John Christian Watson (born John Christian Tanck; 9 April 1867 – 18 November 1941), commonly known as Chris Watson, was an Australian politician who served as the third Prime Minister of Australia. He was the first Prime Minister from the Australian Labour Party, and the world's first Labour Party government at a national level. He was born in Chile, making him the only Prime Minister not born in Australia or the UK to date, with German and New Zealander ancestry.
Previously serving in state parliament for seven years, Watson was elected to federal parliament at the inaugural 1901 election, where the state Labour parties received a combined 15.8% of the first past the post primary vote against two more dominant parties. The Caucus chose Watson as the inaugural parliamentary leader of the Labour Party on 8 May 1901, just in time for the first meeting of parliament. Labour led by Watson increased their vote to 31% at the 1903 election and 36.6% at the 1906 election. From the first election, Labour held the balance of power, giving support to Protectionist Party legislation in exchange for concessions to enact the Labour Party policy platform.
Watson's term as Prime Minister was brief – only four months, between 27 April and 18 August 1904. The Watson Government did pass a handful of bills, but more importantly it set a Labour Party Prime Minister precedent. He resigned as Labour leader in 1907 and from Parliament in 1910. Labour led by Andrew Fisher would go on to win the 1910 election with over 50% of the primary vote, representing a number of firsts: it was Australia's first elected federal majority government; Australia's first elected Senate majority; the world's first Labour Party majority government at a national level; after the 1904 Watson minority government- the world's second Labour Party government at a national level.
According to Percival Serle, Watson "left a much greater impression on his time than this would suggest. He came at the right moment for his party, and nothing could have done it more good than the sincerity, courtesy and moderation which he always showed as a leader". Alfred Deakin wrote of Watson: "The Labour section has much cause for gratitude to Mr Watson, the leader whose tact and judgement have enabled it to achieve many of its Parliamentary successes".