ID 0182

State Government of Victoria beginning 22 December 1913 - period in office of Premier Watt, William Alexander ending on 18 June 1914

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

Watt, William Alexander
Date of beginning of period in office
22 December 1913
Date of end of period in office
18 June 1914 
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
Liberal 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')

This premier did not win office as the result of an election, and was not (or has not been) in office long enough to contest an election as premier ; see 'Period in office' table above.

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Defeat in parliament (Elmslie): Beginning of Watt's second period in office; 'The Liberals met on 9 December and appointed Watt as Leader of the Opposition. He moved a motion of want of confidence in the ministry on 11 December, and the government was defeated 40-13 on 16 December.' Hughes and Graham, p.115 (see 'Sources', below); Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1913-14 Session, vol. 135, 11-16 December 1913, pp 3020-3130. 'Elmslie sought a dissolution on 18th. When this was refused Elmslie tendered his resignation. Watt was then interviewed and agreed to form a ministry' Hughes and Graham, p.115.

Watt was commissioned on 22 December 1913. Anderson and Serle characterize this episode as being part of a plan by Watts to construct a ministry on his own terms: 'Master of the situation, Watt brought his followers to heel: Labor was defeated after one week in office and he reconstructed his ministry with additional radical Liberals.' (see 'References', below); note also Paul Strangio, Neither Power nor Glory: 110 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, pp 106-108 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822).

Change of party leader (Watts): 'At a cabinet meeting on 16 June 1914 Watt announced that he was resigning with the intention of entering federal politics. Peacock was chosen to succeed him.' Hughes and Graham, p.115 (see 'Sources', below).

References: For a study of Watt's periods in office, see David Dunstan, 'John Murray and William Watt: The Odd Couple', especially pp 142-147, in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 9, (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 Murray's career can be found in John Anderson and Geoffrey Serle, 'Watt, William Alexander (1871–1946)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1990), on line here [accessed 3 April 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.