ID 0468

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) 10 November 1945

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) Ian Macfarlan
Premier's party affiliation Liberal Party 
Assembly support for government at election Minority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. John Cain [snr]
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 1,276,949 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats 11 
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 257,886 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 1,019,063 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 896,561 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 87.98% 
Total valid votes 877,872 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 2.08%
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 10 November 1945
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 360,079  41.02  +5.48     31  47.69 
Liberal Party 188,119  21.43  *     10  15.38 
Country Party 163,940  18.67  *     18  27.69 
Independents 67,414  7.68  -7.25     3.08 
Ministerial Liberal Party 29,276  3.33  *     4.62 
Communist Party 25,083  2.86  -1.65        
Independent Labor 20,279  2.31  -1.00     1.54 
Independent Liberal 19,278  2.20  *        
Independent Country Party 4,404  0.50  -0.37        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 877,872  100.00    65  11  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 Assembly election in June 1943. At the 1943 election, the Australian Labor Party had gained seats but remained well short of a majority. The Dunstan United Country Party minority government continued in office until 9 September 1943 when it was defeated 26 to 24 on a motion of no confidence introduced by Cain (senior), the leader of the Labor Party. Even though the United Country Party and the United Australia Party, led by Hollway, controlled a majority of seats in the Assembly, these parties could not agree on a coalition arrangement, and Cain was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party minority government on 14 September 1943. But the Labor government's motion to adjourn the Assembly was defeated on 16 September 1943 by the United Country and United Australia parties, forcing Cain (senior) to resign as Premier with effect from 18 September; for details and references see notes for Cain's first Ministry and note Strangio pp 248-249 in 'References', below.

After the defeat of the Cain government, Dunstan and Hollway, the leaders of the United Country Party and United Australia Party, agreed to form a coalition government led by Dunstan with ministries shared between the two parties. The government was commissioned on 18 September 1943, but the '... Dunstan-Hollway composite government was a most unhappy marriage of convenience.' Paul, p.189 in 'References', below. In March 1945, United Australia Party members of the Assembly became members of the newly formed Liberal Party, signaling increasing tension within the coalition government. In late September, the government was defeated on a Labor Party amendment to a Supply bill with the support of five dissident [Ministerial] Liberals. After unsuccessful attempts to restructure the coalition, Premier Dunstan resigned on 2 October 1945 (see Wright, pp 175-177 in 'Sources', below).

In accepting Premier Dunstan's resignation, the Governor had agreed to dissolve the Assembly for an election to be held on 10 November 1945 (this election). As some remaining parliamentary business, including the granting of Supply, needed to be completed, 'Macfarlan, the leader of the dissident [Ministerial] Liberals, was invited to form a caretaker government. His cabinet included all five of the members who had voted against Dunstan.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.130 (see 'Sources', below). Macfarlan was commissioned as Premier of a Liberal Party minority government on 2 October for the month until the election.

Government in office after election: 'Having been disendorsed by the State executive of the Liberal Party, [Premier Macfarlan] contested the general election on 10 November [1945] as leader of the Ministerial Liberals. His ministry was defeated and he lost his seat.' R Wright, 'Macfarlan, Ian (1881–1964)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, online here [accessed 10 August 2017].

The Australian Labor Party gained seats at the expense of all other party groupings at this Assembly election (1945). Although two short of a majority, Cain (snr) was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party minority government on 21 November 1945, supported by two metropolitan Independents, Robert Gardner (member for Ivanhoe) and Ian McLaren (member for Glen Iris).

Electoral system and voting The Electoral Districts Act 1944 '... provided that the number of metropolitan districts should be thirty-two, and the number of urban and country districts should be thirty-three.... The quota for each class of district was set at 25,000 for metropolitan districts, 19,500 for urban districts, and 13,800 for country districts:..'. Hughes and Graham 1968, p.463 in 'Sources', below. There was a redistribution of electoral districts in 1945 based on this Act for this Assembly election in November 1945.

