ID 0140

State Government of Tasmania beginning 9 April 1903 - period in office of Premier Propsting, William Bispham ending on 12 July 1904

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

Propsting, William Bispham
Date of beginning of period in office
9 April 1903
Date of end of period in office
12 July 1904 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
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
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
TAS 2 April 1903Neil Elliott LewisMinisterialistsWilliam Bispham PropstingMinisterialists

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Loss of election: 'Following the April 1903 elections in which Lewis lost his seat, Propsting, Leader of the Opposition and leader of the Liberal-Democrat group, was commissioned', Hughes and Graham, p. 255 (see 'Sources', below).

Defeat in Parliament: 'Following defeats in the Legislative Council, cabinet interviewed the Lieutenant-Governor on 30 June [1904] seeking a dissolution which was refused. An Opposition no-confidence motion was tabled and Propsting resigned. Evans, Leader of the Opposition, was commissioned', Hughes and Graham, p. 255 (see 'Sources', below).

Ministerialists: During the 1890s, the factional politics of previous years began to give way to political groupings and electoral organizations which foreshadowed the emergence of modern political parties. But these groupings were still fluid. The term ministerialists is often applied to groupings which, for a variety of reasons, supported a particular government. Hughes and Graham (p. 254, see 'Sources', below) and Reynolds (p. 211, see, 'References', below) label the Propsting ministry as Liberal-Democrat but the term reflects the predisposition of the premier and his supporting group rather than a party organization.

For the emergence of political parties in Tasmania, see Patrick Weller, 'Tasmania' in P Loveday, A W Martin and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, pp 355-382 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035), and R P Davis, 'Tasmania', in D J Murphy (editor), Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880-1920, pp 389-445, (St. Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1975, ISBN 0702209392).

References: For a description of the style of parliamentary government in this period, see John Reynolds, 'Premiers and Political Leaders', in F C Green (editor), Tasmania: A Century of Responsible Government 1856-1956, pp 211-212, (Hobart: L G Shea, Government Printer, [1956]), and note Terry Newman, Tasmanian Premiers 1856-1988: A Biographical Handbook, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, [1988]).

For a survey of Propsting's career, see D Nairn Thorp, 'Propsting, William Bispham (1861 - 1937)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, pp 302-303, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1988), on line at:


'Ministries: Names of the Members of Successive Ministries which have held Office in Tasmania since the inauguration of Responsible Government, together with the Dates of Appointment and Retirement', Journal of House of Assembly, Second Session of the Forty-Fifth Parliament of Tasmania, Anno LIII and LV Eliz II; Session 2 of the 45th Parliament, Volume 251, 2004-2006, (Hobart: Government Printer, Tasmania); and Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700).