The term Mother of the House is also found, although the usage varies between countries. Sometimes, it is used simply as the female alternative to Father of the House, being applied when the relevant member is a woman. Sometimes, however, it is treated as a separate designation, and is given to the longest serving female legislator.
In Australia, the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, whether a Minister or not, is sometimes known as "Father of the House". Similarly, the longest-serving member of the Senate is sometimes known as "Father of the Senate", and the longer serving of the two fathers is sometimes called "Father of the Parliament".
As in Britain, these terms have no official status. However, unlike Britain:
The longest-serving member of the House of Representatives is Phillip Ruddock, who was first elected in 1973. The longest-serving member of the Senate is Senator Ron Boswell, who was elected in 1983 and took his seat on 5 March 1983.
|Claude Autant-Lara||European Right||1989||88|
|Otto von Habsburg||EPP||1997||85|
Following tradition, the Alterspräsident will first ascertain himself that he is the oldest member of the Bundestag by stating his birth date and asking if anyone is present who was born before his date. If no older member of the Bundestag is present (which is usually the case) he will formally declare that he indeed is the Alterspräsident and will start proceedings.
As acting President of the Bundestag (Bundestagspräsident) he delivers the first programmatic speech and oversees the elections of the President of the Bundestag and the Vicepresidents of the Bundestag (Bundestagsvizepräsidenten). He then stands down and yields his power to the newly elected Bundestagspräsident.
|1st Bundestag||1949-1953||Paul Löbe||1949-1953||SPD|
|2nd Bundestag||1953-1957||Marie Elisabeth Lüders||1953-1957||FDP|
|3rd Bundestag||1957-1961||Marie Elisabeth Lüders||1957-1961||FDP|
|4th Bundestag||1961-1965||Robert Pferdmenges||1961-1963||CDU|
|Konrad Adenauer||1963-1965||CDU||Joined the Bundestag in 1963|
|5th Bundestag||1965-1969||Konrad Adenauer||1963-1967||CDU||Died during term|
|6th Bundestag||1969-1972||William Borm||1969-1972||FDP|
|7th Bundestag||1972-1976||Ludwig Erhard||1972-1976||CSU|
|8th Bundestag||1976-1980||Ludwig Erhard||1976-1977||CSU||Died during term|
|9th Bundestag||1980-1983||Herbert Wehner||1980-1983||SPD|
|10th Bundestag||1983-1987||Willy Brandt||1983-1987||SPD|| Stood in for Egon Franke |
(who was entagled in a political affair)
|11th Bundestag||1987-1990||Willy Brandt||1987- 1990||SPD|
|12th Bundestag||1990-1994||Willy Brandt||1990-1992||SPD||Died during term|
|13th Bundestag||1994-1998||Stefan Heym||1994-1995||No Party||Resigned his seat in 1995|
|14th Bundestag||1998-2002||Fred Gebhardt||1998-2000||No Party||Died during term|
|15th Bundestag||2002-2005||Otto Schily||2002-2005||SPD|
|16th Bundestag||2005-present||Otto Schily||2005-present||SPD|
Until his retirement in April 2005, the Father of the House was the Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt, first elected in 1966.
In New Zealand's first elections of 1854, the Bay of Islands electorate was the first to declare the election of a successful candidate, the unopposed candidate Hugh Francis Carleton. In the subsequent General Assembly of 1854, Carleton liked to be known as the Father of the House.
In the House of Commons, the sole duty of the Father of the House is to assume the Speaker's chair and preside over the election of a new Speaker whenever that office becomes vacant. The relevant Standing Order does not refer to this member by the title "Father of the House", referring instead to the longest-serving non-Minister member of the House who is present (meaning that if the Father is absent, the next person in line presides).
The current Father of the House of Commons is Alan Williams, Labour MP for Swansea West, who was first elected in the 1964 general election. The member with the second longest period of continuous service is occasionally referred to as the Uncle of the House, and is presently Sir Peter Tapsell, Conservative MP for Louth and Horncastle, who began his continuous service from the 1966 general election.
