David O'Keefe (Australian politician)

David John O'Keefe, CMG (21 August 1864 – 21 July 1943) was an Australian politician who served in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. He was a Senator from Tasmania from 1901 to 1906 and 1910 to 1920, and then represented the Division of Denison in the House of Representatives from 1922 to 1925.

David O'Keefe

Senator for Tasmania
In office
29 March 1901  31 December 1906
In office
1 July 1910  30 June 1920
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Denison
In office
16 December 1922  14 November 1925
Preceded byWilliam Laird Smith
Succeeded bySir John Gellibrand
Personal details
Born(1864-08-21)21 August 1864
Longford, Tasmania
Died21 July 1943(1943-07-21) (aged 78)
Brighton, Victoria, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party

Early life

Born in Longford, Tasmania, he was educated at state schools before becoming a farm worker and miner. He was involved in the labour movement as a journalist. He lived in Zeehan, Tasmania from 1892, and was editor of the Zeehan and Dundas Herald between 1894 and 1899.[1] He was also an organiser of the Australian Workers' Union.

Federal politics

In 1901, O'Keefe was elected to the Australian Senate, running with endorsement from the Protectionist Party, as there was no Labour Party in Tasmania at the time; however, he joined the Australian Labor Party caucus in Parliament.[2] He was defeated in 1906, but re-elected in 1910, serving until his defeat in 1919 (taking effect in 1920). O'Keefe served as Chairman of Committees from 1910 to 1914.[3]

In 1922, he was elected to the House of Representatives, defeating Labor-turned-Nationalist MP William Laird Smith for the seat of Denison. He was the first Tasmanian to have served in both houses of federal parliament.

Later life

He was defeated in 1925 by Nationalist Sir John Gellibrand and worked in Western Australia for some time before returning to Tasmania in 1931. In 1934 O'Keefe was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly, immediately taking the position of Speaker. He held the Speaker's position until 1942 and died the following year.[4]


  1. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/okeefe-david-john-7896
  2. "GOVERNMENT AND PROTECTION". Daily Telegraph. XXVI, (293). Tasmania, Australia. 8 December 1906. p. 3. Retrieved 25 April 2016 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  3. "Appendix 3―Deputy Presidents and Chairmen of Committees (1901–2009)". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  4. Carr, Adam (2008). "Australian Election Archive". Psephos, Adam Carr's Election Archive. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
William Laird Smith
Member for Denison
Succeeded by
John Gellibrand
Tasmanian House of Assembly
Preceded by
John Evans
Speaker of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
Succeeded by
John Dwyer

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