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William Morris Hughes

1862 – 1952

William Morris Hughes (1862-1952) was Labor and National Party Prime Minister of Australia from 1915 to 1923. Hughes arrived in Australia in 1884 as an assisted immigrant. He joined the Socialist League in 1892 and won the harbour-side seat of Lang in the 1894 election. Before becoming Prime Minister Hughes helped to found several major trade unions, but the card-carrying socialist was expelled from the Labor party in 1916 for supporting conscription. Thus, he won the 1917 election for the new National Party. During the war Hughes travelled to Europe to lobby for Australian exporters and ensure a political voice for Australia; he returned from a high-profile performance at the post-war peace conferences in the persona of 'Billy' Hughes, the 'Little Digger'. During the course of his life-long parliamentary career, he was also expelled from the National and United Australia Parties, and he ended his days in a Liberal seat.

Updated 2018