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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Kingston, Hon. Charles Cameron

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Kingston, Hon. Charles Cameron, M.P., Q.C., son of the late Sir George Strickland Kingston, sometime Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of South Australia, by his marriage with Ludovina Catherine da Silva, daughter of Lieut.-Colonel Charles G. Cameron, is a member of the legal firm of Kingston & Hall, of Adelaide, and has represented West Adelaide in the Assembly since 1881. Mr. Kingston was born at Adelaide on Oct. 22nd, 1850, and educated at the Adelaide Educational Institution, where he highly distinguished himself. On leaving school he was articled to Mr. Samuel James Way, and was admitted to the Bar in 1873. He remained with Mr. Way till that gentleman became Chief Justice in 1876, when he commenced practice on his own account as a barrister and solicitor, and in 1889 became Q.C. As a politician Mr. Kingston has consistently advocated Protection and payment of members, and has closely identified himself with all social reforms having for their object the amelioration of the condition of the working classes. He held office as Attorney-General in Mr. Colton's Ministry from June 1884 to June 1885, and in Mr. Playford's first Government from June 1887 to June 1889. Whilst a member of the Colton Government he drafted the bill for the imposition of land and income taxes which was passed by Parliament, and is still the taw of the land. As Attorney-General in the same Government he introduced and carried an Employers' Liability Bill, which is equal in liberality to any similar measure in force in Australia. He also prepared and succeeded in carrying a bill to amend the laws of inheritance securing to the children of married women dying intestate a share in the estate of their mother. Whilst a member of the Playford Government he rendered valuable assistance in securing the adoption of a protective tariff and payment of members. He is a strong opponent of Chinese immigration, and with Mr. Playford he represented South Australia at the Australasian conference on the subject held at the instance of South Australia in Sydney in 1888, when he drafted the bill for the regulation of the matter which was agreed to by all the colonies represented, with the exception only of Tasmania. He subsequently took a leading part in securing the adoption of the bill by the South Australian Parliament. In 1888, as Attorney-General in the Playford Government, he took charge of the bill for securing the entry of South Australia into the Federal Council, and after a severe struggle succeeded in securing its adoption. With Mr. Playford he represented South Australia at the session of the Federal Council held at Hobart in Feb. 1889, and his colleague being elected President, he undertook the moving of resolutions for enlarging the membership of the Council, to give effect to wishes which were generally expressed in South Australia when the adopting bill was under discussion. These resolutions were successfully carried, and were approved by the South Australian House of Assembly and by the Legislatures of all the federated Colonies, but the hostility of a small majority of the South Australian Legislative Council prevented their final adoption. On the fall of the Playford Government in June 1889, Mr. Kingston became a prominent member of the opposition to the Cookburn Ministry, and on their overthrow in 1890 he was asked by his old leader to take his former portfolio, but, in accordance with a resolution previously expressed, he declined the offer, but consistently supported the Playford Administration until he joined them as Colonial Secretary in succession to Sir John Bray in Jan. 1892. He was acting Premier of the colony during Mr. Playford's absence in India from Jan. to May of that year, and went out of office with his colleagues when they were defeated on Mr. Holder's want of confidence motion in June. During the session of 1891 he prepared and introduced a bill designed for the settlement of industrial disputes by means of boards of conciliation. This measure is admittedly more complete than any which have been previously introduced to the notice of any Australian legislature. Mr. Kingston was practically unanimously elected by the members of the South Australian House of Assembly as one of their delegates to the Sydney Federation Convention. He has always consistently advocated Australian federation for national purposes. In 1889, in recognition of his political services, he was permitted to retain the title of "Honourable" within the province of South Australia. At the Sydney Convention he was one of the three draftsmen who assisted Sir Samuel Griffith in the preparation of the bill for constituting the commonwealth of Australia.