Day, David: Andrew Fisher

David Day

Andrew Fisher: Prime Minister of Australia, Fourth Estate/Harper Collins, Pymble, NSW, 2008

Fisher seems to personify the fracture that the Great War wrought in the Labor Party and in Australia: from presiding over significant nation-building and social reforms in the years before the war to promising ‘the last man and the last shilling’ when the war commenced. Yet Day shows that Fisher and his governments gave a high priority to defence as well as to domestic policy. As the news came in from Gallipoli, Fisher told Parliament that ‘our gallant soldiers have earned the admiration of all’. They had ‘made history that will inspire Australians in all ages to come’.

Within six months, health and financial issues, possibly coupled with concern at the political fallout from the Dardanelles campaign and wariness about the likely future battle over conscription, led to Fisher’s departure from office in favour of Hughes. A brief biography of Fisher is here. Another full-length biography is by Peter Bastian.

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