Liberal Party: 'From October 1944 there was a movement to change the name of the United Australia Party [UAP]. At a meeting of the UAP members of the Legislative Assembly on 5 March 1945 the name of the parliamentary party was changed to Liberal Party.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.489, in 'Sources', below. The creation of the Liberal Party in Victoria was more than just a change of name; the partisan divisions within the UAP had led to the creation of a Liberal Party with a radically changed organizational structure which stressed the role of individual party members. For details of this transition in Victoria, see Aimer, ch. 1, and for the Australia-wide context, see Hancock, ch. 1, both in 'References', below; see also 'Ministerial Liberal Party' and 'Independent Liberal', below).

Country Party: The defeat of the Dunstan government in September 1945 (see above) and Dunstan's resignation from the leadership of the United Country Party, coupled with changes to the organization of the party at its Conference in 1944 (see Graham, p. 266, in 'References', below) led the party to resume the name 'Country Party' that had been used before 1932. It was to use this party name for Victorian Assembly elections until 1973.

Independents: Continuing dissatisfaction with partisan politics at the time of this Assembly election in 1945 led 17 candidates to run without any party label as Independents but their share of the first preference vote was halved to 7.7 percent in comparison with the previous election in 1943. Two Independent candidates were elected at this election in 1945, Robert Gardner (seat of Ivanhoe) and Ian McLaren (seat of Glen Iris). The support of these two members was critical for the maintenance of Premier Cain's minority government (see above).

Ministerial Liberal Party: Seven candidates ran as members of the Ministerial Liberal Party representing those dissident Liberals who had supported Premier Macfarlan and his brief caretaker government (see notes above); three were successful in being re-elected.

Communist Party: The united front policy of the Communist Party against the war prompted by the invasion of Russia in 1941 had increased the party's support in trade unions and the public at large, but Stalin's postwar policies were beginning to erode the limited support the Communist Party had gained in Australia. At this Assembly election in 1945, the Communist Party fielded six candidates and gained only 2.9 percent of the total first preference vote. For information on the increasingly divisive role of the Communist Party in Labor Party politics, see the references to the Communist Party in the index of Strangio (see 'References'. below).

Independent Labor: Five Independent Labor candidates contested this Assembly election in 1945 with one, Charles Mutton, gaining election in the seat of Coburg (for the circumstances leading to Mutton's running as an Independent Labor member, see Strangio, p.231 in 'References', below).

Independent Liberal: As a further indication of the dissention within Liberal politics, five Independent Liberal candidates contested this Assembly election in 1945 but none was successful in being elected.

Independent Country Party: Two candidates did not accept the changes to the Country Party organization and contested this Assembly election in 1945 as members of the Independent Country Party; none was successful in being elected.

References: Information on Premier Macfarlan can be found in R Wright, 'Macfarlan, Ian (1881–1964)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, online here [accessed 10 August 2017], with brief references in other references in this section. 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).

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).

The history of the United Australia Party in Victoria as a precursor to the Liberal Party is surveyed in Peter Aimer, Politics, Power & Persuasion: The Liberals in Victoria, ch. 1 (East Hawthorn, Vic.: James Bennett, 1974, ISBN 0909595011); a national perspective of the emergence of the Liberal Party is provided in Ian Hancock, National and Permanent? The Federal Organisation of the Liberal Party of Australia 1944-1965 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2000, ISBN 0522848737) and note Graeme Starr, The Liberal Party of Australia: A Documentary History, chs 1 and 2 (Richmond, Vic.: Heinemann, 1980, ISBN 0858592231). For background on the evolution of the Country Party, see generally B D Graham, The Formation of the Australian Country Parties, ch. 7 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1966),

Sources

For this election (1945), there is agreement between the three sources below (Hughes and Graham 1968, Hughes and Graham 1975, and Carr) on the total number of votes cast (but Carr has a small addition error). There is also agreement on the votes and the seats won by the Australian Labor Party, the Country Party and and the Ministerial Liberal Party, but there are differences in the vote and seat 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 Liberal 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).

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-sixth Parliament Elected 10 November 1945', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 3 August 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 October 2017].



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