Hugh Mahon

Hugh Mahon (6 January 185728 August 1931) was an Irish-born Australian politician and a member of the first Commonwealth Parliament for the Australian Labor Party.

Mahon was born at Killurin, near Tullamore, King's County, Ireland and migrated with his family to the United States in 1867, where he learnt about printing. He returned to Ireland in about 1880 and was jailed in 1881 for political agitation along with Irish National Land League leaders including Charles Stewart Parnell, but was released due to ill-health. He migrated to Australia in 1882 to avoid re-arrest and worked for newspapers in Goulburn and Sydney, before acquiring a newspaper in Gosford. He married Mary Alice L'Estrange in 1888 and subsequently sold his newspaper to follow her back to her birthplace, Melbourne. In 1895, he moved to Coolgardie, Western Australia.cite web
first=H. J.
last=Gibbney
title =Mahon, Hugh (1857 - 1931)
publisher =Australian National University
work=Australian Dictionary of Biography
url =http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A100372b.htm
accessdate = 2007-08-12
]

Political career

Mahon stood unsuccessfully for the state seat of North Coolgardie in 1897, but won the new federal seat of Coolgardie at the 1901 election for Labour. He was Postmaster-General in the Watson government in 1904 and Minister for Home Affairs in the Fisher government of 1908-09. In 1913, the seat of Coolgardie was abolished and partly replaced by Dampier, for which he stood unsuccessfully. Following the death of the incumbent, Charles Frazer, he won Kalgoorlie unopposed at a by-election on 22 December 1913. [cite book|title=Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia (29th ed)|year=2002|publisher=Commonwealth of Australia|id=ISSN 0813-541X|page=436] He became Minister for External Affairs in December 1914 until the Labor split in 1916.

Mahon lost his seat in 1917, but won it back in 1919. After the death of the Irish nationalist Terence McSwiney in a hunger strike in October 1920, Mahon attacked British policy in Ireland and the British Empire, referring to it as "this bloody and accursed despotism", at an open-air meeting in Melbourne on 7 November. Prime Minister Billy Hughes moved to expel him and on 12 November, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that he had made "seditious and disloyal utterances at a public meeting" and was "guilty of conduct unfitting him to remain a member of this House and inconsistent with the oath of allegiance which he has taken as a member of this House." As such, Mahon became the first and only MP to be expelled from the Federal Parliament. (Under Section 8 of the Parliamentary Privileges Act, 1987 [http://scaleplus.law.gov.au/html/pasteact/1/793/0/PA000120.htm] neither house any longer has the power to expel a member from membership of the house.) He failed to win back his seat at the subsequent by-election on 18 December, although he did manage to obtain 48.64% of the vote in a two-candidate race. [cite book|title=Commonwealth By-elections 1901-1982|author=Australian Electoral Office|publisher=Commonwealth of Australia|year=1983|id=ISBN 0-644-02369-4|pages=31, 182]

After a trip to Europe and Ireland, Mahon died in 1931 at the Melbourne suburb of Ringwood, and was survived by his wife and four children.

References

Persondata
NAME = Mahon, Hugh
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Politician
DATE OF BIRTH = 6 January 1857
PLACE OF BIRTH = Killurin, near Tullamore, King's County, Ireland
DATE OF DEATH = 28 August 1931
PLACE OF DEATH = Ringwood, near Melbourne, Australia


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