ID 0142

State Government of Tasmania beginning 19 June 1909 - period in office of Premier Lewis, Neil Elliott ending on 20 October 1909

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

Lewis, Neil Elliott
Date of beginning of period in office
19 June 1909
Date of end of period in office
20 October 1909 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Change of party leader 
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
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')

* to view table drag left or right.
Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
TAS 30 April 1912Neil Elliott LewisLiberal PartyNeil Elliott LewisLiberal Party
TAS 2 April 1903Neil Elliott LewisMinisterialistsWilliam Bispham PropstingMinisterialists
TAS 9 March 1900Neil Elliott LewisMinisterialistsNeil Elliott LewisMinisterialists

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Change of party leader: Beginning of Lewis's second period in office: 'Evans decided to retire on the grounds of ill-health following the May 1909 elections. Non-Labor members met on 8 June and elected Lewis as leader, and there was a fusion of Anti-Socialist and Liberal-Democrat groups into the Liberal Party', Hughes and Graham, p. 255 (see 'Sources', below). Weller provides a different view which stresses the importance of factional politics within the fused Liberal Party and the failure of Evans to gain support among his parliamentary colleagues; see Weller, p. 373, (see 'Emergence of political parties', below).

Defeat in parliament: Some members of the parliamentary Liberal party had given only conditional support to the Lewis government, and the leader of the group, N K Ewing moved a motion of censure against the government in October 1909 and defeated the government. Lewis resigned and recommended that Earle, the leader of the Labor Party opposition should be commissioned as Premier. For details, see Weller pp. 373-374, (see 'Emergence of political parties', below).

Emergence of political parties: 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. 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 208-215, (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 Lewis's career, see Scott Bennett, 'Lewis, Sir Neil Elliott (1858 - 1935)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, pp 378-380, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1986), 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); Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700), and the website of the Parliament of Tasmania,