John McNeill (Australian politician)

John James McNeill (1868 – 14 June 1943) was an Australian politician and trade unionist. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and served two terms in the House of Representatives (1922–1925, 1929–1931), representing the Division of Wannon in Victoria. He was Minister for Health and Minister for Repatriation from 1931 to 1932, holding office in the government of his brother-in-law James Scullin.


John McNeill
John James McNeill (cropped).jpg
Minister for Health
In office
3 March 1931 – 6 January 1932
Prime MinisterJames Scullin
Preceded byFrank Anstey
Succeeded byCharles Marr
Minister for Repatriation
In office
3 March 1931 – 6 January 1932
Prime MinisterJames Scullin
Preceded byFrank Anstey
Succeeded byCharles Hawker
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Wannon
In office
12 October 1929 – 19 December 1931
Preceded byArthur Rodgers
Succeeded byThomas Scholfield
In office
16 December 1922 – 14 November 1925
Preceded byArthur Rodgers
Succeeded byArthur Rodgers
Personal details
Born1868
Tantanoola, South Australia, Australia
Died14 June 1943 (aged 74–75)
Coogee, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
Spouse(s)
Mary Ann Mills (m. 1896⁠–⁠1905)

Catherine Scullin (m. 1915)
RelationsJames Scullin (brother-in-law)
OccupationUnionist

Early lifeEdit

McNeill was born in Tantanoola, South Australia. After achieving a primary school education, McNeill worked as a shearer and then became a selector at Woosang. He sold his farm to prospect for gold during the Coolgardie, Western Australia gold rush and then returned to Victoria to farm at Macarthur before becoming an organiser for the Australian Workers' Union (AWU) in western Victoria and the Riverina of New South Wales. He married Mary Ann Mills in 1896, but she died in 1905.

McNeill contested the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Glenelg for Australian Labor Party in 1906. In 1908 he tried to farm in Roma, Queensland and then became an AWU organiser in Charleville. From 1913 to 1922 he was secretary of the Victoria-Riverina branch of the AWU. In 1915, he married James Scullin's sister, Catherine.

Federal ParliamentEdit

McNeill narrowly won the seat of Wannon in the House of Representatives in 1922 but was beaten in 1925. He won it back in 1929.

On 2 March 1931, dissatisfaction with the economic performance of the Scullin Government and internal rivalries within the Labor Caucus resulted in the Caucus declaring all ministerial positions vacant and subsequently a new ministry was elected. McNeill was elected to cabinet and was allocated the portfolios of Health and Repatriation. He kept these positions until the Scullin Government resigned on 6 January 1932. He lost his parliamentary seat at the December 1931 general election.

Later lifeEdit

McNeill was the General President of the Australian Workers' Union from 1939 until his death in the Sydney suburb of Coogee of a coronary occlusion. He was survived by his wife and their two sons, and his two sons and a daughter of his first marriage.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Robertson, J. R. "McNeill, John James (1868–1943)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 31 May 2007.
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Anstey
Minister for Health
1931–1932
Succeeded by
Charles Marr
Minister for Repatriation
1931–1932
Succeeded by
Charles Hawker
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Arthur Rodgers
Member for Wannon
1922–1925
Succeeded by
Arthur Rodgers
Preceded by
Arthur Rodgers
Member for Wannon
1929–1931
Succeeded by
Thomas Scholfield