ID 0448

Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 20 September 1894


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General election for the Legislative Assembly
Victoria
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day)
20 September 1894

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)
Premier's party affiliation
Conservative
Legislative Assembly support for government at election
Minority
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election.
Premier's party affiliation
Liberal
Legislative Assembly support for government after election
Minority
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
234,552
Number of Assembly seats
95
Number of uncontested seats
16
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
38,070
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
196,482
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
139,215
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
70.85%
Total valid votes
163,805
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
Not applicable
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
754
Electoral system
Male franchise, plural voting, single and multimember districts (multiple voting), first past the post (plurality) voting


Victoria, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 20 September 1894
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

* to view table drag left or right.
Party Name First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won n Uncontested seats held n Seat share %
Opposition  75,404  46.03  47  10  49.47 
Ministerialists  55,927  34.14  30  31.58 
United Labor and Liberal Party  32,474  19.82  18  18.95 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 163,805  100.00    95  16  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

Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous Legislative Assembly election in April 1892. At the 1889 election, the Shiels Liberal government had been returned with a comfortable majority but financial difficulties persisted for the government. Disagreements over budget measures and the continuing economic depression eventually prompted the passing of a no confidence motion against the government on 18 January 1893 by 45 to 42 votes '... when 16 members abandoned Shiels.' Lack p.101 (see 'References', below). After leading the Opposition attack on the Shiels ministry, Patterson was commissioned to form a government on 23 January 1893.

Premier in office after election: 'Defeated in the election of 20 September 1894, the [Patterson] ministry decided to resign without meeting the Assembly. The Governor acted on Patterson's advice in asking Turner, the Leader of the Opposition, to form a new government', Hughes and Graham 1968, p.106 (see 'Sources', below). Turner was commissioned to form a government on 27 September 1894.

Electoral system and voting: The Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1888 had increased the number Legislative Assembly seats from 86 to 95 and the number of electoral districts from 55 to 84, 73 of which were single member districts and 11 two member districts. As in previous elections, for those with property in more than one electoral district, plural voting was permitted. Voters in multimember districts had the option of casting as many votes as there were members to be elected from their district (see multiple voting), or they could plump for a single candidate. Voters cast their ballots by crossing off the names of candidates they did not wish to elect, and the most chosen candidate or candidates were elected (plurality voting).

The provisions of the various Electoral Acts were consolidated in The Constitution Amendment Act of 1890; a detailed summary of the electoral provisions in effect at the time of this election is provided by 'Victoria: Electoral Law', in Hughes and Graham 1968, pp 461-462 (see 'Sources', below).

Election results and sources: The principal source for election results in this Database for the Victorian Legislative Assembly up to the 1889 election has been Carr's Psephos online election archive 'Victorian Elections Since 1843' (and see 'Sources', below). This invaluable source provides electoral district results collected from contemporary newspapers and other authoritative sources. From the Assembly election in 1892 and subsequent elections until 2000, summary election results are taken from Hughes and Graham 1968 (see 'Sources' below) and its supplements, unless otherwise indicated. Carr's archive remains useful as an online source of electoral district results and supplementary information about candidates.

Factions and political parties: In their introduction to the Victorian Assembly elections, Hughes and Graham 1968 (pp 466-467, see ‘Sources’, below) stress the fluidity of partisan allegiance in this period as factional alignments began to evolve into political parties with party discipline and organizations designed to support candidates (see generally, Rawson, in ‘References’, below). But, during this period, the evolution was far from complete and support from a loose party organization at election time was not always a guide to how members would vote in the Assembly.

The result is that candidates at Victorian Assembly elections until 1911 can be broadly categorized in two ways; whether being Conservative, Labor or Liberal in their partisan preferences, or whether they supported or opposed the government at the time of the election as Ministerialists or Opposition, respectively. At this election (1894), Hughes and Graham use the second categorization (see the table above) with Ministerialists supporting the defeated Conservative Premier Patterson and the Opposition supporting Turner, his Liberal successor as Premier. Even so, there were identifiable partisan organizations supporting candidates:

'The instability of party groupings continued through the 1892-4 Parliament. ... Labor and radical Liberal candidates (such as Deakin, Berry and Longmore) were endorsed and supported by the United Labor and Liberal Party of Victoria (see note, below), formed in 1894 to replace the Progressive Political League. Liberal and Conservative candidates were supported by the Protectionist Association and the Triple Reform League respectively', Hughes and Graham 1968, pp 468-469 (see 'Sources', below); for a detailed treatment, see Rawson, pp 55-76, in 'References', below.

United Labor and Liberal Party: For details and context of the formation of the United Labor and Liberal Party, see Bongiorno, pp 39-41, and Strangio Neither Power nor Glory, pp 37-39, both in 'References', below.

References: For a review of politics at the time of this election, see John Lack, 'David Syme and the Three Stooges? The Bust Premiers: James Munro, William Shiels and J B Patterson, 1890-1894', ch. 6, and John Rickard, 'The Quiet Little Man in a Brown Suit: George Turner and the Politics of Consensus', ch. 7, both chapters in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019), and for a study of the Victorian parliament during this period, see, Wright, ch. 6 (see 'Sources', below).

The emergence of political parties is analyzed in D W Rawson, ‘Victoria’, in P Loveday, A W Martin and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, pp 44-116, (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035) and the evolution of the Labor Party during this period is dealt with in Frank Bongiorno, The People's Party: Victorian Labor and the Radical Tradition 1875-1914 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1996, ISBN 0522847382), and Paul Strangio, Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822).

Sources

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, 'The Sixteenth Parliament Elected 20 September 1894', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 8 September 2016].

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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