ID 0463

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) 14 May 1932

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) Edmond John (Ned) Hogan
Premier's party affiliation Australian Labor Party 
Assembly support for government at election Minority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. Stanley Seymour Argyle
Premier's party affiliation United Australia Party
Assembly support for government after election Coalition  
If coalition, coalition partner(s) United Country Party  
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Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 1,055,301 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats 21 
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 325,969 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 729,332 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 687,042 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 94.20% 
Total valid votes 674,492 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 1.83%
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 

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Victoria, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 14 May 1932
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 %
United Australia Party 273,910  40.61  *     31  10  47.69 
Australian Labor Party 237,993  35.28  -3.80     16  24.62 
United Country Party 83,519  12.38  *     14  21.54 
Independent United Australia Party 22,127  3.28  *       1.54 
Independents 21,157  3.14  +2.62     1.54 
Premiers' Plan Labor 17,347  2.57  *     3.08 
Independent Liberal 10,780  1.60  *        
Country Progressive Party 4,748  0.70  -4.64        
Independent Country Party 1,958  0.29  +0.08        
Communist Party 953  0.14  -0.17        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 674,492  100.00    65  21  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: The Hogan Australian Labor Party minority government had come to power after the previous Legislative Assembly elections in 1929 with conditional support from the four members of the Country Progressive Party (for details, see 1929 election notes).

Disputes over financial policy in the Depression split the Labor Party and created increasing divisions between Hogan, the parliamentary Labor Party and the Labor Party organization. Premier Hogan supported the stringent financial policies of the Premiers' Plan but, while he was overseas, his government was defeated in the Assembly on 13 April 1932. The Deputy Premier, Thomas Tunnecliffe, was granted a dissolution for a Legislative Assembly election in May 1932; for details, see see Love, pp 181-183, and Strangio, ch. 6, (both in 'References', below).

Government in office after election: At the 1932 election, the Australian Labor Party lost almost half its seats in the Legislative Assembly and Premier Hogan resigned his commission by cable on 16 May 1932. Argyle, leader of the United Australia Party, formerly the National Party (Nationalists), was commissioned as Premier of a United Australia Party and United Country Party coalition government on 19 May 1932.

The Depression and party change: The social and financial turmoil generated by the Depression led to major changes to party politics across Australia between 1929 and 1931. Disagreement over the need for drastic reductions in government expenditure led to a split in the Australian Labor Party between those who accepted financial stringency under the Premiers' Plan announced at a Premiers Conference in May and June 1931, and those who argued for maintaining or increasing government expenditure (see 'References', below). Similar stresses and the defeat of the Federal National Party (Nationalists) government in 1929 led to the creation of a new anti-Labor grouping, the United Australia Party (see Lloyd in 'References', below).

Australian Labor Party and Premiers' Plan Labor: Premier Hogan accepted the Premiers' Plan but it was rejected by the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party. 'Some Ministers and back-benchers remained loyal to Hogan; they were refused endorsement by the ALP and stood as Premiers' Plan Labor.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.485 (see 'Sources', below). Five former Australian Labor Party members, including Hogan himself, ran as Premiers' Plan Labor candidates, with two being elected including Hogan who was unopposed.

United Australia Party and National Party (Nationalists): The United Australia Party, formed in 1931, was the successor to the National Party (Nationalists) in Victoria and, under the Leadership of Argyle, increased its representation from 17 seats in 1929 to 31 at this election in 1932 to become the dominant party in the governing coalition (see Browne, pp 207-208, in 'References', below).

Independent United Australia Party and Independent Liberals: Not all former members of the National Party and dissident Liberals were happy with the new United Australia Party organization. Six candidates ran under the name of the Independent United Australia Party with one of their number, J T Vinton Smith being elected to the seat of Oakleigh. Another candidate, the sitting member A C Burnett Gray, ran as an Independent Liberal but was defeated in his seat of St Kilda.

United Country Party, Country Progressive Party, and Independent Country Party: At the previous Assembly election in 1929 there had been two parties claiming to represent country voters, the Country Party and its rival, the Country Progressive Party. These two parties '... joined in the United Country Party after a conference between the parties in September 1930 and a joint meeting of the two parliamentary parties on 28 October 1930.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.485 (see 'Sources', below).

At this Assembly election in 1932, two former Country Progressive Party members who had declined to join the United Country Party ran as candidates, one under the Country Progressive Party name, and one as an Independent Country Party candidate; both were defeated by United Country Party candidates.

Independents: Six candidates ran without any party label as Independents, one of whom, James McLachlan, was elected for the tenth time to the seat of Gippsland North.

Communist Party: As in the previous Victorian Legislative Assembly election in 1929, a single Communist Party candidate contested this election in 1932; Ernest Thornton in the seat of Melbourne. He won 5.7 percent of the vote in this electoral district.

References: A contemporary analysis of the crisis in Australian public finance and the debate over the Premiers' Plan is summarized in short introductory chapters to each of the publications by E O G Shann and D B Copeland, The Crisis in Australian Finance 1929 to 1931: Documents on Budgetary and Economic Policy, pp x-xix, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1931); and, The Battle of the Plans: Documents Relating to the Premiers' Conference May 25th to June 11th, 1931, pp ii-xviii, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1931).

The turmoil within the Australian Labor Party in Victoria during this period is extensively reviewed in Paul Strangio, Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, ch. 6, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822) and, more briefly in Peter Love, 'Elmslie, Prendergast and Hogan: Labouring Against the Tide', pp 180-183, in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019).

Clem Lloyd provides a definitive analysis of the United Australia Party from the federal perspective in, 'The Rise and Fall of the United Australia Party', in J R Nethercote (editor), Liberalism and the Australian Federation, pp 134-162, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2001 ISBN 1862874026), and Peter Aimer surveys the history of the United Australia Party in Victoria as a precursor to the Liberal Party in Peter Aimer, Politics, Power & Persuasion: The Liberals in Victoria, ch. 1 (East Hawthorn, (Vic.: James Bennett, 1974, ISBN 0909595011).

For a review of non-Labor politics in Victoria around the time of this election, see Geoff Browne, 'Stanley Argyle: The Incidental Premier', in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, ch. 16, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019). For a study of the Victorian parliament during this period, see Wright, ch. 8, (in 'Sources', below).

Sources

For this election (1932), there is broad agreement between the three sources below on the number of valid votes and the votes and seats won by the largest four parties, but there are differences in the way small party and Independent candidates are categorized, and minor differences in their vote shares. In the table above, votes for the four largest parties are taken from Hughes and Graham 1968, and the votes and partisan affiliation of minor party and Independent candidates is based on Hughes and Graham 1975, supplemented by Carr's online Election Archive (for more information, see the notes, above).

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, 'Thirty-first Parliament Elected 14 May 1932', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 8 July 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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