Term 3 - The most challenging- A Fusion between Deakins Protectionist Party and Joseph Cooks Anti-Socialist Party  - Commonwealth Liberal Party

2 June 1909 – 29 April 1910

A combined group of federal and state politicians

Deakin had little enthusiasm towards a 3rd Term as Prime Minister.

 

For some time he was hoping that another one of his colleagues like Sir John Forrest would be acceptable to Joseph Cook’s party, but Forrest was unacceptable.

 

“Affable Alfred” as he was known, was the only person all the party members would work with. It is to Deakin’s credit that his humble and honest character, his respect and courtesy of others and his innate gentlemanliness set him apart from all others.

 

But the thought of a fusion between past political enemies was a difficult reality for the Australia people to understand.

 

Deakin’s letter to Sir Thomas Barvin, a close friend on 18th February 1909 reveals Deakin's thoughts on the situation.

Sir Joseph Cook and Alfred Deakin at Ballara Deakins retreat in Point Lonsdale.

”Be of good cheer, recollecting that my duty to the party is to preserve it alive and if that can only be done by a coalition with JC (Joseph Cook) that must follow – but not until other alternatives have been exhausted”

”Be of good cheer, recollecting that my duty to the party is to preserve it alive and if that can only be done by a coalition with JC (Joseph Cook) that must follow – but not until other alternatives have been exhausted”

William Alexander Watt long time friend

Deakin held together three volatile factions in the government and made a number of important achievements. The first Australian Naval ship the "Australia" was ordered, a dreadnought battle cruiser. Bills were introduced to transfer the Northern Territory to the Commonwealth and the High Commission in London was established. A financial agreement between the Commonwealth and the States was also agreed. Plus Deakin invited Lord Kitchener the famous Army commander to visit Australia and render advice on military defence. He lost the election in April 1910 entering almost 3 years in opposition before retiring.

Sir John Forrest later Baron Forrest was 

Acting Prime Minister when Deakin was in London in 1907. He is also the great great Uncle to Andrew Twiggy Forrest of Fortescue Metals.