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Since no federal Parliament had yet been established in Australia, the usual convention of appointing the leader of the largest party in the lower house could not apply. The newly arrived Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun, instead invited Sir William Lyne, the premier of New South Wales, to form a government. Hopetoun's decision, known as the Hopetoun Blunder, can be defended on grounds that Lyne had seniority, but as an opponent of federation Lyne was unacceptable to prominent federalists such as Deakin, who refused to serve under him. After tense negotiations, Barton was appointed Prime Minister and he and his ministry were sworn in on 1 January 1901.

Includes CC-BY-SA content from Wikipedia's Edmund_Barton article (authors)

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