ID 0460

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 June 1924

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 National Party (Nationalists) 
Assembly support for government at election Minority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. Alexander James Peacock
Premier's party affiliation National Party (Nationalists)
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 900,427 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats 20 
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 274,177 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 626,250 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 370,963 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 59.24% 
Total valid votes 367,224 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 1.01%
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 26 June 1924
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 %
National Party (Nationalists) 143,379  39.04  -7.80     19  29.23 
Australian Labor Party 128,056  34.87  -0.78     27  12  41.54 
Country Party 43,961  11.97  *     13  20.00 
Liberal Party 23,062  6.28  *     7.69 
Progressive Liberal Party 16,986  4.63  *        
Independent Labor 7,217  1.97  -0.08     1.54 
Independents 4,216  1.15  +1.12        
Independent Nationalists 347  0.09  -1.10        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 367,224  100.00    65  20  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

Government in office at election: There had been two changes in the composition of the government a change of Premier since the previous election in 1921. In August 1923 and facing threats from the Country Party and dissent within his National Party (Nationalists) minority government, Premier Lawson offered his resignation but was persuaded to form a coalition government with five ministers from the Country Party in September 1923. In early March 1924, the Victorian Farmers Union, the organizational wing of the Country Party (see, note below), refused to agree to future coalition agreements with the National Party (Nationalists). This prompted Premier Lawson to offer his resignation to the Governor together with all the Nationalist members of his ministry; the Governor then agreed to commission Lawson with a ministry drawn only from Nationalists to form another National Party (Nationalists) minority government on 19 March 1924.

In April 1924, there were discussions about the possibility of another coalition government between the National Party (Nationalists) and the Country Party, but Premier Lawson's unpopularity with the Country Party was an obstacle and he announced his intention to resign as Premier on 24 April 1924. Peacock was then elected leader of the National Party (Nationalist) parliamentary party and was commissioned on 28 April as Premier of a National Party (Nationalist) minority government. For a summary account of these events, see Hughes and Graham 1968, pp 119-121 (in 'Sources', below); the partisan context is discussed in Fitzherbert, pp 165-168, and Chesterman, pp 157-158 (both in 'References', below).

Government in office after election: 'Sir Alexander Peacock’s government suffered a heavy defeat at this election [1924], with the Nationalists winning only 18 seats. Labor had its best result yet, but still short of a majority. The balance was held by the Country Party and five Liberals who had split with the Nationalists over electoral redistribution.' Adam Carr (see 'Sources', below). The Peacock minority government was to last only until the Legislative Assembly met and was defeated on a confidence motion on 16 July 1924.

Electoral system and voting: The Electoral Act of 1923 '... revised the franchise, giving it to all natural-born or naturalised subjects, aged twenty-one, who had resided for six months in the Commonwealth, three months in Victoria and one month in the sub-division of their electoral district before making application for enrolment. Compulsory enrolment was introduced.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.464 (see 'Sources', below).

The Parliament Elections (Women Candidates) Act of 1923 provide that '... no woman shall by reason only of sex or marriage be disqualified or disabled from or be incapable of being a candidate at any election whether for the Council or the Assembly ...' (section 2; see 'Victorian Historical Acts' in 'Sources', below). At this election (1924), Alicia Katz, the Australian Labor Party candidate for the seat of Barwon, was the first woman to stand for the Victorian Parliament.

National Party (Nationalists) and dissidents: Five members of the National Party (Nationalists) who had voted against the Peacock Government over electoral redistribution were not endorsed and ran as Liberals, all of whom were re-elected. A conservative group of five candidates in Melbourne stood as Progressive Liberals but none was elected (see Hughes and Graham 1968, p.482 in 'Sources', below). One candidate ran unsuccessfully as an Independent Nationalist.

Australian Labor Party and Independent Labor: The Australian Labor Party increased its representation to 27 members (Carr lists 28; see 'Sources', below) and became the largest party in the Legislative Assembly. Twelve of its seats were uncontested.

Four unendorsed Labor candidates contested the election as Independent Labor, one of whom, James McLachlan, was re-elected to the seat of Gippsland North.

Country Party and the Victorian Farmers Union: The Victorian Farmers Union (VFU), was the organizational wing of Country Party representation in the Legislative Assembly. This division has led to some confusion in the literature with some sources referring to Assembly members from rural Victoria as being members of the VFU, others simply labeling them as members of the Country Party. Both are correct depending on whether the focus is on the endorsement of candidates or the parliamentary party. This database follows Hughes and Graham 1968 who, until the 1921 Assembly election, assign votes and seats to the VFU. At this election (1924) Hughes and Graham assign votes and seats to the Country Party '... as the Victorian Farmers Union had become ...' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.482 (in 'Sources', below). The party did not formally adopt this name until 1927; see generally B D Graham, The Formation of the Australian Country Parties, ch. 4 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1966).

References: For a review of politics at the time of this election, see Margaret Fitzherbert, 'Harry Lawson, Sure and Steady', ch. 12, and John Chesterman, 'Alexander Peacock: The Laughing Pragmatist', ch. 11, both chapters in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019). For a study of the Victorian parliament during this period, see Wright, ch. 8, especially pp 150-153 (in 'Sources', below).

The history of the Labor Party in Victoria is dealt with in Paul Strangio, Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822).

Sources

For this election (1924), there are differences in the results listed in the sources below. While the figures for enrolment and the number of valid votes are the same for both the Hughes and Graham volumes and Adam Carr's website (see references below), there are variations in the number of votes cast for parties and a difference of one seat between the members listed by Carr as elected for the National Party (Nationalists) and the Australian Labor Party. The table above is based on Hughes and Graham's 1968 and 1975 figures.

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 Twenty-Eighth Parliament Elected 26 June 1924', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 11 February 2017].

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 13 February 2017].



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