ministerial by-election

On gaining responsible government, the constitutions of all Australian colonies except South Australia required that members of parliament re-contest their seats when they first became ministers. From the early 1700s the British parliament had been anxious to prevent the Crown from influencing members of parliament by offering them 'offices of profit', and made holding a government position inconsistent with being a member of parliament. As an exception to this rule, ministers were permitted to hold government office -- and be paid for their services -- if they submitted themselves for electoral endorsement at a by-election soon after they had accepted a commission as a minister. Ministers who had already been in office did not have to submit to re-election.

These ministerial by-elections were often uncontested but where partisan passions were strong or local issues were important, ministers were challenged and occasionally defeated, losing their seats in parliament.

The removal of the constitutional requirement for ministerial re-election was abolished in Queensland in 1884, Tasmania in 1901, New South Wales in 1906, Victoria in 1915, and Western Australia in 1947. The Commonwealth Constitution did not provide for ministerial re-election.