ID 0181

State Government of Victoria beginning 9 December 1913 - period in office of Premier Elmslie, George Alexander ending on 22 December 1913

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

Elmslie, George Alexander
Date of beginning of period in office
9 December 1913
Date of end of period in office
22 December 1913 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Defeat in parliament 
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
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')

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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Defeat in parliament (Watt): Beginning of Elmslie's period in office; '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 .

The Labor Party members had voted against Electoral Districts Bill on the grounds that it did not propose equal representation for all districts. Elmslie, leader of the Labor Party, was invited to form a government on 6 December. 'The Ministers were then selected by a ballot of the parliamentary Labor Party.' Hughes and Graham, p.114 (see 'Sources', below); the Elmslie ministry was commissioned on 9 December, and became the first Labor Party government in Victoria.

Defeat in parliament (Elmslie): 'The Liberals met on 9 December and appointed Watt as Leader of the Opposition. He moved a motion of want of confidence in the ministry on 11 December, and the government was defeated 40-13 on 16 December.' Hughes and Graham, p.115 (see 'Sources', below); Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1913-14 Session, vol. 135, 11-16 December 1913, pp 3020-3130. 'Elmslie sought a dissolution on 18th. When this was refused Elmslie tendered his resignation.' Hughes and Graham, p.115.

This episode has been seen as being part of a plan by Watts to construct a ministry on his own terms; see Paul Strangio, Neither Power nor Glory: 110 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, pp 106-108 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822).

References: For notes on Elmslie's brief period in office, see Peter Love, 'Elmslie, Prendergast and Hogan: Labouring Against the Tide', especially pp 172-174, in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 13, (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 Elmslile's career can be found in Barry O. Jones, 'Elmslie, George Alexander (1861–1918)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1981), on line here [accessed 4 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.