James Service

James Service

Infobox_Premier
name =James Service
nationality =Australian
order =12th Premier of Victoria
term_start =5 March 1880
term_end =3 August 1880
term_start2 =8 March 1883
term_end2 =18 February 1886
predecessor1 =Graham Berry
predecessor2 =Bryan O'Loghlen
successor1 =Graham Berry
successor2 =Duncan Gillies
deputy =


caption =
birth_date =27 November 1823
birth_place =Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland
death_date =death date and age|1899|4|12|1823|11|27|df=y
death_place =Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
constituency =
party =
spouse =
profession =
religion =


footnotes =

James Service (27 November 182313 April 1899), Australian colonial politician, was the 12th Premier of Victoria. Service was born in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland, and as a young man worked in a Glasgow tea importing business. In 1853 he arrived in Melbourne as a company representative, and the following year went into business on his own forming James Service and Company, importers and wholesale merchants, which became a large and prosperous organization still in business many years after his death. He was a founding member of the Emerald Hill municipal council (now South Melbourne), and became a prominent banker and representative of business interests.

Service was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Melbourne in 1857, retaining this seat until 1859. He represented Ripon and Hampden 1859-1862, Maldon 1874-1881 and Castlemaine 1883-1886. He was a moderate liberal in the context of Victorian politics, but as a free trader he increasingly sided with the conservatives, since all the more radical liberals were protectionists. He was President of the Board of Land and Works in the Nicholson government 1859-1860 and Treasurer in the Kerferd government 1874-1875. His attempt to cut tariffs in his 1875 budget led to the fall of Kerferd's government.

When Graham Berry's radical ministry fell in March 1880, Service formed a minority government. In May Service admitted that he could not go on and asked the Governor, Lord Normanby, for a dissolution, which was granted. But the elections did not improve Service's position and in August he resigned, allowing Berry to return to power.

In March 1883 the liberals under Berry's successor, Sir Bryan O'Loghlen were defeated at elections, and Service formed a new and much stronger government, taking the Treasury as well as the Premiership. When Service agreed not to attempt to reduce tariffs, Berry joined him as a minister: such was the fluidity of party politics at this time. The young Alfred Deakin held office for the first time in this government. The Service government lasted three years and passed some important legislation, including a Public Service Act which removed political patronage from the public service, a new Factories Act and a new Lands Act.

In June 1883, at a banquet at Albury celebrating the opening of the railway line between Sydney and Melbourne, Service raised the question of Australian federation. He supported Sir Thomas McIlwraith in his action with regard to the annexation of New Guinea, and suggested the inter-colonial conference which was held at Sydney in November 1883. There a bill constituting a federal council was framed which was carried by Service through the Victorian parliament in 1884. Service himself desired the establishment of a federal government, but the other premiers were comparatively lukewarm and the proposed council was to have very limited powers.

By the time of the 1886 election Service was in declining health and decided to retire from active politics. In 1888 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council for Melbourne Province, and served there until his death in 1899.

References

*Geoff Browne, "A Biographical Register of the Victorian Parliament, 1900-84", Government Printer, Melbourne, 1985
*Don Garden, "Victoria: A History", Thomas Nelson, Melbourne, 1984
*Kathleen Thompson and Geoffrey Serle, "A Biographical Register of the Victorian Parliament, 1856-1900", Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1972
* Raymond Wright, "A People's Counsel. A History of the Parliament of Victoria, 1856-1990", Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992
*Dictionary of Australian Biography|First=James|Last=Service|Link=http://gutenberg.net.au/dictbiog/0-dict-biogSa-Sp.html#service1


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