Autograph of Sir Billy Snedden - Australian member of Parliament onCommemorative cover for the 50th Anniversary of the Opening of Parliament House, Canberra 1927-1977Stamped: Inter-Parliamentary Meetings, 1977 Canberra 2600, 13 APR 1977Small tape mark on the back of the envelope- see photo for detail
Sir Billy Mackie Snedden, KCMG, QC (31 December 1926 – 27 June 1987) was an Australian politician who served as the leader of the Liberal Party from 1972 to 1975. He was also a cabinet minister from 1964 to 1972, and Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1976 to 1983.Snedden was born in Perth, Western Australia. He served in the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II, and then studied law at the University of Western Australia. From 1951 to 1952, he was the inaugural federal chairman of the Young Liberal Movement. After a period working overseas for the Department of Immigration, Snedden returned to Australia in 1954 and settled in Melbourne. He was elected to the House of Representatives the following year, aged 28.In 1964, Snedden was elevated to cabinet by Robert Menzies. He served as a government minister until the Liberal government's defeat at the 1972 election, under an additional four prime ministers. Snedden spent periods as Attorney-General (1964–1966), Minister for Immigration (1966–1969), Minister for Labour and National Service (1969–1971), and Treasurer (1971–1972). He was elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party in 1971, and replaced William McMahon as leader after the following year's election loss, thus becoming Leader of the Opposition.Snedden led the Liberal Party to the 1974 federal election, which saw the Labor Party retain government with a narrow majority. Malcolm Fraser mounted two leadership challenges in early 1975, winning on the second attempt; by the end of the year he was prime minister. Snedden was elected to the speakership when the parliament next sat. He held the position for almost seven years, gaining a reputation for impartiality. In retirement, Snedden served as chairman of the Melbourne Football Club and on the board of the Victorian Football League. The unusual circumstances of his death in 1987 attracted much public interest.