15 May 2009: The remarkable life of Australia’s fifth Prime Minister and one of the nation’s greatest reformers has been impeccably sourced and explored by Professor Peter Bastian in his recently launched book Andrew Fisher: An Underestimated Man.
Associate Professor in History at Australian Catholic University (ACU), Professor Bastian said it was impossible to overstate just how much the Labor leader had contributed to the national development of Australia and its political culture.
“As well as being responsible for the creation of Australia’s navy, the introduction of a national currency and the establishment of a Commonwealth Bank, we can also thank Fisher for such historical landmarks as the introduction of a maternity allowance, the building of the transcontinental railway and the establishment of Canberra,” he said.
“Fisher also stands out as one of the few Australian Prime Ministers who seriously attempted to deliver the entire program he had promised during his one term in office.”
When Fisher left office in 1915 after successfully serving as Australia’s first wartime prime minister, he left behind a Commonwealth government far more powerful and significant than ever before.
“Throughout his career Andrew Fisher remained true to his moral vision of creating a fairer world for ordinary men and women,” Professor Bastian said. “It is without doubt that he deserves greater acknowledgment for his dedication to his adopted country.”
Professor Bastian received his PhD from the University of Sydney and for 10 years served as an editor of the Australasian Journal of American Studies, as well as two terms as President of the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association.
He is the author or editor of several books, articles and electronic publications, and recipient of several teaching awards, including a Carrick Award in 2006 for teaching the homeless.