ID 0450

Parliament of Victoria, Assembly election

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General election for the Assembly Victoria 
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day) 1 November 1900

Government in office and parliamentary support before and after the election

Government in office at election

Premier in office at date of election. (check notes to see if change of Premier since previous election) Allan McLean
Premier's party affiliation Liberal 
Assembly support for government at election Minority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. George Turner
Premier's party affiliation Liberal
Assembly support for government after election Minority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  
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Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 280,810 
Number of Assembly seats 95 
Number of uncontested seats 29 
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 77,389 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 203,421 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 128,983 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 63.41% 
Total valid votes 159,132 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting Not applicable
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system 678
Electoral system Manhood suffrage, single and multimember districts (multiple voting), first past the post (plurality) voting (see notes) 

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Victoria, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 1 November 1900
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

Party Name First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won n Uncontested seats held n Seat share %
Liberal Party 80,536  50.61  *     44  13  46.32 
Ministerialists 37,048  23.28  -41.11     24  12  25.26 
Conservative Party 23,596  14.83  *     18  18.95 
United Labor Party 17,952  11.28  +0.85     9.47 
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 159,132  100.00    95  29  100.00 


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* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.

Notes

Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous Legislative Assembly election in April 1897. 'The Turner government was defeated on 30 November 1899 by 47 to 36 on a want-of-confidence motion put by McLean and supported by the Opposition and several former ministerialists.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.107 (see 'Sources', below). 'There was no great issue of principle at stake, but the role of the country liberals was a symptom of rural dissatisfaction with what they saw as the urban domination of politics, which would later give rise to the Country Party.' Rickard, p.116 (see 'References', below).

Although McLean did not formally consult the Opposition while forming his ministry, he included several Conservatives, ...' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.107 (see 'Sources', below). McLean's government was commissioned on 5 December 1899.

Premier in office after election: Premier McLean had gone into the election leading the Ministerialists, made up of a group of dissident Liberals in combination with some Conservatives, while the Opposition, that is the majority of Liberals, were led by Turner (see Hughes and Graham, p.471 in 'Sources', below). Two ministers in the government were defeated but McLean decided to test the support for the government in the Assembly. In a vote on the address in reply, the government was defeated 51 to 42 votes in the early hours of 15 November 1900, and Turner returned to office as Premier on 19 November 1900.

Electoral system and voting: The Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1888 had increased the number Legislative Assembly seats from 86 to 95 and the number of electoral districts from 55 to 84, 73 of which were single member districts and 11 two member districts. Voters in multimember districts had the option of casting as many votes as there were members to be elected from their district (see multiple voting), or they could plump for a single candidate. Voters cast their ballots by crossing off the names of candidates they did not wish to elect, and the most chosen candidate or candidates were elected (plurality voting).

This Assembly election in 1900 was the first without plural voting which had permitted property owners, in addition to a vote in the electoral district in which they lived, to vote in any other electoral districts for which they held the property qualification. Plural voting was abolished by the Constitution Amendment Act of 1899.

A detailed summary of the electoral provisions in effect at the time of this election is provided by 'Victoria: Electoral Law', in Hughes and Graham 1968, pp 461-462 (see 'Sources', below).

Election results and sources: The principal source for election results in this Database for the Victorian Legislative Assembly up to the 1889 election has been Carr's Psephos online election archive 'Victorian Elections Since 1843' (and see 'Sources', below). This invaluable source provides electoral district results collected from contemporary newspapers and other authoritative sources. From the Assembly election in 1892 and subsequent elections until 2000, summary election results are taken from Hughes and Graham 1968 (see 'Sources' below) and its supplements, unless otherwise indicated. Carr's archive remains useful as an online source of electoral district results and supplementary information about candidates.

Factions and political parties: During this period, factional alignments began to evolve into political parties with party discipline and organizations designed to support candidates (see generally, Rawson, in ‘References’, below). But the evolution was far from complete and support from a party organization at election time was not always a guide to how members would vote in the Assembly.

The result is that candidates at Victorian Assembly elections until 1911 can be broadly categorized in two ways; whether being Conservative, Labor or Liberal in their partisan preferences, or whether they supported or opposed the government at the time of the election as Ministerialists or Opposition, respectively. At this election (1900), Hughes and Graham 1968 use both categorizations (see the table above): the Ministerialists, comprised of dissident Liberals and some Conservatives, supported the McLean government, while the Opposition, who successfully ousted the McLean government (see 'Premier after election', above) was made up of mainstream Liberals, most Conservatives (the 'Constitutional' party, led by Gilles) and the Labor members.

Rawson argues that there was little difference between the two principal contestants at this election (1900): 'The ministerial and opposition parties, both wooing liberal support put forward largely identical policies including votes for women, old age pensions and constitutional reform to restrict the powers of the legislative council', Rawson, p.88, see 'References', below.

United Labor Party: The United Labor Party continued to be the body endorsing Labor candidates for the 1900 Assembly election, '... but tensions between the radical and moderate sections of the Labor Party [had] intensified after the 1897 election...', Bongiorno, p.45, in 'References' below). These tensions were to lead to organizational changes within the Party for future elections (see, Bongiorno , pp 56-57, and Strangio, Neither Power nor Glory, pp 46-53, both in 'References', below).

References: For a review of politics at the time of this election, see John Rickard, 'The Quiet Little Man in a Brown Suit: George Turner and the Politics of Consensus', ch. 7, in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019), and Rawson, pp 87-92 (see reference in next paragraph). For a study of the Victorian parliament during this period, see, Wright, ch. 7 (see 'Sources', below), and a survey of McLean's career and period as premier can be found in John Rickard, 'McLean, Allan (1840–1911)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1986), on line here [accessed 13 September 2016].

The emergence of political parties is analyzed in D W Rawson, ‘Victoria’, in P Loveday, A W Martin and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, pp 44-116, (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035) and the evolution of the Labor Party during this period is dealt with in Frank Bongiorno, The People's Party: Victorian Labor and the Radical Tradition 1875-1914 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1996, ISBN 0522847382), and Paul Strangio, Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822).

Sources

Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); Colin A Hughes and B D Graham,Voting for the Victoria[n] Legislative Assembly 1890-1964, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1975, ISBN 070811332X).

Adam Carr, 'The Eighteenth Parliament Elected 1 November 1900', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 13 September 2016].

Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel: A History of the Parliament of Victoria 1856-1990, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0195533593)



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