Mr. Andrew Fisher, a former Labour Prime Minister of Australia, and High Commissioner in London, is dead. During an attack of influenza heart complications occurred.
Mr. Fisher was born at the little town of Crosshouse, Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1804. His father, who was a gardener, was a man of radical views, which his son inherited. As a youth he worked in coalmines in the district, and took some interest in public affairs. In 1886, when he was 22 years of age, Mr. Fisher migrated to Australia with his brother. He landed in Queensland and settled in the Burrum district, which he afterwards represented in Parliament, and engaged in mining work.
In 1888 he went to the Gympie goldfields and settled there. It was about this time that the trades union movement in Australia commenced to make itself felt as a social factor, and although he in no way sought prominence Mr. Fisher became involved, and held various offices in the Amalgamated Miners' Union. In the year 1890 the great maritime strike convulsed the whole of the country, and from that date Labour, which had been more or less attached to the skirts of the Liberal party, became a separate political unit, with its own independent aims and ideals.
In the Queensland elections of 1893 Mr. Fisher was one of the Labour members returned, being one of the two elected for Gympie. It was not a large party in the Queensland House, but Labour made up in activity what it wanted in numbers. He held his seat for only three years, being defeated after a close contest in 1896, and during his retirement from the House Mr. Fisher employed himself in mining and journalism. At the following general election in 1900 Mr. Fisher was again returned for Gympie, and during the life of this Parliament he attempted to pass a Workers' Compensation Bill, but without success.
Then came Federation, which Mr. Fisher strongly supported, and in the first Federal election was chosen for the constituency of Wide Bay, Queensland, in which Gympie was situated, and in 1903 was again returned for the same constituency. In the following year the first Labour Federal Ministry was formed by Mr. Watson, and in this Mr. Fisher was, given the portfolio of Trade and Customs. Four months later, however, the Watson Ministry was defeated, and in 1907 he retired from the leadership of the Labour party and was succeeded by Mr. Fisher. Mr. Deakin's second Government was unable to carry on after November, 1908, and Mr. Fisher then formed his first Cabinet, which held office until early in June, 1909, when it was defeated by a fusion of the Opposition parties led by Mr. Deakin and Sir Joseph Cook. In April, 1910, the Labour party was returned to power with a good majority in both Houses. Mr. Fisher held office as Prime Minister until 1913, when for a brief period Sir Joseph Cook became Prime Minister with a majority of only one in the House of Representatives. In September, 1914, immediately following the outbreak of war, a general election took place following upon a double dissolution, and Labour again returned with a majority in both Houses. Mr. Fisher formed his last Cabinet. Mr. W. M. Hughes, who was Attorney-General, succeeded Mr. Fisher as Prime Minister when the latter became High Commissioner in the following October, 1915. He held his position at Australia House until 1921, and after a brief visit to Australia returned and settled in Scotland. He made one attempt to enter the House of Commons, but his views were too moderate to find favour with the militant socialists of the Clyde.
Mr. Fisher represented Australia at the opening of the Parliament of the Union of South Africa in 1910, and was made a Privy Councillor in 1911. Mr. Fisher married in 1901, and is survived by several members of his family.
'Fisher, Andrew (1862–1928)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/fisher-andrew-378/text379, accessed 20 June 2013.