Michael Joseph Savage: 1972 to 1940

Michael Joseph Savage: 1972 to 1940

Chroniclers are likely to share in the belief that Michael Joseph Savage was not only the most popular New Zealand‚Äôs prime minister but also the most touching leader to the lives of humans. Savage was a pillar to many pessimistic citizens (Bassett, 1998). He achieved a lot in his leadership, but the most relevant to the commoners was that he put forth hope. Savage fulfilled his word to “let people govern themselves,” offered a “fair deal” and advocated for the rule that people should not go “bankrupt amidst plenty” (Bassett, 1998).¬†Source: https://www.britannica.comDate of Birth

Michael Savage was born on 23 March 1872 at Tatong, Victoria, Australia (Gustafson, 2009). He was the youngest of the eight children of Richard Savage and Johanna Hayes, both Irish immigrants. His mother died when he was only five years old. Rose, his sister brought him up after the demise of their mother. Savage was a militant rationalist who was facilitated by being raised in a Roman Catholic religion. However, he went back to Catholic Church a few years before his death.


Savage attended Rothesay state school for five years and later got employed in a Benalla wines and spirits shop from 1886 to 1983 (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2017). While still working, he attended night classes at Benalla College. Savage was highly intelligible and had much interest in dancing and sports. He actively participated in social activities. He was once the secretary of the Benalla fire brigade and a treasurer to a fundraising committee for a local hospital and asylum. Rose, his sister died in 1981 which caused him a prolonged emotional trauma. In the same year his closest brother, Joe also passed away, and Savage adopted his name.

Savage, the Casual Worker

In the period of misfortunes, he lost his job and went to live at Riverina, New South Wales. He worked there for seven years in irrigation schemes. Savage secured membership in the General Laborers‚Äô Union. He acquainted himself with the theories of the Americans Henry George and Edward Bellamy. These theories had a great impact on Savage’s life since then till his death. In 1900, went back to Victoria and engaged in gold mining to earn a living. In 1907, he migrated to New Zealand where he lived with some friends from his homeland. Savage never married. He represented Auckland the National Conference of Trades and Labor Councils of 1910.

Savage’s Political Career

In 1911, Savage vied for the post of a parliamentary candidate of the New Zealand Socialist Party for the seat of Auckland Central. He lost in the elections but did not give up. Savage again sought for the seat but with a different party, the Social Democratic party, in 1914 which he still did not succeed (Olsen, 2015). Regardless of the fragmentation of the unionist groups, his popularity heightened. After the formation of the Labor Party in 1916, he became a member and was posted to be the party’s national secretary in 1919. In the same year, Savage vied for the seat of Auckland West which he now won. He kept this position for the rest of his life. Savage was elected the deputy leader of the Labor in 1923.In his political career, Savage championed for the workers and centered his leadership in questioning the social life. At the death of the Labor party leader, Harry Holland, Savage was elected to fill the position as the party members had a lot of trust in him. Savage was a figure worth emulation by other leaders especially due to his service to the public. He was very humane, sympathetic, and logically rational especially during the years of depression (1933-1935) which impressed the citizens.

Savage’s Government

His election as the prime minister in 1935 was a victorious outcome for the Labor party which had gained a good public reputation with Savage‚Äôs leadership. As the prime minister, he took charge of domestic and foreign affairs as well as broadcasting. He had a passion for publicity which drove him into implementing the broadcasting of parliamentary proceedings. In 1937, he traveled to London to represent his country in the Imperial Conference¬†(Littlehood, 2013). At this conference, Savage implored the British for defense against the anticipated Japanese attack. This request did not work out very well at the time, and thus he initiated a conference with Britain and Australia at Wellington in the first quarter of the year 1939. During his reign as the prime minister, he facilitated the formulation of a foundation for social security¬†(Special Conference Issue, 2009). Savage had less interest in philosophy, and thus his social recommendations were geared by religious doctrines. Due to this, he referred to his bill of social security as “applied Christianity.”His Illness and Death

In 1938, savage’s health deteriorated. The disagreements in the party additionally burdened his life. In August 1939, his health condition worsened and was coerced to hand over his responsibilities to Peter Fraser. Michael Joseph Savage died on March 27, 1940, at Wellington. Though Savage was not as learned as Holland and Fraser, he was a popular figure of democracy. His Leadership, though it did not last for long, was characterized by humaneness and empathy. Savage’s undistinguished life appealed to the common man and necessitated the closeness between the government and the commoners.

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