ID 0461

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) 9 April 1927

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 Allan
Premier's party affiliation Country Party 
Assembly support for government at election Coalition  
If coalition, coalition partner(s) National Party (Nationalists)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. Edmond John (Ned) Hogan
Premier's party affiliation Australian Labor Party
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 993,211 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 142,717 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 850,494 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 780,399 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 91.76% 
Total valid votes 765,274 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 1.94%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system Not applicable
Electoral system Adult franchise at 21 years, single member districts, preferential voting (AV), compulsory preferences, compulsory voting (see notes) 

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Victoria, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 9 April 1927
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 %
Australian Labor Party 319,848  41.80  +6.92     28  43.08 
National Party (Nationalists) 238,101  31.11  -7.93     15  23.08 
Liberal Party 69,105  9.03  +2.75     3.08 
Country Party 62,218  8.13  -3.84     10  15.38 
Country Progressive Party 31,839  4.16  *     6.15 
Independents 30,472  3.98  +2.83     6.15 
Progressive Nationalists 4,727  0.62  *     1.54 
Independent Labor 4,597  0.60  -1.36        
Independent Nationalists 4,367  0.57  +0.48     1.54 
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 765,274  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

Government in office at election: There had been three changes of government since the previous election in June 1924. At that election, the Peacock National Party (Nationalist) minority government had failed to gain majority support and was defeated on an Australian Labor Party no confidence motion in the Legislative Assembly on 16 July by the combined votes of the Country and Labor party members.

As no agreement could be reached between the National Party (Nationalists) and Country Party members to form a coalition, '... the Governor asked Prendergast, the Labor leader, to form a new ministry.' Hughes and Graham 1968, pp 121-122 (see 'Sources', below). Prendergast was commissioned on 18 July 1924 and became Premier of an Australian Labor Party minority government, supported by the Country Party.

'The Prendergast ministry was kept in office by Country Party support until November [1924], when the two non-Labor parties reached agreement on the terms for forming a new coalition. They combined to carry a want of confidence motion by 34 to 28 on 12 November. The Governor, Lord Stradbroke, refused Prendergast's request for a dissolution and the latter resigned from office on 13 November.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.122 (see 'Sources', below). On 18 November 1924, Allan was commissioned as Premier of a Country Party and National Party (Nationalists) coalition government, with Peacock as Treasurer. The coalition was one short of a majority in the Assembly but could rely on the support of one of the five members elected as Liberals.

For more details of these changes of government, see the notes in the 'Periods in Office' component of this Database for each premier.

Government in office after election: After this election (1927), the number of seats won by Australian Labor Party only increased by 1 to 28, but the non-Labor representation was split between five groups; 15 Nationalists, 10 members of the Country Party, 4 members from the new Country Progressive Party (see note, below), and 2 members from the Liberal Party. While the total number members from non-Labor party groupings was all but unchanged, the two parties that had formed the previous governing coalition saw their support cut from 32 to 25.

'After the election of 9 April 1927, various proposals for replacing the coalition with an alternative non-Labor administration were discussed. Allan at first favoured meeting the Assembly, but resigned on 13 May without doing so. ... Following Allan's resignation, the Governor interviewed Hogan, the Labor leader, on 13 May 1927 but did not give him a commision until the following day, after Hogan had conferred with Dunstan, the leader of the Country Progressive Party, and other members.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.123 (see 'Sources', below).

On 20 May 1927, Hogan was commisioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party minority government, supported by the 4 members of the Country Progressive Party and at least 2 of the 6 minor party and Independent members.

Electoral system and compulsory voting: The Compulsory Voting (Assembly Elections) Act of 1926 '... made voting at Legislative Assembly elections compulsory, subject to a penalty not exceeding £2.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.464 (see 'Sources' below). For details, see 'Victorian Historical Acts', in 'Sources', below. Note that compulsory enrolment of electors had been introduced in 1923.

