Alfred Deakin was the second, fifth and seventh Prime Minister of Australia.

Born in Melbourne in 1856, Deakin was the son of English immigrants who had come to Australia during the Gold Rushes. He studied law at the University of Melbourne, but after his graduation in 1877 decided to pursue journalism instead. David Syme, a friend that worked for The Age, encouraged Deakin to stand for parliament, and Deakin was elected a Victorian representative in 1879.

In 1887 Deakin was a delegate to the London Colonial Conference. He considered the British ministers to be patronising and reaffirmed his belief that Australia should speak as its own nation in world affairs.

While Edmund Barton was promoting Federation around the state of New South Wales, Deakin was doing the same in Victoria. When Australia was federated in 1901, Deakin served as Attorney General to Barton, the first Prime Minister. Barton retired as PM in 1903, and Deakin took over until 27 April 1904.

Deakin gained the support of the Labor party and managed to gain the position of Prime Minister again in 1905. This was his most successful term, and his most innovative. During this time he introduced the industrial arbitration system and tariff protection. He introduced social welfare, including old-age pensions. The first formal defence policies were formulated. In late 1908 Labor withdrew its support and Deakin's second term had ended.

Eager to reclaim the position, Deakin joined with his former Free Trade opponents in the Fusion government. He began his third term as Prime Minister on 2 June 1909, and was defeated by Labor in April 1910.

For three years Deakin served as the opposition leader to the Labor government, then retired in 1913. He died six years later.

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