ID 0199

State Government of Victoria beginning 21 November 1945 - period in office of Premier Cain [snr], John ending on 20 November 1947

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

Cain [snr], John
Date of beginning of period in office
21 November 1945
Date of end of period in office
20 November 1947 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
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
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')

* to view table drag left or right.
Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
VIC 6 December 1952John Gladstone Black McDonaldCountry PartyJohn Cain [snr]Australian Labor Party
VIC 8 November 1947John Cain [snr]Australian Labor PartyThomas Tuke HollwayLiberal Party
VIC 10 November 1945Ian MacfarlanLiberal PartyJohn Cain [snr]Australian Labor Party

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Loss of general election (Macfarlan): Beginning of Cain's second period in office; 'Having been disendorsed by the State executive of the Liberal Party, [Macfarlan] contested the general election on 10 November [1945] as leader of the Ministerial Liberals. His ministry was defeated and he lost his seat.' Wright (see 'References', for the previous period in office). 'With 31 seats [Labor] did not win well enough to govern by itself. So, abandoning its ideological objection to holding minority office, Labor sought an alliance with one of the Country Party (18 seats), Liberal Party (10 seats), Ministerialist/Macfarlan Liberals (3 seats) or miscellaneous Independents (3 seats). It failed, but trusted enough in the political nonalignment of metropolitan Independents, Robert Gardner (MLA Ivanhoe) and Ian McLaren (MLA Glen Iris) to claim office.' Wright, p.181 (see 'Sources', below). Cain was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party minority government on 21 November 1945.

Loss of general election (Cain):The Cain government was forced to the polls by a hostile majority in the Legislative Council. 'On [1] October 1947 the Legislative Council refused Supply because the Opposition parties wishes to test opinion on the Commonwealth Labor Government's bank nationalization policy [Consolidated Revenue Bill (no.1); Victoria Parliamentary Debates,1947 Session, vol. 225, 29 August, pp 78-116]. Cain refused to resign on the ground that the Opposition did not have the numbers to form a government, and obtained a dissolution.' Hughes and Graham, p.131 (see 'Sources', below). The details and context of this episode are described in Strangio, pp 260-261 (see 'References', below), and Wright, pp 182-184 (see, 'Sources', below).

At the general election for the Assembly held on 8 November 1947, the Labor government was defeated, with the Liberal and Country parties winning 47 of the 65 Assembly seats.

References: Kate White provides a political biography of Cain in, John Cain and Victorian Labor 1917-1957, (Sidney: Hale & Iremonger, 1982, ISBN 0868060275), and the wider divisions within the Labor Party and trade union movement during this period are described in Robert Murray, The Split: Australian Labor in the Fifties (Melbourne: Cheshire, 1972, ISBN 0701516755). For a broad historical study of Labor politics in Victoria, see Paul Strangio, Neither Power nor Glory: 100 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856-1956, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2012, ISBN 9780522861822).

For a study of Cain's periods in office, see Paul Strangio, 'John Cain snr: The Star-crossed Premier', in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 20, (see 'Sources', below), and a short survey of Cain's career can be found in Robert Murray and Kate White, 'Cain, John (1882–1957)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1993), on line here [accessed 21 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.