|Member of the Australian Parliament|
for East Sydney
13 April 1910 – 5 February 1931
|Preceded by||George Reid|
|Succeeded by||Eddie Ward|
|Born||27 January 1852|
Lambeth, London, England
|Died||5 February 1931 (aged 79)|
Darlinghurst, New South Wales
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
|Spouse(s)||Susannah Sarah Metcalfe|
West was born on 27 January 1852 at Lambeth in London to brass finisher John Edward West and Elizabeth Ann, née Hearne. Apprenticed to a plumber, he was associated with the Ancient Order of Foresters from the age of 17. He married Susannah Sarah Metcalfe on 18 March 1874 at Holborn; the couple visited New Zealand and in 1875 settled at Paddington in Sydney. The couple had seven daughters and two sons.
West established himself as a plumber and by 1879 had founded the Operative Plumbers' Society. A delegate to the Trades and Labor Council the following year, he became its secretary in 1880 and president 1887-1907. As such, he was a key figure in the rise of the Labor movement and the establishment of the Australian Labor Party.
West had been a supporter of the Commonwealth Constitution at the Intercolonial Trade Union congresses after 1879, but did not stand for the first federal Parliament. He was a vigorous supporter of the eight-hour day, despite the fact that he was an employer himself. He attempted to enter Parliament by standing against George Reid in East Sydney in 1906, but was unsuccessful; the following year he contested the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of King, again unsuccessfully. He again contested East Sydney in 1910, and won.
West continued with his union commitments in parliament, and spent his political career on the back bench. He criticised the government of Stanley Bruce and Earle Page for slow progress in constructing the temporary parliament house in Canberra, and also became known for his advocacy of the Australian flag appearing on all Commonwealth office buildings, his opposition of Tom Walsh and Jacob Johnson's deportation, and his argument that the association of Labor with "Bolshevism and Communism was moonshine".
- Farrell, Frank (1990). "West, John Edward (1852 - 1931)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-03-20.
|Parliament of Australia|
| Member for East Sydney