The effect of compulsory voting was dramatic, raising the proportion of registered voters in contested seats who cast a ballot from 59 percent in the previous election (1924) to 92 percent at this election (1927). Turnout for Victorian Legislative Assembly elections has not dropped below 92 percent in peacetime elections since 1927 (for the 1943 and 1945 Assembly elections, with servicemen and women overseas, the turnout rate dropped to 87 and 88 percent).

Election results: For this Legislative Assembly election in 1924, the election results listed in the table above have been drawn from a combination of the three sources listed in ‘Sources’, below: Hughes ad Graham 1968, Hughes and Graham 1975, and Adam Carr’s online Election Archive. While all three sources agree on the aggregate numbers of voters on the roll, votes cast, and valid votes, they differ in the assignment of votes and seats to some party groupings. The problem results, in large part, from the proliferation of party groupings and Independents and the difficulty of assigning party labels to some candidates.

In the table above, all three sources agree on the votes and seats for the Australian Labor Party, the Country Party, and the Country Progressive Party. The table follows Carr in assigning the votes shown for the ‘Australian Liberal Party’ in Hughes and Graham 1968 and 1975 to the ‘Liberal Party’. But the table uses the detailed figures in Hughes and Graham 1975 to assign votes to all minor party groupings, aggregated in Hughes and Graham 1968 as ‘Independents’ and in Carr as ‘Others’. Adding the votes for all the party groupings listed in this paragraph and subtracting this from the total valid votes provides a figure for the votes cast for the National Party (Nationalists).

For details on the party groupings, see the notes on individual parties, below.

National Party (Nationalists), Liberal Party and dissident groups: '[Premier] Allan of the Country Party delivered a policy speech on behalf of the [Country Party and Nationalist] coalition ministry he had headed, and [former Premier] Peacock and some Nationalist Ministers supported the coalition in the campaign. However, [former Premier] Lawson, who had been designated leader for the elections by the Nationalist organization, asked the electors to give his party as absolute majority.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.483 (see 'Sources', below).

The National Party (Nationalists) saw their vote and seat shares drop significantly at this election (1927), much of their vote going to dissident groups and Independents. Those members who had split from the Nationalists before the previous election, five of whom were elected as Liberals in 1924, managed to increase their vote share but saw the Liberal Party representation drop to two members at this election (see note 'Election results', above, for complications over the naming of party groupings). During the election campaign, four candidates ran as Independent Nationalists, one of whom, Oswald Snowball in the seat of Brighton, was elected unopposed, and Kent Hughes, who was to be a major figure in national politics, was elected as a Progressive Nationalist in the seat of Kew.

Independent Labor: Only one candidate, Florence Johnson (in the seat of Kew), ran, unsuccessfully, as an Independent Labor candidate .

Country Party and Country Progressive Party: 'In 1926 a radical group inside the Victorian Farmers Union had broken away to form the Primary Producers Union. At the election, the PPU put forward a group of Country Progressive Party candidates led by [Albert] Dunstan, who delivered a policy statement for the new party.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.483 (see 'Sources', below).

Independents: Eleven candidates ran as without any party label as Independents, and four were elected: William Everard (seat of Evelyn) who had been previously elected as a Nationalist and as a Liberal; James McLachlan (seat of Gippsland North), a previous Labor and Independent Labor member; Henry Bodman (seat of Gippsland South); and Henry Angus, previously a Nationalist and Liberal member.

References: For a review of politics around the time of this election, see John Chesterman, 'Alexander Peacock: The Laughing Pragmatist', ch. 11; Peter Love, 'Elmslie, Prendergast and Hogan: Labouring Against the Tide', ch. 13; and 'John Allan: The First Agrarian', ch. 14, all three 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 (in 'Sources', below).

Paul Strangio, Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, deals with Labor politics this period in ch. 5 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822); for the evolution of the Country Party during this period see generally B D Graham, The Formation of the Australian Country Parties, ch. 7 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1966).

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 Twenty-Ninth Parliament Elected 9 April 1927', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 15 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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