Dr William Maloney
|Member of the Australian Parliament|
30 March 1904 – 27 August 1940
|Preceded by||Malcolm McEacharn|
|Succeeded by||Arthur Calwell|
|Member of the Victorian Parliament|
for West Melbourne
1 April 1889 – 1 November 1903
|Preceded by||Godfrey Carter|
|Succeeded by||Tom Tunnecliffe|
|Born||12 April 1854|
West Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Died||29 August 1940 (aged 86)|
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Minnie Pester (m. 1892–1934)
|Alma mater||University of Melbourne|
Born into a wealthy family in West Melbourne, Maloney was educated in the Melbourne private school system, the University of Melbourne and St Mary's Hospital, London, graduating as a Medical Doctor. Returning to Melbourne in 1888, Maloney divided his time between his obstetrics practice and agitating for social reform. It was during this period that he acquired the nickname that he would retain throughout his life, the Little Doctor.
In 1883, Maloney joined two young Australian artists, Tom Roberts and John Peter Russell, on a walking tour of France and Spain. He visited Russell in Paris on several occasions, and in July 1887, on his final visit, Russell painted his portrait in the Impressionist style and gave it to him to take home to Australia. It remained in his possession until his death in 1940, and in 1943 came into the possession of the National Gallery of Victoria. Maloney also kept in touch with Roberts, and purchased one of the panels from the 9 by 5 Impression Exhibition of 1889.
Elected to the Victorian colonial Legislative Assembly as the Member for West Melbourne in April 1889, Maloney showed his radical nature by introducing one of the first Bills advocating women's suffrage in the British Empire. He also found the time to establish the Medical Institute, which provided free medical treatment for the poorer denizens of Melbourne.
Maloney resigned from the Assembly in November 1903 to stand for the Division of Melbourne at the 1903 federal election, narrowly losing to the opposing Protectionist Party candidate Malcolm McEacharn. It was actually his second run for the seat; he had stood as the Labor candidate at the first federal election and was soundly defeated by McEacharn.
However, Maloney protested the much narrower 1903 defeat before the Court of Disputed Elections. He contended that hundreds of applications for ballot papers had been attested by ineligible persons, and that postal ballots had been recorded on material other than ordinary ballot papers. In all, at least 240 "bad votes" had been cast for McEacharn. The Chief Justice ruled that since the votes had been rendered informal through the fault of electoral officers, the only remedy was a new election; had the irregularity been the fault of the voters, he would have declared Maloney the winner. Accordingly, a by-election was run in 1904, which Maloney duly won.
Maloney picked up a large swing in his bid for a full term in 1906, and was comfortably returned in subsequent elections as Melbourne became one of Labor's safest seats. He even stood unopposed in 1929 and 1937.
Despite his long service, he was never promoted to Cabinet under the four Labor Prime Ministers who served during his tenure–Chris Watson, Andrew Fisher, Billy Hughes, James Scullin or John Curtin. Indeed, he was never even considered for ministerial preferment, partly because he was reckoned as a political lightweight. He was a Member of Parliament for 36 years without holding ministerial office, the longest period spent as a backbencher by any member of the House of Representatives.
- "Maloney, William Robert Nuttall". re-member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- Minutes of the General Medical Council, p. 226.
- Serle, Geoffrey. "Maloney, William Robert (Nuttall) (1854–1940)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "John Peter Russell's Dr Will Maloney". Art Journal 37. National Gallery of Victoria. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
- "Disputed Elections – Judgment on Points of Law – Sir Malcolm McEacharn Unseated". The Advertiser. 11 March 1904.
|Parliament of Australia|
| Member for Melbourne