Alfred Deakin (1856 – 1919) barrister, journalist and prime minister
Alfred Deakin was the man mainly responsible for the passage of the Australian Constitution through the English House of Commons. He became Australia’s second Prime Minister, after Edmund Barton who himself was inspired to enter politics by his Presbyterian Minister, Dr. Robert Steele.
Alfred Deakin was the man mainly responsible for the passage of the Australian Constitution through the English House of Commons. He became Australia’s second Prime Minister, after Edmund Barton who himself was inspired to enter politics by his Presbyterian Minister, Dr. Robert Steele. The fourth Prime Minister, Sir George Reid, was also inspired to enter politics through Dr. Steele’s influence.
Deakin, a native born Australian was nurtured in his faith by his mother. It was Deakin who seconded the motion of Sir Henry Parkes for the proposed Federation of the Australian States.
Deakin kept a Spiritual Diary and from 1884 to 1913 wrote a “Boke of Praer and Praes” containing nearly four hundred prayers, many relating directly to major decisions in his public life, revealing his utter dependence on God. (For a brief time he joined the Theosophy Society but resigned in 1896).
Deakin prayed over the proposed Australian Constitution continually and was delighted when the Constitutional Convention unanimously carried the preamble inclusion “humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God”.
In the concluding words of his book The Federal Story Deakin remarks that Federation and the Australian Constitution were ‘providential’ and were secured only ‘by a series of miracles’.
In his notes in 1905 Deakin remarks “sufficient to say that the religion of Jesus Christ is the life of the present, the light of the future and the hope of the world.”
Many years later he stated: “A life, the life of Christ, that is the one thing needful – the only revelation required is there… we have but to live it.”
A Christian statesman, he was the first Attorney General of the Commonwealth, and as such, founder of the High Court of Australia. He served three times as Prime Minister when a considerable amount of the Commonwealth’s initial legislation was commenced. As Prime Minister he founded the Arbitration Court, the Australian Navy, as well as choosing Canberra as the nation’s capital.
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