Tom Harrison (politician)

Thomas Hamlet Harrison (2 April 1864 – 20 June 1944) was an Australian politician who was a Country Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1914 to 1924. He was the leader of the Country Party from 1919 to 1922.

Tom Harrison
Tom Harrison.png
Leader of the Country Party
in Western Australia
In office
30 July 1919 – 30 August 1922
DeputyAlfred Piesse
Alec Thomson
Preceded byFrancis Willmott
Succeeded byHenry Maley
Member of the Legislative Assembly
of Western Australia
In office
21 October 1914 – 22 March 1924
Preceded byThomas Bath
Succeeded byHarry Griffiths
Personal details
Born(1864-04-02)2 April 1864
Brailsford, Derbyshire, England
Died20 June 1944(1944-06-20) (aged 80)
Kellerberrin, Western Australia, Australia
Political partyCountry

Early lifeEdit

Harrison was born in Brailsford, Derbyshire, England. He emigrated to Australia in 1884, initially settling in Queensland, then moving to Victoria, and finally arriving in Western Australia in the 1890s. Harrison lived in Coolgardie and York for a period, and later became a wheat farmer at Doodlakine. He was elected to the Kellerberrin Road Board in 1911, and served until 1915, including as chairman for a period of time.[1]

Politics and later lifeEdit

At the 1914 state election, Harrison stood for the newly formed Country Party and was elected to the seat of Avon. He replaced the retiring Labor member, Thomas Bath.[2] In July 1919, following the resignation of Francis Willmott, Harrison was elected leader of the Country Party, which was then in a governing coalition with the Nationalist Party (led by the premier James Mitchell).[3] He continued in the position until August 1922, when he resigned to protest the elevation of a Country MP, Richard Sampson, to cabinet (as Colonial Secretary). Harrison felt that Mitchell had an obligation to consult with him in matters regarding his party's MPs, which he had not fulfilled, and that a more senior member of the party should have received the promotion (Sampson having only been in parliament since the 1921 election).[4][5]

The Country Party split into two rival factions in 1923, with Harrison joining the Ministerial (or Government) faction, which comprised supporters of the coalition with the Nationalists. At the 1924 state election, he was opposed by Harry Griffiths, a member of the Executive (or Opposition) faction, as well as several other candidates. He was defeated by a large margin, receiving only 18.9 percent of the first-preference vote as Griffiths was elected in his place.[6] After leaving parliament, Harrison returned to his Doodlakine farm. He died in Kellerberrin in June 1944, aged 80.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Thomas Hamlet Harrison – Biographical Register of Members of the Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  2. ^ Black, David; Prescott, Valerie (1997). Election statistics : Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, 1890-1996. Perth, [W.A.]: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project and Western Australian Electoral Commission. ISBN 0730984095.
  3. ^ "THE COUNTRY PARTY.", The West Australian, 31 July 1919.
  4. ^ "POLITICAL SENSATION.", The Australian, 1 September 1922.
  5. ^ "LEADERSHIP QUESTION", The West Australian, 23 September 1922.
  6. ^ "AVON.", The Western Mail, 27 March 1924.