Sir Isaac Isaacs became Chief Justice on 2 April 1930 (having carefully avoided 1 April). After serving as a puisne Justice for over 23 years, he would be Chief Justice for 42 weeks. The appointing government fared little better. When Isaacs’ term began, James H Scullin had been Prime Minister for 23 weeks. After it ended, Scullin would remain in office for only 47 weeks more. In retrospect, the government was doomed from the outset. Scullin was elected on 12 October 1929 and sworn in as Prime Minister at 5 pm on Tuesday 22 October. On 24 October the New York stock market lost 11 per cent of its value. The final crash came on 29 October, one week after Scullin’s swearing-in. From the beginning, he faced an increasingly desperate economic situation. Moreover, because the 1929 election was brought on prematurely, it was, unusually, an election for the House of Representatives only. Hence, despite a landslide majority in the House of Representatives, the government held only 7 of the 36 seats in the Senate. Later commentators have blamed Scullin for failing to call a double dissolution, or at least to threaten a dissolution to induce greater Senate compliance. As it was, the opposition majority in the Senate grew steadily more recalcitrant.
|Title of host publication||The High Court, the Constitution and Australian Politics|
|Editors||Rosalind Dixon, George Williams|
|Place of Publication||Port Melbourne, Victoria|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2015|