ID 0177

State Government of Victoria beginning 10 June 1902 - period in office of Premier Irvine, William Hill ending on 16 February 1904

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

Irvine, William Hill
Date of beginning of period in office
10 June 1902
Date of end of period in office
16 February 1904 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Defeat in parliament 
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
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 1902William Hill IrvineReformWilliam Hill IrvineReform

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Defeat in parliament (Peacock): Beginning of Irvine's period in office; 'Faced with a demand for a reduction of cabinet posts, a majority of the ministers agreed in December 1901 that they should resign their portfolios to facilitate a reconstruction and signed a document to that effect. The document was held be McCulloch and later by Wynne, who posted it to Peacock on 30 April 1902. However, Peacock did not accept the resignations. The Opposition brought forward a motion censuring the ministers for "signing their resignations and continuing thereafter to administer their departments". When this was passed [45 votes to 42] on 3 June, the Peacock Government resigned and Irvine was commissioned to form a new ministry.' Hughes and Graham, p.109 (see 'Sources', below); Victoria Parliamentary Debates, First Session 1902, vol. 100, 3 June 1902, pp 35-60. Wright provides context for the popular demands for constitutional reform and the reduction in size of the Victorian parliament and government that contributed to Peacock's defeat (Wright, pp 118-119, see 'Sources', below).

Irvine was commissioned on 10 June 1902, and became Premier of a Reform ministry. 'Irvine was essentially a radical Tory and the wider purpose of his constitutional reforms was to strengthen the capacity of Victorian anti-socialists to repel the assaults of the Labor Party.... ... In seizing the initiative and dictating the political agenda, Irvine also weakened the position of Peacock and his followers and effectively brought to an end the old Liberal-Labor alliance.' Rickard, p.125 (see 'References', below).

Change of party leader (Irvine): 'In February 1904 Irvine and Shiels announced the intention of resigning from the ministry for health reasons. A cabinet meeting on 9 February decided that Bent should be the government leader, and he was subsequently asked by the Governor to form a new ministry. Bent retained most of the former ministers but reallocated some of the portfolios.' Hughes and Graham, p.110 (see 'Sources, below).

References: For a study of Irvine's period in office, see John Rickard, '"Iceberg" Irvine and the Politics of anti-Labor', in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 8, (see 'Sources', below), and for a review of Victorian parliamentary politics from 1901 to 1920, see, Wright, ch. 7 (in 'Sources', below). A survey of Irvine's career can be found in J. M. Bennett and Ann G. Smith, 'Irvine, Sir William Hill (1858–1943)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1983), on line here [accessed 31 March 2014].


Colin Hughes and B D Graham (editors), A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); Parliament of Victoria, One Hundred Years of Responsible Government 1856-1956, (Melbourne: Government Printer, 1957, Parliamentary Paper No. 40 of 1956-58); 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 here .

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