Charles Cowper - Premier


See also: Cowper ministry (1856)

When responsible government was established, Cowper was elected a member of the first Legislative Assembly in 1856 for Sydney, which he represented until its abolition in 1859.

Although Cowper was popular in 1856, his open association with the radicals, including Parkes, James Wilshire and Robert Campbell ruled him out from being considered for the premiership. He was offered and declined the position of Colonial Secretary in the first ministry under the leadership of S. A. Donaldson. Following Donaldson's resignation in August, Cowper was asked to form Government, but he had no more success than Donaldson in establishing majority support, and was in particular attacked over his choice for Attorney General, James Martin, who had not yet been admitted as a barrister. He was beaten in a no confidence motion and resigned on 2 October.

Cowper turned down a place in the Parker ministry. He subsequently opposed Parker's proposal to create 40 new members in the House, and distribute them according to population, because it did not widen the franchise.

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