ID 0172

State Government of Victoria beginning 23 January 1893 - period in office of Premier Patterson, James Brown ending on 27 September 1894

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

Patterson, James Brown
Date of beginning of period in office
23 January 1893
Date of end of period in office
27 September 1894 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Defeat in parliament 
Reason for end of this government
Loss of general election
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 September 1894James Brown PattersonConservativeGeorge TurnerLiberal

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Defeat in parliament (Shiels): Beginning of Patterson's period in office; 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). After leading the Opposition attack on the Shiels ministry, Patterson was commissioned to form a government on 23 January 1893.

Loss of general election (Patterson): The continuing problems of government finance, the economic recession, widespread unemployment, a banking collapse, and an unpopular budget led to divisions within government supporters and the prospect of parliamentary defeat (Lack, pp 101-104, see 'References', below). A motion of want of confidence in the ministry was moved on 16 August 1894 by Turner, the new leader of the opposition. During the fourth day of debate on the motion, an amendment was moved on 28 August that: 'in the present position of public affairs it is desirable that the constituencies be consulted, and that a respectful address be presented to His Excellency the Governor praying that this House be dissolved forthwith' Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1894 Session, vol. 74, 28 August 1894, p.1560. After more debate and another amendment, a vote was taken on the second amendment which was lost 46 to 42 and taken by the Premier as equivalent to the defeat of the government; this was confirmed after procedural discussions and a concluding vote on the original motion of lack of confidence which passed on the voices; Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1894 Session, vol. 74, 28 August 1894, pp 1578-1580. Parliament was prorogued on 29 August 1894, and the Assembly was dissolved on 4 September 1894.

'Defeated in the election of 20 September 1894, the [Patterson] ministry decided to resign without meeting the Assembly. The Governor acted on Patterson's advice in asking Turner, the Leader of the Opposition, to form a new government', Hughes and Graham (editors), p.106 (see 'Sources', 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 Patterson's career can be found in Peter Cook, 'Patterson, Sir James Brown (1833–1895)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1974), on line here [accessed 16 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.