outbreak of WWII, but Lyons would not live to see it, dying early in April of 1939.

He leaves an odd set of legacies. He was the only Catholic to lead a major non-Labor party at the Federal level. He is the only example of a State Premier who has successfuly gone on to become a Prime Minister. He is one of only two Prime Ministers to have served two consecutive terms, but never be defeated at a general or double dissolution election (the other being Bob Hawke).

Previous Australian Prime Minister: James Scullin
Next Australian Prime Minister: Earle Page

Note: need to add hyperlinks.



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