ID 0160

State Government of Tasmania beginning 3 May 1972 - period in office of Premier Reece, Eric Elliott ending on 31 March 1975

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

Reece, Eric Elliott
Date of beginning of period in office
3 May 1972
Date of end of period in office
31 March 1975 
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
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
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 22 April 1972Walter Angus BethuneLiberal PartyEric Elliott ReeceAustralian Labor Party
TAS 10 May 1969Eric Elliott ReeceAustralian Labor PartyWalter Angus BethuneLiberal Party
TAS 2 May 1964Eric Elliott ReeceAustralian Labor PartyEric Elliott ReeceAustralian Labor Party
TAS 2 May 1959Eric Elliott ReeceAustralian Labor PartyEric Elliott ReeceAustralian Labor Party

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


Loss of general election: Beginning of Reece's second period in office: The withdrawal of the Centre Party member, K O Lyons, from the coalition with the Liberal Party, prompted Bethune to request a dissolution for a general election of the House of Assembly on 22 April 1972 at which the Australian Labor Party won a substantial majority of seats. Reece became Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government; see W A Townsley, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, January-April 1972, 18 (2) August 1972: 261-301 at 288-291.

Change of party leader: At the annul state conference of the Australian Labor Party in Launceston in February 1975, a motion was passed that no member would be eligible for preselection as a Labor candidate if he or she were to exceed the age of 65 during the term of office for which he or she was being endorsed. Premier Reece who turned 66 in 1975, interpreted this motion as an expression of the party's unwillingness for him to continue as leader, and he resigned the following month. Caucus chose Neilson as the new leader and Neilson became Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government. For discussion on this transition, see Townsley, pp 317-334, particularly pp 333-334, (see 'References', below).

References: Terry Newman, Tasmanian Premiers 1856-1988: A Biographical Handbook, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, [1988]); For background on politics in Tasmania during this period, see W A Townsley, Tasmania: Microcosm of the Federation or Vassal State, 1945-1983, pp 301-346, (Hobart: St David's Park Publishing, 1994). For a survey of Labor Party politics in this period, see Richard Davis, Eighty Years' Labor: The ALP in Tasmania, 1903-1983, pp 57-84 (Hobart: Sassafras Books and the History Department, University of Tasmania, 1983, ISBN 0859012212).

For a brief survey of Reece's career, see Jillian Koshin, 'Reece, Eric Elliot AC (1909-99)', in Alison Alexander (editor), The Companion to Tasmanian History, p. 303, (Hobart: Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania, 2005, ISBN 186295223X), online 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, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politcs 1965-1974, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1977, ISBN 0708113400), and the website of the Parliament of Tasmania,