ID 0456

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) 26 November 1914

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) Alexander James Peacock
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. Alexander James Peacock
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 810,026 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats 16 
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 216,692 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 593,334 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 319,950 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 53.92% 
Total valid votes 312,696 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 2.27%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system Not applicable
Electoral system Adult franchise at 21 years, single member districts, preferential voting (AV), compulsory preferences 

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Victoria, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 26 November 1914
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 177,895  56.89  +4.86     43  66.15 
Australian Labor Party 123,752  39.58  -2.46     22  33.85 
Independent Liberal 11,049  3.53  +0.60        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 312,696  100.00    65  16  100.00 


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Notes

Premier in office at election: There had been four changes of Premier since the previous Legislative Assembly election in November 1911. Although Premier Murray had secured re-election with a substantial Liberal Party majority, tensions within the newly ‘fused’ Liberal Party remained. 'Murray's leadership came under criticism in 1912 and, in keeping with an agreement reached in cabinet, he informed the Governor on 14 May that he wished to resign the Premiership. On his recommendation, Watt was commissioned to form a new ministry.’ Hughes and Graham 1968, p. 113 (see 'Sources', below).

Watt was commissioned on 18 May 1912 as Premier of a Liberal Party majority government but his government’s Electoral Districts Bill to increase metropolitan representation was defeated in the Assembly by the defection of a country party faction and Watt resigned on 9 December 1913.

The Labor Party members had voted against Electoral Districts Bill on the grounds that it did not propose equal representation for all districts. As faction leaders within the Liberal Party were reluctant to form a government, Elmslie, leader of the Labor Party opposition, was commissioned as Premier of a an Australian Labor Party minority government on 9 December 1913, and became the first Labor Party ministry in Victoria. Barely two weeks later, Elmslie was forced to resign after a want of confidence motion was passed in the Assembly moved by Watt as leader of the opposition. Watt was then commissioned on 22 December 1913 as Premier of a Liberal Party majority government. This episode has been seen as being part of a plan by Watts to construct a ministry on his own terms; see Strangio, pp 106-108 in ‘References’ below.

Watt resigned as Premier with effect from 18 June 1914 to contest a federal election for the House of Representatives, and Peacock was chosen by the cabinet to become Premier of a Liberal Party majority government.

For more background and references on these changes of premier, see the entries for each of the premiers in the 'Periods in office' component of this Database for Victoria.

Government in office after election: Australia's involvement in the First World War began early in August 1914 and the Peacock government was returned to office at this Legislative Assembly election in November 1914 with the support of a majority of voters and two-thirds of the seats in the Assembly. But the War was to create tensions that triggered major disruptions to the party system within the Assembly and at future elections.

Liberal Party: This election in 1914 was last Assembly election in Victoria at which a party called the 'Liberal Party' was the non-Labor party with the largest share of the first preference votes until the reconstruction of the party for the Assembly election of 1945. In the intervening period, the successors to the Liberal Party became the 'National Party (Nationalists)', and the 'United Australia Party'; for the problems of changes of party name and the way they are dealt with in this Database, see party names.

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.

References: For a review of politics at the time of this election, see John Chesterman, 'Alexander Peacock: The Laughing Pragmatist', ch. 11, 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).

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 Tweny-Fourth Parliament Elected 26 November 1914', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 10 January 2017].

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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