Who married Joseph Lyons?

Enid Lyons married Joseph Lyons on .

Joseph Lyons

Joseph Lyons

Joseph Aloysius Lyons (15 September 1879 – 7 April 1939) was an Australian politician who served as the 10th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1932 until his death in 1939. He began his career in the Australian Labor Party (ALP), but became the founding leader of the United Australia Party (UAP) after the 1931 ALP split. He had earlier served as Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928.

Lyons was born in Stanley, Tasmania, and before entering politics worked as a schoolteacher. He was active in the Labor Party from a young age and won election to the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1909. He served as state treasurer (1912–1914) under John Earle, before replacing Earle as party leader in 1916. After two elections that ended in hung parliaments, Lyons was appointed premier in 1923 at the head of a minority government. He pursued moderate reforms and successfully negotiated a constitutional crisis over the powers of the Legislative Council. At the 1925 election he led Labor to its first majority government in Tasmania, but the party lost office three years later.

In 1929, Lyons resigned from state parliament to enter federal politics, winning a House of Representatives seat in Labor's landslide victory at the 1929 election. He was immediately appointed to cabinet by the new prime minister James Scullin, becoming Postmaster-General and Minister for Works and Railways. In 1930, he served as acting treasurer while Scullin was overseas, and came into conflict with the Labor caucus over the government's response to the Great Depression; he preferred orthodox financial policies. In early 1931, Lyons and his followers left Labor to sit as independents. His exact motivations for leaving the party have been subject to debate. A few months later his group merged with other opposition parties to form the United Australia Party; he was elected Leader of the Opposition.

Lyons led the UAP to a landslide victory at the 1931 election. Nicknamed "Honest Joe", he was known as a masterful political campaigner and became popular with the general public. His personal popularity was a major factor in the government's re-election in 1934 and 1937; he was the first prime minister to win three federal elections. The UAP initially governed alone but after 1934 formed a coalition with the Country Party. Lyons served as his own treasurer until 1935 and oversaw Australia's recovery from the Great Depression. He faced a number of foreign-policy challenges, but accelerated Australia's transition towards an independent foreign policy. In the lead-up to World War II his government pursued a policy of appeasement and rearmament.

Lyons died of a heart attack in April 1939, becoming the first Australian prime minister to die in office. He is the only prime minister from Tasmania and one of two state premiers who have become prime minister, along with George Reid. Several years after his death, his widow Enid Lyons became the first woman elected to the House of Representatives.

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Enid Lyons

Enid Lyons

Dame Enid Muriel Lyons (née Burnell; 9 July 1897 – 2 September 1981) was an Australian politician who was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first woman to serve in federal cabinet. Prior to her own political career, she was best known as the wife of Joseph Lyons, who was Prime Minister of Australia (1932–1939) and Premier of Tasmania (1923–1928).

Lyons was born in Smithton, Tasmania. She grew up in various small towns in northern Tasmania, and trained as a schoolteacher. At the age of 17, she married politician Joseph Lyons, who was almost 18 years her senior. They would have twelve children together, all but one of whom lived to adulthood. As her husband's career progressed, Lyons began assisting him in campaigning and developed a reputation as a talented public speaker. In 1925, she became one of the first two women to stand for the Labor Party at a Tasmanian state election. She followed her husband into the new United Australia Party (UAP) following the Labor split of 1931.

After her husband became prime minister in 1932, Lyons began living at The Lodge in Canberra. She was one of the best-known prime minister's wives, writing newspaper articles, making radio broadcasts, and giving open-air speeches. Her husband's sudden death in office in 1939 came as a great shock, and she withdrew from public life for a time. At the 1943 federal election, Lyons successfully stood for the UAP in the Division of Darwin. She and Senator (Dame) Dorothy Tangney became the first two women elected to federal parliament. Lyons joined the new Liberal Party in 1945, and served as Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Menzies Government from 1949 to 1951 – the first woman in cabinet. She retired from parliament after three terms, but remained involved in public life as a board member of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (1951–1962) and as a social commentator.

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