ID 0157

State Government of Tasmania beginning 25 February 1948 - period in office of Premier Cosgrove, Robert ending on 25 August 1958

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

Cosgrove, Robert
Date of beginning of period in office
25 February 1948
Date of end of period in office
25 August 1958 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Change of party leader 
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
Australian Labor 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
21 August 1948
Result of general election
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 13 October 1956Robert CosgroveAustralian Labor PartyRobert CosgroveAustralian Labor Party
TAS 19 February 1955Robert CosgroveAustralian Labor PartyRobert CosgroveAustralian Labor Party
TAS 6 May 1950Robert CosgroveAustralian Labor PartyRobert CosgroveAustralian Labor Party
TAS 21 August 1948Robert CosgroveAustralian Labor PartyRobert CosgroveAustralian Labor Party
TAS 23 November 1946Robert CosgroveAustralian Labor PartyRobert CosgroveAustralian Labor Party
TAS 13 December 1941Robert CosgroveAustralian Labor PartyRobert CosgroveAustralian Labor Party

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Change of party leader (Brooker): Beginning of Cosgrove's second period in office: Brooker had become Premier after Cosgrove had resigned as a consequence of charges of bribery made against him in December 1947. 'Following Cosgrove's acquittal on 22 February 1948, Brooker resigned. Caucus elected Cosgrove leader on 25 February, and he chose a new ministry', Hughes and Graham, p. 264 (see 'Sources', below). Cosgrove was recommissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government on 25 February. For background to these events, see Townsley, pp 34-36 (see 'References', below)

Change in parliamentary support: The Cosgrove government lost its majority in the House of Assembly after August 1948 general election, but continued as an Australian Labor Party minority government. Premier Cosgrove led the Australian Labor Party into three more general elections (1951, 1955 and 1956) but did not succeed in winning more than 15 of the 30 seats in the House of Assembly; Cosgrove relied on the support of an independent or an agreement with the opposition to sustain his minority governments.

Change of party leader (Cosgrove): Premier Cosgrove resigned in August 1958 because of ill health, and the Labor caucus elected Reece leader on 25 August. The previous nine months had been a period of turmoil for the government: in November allegations had been made that the Treasurer, R J D Turnbull had solicited a bribe; the Attorney-General, R F Fagan had instigated a police investigation and requested the resignation of Turnbull, who had refused to comply; two motions of censure against the government were moved but were not supported; in June, the Treasurer was indicted and resigned; and in July the Attorney-General resigned on the grounds of ill health. See Hughes and Graham, p. 264 (see 'Sources', below) and, for more extended coverage, see W A Townsley, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle January-June 1958, 4 (2) November 1958: 262-265, and Townsley, pp 126-134 (see 'References', below).

References: For background on the period of postwar politics in Tasmania, see W A Townsley, Tasmania: Microcosm of the Federation or Vassal State, 1945-1983, pp 1-167, (Hobart: St David's Park Publishing, 1994), and note Terry Newman, Tasmanian Premiers 1856-1988: A Biographical Handbook, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, [1988]). For a survey of Labor Party politics in this period, see Richard Davis, Eighty Years' Labor: The ALP in Tasmania, 1903-1983, pp 37-57 (Hobart: Sassafras Books and the History Department, University of Tasmania, 1983, ISBN 0859012212).

For a survey of Cosgrove's career, see W A Townsley, 'Cosgrove, Sir Robert (1884 - 1969)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, pp 390-391, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1993), 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,