It should be noted that the Father of the House is not the sitting MP with the earliest date of first election; at the moment that is Sir Peter Tapsell, who was first elected in 1959, and is the only remaining 1950s MP, but lost his seat in 1964 and was out of Parliament until the following election. Michael Foot, as the only remaining MP from the 1945 election between 1987 and 1992 was never Father of the House because he was out of Parliament between 1955 and a by-election in 1960. Similarly, though Sir Winston Churchill was first elected in 1900, he did not become Father of the House until 1959 because he spent small periods out of the House.
There are no other MPs with continuous service since the 1960s which means that following the retirement or death of Williams (who has announced that he will be standing down at the next election) and Tapsell, MPs with continuous service from the 1970 general election will become eligible to be Father of the House. The members with this length of service are presently: Kenneth Clarke, Sir Patrick Cormack, Sir Gerald Kaufman, Michael Meacher, Ian Paisley, John Prescott, Dennis Skinner and Gavin Strang. Of these, Cormack was the first to swear the oath in 1970 . Prescott and Strang have announced that they are standing down at the next general election.
|Name||Entered House||Became Father||Left House||Party|
|Sir John Fagg||1654||1701||1701|
|Sir Christopher Musgrave||1661||1704||1704|
|Sir Richard Onslow||1679||1713||1715|
|Lord William Powlett||1689||1724||1729|
|Sir Justinian Isham||1694||1729||1730|
|Sir Charles Turner||1695||1730||1738|
|Sir Roger Bradshaigh||1695||1738||1747|
|Sir John Rushout, Bt||1713||1762||1768|
|The Earl Nugent||1741||1782||1784|
|Sir Charles Frederick||1741||1784||1784|
|Sir Philip Stephens||1759||1796||1806|
|Sir John Aubrey||1768||1815||1826|
|Charles Watkin Williams-Wynn||1799||1847||1850|
|Sir Charles Merrik Burrell||1806||1861||1862|
|Henry Cecil Lowther||1812||1862||1867|
|Thomas Peers Williams||1820||1867||1868|
|Henry Thomas Lowry-Corry||1825||1868||1873|
|Charles Pelham Villiers||1835||1890||1898|
|Sir John Mowbray||1853||1898||1899|
|William Wither Beach||1857||1899||1901|
|Sir Michael Hicks Beach||1864||1901||1906|
|George Henry Finch||1867||1906||1907|
|Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman||1868||1907||1908|
|Sir John Kennaway||1870||1908||1910|
|T. P. O'Connor||1880||1918||1929|
|David Lloyd George||1890||1929||1945|
|The Earl Winterton||1904||1945||1951|
|Sir Hugh O'Neill||1915||1951||1952|
|Sir Winston Churchill||1924||1959||1964|
|Sir R. A. Butler||1929||1964||1965|
|Sir Robin Turton||1929||1965||1974|
|Sir Bernard Braine||1950||1987||1992|
|Sir Edward Heath||1950||1992||2001|
|?–1898||William Murray, 4th Earl of Mansfield and Mansfield||1840|
|1898–1906||Henry Chichester, 2nd Baron Templemore||1842|
|1906–1909||Thomas Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester||1844|
|1909–1913||Horatio Nelson, 3rd Earl Nelson||1845|
|1913–1921||Henry Reynolds-Moreton, 3rd Earl of Ducie||1853|
|1921–1930||George Coventry, 9th Earl of Coventry||1859|
|13 March 1930–27 March 1930||Robert Devereux, 16th Viscount Hereford||1864|
|1930–1937||Charles Gordon, 11th Marquess of Huntly||1869|
|1937–1938||Archibald Kennedy, 3rd Marquess of Ailsa||1870|
|?–1943||John Norton, 5th Baron Grantley||1877|
|?–1983||William Romilly, 4th Baron Romilly||1920|
|?–1999||Dominick Browne, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne||1927|
|1999–2007||George Jellicoe, 2nd Earl Jellicoe||1939|
|2007–present:||Peter Carrington, 6th Baron Carrington||1940|