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Joseph Cook

Personal data
Date of birth7 December 1860
Place of birthSilverdale, Staffordshire, England
Date of death30 July 1947(age 86)
Place of deathSydney, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyLabor, Free Trade/Anti-Socialist, Fusion
SpouseMary Cook
Children9
ReligionMethodism
6th Prime Minister of Australia
Elections: 1913, 1914
In office24 June 1913 - 17 September 1914
MonarchGeorge V
Governor generalThomas Denman
Ronald Ferguson
ConstituencyParramatta (New South Wales)
Succeeded byAndrew Fisher
Preceded byAndrew Fisher

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Sir Joseph Cook, GCMG (7 December 1860 30 July 1947) was an Australian politician and the sixth Prime Minister of Australia. Born as Joseph Cooke and working in the coal mines of Silverdale, Staffordshire during his early life, he emigrated to Lithgow, New South Wales during the late 1880s, and became General-Secretary of the Western Miners Association in 1887.

A founding member of the Australian Labor Party, Cook was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as Member for Hartley in 1891; the first Labor seat in any Australian parliament. Cook later switched to the Free Trade Party, and was a minister under George Reid from 1894 to 1899. During Australia's first federal election in 1901, Cook was elected unopposed to the federal seat of Parramatta, and served as the deputy to Reid, then Alfred Deakin following the creation of the Commonwealth Liberal Party from Cook's and Deakin's parties.

As leader of the Liberal Party, Cook became Prime Minister following the 1913 elections, but as he only had a one-seat majority in the lower house and a minority in the upper house, he repeatedly sought the trigger for a double dissolution. The outbreak of World War I during the September 1914 election led to a Labor victory. Following a split in the Labor party in 1916, Cook joined Billy Hughes' Nationalist Party of Australia, and following the Nationalist victory in the 1917 election, served as Minister for the Navy, then Treasurer under Hughes.

Cook retired from Parliament in 1921, and was appointed Australian High Commissioner in London. During 1928 and 1929, he headed the Royal Commission into South Australia as affected by Federation. He died in Sydney in 1947.


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