ID 0202

State Government of Victoria beginning 27 June 1950 - period in office of Premier McDonald, John Gladstone Black ending on 28 October 1952

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

McDonald, John Gladstone Black
Date of beginning of period in office
27 June 1950
Date of end of period in office
28 October 1952 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Defeat in parliament 
Reason for end of this government
Defeat in parliament
Number of days in office

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
Country 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 6 December 1952John Gladstone Black McDonaldCountry PartyJohn Cain [snr]Australian Labor Party

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Defeat in parliament (Hollway): Beginning of McDonald's first period in office; The Governor agreed to a request by Premier Hollway for parliament to be dissolved and a general election for the Assembly was held on 13 May 1950. Earlier that year, the Liberal Party had changed its name to the Liberal and Country Party as part of the continuing rivalry between Liberals and the Country Party (see Costar, pp 233-234 in 'References' for the previous period in office). At the election, the Liberal and Country Party maintained its 27 seats, while the Australian Labor Party won 24, a gain of 7, at the expense of the Country Party which lost 7 seats to hold 13 seats. Hollway continued in office and reconstructed his ministry on 19 June (see Hughes and Graham, p.133 in 'Sources', below); Parliament convened on 20 June.

After the election, negotiations began between the Country Party and the Labor Party to defeat the government. This was achieved in a vote on a no-confidence motion taken on 22 June 1950 which the government lost 38 to 24; Victoria Parliamentary Debates,1950-51 Session, vol. 232, 22 June, pp 25-132. Hollway sought another dissolution but was refused by the Governor; Hollway then resigned. McDonald, the leader of the Country Party, was commissioned to form a government and became Premier of a Country Party minority government on 27 June 1950, with conditional support from the Australian Labor Party.

The circumstances under which the Labor Party agreed to support a Country Party minority government are described in Costar, pp 243-247 (see 'References', below). Once the minority government had been formed, the '... Liberal and Country Party then sought to defeat the new government by offering to support a Labor Government for a limited period during which a redistribution of electorates could be made, but the Labor Party rejected the suggestion.' Hughes and Graham, p.133 (see 'Sources', below).

Defeat in parliament (McDonald): In October 1950, universal franchise had been adopted for the Legislative Council (Wright, p.187, see 'Sources', below) and, on 21 June 1952, '... the first Legislative Council election since the the expansion of the franchise saw the ALP win an additional eight provinces -- seven from the [Liberal and Country Party] and one from the Country Party.' Costar, p.248 (see 'References', below). Electoral redistribution for the Assembly had been one of the conditions for Labor's support of the McDonald ministry, and the Labor Party used its increased support in the Legislative Council, together with two of Hollway's supporters to deny supply. The motion read: 'That this House is of the opinion that, in view of the inequitable electoral system at present operating in this State and of the Government being not fairly representative of the people, the Supply sought by this Bill should not be consented to at present' Victoria Parliamentary Debates,1950-51 Session, vol. 232, 21 October 1952, pp 2630-2684, at p.2683; the motion passed 17 to 16.

'McDonald sought a dissolution, and when this was refused, resigned.' Hughes and Graham, p.134 (see 'Sources', below).

References: For a study of McDonald's periods in office, see Brian Costar, 'John McDonald: A Remorseful Premier', in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 19, (see 'Sources', below). A survey of McDonald's career can be found in B J Costar, 'McDonald, Sir John Gladstone Black (Jack) (1898–1977)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1996), on line here [accessed 28 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.