Thursday, March 18, 2010

Arthur Fadden

Arthur Fadden is another Prime Minister. I saw him mentioned while doing my research yesterday. I think he came after Menzies and before John Curtin. I don't think he got to wear the Prime Minister crown for long. I'm thinking he was from one of the anti-Labor parties, but I could be wrong.

Lord Wiki says that Arthur Fadden was born in Ingham, Queensland on 13 April 1894. He was a few months older than Robert Menzies.

I just went to a website I haven't gone to in a long time...The birthday calculator! I wanted to see if Fadden was born on Friday the 13th. He was. Oh, and he shares his birthday with Ricky Schroeder.

I'm looking at Google Maps now. Ingham is up north, near Cairns and Townsville. It's inbetween the two places, but closer to Townsville.

Daddy Fadden was a police-officer. I had a somewhat romantic dream about a policeman last night. He caught a huge dog that was on the loose...and did so in a very humane way. I guess that impressed me. Then he acted all protective of me...which I liked. Later, I was Sookie Stackhouse; but I had turned into a fairy, and someone was trying to kill me with lemon juice. The police guy went into a trance to try to get into the mind of the killer and stop him. However, once he saved me, the policeman wasn't quite sure he wanted to be romantically involved with a fairy.

Anyway......

Fadden went to state schools. I guess in Ingham?

Later he studied accounting while working as a clerk. Once he was qualified, he moved over to Mackay. That's about six hours south of Ingham, so it's a pretty substantial move. Fadden was assistant Town Clerk there, and then later he became the main clerk guy.

I'm not sure what a town clerk does. I went to talk to Lord Wiki about it. He explained it to me. I didn't understand him. I'll just forget about it. I can't say I care that much really.

Well, I suppose we can assume it's related to accounting....since that's what Fadden had studied. It would make sense.

In 1919, Fadden helped start the North Queensland Rugby League. I think this might be them.

In the 1920's, Fadden opened up his own accounting firm. He had offices in both Brisbane and Townsville. Did he travel back and forth? That would be a fairly long commute.

Lord Wiki says that Fadden was active in the Country Party from the time it started. I had to look up it's birthdate. It was 1920. So how old was Fadden then? Twenty-six.

Lord Wiki skips ahead about a decade. We get to 1932. Fadden was elected into the Queensland Legislative Assembly. He got elected out in 1935, and then in 1936, he went Federal. He had the seat of Darling Downs until 1949. I think that's the same year that Menzies became Prime Minister again.

In 1940, Archie Cameron, the leader of the Country Party resigned. Fadden was put in as the new leader. He had that role until 1958, but was Prime Minister for only a few months in 1941.

I'm so confused about Australian political parties...especially the anti-Labor ones. Lord Wiki says the Country Party became the National Party. But is that also the same as the United Australia Party?

Lord Wiki has a history of the Country Party. Maybe I'll read it carefully, and try to absorb it into my brain.

All right. The Country Party was the Country Party until 1975. Then in 1982, it changed to the National Party. They are not part of the United Australia Party, but sometimes they form a coalition with them. United Australia Party went away in 1945. Oh. Okay. They were sucked up into the Liberal Party.

I think I got it now. Although maybe I need to make Australia political party flashcards.

Lord Wiki has a nice list of Australian political parties. He says there are five that are substantial and active today. I'm going to go over the dates, and stuff.

The Labor Party begin in 1891. The leader is Kevin Rudd, and he's also now the Prime Minister. Yeah, some people might not realize that. I have a few non-Australians who read this.

The Liberal Party was founded in 1944, although yesterday I had read that it began in 1945. Who knows. The current leader is Tony Abbott. He recently replaced Malcolm Turnbull who not long ago replaced Brendan Nelson.

The National Party of Australia was founded in 1920. It used to be called The Country Party. Until today I thought they were two separate parties. I'm finally catching on. The leader there is Warren Truss.

The Australian Greens....wow, they're very new. They started in 1992. Bob Greene is their leader. I've written about him before.

Family First is even younger. They began in 2002. Their leader is Steve Fielding. I've written about him as well.

Well, I'm going to feed us some food. Then I'll come back, and we'll talk about Mr. Fadden.

Okay. In 1941, Menzies resigned from being Prime Minister. I'm still not exactly sure if he was explicitly pressured to resign, or just did so because he felt unloved and unsupported by his party.

Anyway, the United Australia Party were having trouble finding a new party, so they let the Country Party get into the game. Fadden became Prime Minister. That was in August, and he was there until October. The reason he left was two Members of Parliament (Arthur Coles and Alex Wilson) had voted against his budget. They did this supposedly in protest for how Menzies had been treated.

Lord Wiki says this was the last time in Australia history that a Prime Minister resigned because of a defeat in Parliament. Interesting.

The Governor-General then asked John Curtin to become the Prime Minister. But before doing so, he asked Coles and Wilson if they'd support Curtin. The Governor-General wanted things to be more stable.

This is all so foreign to me. I'm so used of left and right being overly opposed to each other. These days it seems like there are constant battles. It seems less about what's right for the country and more about what political party gets to be on top.

