ID 0162

State Government of Tasmania beginning 1 December 1977 - period in office of Premier Lowe, Douglas Ackley ending on 11 November 1981

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

Lowe, Douglas Ackley
Date of beginning of period in office
1 December 1977
Date of end of period in office
11 November 1981 
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
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 28 July 1979Douglas Ackley LoweAustralian Labor PartyDouglas Ackley LoweAustralian Labor Party

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Change of party leader (Neilson): Beginning of Lowe's period in office: Neilson resigned as Premier on 1 December 1977 to become Tasmania's Agent-General in London. 'The choice of successor to Mr Neilson was clearly between deputy premier Lowe and minister for education Mr Neil Batt (forty). It appeared that Mr Lowe commanded twelve caucus votes and Mr Batt eight, but with ten weeks to a caucus vote the contest would have been close. Speculation about a leadership struggle was quickly defused by Mr Batt who announced that for the sake of party unity he would not be a candidate for the premiership', Graham Smith and M T P, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, July-December 1977, 24 (1) April 1978: 101-107 at 102. Lowe was commissioned and became Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government.

Change of party leader (Lowe): Factional tensions in the Australian Labor Party and disagreements within the parliamentary party over schemes for the damming of the Gordon, Franklin and Olga rivers for hydroelectric power generation, led to the replacement of Lowe as party leader. After a series of disputes within caucus, '... in the "Remembrance Day coup", following the delivery of a petition by twelve members of Caucus requesting his resignation, Premier Lowe lost a vote of confidence by twelve votes to nine. A bitter Doug Lowe resigned from the ALP and moved to the crossbenches', Graham Smith, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, July-December 1981, 28 (1) April 1982: 106-111, at 109; for an assessment of the broader context, see W A Townsley, Tasmania: Microcosm of the Federation or Vassal State, 1945-1983, pp 387-401, (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, ch. 4 (Hobart: Sassafras Books and the History Department, University of Tasmania, 1983, ISBN 0859012212).

References: Terry Newman, Tasmanian Premiers 1856-1988: A Biographical Handbook, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, [1988]).

For a brief survey of Lowe's career, see Wendy Rimon, 'Lowe, Douglas Ackley (b 1942)', in Alison Alexander (editor), The Companion to Tasmanian History, p. 221, (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 1975-1984, (Sydney: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X), and the website of the Parliament of Tasmania,