Thomas Price


Thomas Price

Thomas Price (January 19 1852 – May 31 1909) was a mason and lay preacher who became the first Labor Premier of South Australia in 1905.

He was born in Brymbo, Denbighshire, Wales, and emigrated to Australia with his family in 1883. There he quickly became involved in trade union activity, and was elected to the Lower House of South Australia in 1893, becoming Labor leader in 1899.

Price came to power in May 1905 in a minority government, after increasing his party's representation from five to 15 in the 42-member lower house. With the support of 8 liberals headed by Archibald Peake, Price forced conservative Premier Richard Butler to resign. Price retained the premiership at the November 1906 double dissolution election with an additional four seats in the House of Assembly. Price obtained the double dissolution on the issue of reform to the Legislative Council. The council continued to be intransigent to reform, however Price accepted the council's compromise proposal of a £17 householder franchise. Labor's left wing criticized him for this compromise.

He introduced various reforms including free state secondary schools, the formation of wages boards and a minimum wage, establishing the Municipal Tramways Trust through nationalisation, the costly administration of the Northern Territory was surrendered to the Federal government, and reform (though limited) of the upper house.

He died of tuberculosis and diabetes at Mount Lofty, Hawthorn, South Australia on 31 May 1909. He was given a state funeral and buried at Mitcham Cemetery.

1905 Lower House results

Notes

External links

* [http://www.parliament.sa.gov.au/pp/html/price.shtm Thomas Price profile] from SA Parliament website
* [http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A110296b.htm Australian Dictionary of Biography]

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