ID 0455

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) 16 November 1911

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) John (Jack) Murray
Premier's party affiliation Liberal Party 
Assembly support for government at election Majority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. John (Jack) Murray
Premier's party affiliation Liberal Party
Assembly support for government after election Majority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  
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Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 701,451 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 81,807 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 619,644 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 394,189 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 63.62% 
Total valid votes 388,823 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 1.36%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system Not applicable
Electoral system Adult franchise at 21 years, single member districts, preferential voting (AV), compulsory preferences (see notes) 

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Victoria, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 16 November 1911
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 202,296  52.03  *     43  66.15 
Australian Labor Party 163,429  42.03  +7.25     20  30.77 
Independents 11,679  3.00  -1.30     1.54 
Independent Liberal 11,419  2.94  -3.26       1.54 
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 388,823  100.00    65  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: Murray had won majority support at the previous Legislative Assembly election with what was seen at the time as a coalition made up of members of Liberal and Ministerialist groups in the Assembly. By early in 1909, these groups had 'fused' to form the Liberal Party which made Murray Premier of a majority Liberal Party government at the time of this Assembly election in 1911 (see 'Factions and political parties', below).

Government in office after election: The Murray government was returned with more than half the primary votes and two-thirds of the seats in the Legislative Assembly, confirming Murray as Premier of a Liberal Party majority government.

Franchise and votes for women: Legislation enfranchising women on the same basis as men had been passed in October 1908 but the Adult Suffrage Act 1908 was not proclaimed until 31 March 1909. As a consequence, it did not affect voting at a general election for the Legislative Assembly until this election in 1911.

On the parliamentary and political response to the issue of votes for women in Victoria, see Wright, pp 135-138 in 'Sources', below, and Bongiorno, pp 115-134, in 'References', below. See also Audrey Oldfield, Woman Suffrage in Australia: A Gift or A Struggle?, pp 131-168, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992, ISBN 0521403804), and Diane Sainsbury, 'Rights Without Seats: The Puzzle of Women's Legislative Recruitment in Australia', in Marian Sawer (editor), Elections: Full, Free and Fair, pp 63-77, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2001, ISBN 186287395X). Victoria was the last state to enfranchise women for Assembly elections.

The franchise was further extend by the Electoral Act 1910 which '... enfranchised all eligible persons who had resided in Victoria for six months and in any electoral district for one month previous to an electoral canvass. Persons might be enrolled for an electoral district in which they held property as well as that in which they resided, but might vote only once.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.463 in 'Sources', below.

The enfranchisement of women was a major contributor to the more than doubling of the number of enrolled electors between the 1908 and 1911 Assembly elections.

Electoral system and preferential voting: The Preferential Voting Act 1911 introduced preferential voting (AV) for this election (1911). 'Instead of striking out names, the voter was required to indicated a full range of preferences, save when there were only two candidates when the vote would be valid if only a first preference was indicated.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.463; see also Preferential Voting Act 1911, sections 4-6, 'Victoria Historical Acts', in 'Sources', below.

For analysis of the context and consequences of preferential voting, see Ben Reilly, 'Preferential Voting and its Political Consequences', in Marian Sawer (editor), Elections: Full, Free and Fair, pp 78-95 (Sydney: Federation Press, 2001, ISBN 186287395X), and generally, David M Farrell and Ian McAllister, The Australian Electoral System: Origins, Variations and Consequences (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006, ISBN 0868408581).

Factions and political parties: This election (1911) was the first after the 'Fusion' of the non-Labor factions into a consolidated Liberal Party early in 1909. But the fusion was not complete and tensions within the new party were to continue; see Rawson, pp 108-112 in 'References', below.

For this Assembly election, 'The fusion of Ministerialist and Liberal groups into the Liberal Party in January 1909 proved effective, and it contested the 1911 elections as a united body, assisted by the Australian Women's National League and two new organisations, the People's Liberal Party in the towns and the People's Party in rural areas. Selection of Liberal candidates was supervised by a cabinet sub-committee.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.477 in 'Sources', below.

Australian Labor Party: Although not officially called by this name until 1916 (see Strangio, p.122, in 'References', below), the principal organizational features of the Australian Labor Party had been in place since the 1902 Assembly election. The establishment of the Political Labor Council (PLC) in 1901 '... as the party's supreme body, enforcing for the first time an effective pledge on on the Labor members of parliament.' Rawson, p.91. The label 'Australian Labor Party' is used for all Victorian Legislative Assembly elections in this Database since 1902.

Election results and sources: For this election (1911) there are some minor inconsistencies between the two volumes of Hughes and Graham and figures listed in Adam Carr's Election Archive, all in 'Sources', below. In the table above, two candidates have been reclassified as Independent Liberals which has reduced the number of votes assigned to the Australian Labor Party and Independents as shown in Hughes and Graham's 1968 volume, and given the Independent Liberals one seat at the expense of the Independents. The unedited summary figures are listed in 'Sources', below.

References: For a review of politics at the time of this election, see David Dunstan, 'John Murray and William Watt: The Odd Couple', ch. 10, in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019). The works by Bongiorno and Rawson referred to in the next paragraph also provide broad coverage of the politics in this period. For a study of the Victorian parliament during this period, see, Wright, ch. 7 (see 'Sources', below).

The emergence of political parties in Victoria 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 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).

While the focus of the collection is on federal politics, the context and consequences of the 'Fusion' of non-Labor party groupings is well covered in Paul Strangio and Nick Dyrenfurth (editors), Confusion: The Making of the Australian Two-Party System, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2009, ISBN 9780522856552).

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).

As mentioned in the note 'Election results and sources' above, the figures shown in the Hughes and Graham volumes for this election have been amended to remove counting anomalies: the votes for Harold L Wilkinson (Boroondara) and A A Farthing (East Melbourne) have been counted as being cast for Independent Liberals. The original entries shown in the Hughes and Graham 1968 summary are:

Independent Liberal, 5,710 votes, 5 candidates, no candidate elected
Labor, 167,422 votes, 52 candidates
Independents, 13,395 votes, 10 candidates, 2 candidates elected

Adam Carr, 'The Tweny-Third Parliament Elected 16 November 1911', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 25 September 2016].

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

Victoria, Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, 'Victorian Historical Acts', online here [accessed 25 September 2016].



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