Members of Parliament

The ten members who represented the federal electorate of Fremantle during its more than one hundred year history reflect both the changing geographical extent of the electorate and the variations in the fortunes of the various political parties. For much of its early history the electorate encompassed as much as one half and later one third of the Perth–Fremantle metropolitan area. From 1945 onwards, as the number of House of Representatives divisions in Western Australia grew progressively from five to fifteen, the electorate became increasingly centred on the port city of Fremantle and its surrounding environs.

Similarly, and to some extent as a consequence, Fremantle moved in terms of party political support from being a marginal electorate to a Labor stronghold. In this sense the history of the electorate can be divided into the pre and post Curtin eras with the election of the future prime minister for the first time in 1928 ushering in a period when the Australian Labor Party has held the seat for all but three years. From 1901 to 1928 there were five different members for Fremantle serving an average term of five plus years. By contrast, from 1934 to 2007 there were only four members for Fremantle, or an average of one for every eighteen years.

Party changes between elections were also a source of turnover. One member, Reginald Burchell, represented the ALP for his first four years in parliament and then the Nationalists for the remaining five. William Watson held the seat from 1922 to 1928 as an independent and then from 1931 to 1934 as an endorsed United Australia Party member.

The first three members for Fremantle all lost the seat after one or two terms, but since 1913 the only sitting member for Fremantle defeated at the polls was John Curtin in 1931. Of the ten members since 1901 the longest serving was Kim Beazley who held the seat for thirty two years, followed by John Dawkins, member for seventeen years, and John Curtin who represented the seat in total for fourteen years. None of the first five Fremantle members served in a federal ministry but the next four all attained ministerial rank, including Curtin as prime minister and Dawkins as federal treasurer.

Dr Carmen Lawrence was a former Premier of Western Australia and both Elias Solomon and William Carpenter also served terms in the Western Australian State Parliament. With the exception of Kim Beazley, all the other federal members for Fremantle at one time or other stood unsuccessfully as candidates in State elections.

The Members for Fremantle, 1901-

Elias Solomon 1901-1903
William Carpenter 1903-1906
William Hedges 1906-1913
Reginald Burchell 1913-1922
William Watson 1922-1928 & 1931-1934
John Curtin 1928-1931 & 1934-1945
Kim Edward Beazley 1945-1977
John Dawkins 1977-1993

Carmen Lawrence

Melissa Parke 2007 -
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