ID 0171

State Government of Victoria beginning 16 February 1892 - period in office of Premier Shiels, William ending on 23 January 1893

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

Shiels, William
Date of beginning of period in office
16 February 1892
Date of end of period in office
23 January 1893 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Resignation of premier 
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
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')

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Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
VIC 20 April 1892William ShielsLiberalWilliam ShielsLiberal

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Resignation of premier (Munro): Beginning of Shiels's period in office; The financial collapse in Victoria triggered by a bank failure late in 1889 brought to an end the boom of the 1880s. Premier Munro was embroiled in the failure of a bank he had founded and he was forced to resign as premier in February 1892 after public criticism of his behaviour (Lack, pp 98-99, see 'References', below). Parliament had been prorogued on 29 December 1891 with no statement by Munro of his financial difficulties; Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1891 Session, vol. 68, 29 December 1891, p.3435.

Shiels was commissioned to form a government on 16 February 1892 (note Lack's comments on the irregular nature of the transition between premierships; Lack, p.99, see 'References', below). At the Assembly elections held on 20 April 1992, Shiels won a clear majority for his government.

Defeat in parliament (Shiels): Although progress was made in implementing railway economies, financial difficulties persisted for the government. Revelations over the profligacy of the former premier, Munro, disagreements over budget measures and the continuing economic depression eventually prompted the passing of a no confidence motion against the government on 18 January 1893 by 45 to 42 votes '... when 16 members abandoned Shiels.' Lack p.101 (see 'References', below); Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1892-3 Session, vol. 71, 18 January 1893, pp 3944-3998. 'The House insisted that the ministry be evicted rather than reconstructed.' Lack p.101 (see 'References', below).

References: For a study of government and politics during this depression period, see 'David Syme and the Three Stooges? The Bust Premiers: James Munro, William Shiels and J B Patterson', in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 6, (see 'Sources', below), and for a review of Victorian parliamentary politics in the 1890s, see, Wright, ch. 6 (in 'Sources', below). A survey of Shiels's career can be found in Geoffrey Serle, 'Shiels, William (1848–1904)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1988), on line here [accessed 13 March 2014].


Colin Hughes and B D Graham (editors), A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); Parliament of Victoria, One Hundred Years of Responsible Government 1856-1956, (Melbourne: Government Printer, 1957, Parliamentary Paper No. 40 of 1956-58); Paul Strangio and Brian Costar (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019); Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel: A History of the Parliament of Victoria 1856-1990, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0195533593). Victoria Hansard (Record of Parliamentary Debates) on line here .

In consulting these sources, note the difference between ministries and periods in office.