ID 0467

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) 12 June 1943

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) Albert Arthur Dunstan
Premier's party affiliation United Country Party 
Assembly support for government at election Minority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

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 1,261,630 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats 14 
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 245,880 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 1,015,750 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 883,679 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 87.00% 
Total valid votes 860,803 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 2.59%
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 12 June 1943
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 305,869  35.53  +2.37     22  33.85 
United Australia Party 203,764  23.67  -11.74     13  20.00 
Independents 128,482  14.93  +3.46     4.62 
United Country Party 112,164  13.03  -1.98     18  27.69 
Communist Party 38,802  4.51  +4.13        
Independent Labor 28,471  3.31  +1.96     1.54 
Independent United Australia Party 13,901  1.61  +1.12        
Victorian Country Party 11,738  1.36  *     10.77 
Socialist 10,105  1.17  *        
Independent Country Party 7,507  0.87  +0.49     1.54 
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 860,803  100.00    65  14  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 1940, both the United Country Party and the Australian Labor Party had won seats at the expense of the United Australia Party but the Labor Party continued its support a United Country Party minority government led by Premier Dunstan in spite of increasing criticism within the Labor Party in the period leading up to this Assembly election in 1943 (see Strangio, pp 234-236, 247-248, in 'References', below) and continuing contacts between the Australian Labor Party leader, John Cain (senior) and Thomas Hollway, the leader of the United Australia Party, about '... forming a temporary alliance to oust Dunstan.' Wright, p.168, (in 'Sources', below).

Government in office after election: At this Assembly election in 1943, the United Country Party and the Victorian Country Party (see note below) between them held the most seats but Dunstan was still reliant on the Australian Labor Party to maintain a United Country Party minority government under his leadership. 'The dynamics of the campaign had been altered, but the immediate result of the 1943 election was continuing stasis.' Strangio, pp 248, (in 'References', below). This was to change after three months with the September 1943 defeat of the Dunstan government in the Assembly and the brief premiership of John Cain's first ministry.

United Australia Party: The United Australia Party (UAP) had been out of office since its 1935 rejection by Premier Dunstan as a coalition partner with the United Country Party even though the UAP had by far the largest vote share of any non-Labor party. This had led to dissatisfaction with the UAP leadership and a string of defections that eventually led to the dissolution of the party before the next Assembly election in 1945. For a survey of the history of the United Australia Party in Victoria as a precursor to the Liberal Party see, Peter Aimer, Politics, Power & Persuasion: The Liberals in Victoria, ch. 1 (East Hawthorn, (Vic.: James Bennett, 1974, ISBN 0909595011).

United Country Party and Victorian Country Party: There has been continuing tensions within the United Country Party (UCP) even though some members of the party who had contested the 1940 Assembly election as Liberal Country Party candidates had rejoined the UCP. At this election (1943), seven UCP members of the Assembly who had some of the safest seats ran as candidates for the Victorian Country Party; all were re-elected, six of them unopposed. This group was willing to work with Dunstan but was unhappy with his management of the party before the election.

Independents: As an indication of dissatisfaction with partisan politics at the time of this Assembly election in 1943, 29 candidates ran without any party label as Independents, capturing 15 percent of the first preference vote and gaining more votes than the governing United Country Party. Three Independent candidates were elected: Leslie Hollins was re-elected to the seat of Hawthorn (Carr records him as 'Prominent social creditist', in 1940 'Sources'); Andrew Hughes was elected to the seat of Caulfield; and Ivy Weber, the first woman elected at a general election for the Victorian Legislative Assembly, was re-elected to the seat of Nunawading.

Communist Party: The invasion of Russia in 1941 prompted the Australian Communist Party, at the behest of Moscow, to pursue a united front policy against the war and increase the party's support in trade unions and the public at large. At this Assembly election in 1943, the Communist Party fielded nine candidates and gained 4.5 percent of the total first preference vote, with an average of 20.7 percent in the seats the party contested and 38.8 percent in the seat of Port Melbourne. This was the most electoral support the party ever gained in a Victorian Assembly election. For a study of the Australian Communist Party until 1941, see Stuart Macintyre, The Reds: The Communist Party of Australia from Origins to Illegality, ch. 14 (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864485809), and note the references to the Communist Party in the index of Strangio (see 'References'. below).

Independent Labor: Two Independent Labor candidates contested this Assembly election (1943) with one, Charles Mutton in the seat of Coburg, being elected (for the circumstances leading to Mutton's running as an Independent Labor member, see Strangio, p.231 in 'References', below).

Independent United Australia Party: Three candidates ran with this affiliation, but none was elected.

Independent United Country Party: Two candidates ran with this affiliation with one, Harold Hedditch in the seat of Fairy and Glenelg, being elected.

Socialist: One Socialist candidate, James Coull, ran in the seat of Albert Park, gaining 42.9 percent of the first preference vote. There was no Australian Labor Party candidate in the electoral district; 'Labor did not oppose [the United Australia Party candidate], who was on active service.' Carr in 'Sources', below.

References: The 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 (1943), there is agreement between two of the sources below (Hughes and Graham 1975, and Carr) on the total number of votes cast, and the votes and the seats won by the United Australia Party and the Australian Labor Party, but there are differences in the vote shares for other party groupings.

The variations result from differences in the way some small party and Independent candidates are categorized. In the table above, the votes for the United Country Party, together with the votes and partisan affiliation of minor party and Independent candidates are all calculated from Hughes and Graham 1975, supplemented by Carr's online Election Archive (for more information, see the notes, above).

There are a number of small differences in the data listed in Hughes and Graham 1968 which have been amended in their 1975 publication.

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-fifth Parliament Elected 12 June 1943', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 30 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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