Billy Snedden

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Billy Snedden
Sir Billy Mackie Snedden, KCMG, QC (31 December 1926 - 27 June 1987), Australian politician, was born in Perth, Western Australia, the son of a stonemason. He was educated at state schools and joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1945. After the war he was discharged and attended the University of Western Australia, where he graduated in law, being admitted to the bar in 1951. During this time he stood once for the Western Australian state Parliament and twice for the Australian House of Representatives, for unwinnable seats. Snedden was the Liberal Party leader at the 1974 federal election failing to defeat incumbent Gough Whitlam.

In 1950 Snedden married Joy Forsyth, with whom he had four children. In 1954 he moved to Melbourne, where he practised law until he was elected to the House of Representatives for the outer suburban seat of Bruce. In 1965 Prime Minister Robert Menzies appointed him Attorney-General. He was Minister for Immigration 1966-69, and Minister for Labour and National Service 1969-71, a difficult job which put him in charge of the government's highly unpopular policy of conscription for the Vietnam War. In 1967, following the death of Harold Holt, he was a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but his candidacy was not taken very seriously.

In 1971, however, Snedden was appointed Treasurer (finance minister) by William McMahon, and was elected Liberal Deputy Leader, making him the heir apparent to the leadership. When McMahon was defeated by the Labor Party under Gough Whitlam in 1972, Snedden was duly elected Liberal leader. Snedden promised a new and more "liberal" Liberal Party, but he suffered from his continuing image as a light-weight, and many Liberals believed he would never defeat Whitlam.

Snedden allowed himself to be persuaded to use the conservative majority in the Senate to block the Whitlam government's budget in 1974. Whitlam promptly called a double dissolution election, and was returned to office with a reduced majority. Labor campaigned on the Slogan "Oh no, not Snedden!" Snedden exposed himself to ridicule by refusing to formally concede defeat, insisting at a press conference that "while we didn't win, we didn't lose either."

After the election the conservative wing of the Liberal Party, led by Malcolm Fraser, challenged Snedden's leadership, but he was narrowly re-elected. When he failed to make any headway against Whitlam, Fraser mounted a second challenge, and Snedden was deposed in March 1975, becoming the first leader of the Liberal Party not to gain the Prime Ministership. He retired to the backbench until February 1976, when Fraser supported his election as Speaker of the House.

Snedden filled the role of Speaker with dignity, and he was knighted during his term of office (January 1978) although some members found what they saw as his pomposity rather tiresome. He was the last Australian Speaker to wear the full regalia of full-bottomed wig and robes inherited from the British House of Commons. In 1982 he had revenge of sorts on Fraser when he refused to insist that a Labor frontbencher, Bob Hawke, retract an allegation that Fraser was a liar. Fraser was furious but could not be seen to be attacking the Speaker.

When the Fraser government was defeated by Hawke in 1983, Snedden immediately resigned from Parliament. He separated from his wife and withdrew from public life as his health declined.

In 1987, Snedden suffered a fatal heart attack.

His daughter Fiona Snedden was elected to the Melbourne City Council in 2004 after an unsuccessful candidature for the Liberal Party in the seat of Melbourne Ports in the 1998 federal elections.

Honours

Snedden was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in January 1978. He was also appointed a Privy Councillor (PC).

References



Preceded by
Leslie Bury
Treasurer of Australia
1971-1972
Succeeded by
Gough Whitlam
Preceded by
William McMahon
Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia
1972–1975
Succeeded by
Malcolm Fraser
Preceded by
Gordon Scholes
Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
1976–1983
Succeeded by
Dr Harry Jenkins


Leaders of the Liberal Party of Australia
Menzies | Holt | Gorton | McMahon | Snedden | Fraser | Peacock | Howard | Peacock | Hewson | Downer | Howard
Queen's Counsel (postnominal QC), during the reign of a male sovereign known as King's Counsel (KC), are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law"; the position exists in various Commonwealth countries around
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Events

  • 678 - Saint Agatho begins his reign as a Catholic Pope.

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Anthem
Advance Australia Fair [1]


Capital Canberra

Largest city Sydney
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Perth
Western Australia

The Perth skyline viewed from the Swan River

Population:
• Density: 1,445,078 (Aug 2006 Census) 1,507,900 (Dec 2006) (4th)
280/km


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Western Australia

Flag Coat of Arms
Slogan or Nickname: Wildflower State or the "Golden State"

Other Australian states and territories
Capital Perth
Government Constitutional monarchy
Governor Ken Michael
Premier Alan Carpenter (ALP)
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Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is the Air Force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF began in March 1914 as the Australian Flying Corps and became a fully independent Air Force in March 1921.
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University of Western Australia (UWA) is the oldest university in the state of Western Australia. Established in February 1911, it is the only university in the state to be a member of the prestigious Group of Eight, as well as the Sandstone universities.
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Australian House of Representatives

Type Lower house

Speaker of the House David Hawker, Liberal
since November 16, 2004

Members 150
Political groups Liberal Party (74)
ALP (60)
National Party (12)
Country Liberal Party (1)
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Liberal Party of Australia

Leader John Howard

Founded 1944

Preceded by United Australia Party

Office Cnr Blackall & Macquarie St
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Political Ideology Conservative liberalism,
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Federal elections were held in Australia on 18 May 1974. All 127 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution.
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Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC (born 11 July 1916), known as Gough Whitlam (/gɒf/, pronounced "Goff"), is an Australian former politician and 21st Prime Minister of Australia.
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The Division of Bruce is an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria. The division was created in 1955 and is named for Stanley Bruce, who was Prime Minister of Australia 1923-29. It is located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
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Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, KT, AK, CH, FRS, QC (20 December 1894 – 15 May 1978), Australian politician, was the twelfth and longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia, serving eighteen and a half years.
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Conscription is a general term for involuntary labor demanded by some established authority, but it is most often used in the specific sense of government policies that require citizens (often just males) to serve in their armed forces.
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Total dead: ~314,000
Total wounded: ~1,490,000
North Vietnam and NLF
dead and missing: ~1,100,000 [1] [2] [3] [4]
wounded: ~600,000+ [5]
People's Republic of China
dead: 1,446
wounded: 4,200

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Harold Edward Holt CH (5 August 1908 – presumed dead 17 December 1967) was an Australian politician who became the 17th Prime Minister of Australia in 1966. His term as Prime Minister was dramatically ended in December of the following year when he disappeared while swimming
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Sir William McMahon, GCMG, CH (23 February 1908 – 31 March 1988), Australian politician and 20th Prime Minister of Australia, was born in Sydney, New South Wales, where his father was a lawyer.
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Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC (born 11 July 1916), known as Gough Whitlam (/gɒf/, pronounced "Goff"), is an Australian former politician and 21st Prime Minister of Australia.
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Australian Senate

Type Upper house

President Alan Ferguson, Liberal
since 14 August, 2007

Members 76
Political groups Coalition (39)
ALP (28)
Green (4)
Democratic (4)
FFP (1)
Last elections 9 October 2004
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Australia

This article is part of the series:
Politics of Australia


Federal Government
Executive
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John Malcolm Fraser, AC, CH (born 21 May 1930), is an Australian politician who was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. He came to power in the 1975 elections following the dismissal of the Whitlam Labor government, in which he played a key role and, like its immediate
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