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Issue Details: First known date: 1975... 1975 Australian Liberal : A Political Biography of Sir Littleton Groom, 1867-1936
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The main purpose of this thesis is to present the career of Sir Littleton Groom in terms of his being a representative liberal of his generation and, at the same time, a significant force in Australian politics. Born in Toowoomba in 1867, his background and education led to his becoming after 1901 a forceful federal parliamentarian on the radical wing of the protectionist party. Between 1905 and 1908, first as Minister for Home Affairs, and then as Attorney-General, he tried to foster federal sentiment through the expansion of the Commonwealth powers. The 1909 fusion of non-Labor parties presented him with a dilemma but he supported it on the grounds that otherwise his party and its principles faced extinction. As Minister for External Affairs until April 1910, however, he had greater difficulties with many of his new colleagues than with the Labor opposition. Yet he still attacked Fisher's subsequent Labor administration as class-biased and irresponsible. Minister for Trade and Customs in Cook's short-lived government of 1913-14, he largely devoted himself to reversing Labor policies but was still occasionally able to exhibit his old disregard for parochial state interests. After the outbreak of war in 1914 he constantly stressed the moral righteousness of the British Empire's cause, with which he equated that of Australian nationalism. As Minister for Works and Railways between 1918 and 1921 Te aligned himself with those who saw the need for some social reform combined with increased government participation in the country's economic development. He was appointed Attorney-General again in December 1921. In this post he reformed aspects of the Commonwealth public service, tried to further extend federal commercial and industrial powers and to deport those whom, he believed, carried foreign disruptive ideas into the country. As leader of the Australian delegation to the 1924 League of Nations Assembly he unsuccessfully advocated the adoption of a new scheme for international arbitration. In 1925 Prime Minister Bruce, dissatisfied with Groom's performance as Attorney-General, forced his resignation. Groom retaliated in 1929 when as Speaker of the House of Representatives he refused to vote to save the government in a crucial division. His commitment to federal arbitration, the issue in question, and his concern about the "dignity of the chair" were the main reasons for his decision. He was defeated in the subsequent election but returned as an independent in 1931. He spent much of the remainder of his life in seeking to make his fellow Australians more aware of the valuable work done by the federal pioneers in the Commonwealth's first decade. Despite the numerous tributes paid to him immediately after his death in 1936, since then he has been largely ignored. His reputation deserved a better fate both because he left such a solid legacy behind, and, more notably, his career reflected the shifts in the politics of his time as they affected a man whose basic beliefs remained largely unchanged.' (Thesis description)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory,: 1975 .
      Extent: 432p.
      • Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Last amended 22 May 2020 14:11:45
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