In 1934 Cameron was elected to the House of Representatives for a seat in rural South Australia. Cameron was an extreme conservative with a violent temper, and not really suited to parliamentary life. But in 1937 he was appointed an assistant minister in the government of Joseph Lyons, and in 1938 he became Postmaster-General. In 1939 Lyons died, and the Country Party leader, Dr Earle Page, refused to serve under his successor, Robert Menzies. The Country Party then rebelled against Page's leadership, deposed him and elected Cameron as their new leader.
Cameron then took the Country Party back into the coalition government under Menzies, becoming Minister for Commerce and Minister for the Navy. After the 1940 elections, however, the Country Party tired of Cameron's domineering style, and replaced him as leader with Arthur Fadden. Cameron then immediately resigned from the ministry, and from the Country Party: he joined Menzies's party, the United Australia Party. He rejoined the Army and spent the rest of the war on active service.
In 1945 Cameron joined Menzies's new party, the Liberal Party, and when the Liberals won the 1949 elections Menzies appointed him Speaker of the House: mainly, it was said, to keep out of the Cabinet. He presided over the House with an autocratic style that caused a number of celebrated rows with members on both sides. He died suddenly in August 1956 in Sydney.
Dr Earle Page
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