James Cunningham (Australian politician)

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James Cunningham
Senator James Cunningham (cropped).jpg
President of the Senate
In office
1 July 1941 4 July 1943
Preceded by John Hayes
Succeeded by Gordon Brown
Senator for Western Australia
In office
23 October 1937 4 July 1943
Preceded by Thomas Marwick
Personal details
Born(1879-12-28)28 December 1879
Wirrabara, South Australia
Died4 July 1943(1943-07-04) (aged 63)
Albury, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
OccupationGoldminer

James Cunningham (28 December 1879 4 July 1943) was an Australian politician. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and began his political career in the Parliament of Western Australia, serving as a state government minister. He later served as a Senator for Western Australia from 1937 until his death in 1943, including as President of the Senate from 1941.

Contents

Early life

Cunningham was born in Wirrabara, South Australia to parents who could not write, [1] and he received little formal education there. When he was about 20 he moved to Western Australia to become a goldminer. He worked at Norseman and then at Boulder. He contracted the disease silicosis through this work. [1]

State politics

He was secretary of the Federated Miners' Union before his election to the Western Australian Legislative Council in 1916 as a Labor member. In 1922 he left the council, but in 1923 he was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly as the member for Kalgoorlie. He was an honorary minister 1924–1927 and held the portfolios of Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Goldfields and Minister for Water Supply 1927–1930. His alcoholism prevented him being reappointed to the Ministry in 1933 when Labor regained office. [1]

In 1936 the Labor Party decided to allow three candidates to stand for the seat of Kalgoorlie, after irregularities were discovered in the pre-selection ballotting process. Cunningham was soundly defeated. [1]

Federal politics

In 1937 he was elected to the Australian Senate as a Labor Senator for Western Australia. In 1940 he was elected Deputy Senate Leader. On 1 July 1941 he was elected President of the Senate, serving until his death in Albury, New South Wales, on 4 July 1943. [2] He was buried in Karrakatta Cemetery, Perth, after a state funeral. [1]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Australian Dictionary of Biography
  2. Carr, Adam (2008). "Australian Election Archive". Psephos, Adam Carr's Election Archive. Archived from the original on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
John Hayes
President of the Senate
1941–1943
Succeeded by
Gordon Brown