Oh! Arthur Coles. I was thinking of the grocery store, and thought that was just a coincidence. But Lord Wiki says that Arthur Coles was one of the founders.

Wilson and Coles were both independents, so it's not completely surprising that they could support a United Australia Party leader, and then a Labor one. I guess I'm just surprised that people from the anti-Labor parties were okay with Curtin being brought in as Prime Minister. Although maybe they weren't all okay.

Fadden became Leader of the Opposition until 1943. When he lost the election, Menzies became the Leader of the Opposition via the new Liberal Party. I'm guessing that was 1944. I feel Lord Wiki keeps changing the birth year of the Liberal Party. Maybe I should just look at the Liberal Party website to see what they say. I'll do that in a minute.

As for Fadden, he was no longer Leader of the Opposition, but he continued to be the leader of the Country Party.

Okay. The Liberal Party website says they began in 1944. I think that's what Lord Wiki has been TRYING to tell me. Maybe, it's kind of drawn out. I think maybe it was conceived in 1943...after the election. Then in 1944 it was born. By 1945, it blossomed into a big thing.

Lord Wiki says that Fadden was very conservative...so conservative that he was able to make Menzies look moderate in comparison. In some ways, this helped Menzies in the 1949 election. Maybe it's kind of like bad cop/good cop. That's not a perfect analogy, but I can't think of a better one.

Ah. Here's one. Let's say I invite a member of PETA over for Thanksgiving. They blab on and on about the evils of exploiting animals. I can disagree with stuff they say, and to my family I'll seem very moderate and reasonable. At the same time though, the PETA member might introduce my parents to ideas that I agree with but avoid talking about. We probably wouldn't do much to influence or change the extreme meat-eaters. We might even further alienate them. But the dinner guest, might influence people who are more in the middle.

When Menzies became Prime Minister, Fadden became the Treasurer. He retired in 1958, and died in 1973.

I flipped the coin to see where I'm going to get next. Since I started the flipping thing, I've always gotten tails and had to go to the government Prime Minister site. Today I got heads, so I'll be going to The Australian Dictionary of Biography first.

Fadden was Irish. I guess I should have known by the name. It sounds pretty Irish.

Fadden's mother's maiden name was Moorhead. Isn't there an author with that last name...friends with Robert Hughes? I have one of his books on my shelf. Let me go check.....

Well, it's Alan Moorehead. He has an extra e there. Still, they could be related. Perhaps he just added an E to his name. But probably not.

Arthur Fadden was the first of ten children.

Fadden's paternal grandfather was a Presbyterian Minister in Ireland. His dad was the one that migrated to Australia, so that would make Fadden a second generation Australian.

The website says that when Fadden was fifteen, he started working as a billy-boy to cane cutters. I'm not sure exactly what that is, but I'm guessing it has something to do with sugar. That was a big industry up north, if I remember correctly. It probably still is.

Fadden didn't have that job for long. He next did office work at the Pleystowe Mill. I just looked that up. It's a sugar mill in Mackay.

As a young man, Fadden liked socializing, sport, and theater. He was a member of an acting group called the Nigger Minstrel Troupe. Uh...that doesn't sound too good. I'm doing a tiny bit of reading on this type of thing. It's pretty much white people painting on a black face. It IS very racist. Although would it be that different from the days in which men played the female parts in Shakespeare performances? I guess that would be sexist though.

Eventually, Fadden got the clerk job. There he saw mistakes in the books, and got the Town Clerk fired. Fadden took his place.

Fadden married a milliner named Ilma Nita Thornber. Together they had four children. I had no idea what a milliner was, so I had to look it up. Lord Wiki says they made and sold hats... and some other stuff.

In 1918, two years after Fadden had married, a big cyclone hit Mackay. Several people were killed, and it was a dangerous scene. Fadden and his family almost drowned. After surviving, Fadden became very involved with relief efforts. That's good to know.

I think this information differs somewhat from Lord Wiki's. From Lord Wiki, I got the idea that he worked as a clerk early on, and then took accountant classes. But here it seems, this didn't come until much later. They say, Having qualified in accountancy through a correspondence course, he resigned his local-government post in September and set up as a public accountant at Townsville. Although maybe they mean he took the classes prior to the government post, and was now ready to apply them to a job outside of government.

He had two different firms. The one in Brisbane was called A.W Fadden and O'Shea. The one in Townsville was Fadden Sutton and Company. I guess with each firm, he partnered with another person.

All of the next bit confuses me. I'm thinking of just skipping it, but that's probably very negligent of me. Oh well. I might read the same stuff on the government Prime Minister site, and understand it better. I'm going to skip it for now.

I'm going to just sit here and read....pick out anything that seems fairly interesting.

Fadden was acting Prime Minister when Menzies took that 1941 trip to England. Remember this is the one that Lord Wiki said had helped Menzies lose love from Australians.

The website says Fadden tried to establish a special war-time government. Some folks believe he did this as part of a quest to become Prime Minister. It could have been for the good of the nation, but it may have been just for the good of Arthur Fadden.

