The New Barton Federal Government
Edmund Barton was Australia's first Prime Minister. Some thought Deakin was the likely choice but Deakin knew it needed to be someone from New South Wales.
Deakin had spent many years with Barton campaigning for Federation in Australia and in London, they had become good friends.
But the Governor General Lord Hopetoun first choice was to ask a well-known anti federalist, Premier of New South Wales Sir William Lyne to become the Prime Minister.
It seemed that much of Barton's energy had been used up during the long fight toward federation.
In November 1901 Barton confided in Deakin that he thought it was his duty to stay in politics until the new Commonwealth was launched and then he wanted to retire as soon as possible to the bench of the High Court. (See Walter Murdock Biography page 202-3)
First Australian Cabinet 1901 with
Lord Hopetoun the Governor General
Alfred Deakin became the Attorney General and was a great support to Barton. Much of the new legislation would come from Deakin's hand.
Deakin refused to serve and with the help of the general feeling, the honour went to Barton also from New South Wales. He would later become Sir Edmund Barton.
Prime Minister Barton
In March 1902 Deakin gave a speech in favour of a bill to establish the High Court of Australia and it overcame the opposition.