ID 0469

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) 8 November 1947

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 Cain [snr]
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. Thomas Tuke Hollway
Premier's party affiliation Liberal Party
Assembly support for government after election Coalition  
If coalition, coalition partner(s) Country Party  
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Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 1,345,530 
Number of Assembly seats 65 
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 54,015 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 1,291,515 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 1,206,815 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 93.44% 
Total valid votes 1,190,753 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 1.33%
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 8 November 1947
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 486,635  40.87  -0.15     17  25.76 
Liberal Party 428,914  36.02  +14.59     27  40.91 
Country Party 177,698  14.92  -3.75     20  30.30 
Independents 39,084  3.28  -4.40        
Independent Liberal 33,598  2.82  +0.63     1.52 
Independent Labor 15,995  1.34  -0.97     1.52 
Independent Country Party 7,254  0.61  +0.11        
Communist Party 1,575  0.13  -2.72        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 1,190,753  100.00    66  100.00 


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Notes

Government in office at election: Although two seats short of a majority in the Assembly after the previous Assembly election in November 1945, Cain (senior) was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party minority government on 21 November 1945, supported by two metropolitan Independents.

Two years after the 1945 election, the Cain government was forced to the polls by a hostile majority in the Legislative Council. 'On [1] October 1947 the Legislative Council refused Supply because the Opposition parties wishes to test opinion on the Commonwealth Labor Government's bank nationalization policy. Cain refused to resign on the ground that the Opposition did not have the numbers to form a government, and obtained a dissolution.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.131 (see 'Sources', below). The details and context of this episode are described in Strangio 2012, pp 260-261 (see 'References', below), and Wright, pp 182-184 (see, 'Sources', below).

Government in office after election: Although the vote share of the Australian Labor Party was almost unchanged at this Assembly election in 1947, it lost more than a third of its seats. The Liberal Party led by Hollway, increased its vote share by 15 percent at the expense of the Country Party and Independents, and more than doubled its seats to become the largest party in the Assembly. After negotiation with the Country Party, Hollway was commissioned as Premier of a Liberal Party and Country Party coalition government on 20 November 1947.

Independents: In spite of the persistence of some Independent Liberals (see note below), the establishment of the Liberal Party had helped to consolidate anti-Labor partisan support. Only 6 candidates ran without any party label as Independents at this Assembly election in 1947, gaining 3 percent of the first preference vote with no candidate securing election.

Independent Liberals: Six candidates ran as Independent Liberals at this election (1947) but only one, Archie Michaelis was elected (seat of St Kilda, unopposed).

Independent Labor: Three Independent Labor candidates contested this Assembly election in 1947 with one, Charles Mutton, being re-elected to 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 Country Party: Four candidates continued to reject the changes to the Country Party organization and contested this Assembly election in 1947 as members of the Independent Country Party; none was successful in being elected.

Communist Party: The beginning of the Cold War undermined the electoral support for the Communist Party; at this election in 1947 the party fielded a single candidate, gaining only 6 percent of the vote in the left-leaning electoral district of Port Melbourne. 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 2012 (see 'References'. below).

References: The Cain (snr) government is surveyed in Paul Strangio, 'John Cain Snr: The Star-Crossed Premier', in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, ch. 20, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019), and 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); for a study of Victorian politics during this period, see Wright, ch. 9 (in 'Sources', below).

The history of the Liberal Party in Victoria is surveyed in Peter Aimer, Politics, Power & Persuasion: The Liberals in Victoria, (East Hawthorn, Vic.: James Bennett, 1974, ISBN 0909595011) and 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); note also Graeme Starr, The Liberal Party of Australia: A Documentary History (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 Assembly election (1947), there is apparent agreement between the three sources below (Hughes and Graham 1968, Hughes and Graham 1975, and Carr) on the total number of votes cast although, after the addition of votes cast for all party groupings listed in Hughes and Graham 1975, the total is slightly larger by 40 votes at 1,190,753. This figure is used for the tables above.

The three sources agree on the votes cast for the Country Party but there are differences in the votes won for other party groupings. There is significant variation for the votes cast for the Liberal Party resulting 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-seventh Parliament Elected 8 November 1947', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 11 August 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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