Patrick Glynn - Political Career

Political Career

Glynn was admitted to the Victorian bar. His time in Victoria was not a success and in 1882 he moved to Kapunda, South Australia to open a branch of an Adelaide-based law firm. His success in Kapunda allowed him to open his own law firm in Adelaide and involve himself in the political sphere. He also edited for some time the Kapunda Herald.

Glynn served as president of the South Australian branch of the Irish National League and helped found the South Australian Land Nationalisation Society. His community profile assisted him in his election to the South Australian House of Assembly as the member for Light in 1887. As an advocate of free trade, Glynn was considered a conservative but his support of progressive issues like female suffrage and land nationalisation isolated him from his conservative colleagues.

Glynn was defeated at the 1890 election and stood unsuccessfully for Light again at the 1893 election but returned to South Australian colonial politics in 1895 as the member for North Adelaide and in his re-election in 1897, became the first person to be elected in Australia under adult suffrage.

Glynn was a member of the Convention that framed the Australian Commonwealth constitution in 1897–98, contributing a reference to God in the preamble to the Australian Constitution, and helped found the Free Trade Party, one of the major parties in early twentieth century Australian politics. In the lead up to the inaugural federal election, Glynn acted as the informal deputy leader of the Free Trade Party and managed the Free Trade election campaigns in South Australia and Western Australia, while Free Trade leader George Reid oversaw the rest of Australia. As a result, Glynn was not only comfortably elected to parliament as a member for South Australia but, together with Reid, he is said to have "created Australia's first national political campaign."

At the 1903 election, Glynn was returned unopposed as the member for Angas and was unopposed in 1910, 1913 and 1914 before losing his seat at the 1919 election. While in parliament, Glynn served variously as Attorney General, Minister for External Affairs and Minister for Home and Territories.

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