ID 0464

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) 2 March 1935

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) Stanley Seymour Argyle
Premier's party affiliation United Australia Party 
Assembly support for government at election Coalition  
If coalition, coalition partner(s) United Country Party  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. Albert Arthur Dunstan
Premier's party affiliation United Country 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 1,099,251 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats 12 
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 195,060 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 904,191 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 853,470 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 94.39% 
Total valid votes 839,320 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 1.66%
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 2 March 1935
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 318,390  37.93  +2.65     17  26.15 
United Australia Party 303,626  36.18  -4.43     25  38.46 
United Country Party 115,064  13.71  +1.33     20  30.77 
Independents 43,539  5.19  +2.05     1.54 
Independent United Australia Party 32,346  3.85  +0.57        
Social Credit 10,229  1.22  *        
Communist Party 9,301  1.11  +0.97        
Independent Labor 5,578  0.66  *     3.08 
Progressive Reform Party 1,247  0.15  *        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 839,320  100.00    65  12  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: At the previous Assembly election in May 1932, the Hogan Australian Labor Party minority government had lost almost half its seats and was replaced by a coalition between the recently formed United Australia Party and United Country Party led by Premier Argyle (see 1932 election notes).

Government in office after election: At this Assembly held on 2 March 1935, the coalition parties were returned with the same number of seats (45) but the United Country Party had increased its seats by 6 to 20, and the United Australia Party, even though remaining the largest single party in the Assembly, had lost 6 seats for a total of 25. Premier Argyle believed the coalition would continue but on 14 March '... it was announced that the United Country Party ministers would not rejoin the ministry until this was approved by a joint meeting of central council and the parliamentary party.' Browne, p.212 (see 'References', below).

On the same day, 14 March 1935, Dunstan replaced M W J Bourchier as parliamentary leader of the United Country Party. Dunstan supported the withdrawal of his party from the coalition and this was announced on 21 March. Argyle continued in office with new ministers chosen from the United Australia Party. 'On 27 [28] March, after a long and bitter debate, a no-confidence motion against the ministry, moved by Dunstan, was passed [40 to 23] with the support of Labor.' Browne, p.212 (see 'References', below). Dunstan was commissioned as Premier of a United Country Party minority government with the support of the Australian Labor Party on 2 April 1935.

Australian Labor Party: The reasons for the Labor Party to support the Dunstan United Country Party minority government in 1935, and to continue to do so for the following seven years, are discussed at length in Strangio, ch. 7 (see 'References', below). The incongruity in this relationship is accentuated by the effect of malapportionment that greatly favoured the representation of rural voters and the expense of metropolitan ones.

United Australia Party: The reaction to Premier Dunstan's rejection of coalition arrangements with the United Australia Party (UAP) in 1935 exacerbated relations between the UAP and the United Country Party. The hostility between these two non-Labor parties and their successors was to be a feature of Victorian politics until well into the 1960s.

United Country Party: For a review of the United Country Party under the stewardship Dunstan, see Costar in 'References', below. On the role of the Country Party during this period, see John Paul, 'Albert Dunstan and Victorian Government', in 'References', below.

Independents: Twelve candidates ran without any party label as Independents, capturing over 5 percent of the first preference vote, but only one candidate, James McLachlan, was elected, retaining the seat of Gippsland North.

Independent United Australia Party and Progressive Reform Party: Six non-Labor candidates contested this election under their own party label; five dissident members of the UAP ran as Independent United Australia Party candidates, and one candidate ran under the Progressive Reform Party label; none was elected.

Social Credit (Douglas Credit): One candidate, Leslie H Hollins, ran as a candidate for Douglas Credit at this Assembly election (1935), supporting the radical ideas of C H Douglas for transforming the use of credit, the economy and society. Hollins gained 45.9 percent of the first preference vote in the seat of Hawthorn. The name Social Credit is used in the table above; this name was adopted by candidates who supported Douglas's ideas at all other elections; using the name Social Credit permits comparisons of the party's support to be made over time and between parliaments. For a short survey of Social Credit in Australia, see Keith Richmond, 'Minor Parties in Australia', pp 374-375, in Graeme Starr, Keith Richmond and Graham Maddox, Political Parties in Australia, (Richmond, Vic.: Heinemann, 1978, ISBN 0858591782).

Communist Party: After fielding a single candidate at the 1929 and 1932 elections, the Communist Party fielded three candidates at this election (1935), gaining a total of 1.1 percent of the first preference vote, its highest vote share at Assembly elections until 1943.

Independent Labor: Two members who had won the previous election in 1932 as Premiers' Plan Labor candidates were re-elected as Independent Labor candidates at this Assembly election (1935). Hogan, the former Australian Labor Party Premier, was elected to the seat of Warrenheip and Grenville, and Ernest E Bond was elected unopposed in the seat of Port Fairy and Glenelg.

References: The unhappy position of 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. 7, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822), 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).

The Dunstan government is surveyed in Brian Costar, 'Albert Dunstan: The Jumping Jack Premier', in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, ch. 17, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019), and in John Paul, 'Albert Dunstan and Victorian Government', in Cameron Hazelhurst (editor), Australian Conservatism: Essays in Twentieth Century Political History, pp 169-191 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1979, ISBN 0708113591). For a study of Victorian politics during this period, see Wright, pp 162-165, (in 'Sources', below).

Sources

For this election (1935), there is agreement between the three sources below on the number of valid votes and the votes and seats won by the largest party groupings, but there are differences in the way small party and Independent candidates are categorized. In the table above, 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-second Parliament Elected 2 March 1935', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 16 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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