ID 0180

State Government of Victoria beginning 18 May 1912 - period in office of Premier Watt, William Alexander ending on 9 December 1913

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

Watt, William Alexander
Date of beginning of period in office
18 May 1912
Date of end of period in office
9 December 1913 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Change of party leader 
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
Liberal 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')

This premier did not win office as the result of an election, and was not (or has not been) in office long enough to contest an election as premier ; see 'Period in office' table above.

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Change of party leader (Murray): Beginning of Watt's first period in office; 'Murray's leadership came under criticism in 1912 and, in keeping with an agreement reached in cabinet, he informed the Governor on 14 May that he wished to resign the Premiership. On his recommendation, Watt was commissioned to form a new ministry.' Hughes and Graham, p. 113 (see 'Sources', below). Watt was commissioned as Premier of a Liberal ministry on 18 May 1912.

Defeat in parliament (Watt): 'During the 1913 session, Watt had difficulty in proceeding with an Electoral Districts Bill [to increase metropolitan representation] against the opposition of a 'Country Party' faction. The second reading was carried on the casting vote of the Speaker, and the Government was defeated 29-31 in Committee on 4 December 1913. Watt resigned the next day without offering advice on a successor.' Hughes and Graham, p.114 (see 'Sources' below); Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1913-14 Session, vol. 135, 4 December 1913, pp 2929-2981 .

References: For a study of Watt's periods in office, see David Dunstan, 'John Murray and William Watt: The Odd Couple', especially pp 142-147, in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 9, (see 'Sources', below), and for a review of Victorian parliamentary politics from 1901 to 1920, see, Wright, ch. 7 (in 'Sources', below). A survey of Murray's career can be found in John Anderson and Geoffrey Serle, 'Watt, William Alexander (1871–1946)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1990), on line here [accessed 3 April 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.