|Election||Premier at election||Premier's party||Premier after election||Premier's party|
|VIC 20 September 1894||James Brown Patterson||Conservative||George Turner||Liberal|
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 .