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26 July 1905 Tom Price

 26 July 1905 Tom Price

Tom Price became the first Labor Premier of South Australia on 26 July 1905. Born in Wales and trained as a stonecutter in Liverpool he was advised to move to a warmer climate for the sake of his health soon after his marriage in 1881. He arrived in South Australia in 1883 where, perhaps prophetically, he was engaged as a stonecutter on the new Parliament House then under construction. He became involved in the trade union movement and this was a stepping stone to a political career when he stood as a United Labor Party candidate for Sturt in the elections of 1893 and won. He supported the Women’s Suffrage movement which gained the vote for women in 1895. In 1899 he was elected leader of the Party, but at the election in 1902 the Labor Party suffered a reversal at the polls and its representation was reduced to five although under his leadership it continued to be quite an effective opposition.

In the election of 1905 the Labor Party won 13 seats and the Independent Liberal Party nine, while the government held 18, thus the government was in a minority of six. On 20 July Price carried the agreement of the combined Labor and Independent Liberal parties into effect and moved an adjournment of the House. The Premier, Mr Butler, at first refused this motion but in the end was forced to resign his untenable position and tom Price became Premier.

T. H. Smeaton, From Stonecutter to Premier and Minster for Education, Hunkin & Ellis, Adelaide.

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