ID 0186

State Government of Victoria beginning 7 September 1923 - period in office of Premier Lawson, Harry Sutherland Wightman ending on 19 March 1924

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

Lawson, Harry Sutherland Wightman
Date of beginning of period in office
7 September 1923
Date of end of period in office
19 March 1924 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Change of partisan support for premier/PM 
Reason for end of this government
Change of partisan support for premier/PM
Number of days in office

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
National Party (Nationalists)
If coalition government
Coalition partner 1
Country Party
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')

* to view table drag left or right.
Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
VIC 30 August 1921Harry Sutherland Wightman LawsonNational Party (Nationalists)Harry Sutherland Wightman LawsonNational Party (Nationalists)
VIC 21 October 1920Harry Sutherland Wightman LawsonNational Party (Nationalists)Harry Sutherland Wightman LawsonNational Party (Nationalists)

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Change in parliamentary support for premier (Lawson): Beginning of Lawson's second period in office; 'In August 1923 Lawson was faced with threats of attack from the Country Party and from a faction of rebellious Nationalists. The ministry defeated a hostile motion of 30 August only with the help of the Labor Party [Victoria Parliamentary Debates, 1923-24 Session, vol. 164, 30 August 1923, p.868]. On 4 September the ministry decided to leave office. Lawson submitted his resignation to the Governor on 5th and was asked to explore the possibilities of forming another government. In forming his new ministry, Lawson made places for five Country Party members and for Argyle, one of the leading figures amongst the dissident Nationalists. Allan, the Country Party leader, became Deputy Premier and chose his group's five ministers; portfolios were allocated at the first cabinet meeting.' Hughes and Graham, p.119 (see 'Sources' below).

These changes to the partisan composition of the Lawson government marked the beginning of Lawson's second period in office; Lawson was commissioned as Premier of a National Party (Nationalists) and Country Party coalition government on 7 September 1923.

Change in parliamentary support for premier (Lawson): 'In January 1924 the National Party [Nationalists] objected when a country Party candidate contested a by-election for Dalhousie, a former Nationalist seat, which was won by Labor. The Country Party's cabinet members were reported to have undertaken either to persuade the Victorian Farmers' Union [the organizational wing of the Country Party] to agree to an electoral understanding or to withdraw from the ministry. The VFU conference of March 1924 refused to consider joining an electoral alliance, whereupon Lawson, having conferred with the [Nationalist] ministers, submitted the resignation of the whole ministry to the Governor on 14 March 1924. The Governor gave him a commission to form a new ministry which was drawn from the [Nationalist] Party only. This change to the partisan composition of the Lawson ministry marked the end of Lawson's second period in office.

References: For a study of Lawson's periods in office, see Margaret Fitzherbert, 'Harry Lawson, Sure and Steady', in Strangio and Costar (editors) ch. 12 (see 'Sources', below). A survey of Lawson's career can be found in Donald S. Garden, 'Lawson, Sir Harry Sutherland Wightman (1875–1952)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1986), on line here [accessed 14 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.