Here's some fun soap opera politics. This happened in September 1941, about three weeks before Fadden stopped being Prime Minister.

I hope I get this right. Sorry if I don't.

Menzies was suspicious that Fadden had plotted his downfall. I guess this refers to the time that Menzies was in England, and Fadden was the acting Prime Minister. Fadden, of course, denied this; but I guess he was worried about the accusations. Then there was this other guy Winkler that was involved. I guess he was on team Menzies. He had some documents that would embarrass Fadden, and he handed them over to Curtin. Curtin was a decent bloke and decided not to exploit the information. Instead he voted against Fadden's budget. The two independents (Coles and Wilson) helped the budget to lose. Then this is when Fadden resigned.

The website says that Fadden had an engaging personality. They say, He had the gift of friendship, and his encouragement and kindness to colleagues on both sides of the House were legendary. He relished convivial occasions, enjoyed his drink, and had a prodigious collection of stories which he told with zest and humour. He reminds me of people I know. I strongly disagree with their viewpoints, but they're still enjoyable to be around.

Now I'm going to march over to the government Prime Minister site. I'll read, and report anything new and exciting.

Each of the three websites I'm prowling on today mention a horror budget of 1951. I should probably learn more about that. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't.

The Before Page on the government site shows a newspaper photo of Fadden's family. It was published in 1968...part of Fadden's serialized memoirs. The newspaper intro says that as a child, Fadden's father left him in charge of the prisoners at the gaol. Yikes. Why would someone give that much responsibility to a child. I understand children were treated differently in those days, but this surprises me a bit.

The page talk about that plane crash that killed three people. When they died, Fadden inherited one of their Ministry portfolios. So although it was a tragedy, Fadden somewhat benefited. That sounds cold and awful, but it happens sometimes. I think the universe works that way. Someone dies, and someone else gets a career boost. It's really evil only if the death was CAUSED by someone wanting a career boost. Do you hear me, Lady Macbeth?

I didn't see much exciting stuff on the other pages of the site.

Google News Archive has a 1973 obituary for Fadden. So when he died, Gough Whitlam would have been Prime Minister. I'm trying to give us some historical perspective here.

The obituary says Fadden was very popular in Parliament. People liked this guy....even if they weren't on his side of the political spectrum.

The article says that even when Fadden's political plans and choices were criticized, his popularity remained. I admire that. The past year I've been in strong opposition to those who cruelly reject people for differences of opinion. I've really grown to admire those who can disagree with me, but still like me, and remain my friend. At the same time though, it's also admirable to be able to present a challenging opinion or plan with tact. I don't think I'm very strong with this talent. I've met people who are, and I admire their diplomacy. One such person was my cousin. She's very much into alternative medicine. We spent time with her in San Francisco. My parents aren't really into that stuff, and she handled their prying questions so beautifully.

I probably am somewhat diplomatic in my writing. When speaking though...in conversations...I'm not too good at presenting my opinions in a palatable way. I don't get overtly nasty, and say stuff like You idiot! Did your parents drop you on your head? Why would you think such a ridiculous thing? I'm more likely to make little subtle and snide comments.

Fadden's nickname was Artie, and he readily invited people to call him that.

He was good at memorizing names and faces. I think this is a very good strong social skill to have. It's really hard to be gregarious when you've forgotten someone's name. I hate when this happens to me, especially if they remember my name. They're all friendly, and I just stand there feeling lost and ashamed. They chat on and on, but I don't listen because I'm thinking. What's their name? How could I forget their name? I end up being rude on two accounts...first for forgetting their name, and then not listening to them talk.

The obituary says that although Fadden appeared to be constantly jovial, and worry free....he did get very stressed at times. He was just good at hiding it.

Fadden was quick to take offense, but also quick to forgive and forget. I'm sort of like that. I do get mad easily, but I forgive easily....IF I get a genuine apology. I don't forget though...and I'll sometimes get re-angry if the behavior is repeated.

The obituary talks about the horror-budget of 1951. They say this really stressed Fadden. He developed more grey hairs.

In 1954, Fadden was in a bad car accident. Yikes. He ended up needing five operations.

There's a whole section here about the budget. There was a post-war boom. And I guess instead of riding with the flow of plenty, Fadden wanted to make cutbacks to avoid inflation and a deficit. He increased taxes. I may be totally misunderstanding this. I don't know. His idea kind of makes sense to me in a way....well, IF I'm understanding it correctly.

I'm thinking of it in terms of microeconomics. Let's say a family struggles economically....as most families do. Then they suddenly acquire a lot of money...Lottery? Inheritance? Many families would go and live the high life...go out to eat every night, buy expensive wine, go on cruises, buy designer clothing, etc. With the Fadden-way, maybe a family would act more responsibility. Maybe they'd take stronger control of their spending in order that they have a stable budget later on. They may recognize that hard times may hit again, and they need to be careful. This could be taken to an extreme though, and that's probably not good. If money falls your way, I say you should have at least a LITTLE fun.