ID 0149

State Government of Tasmania beginning 14 August 1923 - period in office of Premier Lee, Walter Henry ending on 25 October 1923

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
14 August 1923
Date of end of period in office
25 October 1923 
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
Nationalist 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 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

Previous period in this series for TAS | Next period in this series for TAS


Change of party leader: Beginning of Lee's second period in office: 'In August [1923] there was a government crisis involving administration of the State railways. Hayes invited the ministerial caucus to indicate its attitude to the Government, and, on hearing members' views, stated that he would resign. A meeting of Nationalist and Country [parliamentary] party members on 13 August chose [J C] Newton, over [former Premier] Lee and [A T] Marshall, as the new leader. However, Newton proved unable to form a ministry as Lee and other former Ministers refused to serve under him, and a second meeting on the 14th elected Lee. Hayes then tendered his resignation, Lee was commissioned, and announced his ministry at once', Hughes and Graham, p. 259, (see 'Sources', below). Lee was Premier of a Nationalist Party minority government.

Defeat in parliament: In October 1923 Lee introduced a program of substantial cuts to government expenditure. 'It included public service retrenchment, abolition of the agent-general's office, a reduction in the number of members of parliament, introduction of fees for high school students and the abolition of dental clinics and medical inspections for schoolchildren. Many taxes were to be increased. Though Lee survived a Labor no confidence motion, he was defeated on a move to consider the proposals in committee. His government had survived for ten weeks', Bennett, (see 'References', below). Lee asked for a dissolution but Joseph Lyons was called upon to form a minority Labor government supported by several dissident Nationalists; see Hughes and Graham, pp. 259-260, (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]).

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,