- Edmund Barton 1901-1903
- Alfred Deakin 1903-1904
- John Watson 1904
- George Reid 1904-1905
- Alfred Deakin 1905-1908
- Andrew Fisher 1908-1909
- Alfred Deakin 1909-1910
- Andrew Fisher 1910-1913
- Joseph Cook 1913-1914
- Andrew Fisher 1914-1915
- Billy Hughes 1915-1923
- Stanley Bruce 1923-1929
- James Scullin 1929-1932
- Joseph Lyons 1932-1939
- Earle Page 1939
- Robert Menzies 1939-1941
- Arthur Fadden 1941
- John Curtin 1941-1945
- Frank Forde 1945
- Ben Chifley 1945-1949
- Robert Menzies 1949-1966
- Harold Holt 1966-1967
- John McEwen 1967-1968
- John Gorton 1968-1971
- William McMahon 1971-1972
- Gough Whitlam 1972-1975
- Malcolm Fraser 1975-1983
- Bob Hawke 1983-1991
- Paul Keating 1991-1996
- John Howard 1996-2007
- Kevin Rudd 2007-2010
- Julia Gillard 2010-2013
- Kevin Rudd 2013
- Tony Abbott 2013-2015
- Malcolm Turnbull 2015-2018
- Scott Morrison 2018-Present
Hello! This is a special guide about the leaders of Australia. We will show you how our country became great and tell you about the people who helped it happen. We will look at the Prime Ministers who have guided us through good and bad times since the start of our country until now.
Get a cup of tea, sit down comfortably, and let’s begin!
The Early Years: 1901-1939
Edmund Barton was the first Prime Minister of Australia when it became a federation in 1901. He worked as a leader from 1901 to 1903, and after that, some other people also took up the leadership roles in the beginning years of the new country. During this time, Alfred Deakin, Andrew Fisher, and Billy Hughes were important people.
Deakin was the Prime Minister three times. He was in charge from 1903-1904, 1905-1908, and 1909-1910. People knew him for working hard for the group of states and making things better for people. He helped start the beginning of how Australia takes care of its citizens nowadays. Fisher was the leader during World War I. He made changes to education and social welfare.
Hughes served for 8 years and did some things that not everyone agreed with. He made people join the army during World War I and then changed to lead a different political group called the Nationalist Party. He was also in charge of Australia during the years after the war, when things changed a lot and people had problems with money and their daily lives.
During the time between the two world wars, there were different leaders who became Prime Minister and then left. Some examples of these leaders were Stanley Bruce, James Scullin, and Joseph Lyons. Each person had problems to face, such as the very bad economy called the Great Depression and the growth of mean, powerful leaders in Europe.
Post-War Prosperity: 1940-1970
After the war, things got much better for Australia. Australia became important in the world. Robert Menzies was the leader of Australia twice, from 1939-1941 and then from 1949-1966. He helped make Australia a strong and stable country during this time.
Menzies was a leader who helped Australia’s economy and changed society by making a law called Australian Citizenship Act and creating the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. He was known for being conservative. He strongly supported the United States and worked to make Australia’s relationship with its important partner stronger during the Cold War.
Some important Prime Ministers from this time were Harold Holt and John Gorton. Holt disappeared while swimming in the ocean in 1967, while Gorton led the country from 1968 to 1971 and made changes to improve society and the environment.
Challenging Times: 1971-2007
Australia had a lot of problems with money and people during the 1970s and 1980s. It was a big time for changes. Bob Hawke was the leader of Australia from 1983 to 1991. He was very popular because he made important changes to the country’s economy and helped make things more modern.
After Hawke, another person named Paul Keating became the leader of the country from 1991-1996. He made some changes in things like taxes and retirement plans. John Howard was the leader of Australia from 1996 to 2007. He made sure the country’s economy was doing well and everything was peaceful. However, he also had some policies that people disagreed with, like controlling guns and joining the war in Iraq.
Australia had a woman named Julia Gillard who was the leader of the country from 2010 to 2013. She was the first female Prime Minister of Australia. When Gillard was in charge, she did important things like making a carbon tax and starting a program to help people with disabilities called the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Recent Years: 2013-Present
Since 2013, Australia had many Prime Ministers because of difficulties the country faced with money and people. Tony Abbott was the leader of Australia from 2013-2015. People had mixed feelings about him because he made some choices that some people disagreed with. One of those choices was bringing back knighthoods.
Abbott was replaced by Malcolm Turnbull from 2015 to 2018. Turnbull helped the economy grow and made it stable. Turnbull’s party replaced him as leader and chose Scott Morrison to be the new Prime Minister in 2018.
While in charge, Morrison faced many difficulties, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and important scandals connected to members of his government. Morrison is still very liked even though there were some tough problems. He helped the economy to get better and grow during the past few years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about Australian Prime Ministers:
Q: Who was the first Australian Prime Minister?
A: The first Australian Prime Minister was Edmund Barton, who served from 1901-1903.
Q: Who was the longest-serving Australian Prime Minister?
A: The longest-serving Australian Prime Minister was Robert Menzies, who served for a total of 18 years, from 1939-1941 and then again from 1949-1966.
Q: Who was Australia’s first female Prime Minister?
A: Australia’s first female Prime Minister was Julia Gillard, who served from 2010-2013.
Q: Who is the current Australian Prime Minister?
A: The current Australian Prime Minister is Scott Morrison, who has been in office since 2018.
This is a quick look at the leaders who have been the Prime Minister of Australia. We hope you liked learning about them and gained a better understanding of the good and bad things that happen when you’re a leader in politics.
If you have something to ask or say, you can leave it in the box below. Don’t forget, Australia’s Prime Ministers story is still happening. We can’t know what will happen in the future for this changing country!
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- Australian Prime Ministers – National Archives of Australia: https://www.naa.gov.au/explore-collection/australian-prime-ministers
- List of Prime Ministers of Australia – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Prime_Ministers_of_Australia
- Australia’s Prime Ministers – Australian Broadcasting Corporation: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-26/australias-prime-ministers/4770498
- The Office of the Prime Minister – Australian Government: https://www.pm.gov.au/about-office-office-prime-minister
- Australia’s Prime Ministers – Museum of Australian Democracy: https://www.moadoph.gov.au/australias-prime-ministers/