ID 0459

Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 30 August 1921

Show only vote and seat summary details

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General election for the Legislative Assembly
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day)
30 August 1921

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
National Party (Nationalists)
Legislative Assembly support for government at election
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Government in office after election

Premier's party affiliation
National Party (Nationalists)
Legislative Assembly support for government after election
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
Number of Assembly seats
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
Total valid votes
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Not applicable
Electoral system
Adult franchise at 21 years, single member districts, preferential voting (AV), compulsory preferences

Victoria, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 30 August 1921
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 %
National Party (Nationalists)  151,670  46.84  -1.11  31  11  47.69 
Australian Labor Party  115,432  35.65  +6.37  21  32.31 
Victorian Farmers Union  45,348  14.01  -0.40  12  18.46 
Independent Labor  6,608  2.04  +1.42  1.54 
Independent Nationalists  3,863  1.19  -3.82     
National Labor Party  786  0.24     
Independents  91  0.03  -1.41     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 323,798  100.00    65  19  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: At the previous general election for the Legislative Assembly in October 1920, Premier Lawson and the National Party (Nationalists) lost their majority and had to rely on the support of members endorsed by the Victorian Farmers Union (Country Party) led by John Allan to continue as a minority government. After a protracted debate in the Assembly over the period from 13 to 27 July 1921, the VFU (Country Party) withdrew its support of Premier Lawson's government over the proposal to abolish the compulsory wheat pool. The government was defeated in the Assembly by the combined votes of the Labor and Country parties; Lawson was granted a dissolution of the Assembly for an election on 30 August 1921 (this election); for context, see Fitzherbert, pp 164-165 (in 'References', below), and Wright, p.151 (see 'Sources', below).

Government in office after election: Party representation in the Legislative Assembly was little changed by the results of this election (1921) which had been held only ten months after the previous Assembly election in August 1920. The Lawson National Party (Nationalists) government increased its representation by only one seat to 31 out of a chamber of 65 members, two short of a majority and leaving it as a minority government dependent on the support of the Victorian Farmers Union (Country Party); for context, see Fitzherbert, pp 164-165 (in 'References', below).

Party campaigning and results: Campaigning for The National Party (Nationalists) was similar to that followed for the previous Assembly election in October 1920 (see Hughes and Graham 1968, p.480 in 'Sources', below). Edward Morely, was re-elected to the seat of Barwon at this election (1921) which he had won in 1920 as an Independent Nationalist, but joined the National Party (Nationalists) in 1921 and is counted as a member of the governing party in the table above.

Martin Hannah, who had lost his endorsement as an Australian Labor Party candidate but won the seat of Collingwood as an Independent Labor candidate in 1920, was defeated at this election (1921) in a context of sectarian rivalry; see Strangio, pp 127-128 (in 'References', below). But another Independent Labor candidate, James McLachlan who had been expelled from the Labor Party over conscription (see Strangio, p.129 in 'References', below) was elected at this election (1921) to the seat of Gippsland North as a supporter of the National Party (Nationalists) government.

The Victorian Farmers Union, the precursor of the Country Party, retained the substantial gains in representation that it had made at the previous election in 1920. On the development of the Country Party in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia during this period, see B D Graham, The Formation of the Australian Country Parties, ch. 4 (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1966).

References: For a review of politics at the time of this election, see Margaret Fitzherbert, 'Harry Lawson, Sure and Steady', ch. 12, in Paul Strangio and Brian Costar, (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019). For a study of the Victorian parliament during this period, see Wright, ch. 8, especially pp 150-151 (in 'Sources', below).

The history of the Labor Party in Victoria is dealt with in Paul Strangio, Neither Power Nor Glory: 100 years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822).


For this election (1921), there are some minor anomalies in the results listed in the sources below. While the figures for enrolment and the number of valid votes are the same for both the Hughes and Graham volumes and Adam Carr's website (see references below), there are small variations in the number of candidates listed, the number of votes cast for the smaller party groupings and the party affiliation of two candidates from these groupings. The tables above have used Adam Carr's figures, slightly amended, for the anomalous cases.

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 Twenty-Seventh Parliament Elected 30 August 1921', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 6 February 2017].

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