ID 0472

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) 28 May 1955

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 Majority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. Henry Edward Bolte
Premier's party affiliation Liberal and Country Party
Assembly support for government after election Majority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 1,422,588 
Number of Assembly seats 66 
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 19,782 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 1,402,806 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 1,318,934 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 94.02% 
Total valid votes 1,289,979 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 2.2%
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 


Victoria, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 28 May 1955
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 %
Liberal and Country Party 487,408  37.78  +12.92     34  51.52 
Australian Labor Party 420,197  32.57  -16.51     20  30.30 
Anti-Communist Labor Party (Democratic Labor Party from 1958) 162,660  12.61  *     1.52 
Country Party 122,999  9.53  +1.19     10  15.15 
Victorian Liberal Party 44,692  3.46  *        
Independents 13,123  1.02  -3.54        
Progressive Labor 11,809  0.92  -1.15     1.52 
Independent Labor 8,159  0.63  *        
Independent Liberal 6,655  0.52  *        
Independent Country Party 5,824  0.45  *        
Communist Party 4,589  0.36  -0.88        
Henry George Party 1,864  0.14  -0.12        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 1,289,979  100.00    66  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.


Government in office at election: Although there had been no change of Premier since the previous Assembly election in December 1952 there had been a major change to the extent of parliamentary support for Premier Cain after a split in the Australian Labor Party. During 1954, tensions within and between the parliamentary and trade union wings of the Australian Labor Party became especially serious in Victoria (see Strangio, pp 263-266, and Murray, pp 91-103 in 'References' below). 'A dispute within the Labor Party led to the suspension and subsequent expulsion of four Ministers from the party -- Barry, Coleman, Hayes and Scully.' Hughes and Graham 1968, p.136 (see 'Sources', below). ' When the four ministers ... refused Cain [senior]'s request they resign, the Premier resigned and advised the Governor to grant him a new commission so as to be able to re-form his ministry without them. The Governor's action implied that the third Cain (senior) ministry ended, and the fourth commenced on 31 March 1955.' Strangio, footnote 147, p.273 (see 'References', below). This website regards the change as one that alters the extent of partisan support in the Assembly rather than its composition; only the latter triggers a new period in office.

The expulsion of the ministers from the Labor caucus meant that the party no longer had the support of a majority on the floor of the Assembly, and Cain (senior) became Premier of a minority government.

On 19 April 1955, the first meeting of the Assembly after the changes to the Cain (senior) ministry, the government was defeated on an appropriation bill 24 to 37. Bolte, the leader of the opposition, immediately moved a motion of no confidence in the ministry which, was carried 34 to 23, with three of the expelled former ministers voting against the government (for a brief background to these events, see Wright, pp 192-195 in 'Sources', below). Premier Cain (senior) was granted a dissolution.


For this Assembly election (1955), there is agreement between the three sources below (Hughes and Graham 1968, Hughes and Graham 1975, and Carr) on the first preference votes for the larger parties. 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, 'Fortieth Parliament Elected 28 May 1955, in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 22 August 2017].

Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel: A History of the Parliament of Victoria 1856-1990, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0195533593)