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Australian History

Friday, July 13, 1945. :   Joseph Benedict Chifley, Australia's fifth wartime Prime Minister, is sworn into office.

     At the time that World War II began, Australia's Prime Minister was Robert Menzies. It was Menzies who made the announcement in September 1939 that Australia was at war with Germany. However, party dissension led Menzies to resign as Prime Minister in August 1941. He was succeeded by Arthur Fadden on 29 August 1941 but in the federal election five weeks later, the coalition government lost majority support in the House of Representatives. Thus, John Curtin became Prime Minister on 7 October 1941, announcing in December of that year that Australia was also at war with the Japanese Empire. Curtin suffered a coronary occlusion in November 1944 which led to his hospitalisation for many weeks. Although he resumed office in January 1945, he never fully recovered, and died unexpectedly in The Lodge on 5 July 1945.

Ben Chifley, born Joseph Benedict Chifley in 1885, had won the Bathurst-based seat of Macquarie in the House of Representatives in 1928, and in 1931 he became Minister for Defence, under Scullin. He lost his seat again shortly afterwards when the Scullin government fell, but regained it in 1940, becoming Treasurer in Curtin's government. After Curtin's death, Deputy Prime Minister Frank Forde temporarily acted as Prime Minister. Chifley defeated Forde when the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party elected Ben Chifley as its new leader, to become the new Prime Minister of Australia.

Chifley was sworn into office on 13 July 1945. He effectively implemented necessary post-war economic controls, remaining Prime Minister until his defeat by Robert Menzies and the Liberal Party in 1949. Two years later, Chifley died of a heart attack.


Today in History

Thought For Today
On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right-hand side of God's throne.
Hebrews 12:2 (c) GNB
The end result is often worth all the pain and humiliation.

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