The Hon Ben Franklin MLC has been sworn in as the new President of the upper house in the NSW Parliament. Ben was at Paul’s 1990-96 and from 1994-96 was Assistant Sub-Warden. His elevation has attracted a lot of media attention because he is a member of the Opposition. Some of his National Party colleagues have been unhappy with the move because it effectively removes one of the votes from their side of a potential ‘hung parliament’ in the upper house.
Ben has led a stellar career in NSW politics. He was State Director of the National Party between 2008 and 2015, and was elected to the Legislative Council in 2015 for the Nationals. His other portfolios were Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and the Arts, Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW and from 2021 Ben was Minister for the Arts and Indigenous Affairs until the government changed in May.
Paulines have contributed in many ways to the government of the NSW. From the earliest years of the College a number of Fellows were MLCs including Charles Campbell (Fellow 1864-86), George Henry Cox (Fellow 1886-1901), Charles Kemp (Fellow 1855-64), Rear-Adm Phillip Parker King (Fellow 1855-56), Robert Johnson (Fellow 1855-66), James Macarthur (Fellow 1855-59), James Mitchell (Fellow 1855-69), James Norton (Fellow1869-1906) and Chief Justice the Hon Sir Alfred Stephen KCMG CB (Fellow and Chairman 1855-70).
It is noteworthy that some of these Fellow were also MLCs at the time the Legislative Council passed the Saint Paul’s College Act in 1854.
MLCs who were students include: the Hon George Thorne, in College in its first year of residents 1858, Queensland MLC 1874-78 (he was the 6th Premier of Queensland 1876-77); Sir John Peden KCMG KC, in College 1891-99, Vice Warden 1892-99, Fellow 1898-1928, MLC 1917-46, and Legislative Council President 1929-46; Sir Norman Kater, Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, in College 1893-85, MLC 1923-54; Harold White CMG DSO m.i.d Croix de Guerre, in College 1903-04, MLC 1932-34; and most recently Dr Peter Phelps, in College 1990-93, MLC 2011-19.
The College community congratulates Ben on his election to the President’s Chair.
Main image above is the Hon Ben Franklin becoming President of the NSW Legislative Assembly (SMH 11 May 2023)
Robert Ebeneza Johnson (St Paul’s College Archives)
Sir Alfred Stephen (St Paul’s College collection)
The Hon George Thorn (Wikipedia)