ID 0147

State Government of Tasmania beginning 15 April 1916 - period in office of Premier Lee, Walter Henry ending on 12 August 1922

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

Lee, Walter Henry
Date of beginning of period in office
15 April 1916
Date of end of period in office
12 August 1922 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
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
31 May 1919
Result of general election
If further change during period
10 June 1922
Result of general election

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 9 June 1934Walter Henry LeeNationalist PartyAlbert George OgilvieAustralian Labor Party
TAS 10 June 1922Walter Henry LeeNationalist PartyWalter Henry LeeNationalist Party
TAS 31 May 1919Walter Henry LeeNationalist PartyWalter Henry LeeNationalist Party
TAS 25 March 1916John EarleAustralian Labor PartyWalter Henry LeeLiberal Party

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Loss of election: Beginning of Lee's first period in office: 'The Earle Government lost one seat to the Liberals at the March 1916 election. Earle immediately indicated that he would resign; the Liberal parliamentary party met on 10 April and confirmed Lee as its leader; Earle then resigned...', Hughes and Graham, p. 257, (see 'Sources', below). Lee was then commissioned as Premier of a Liberal Party majority government.

Change in parliamentary support and change of party leader: Lee led his party to victory at the 1919 House of Assembly elections under the banner of the newly formed Nationalist Party (Nationalists). The Nationalist Party was formed in 1917 in response to political divisions over Australia's role in the First World War and the use of conscription for military service. Supporters of the Liberal Party combined with elements of the Australian Labor Party to form the new party. At the Assembly election in June 1922, the anti-Labor forces were split between the Nationalist Party and a newly formed Country Party, leaving Lee with only Nationalist Party minority support in the Assembly. Lee was instructed by the members of the Nationalist parliamentary party to seek an arrangement with the Country Party members to support a coalition government. Lee was unsuccessful and resigned the leadership of the Nationalist Party over the issue of the involvement of the Country Party in the choice of a joint party leader. He was replaced by Hayes who was chosen by a joint meeting of both parliamentary parties; see Hughes and Graham, p. 258, (see 'Sources', below).

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]), and note, 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).

For a survey of Lee's career, see Scott Bennett, 'Lee, Sir Walter Henry (1874 - 1963)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, pp 52-53, (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,