ID 0209

State Government of Victoria beginning 8 April 1982 - period in office of Premier Cain [jnr], John ending on 10 August 1990

Period in office of premier (see Glossary entry for 'period in office' and related terms)

Cain [jnr], John
Date of beginning of period in office
8 April 1982
Date of end of period in office
10 August 1990 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
Reason for end of this government
Change of party leader
Number of days in office

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
Australian Labor Party
If coalition government
Coalition partner 1
Coalition partner 2
Coalition partner 3
Coalition partner 4
Party support in parliament at beginning of period
If change in parliamentary support during period
If further change during period

Number of ministers at beginning of period (this may vary during the period)

Total number of ministers
Number from party of premier
Number from coalition party 1
Number from coalition party 2
Number from upper house
Number who are women

Assembly elections contested as premier or after which became premier (see Glossary entry for 'after election')

* to view table drag left or right.
Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
VIC 1 October 1988John Cain [jnr]Australian Labor PartyJohn Cain [jnr]Australian Labor Party
VIC 2 March 1985John Cain [jnr]Australian Labor PartyJohn Cain [jnr]Australian Labor Party
VIC 3 April 1982Lindsay Hamilton Simpson ThompsonLiberal PartyJohn Cain [jnr]Australian Labor Party

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Loss of general election (Thompson): Beginning of John Cain (junior)'s period in office (see note below); Premier Thompson called for a general election on 3 April 1982. At the election for the Legislative Assembly, there was a 3 percent swing against the government, and the Liberal Party lost 17 of the 41 seats it had won at the previous election in 1979. The Australian Labor Party won over 50 percent of the first preference vote and a majority of the seats in the Assembly. Premier Thompson tendered his resignation on 8 April 1982 and John Cain was commissioned to form an Australian Labor Party majority government.

John Cain (junior): The John Cain who held this period in office (1982-1990) was the son of John Cain (senior) who held the office of Premier and led Australian Labor Party governments from 14-18 September 1943, 21 November 1945 to 20 November 1947, and 17 December 1952 to 7 June 1955. In the notes to this page, John Cain (junior) will be referred to simply as 'Cain'.

Change of party leader (Cain): By mid-1990, the Cain government's financial problems with the Victorian Economic Development Commission and the State Bank of Victoria's links with the bankrupt merchant bank Tricontinental had been exacerbated by the collapse of the Pyramid Building Society. Coupled with the state's financial problems, hostility between the government and some sections of the union movement, and divisions within the Australian Labor Party caucus and cabinet, prompted Cain to resign as Premier on 10 August 1990. The context of Cain's resignation is dealt with in Strangio, pp 339-342, (see 'References', below), and note Cain's own assessment of divisions within the party in Cain, ch. 13 (see 'References', below).

The role of Tricontinental in the collapse of the Cain government is covered in Hugo Armstrong, 'The Tricontinental Affair', in Considine and Costar, pp 43-58 (see 'References', below); a more extended version is, Hugo Armstrong, Tricontinental: The Rise and Fall of a Merchant Bank, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1995, ISBN 0522846580), but note the review of this publication by Warren P Hogan, in Australian Economic History Review, 37 (2) July 1997: 167-170.

References: A survey of Cain's period in office can be found in Paul Strangio, 'John Cain Jnr: The Burden of History', in Strangio and Costar, pp 325-350, (see 'Sources', below). A comprehensive review of the Cain government is provided by Mark Considine and Brian Costar (editors), Trials in Power: Cain, Kirner and Victoria 1982-1992, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1992, ISBN 0522845371), and Cain himself produced a study of his period in office; see, John Cain, John Cain's Years: Power, Parties and Politics, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1995, ISBN 0522847072).

The Victorian Parliament under the Cain government is surveyed by Wright, pp 220-235 (see 'Sources', below). Information about the establishment of the Cain government is contained in the collections by Brian J Costar and Colin A Hughes (editors), Labor to Office: The Victorian State Election 1982, (Blackburn, Vic.: Drummond, 1983, ISBN 0909081735), and P R Hay, J. Halligan, J. Warhurst and B Costar (editors), Essays on Victorian Politics, (Warrnambool, Vic: Warrnambool Institute Press, 1985, ISBN 0949759066). The Australian Journal of Politics and History has given brief summaries of Victorian politics and government since 1956 in the 'Political Chronicle' section of the journal in issues of each annual volume. This publication can be viewed online through Wiley-Blackwell Journals at subscribing libraries.


Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, (Rushcutters Bay, NSW: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X); Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1985-1999, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2002, ISBN 1862874346); Paul Strangio and Brian Costar (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019); Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel: A History of the Parliament of Victoria 1856-1990, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0195533593). Victoria Hansard (Record of Parliamentary Debates) on line at: .

In consulting these sources, note the difference between ministries and periods in office.