Charles Cameron Kingston was a lawyer. In politics, he was a radical, and impatient with those opposed to democratic reforms. He challenged one of his opponents to a duel with pistols and was arrested by the police. In court, the magistrate ordered him to keep the peace for 12 months. But, this did not stop him becoming Premier.
He was a great supporter of Federation. Apart from insisting that the small States must have the same number of senators as the large States, he wanted a democratic Constitution for the Commonwealth. He believed that all people, including men and women, should have the vote. He argued strongly that the upper house (Legislative Council) should not block the people’s wishes represented in the lower house, as it did in South Australia.
Kingston was Minister for Trade and Customs in the first Commonwealth ministry under Prime Minister Edmund Barton. This was an important post, since he had to steer through Parliament the new tariff laws, which were to replace those of the colonies. He also drew up the bill for the Arbitration Court that was to settle workplace disputes, something he had pioneered in South Australia.
Biography: Federation people: Charles Kingston, The Le@rning Federation, L9435.