ID 0207

State Government of Victoria beginning 23 August 1972 - period in office of Premier Hamer, Rupert James (Dick) ending on 5 June 1981

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

Hamer, Rupert James (Dick)
Date of beginning of period in office
23 August 1972
Date of end of period in office
5 June 1981 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Change of party leader 
Reason for end of this government
Change of party leader
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')

* to view table drag left or right.
Election Premier at election Premier's party Premier after election Premier's party
VIC 5 May 1979Rupert James (Dick) HamerLiberal PartyRupert James (Dick) HamerLiberal Party
VIC 20 March 1976Rupert James (Dick) HamerLiberal PartyRupert James (Dick) HamerLiberal Party
VIC 19 May 1973Rupert James (Dick) HamerLiberal PartyRupert James (Dick) HamerLiberal Party

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Change of party leader (Bolte): Beginning of Hamer's period in office; On 11 July 1972 Bolte announced his decision to retire as Premier from 23 August. His preferred successor was Hamer whom Bolte had encouraged to move from the Legislative Council to the the Legislative Assembly at a by-election for the Assembly in 1971. The Parliamentary Liberal Party selected Hamer as leader on 22 August (see Hughes, p.35 in 'Sources', below). For a more detailed account of this transition, see Colebatch, ch. 12 (in 'References', below).

Period in office: Hamer was Premier of Victoria for over nine years (3,208 days), the third longest period in office of any Victorian Premier. He led the Liberal Party to victory at three general elections for the Legislative Assembly in May 1973, March 1976 and May 1979 although with only a one seat Liberal majority in 1979. During this period there were several changes to the composition of the ministry and to the way in which ministers were chosen. Although the Premier allocated portfolios, Hamer '... had inherited an elected cabinet with the Premier limited to two appointees [out of 17 ministers] at first and then, after the 1979 election, four.' Rodan, p. 305 (see 'References' below). For the circumstances of a change in the number of ministers appointed by the Premier, see Colebatch, pp 274-275 (in 'References', below).

Change of party leader (Hamer): 'On 15 March 1981 [Minister Ian] Smith announced that he would introduce a private member's bill to legalize casinos, a policy which the Liberal parliamentary party had just rejected. He was immediately dismissed [from the ministry] but was restored to cabinet two days later. On 22 May he publicly criticised Hamer and, after repeating his criticism at a cabinet meeting [chaired by Lindsay Thompson], resigned. Hamer, who had been overseas, returned on 28 May and resigned.' Hughes, Handbook ... 1974-1985, p. 54 (see 'Sources', below). More detailed accounts of the resignation can be found in Colebatch, ch. 26, and Rodan, pp 309-310 (see 'References', below).

References: A detailed analysis of government in Victoria from the perspective of the mid-1970s is provided by Jean Holmes, The Government of Victoria, (St. Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1976), and note J M Power and N P Low, 'Hamer's Policy Seedlings: Inquiries and Ministries', in P R Hay, J. Halligan, J Warhurst and B. Costar (eds), Essays on Victorian Politics, (Warrnambool, Vic.: Warrnambool Institute Press, 1985, ISBN 0949759066). The Victorian Parliament under Liberal governments from 1955-1982 is surveyed by Wright, pp 196-206 (see 'Sources', below), and the Australian Journal of Politics and History has given brief summaries of Victorian politics and government since 1956 in the 'Political Chronicle' section of the journal in issues of each annual volume. This publication can be viewed online through Wiley-Blackwell Journals at subscribing libraries.

A political biography of Hamer has been provided by Tim Colebatch, Hamer: The Liberal Liberal, (Brunswick, Vic.: Scribe Publications, 2014, ISBN 9781925106138), and a study of Hamer's period in office can be found in Paul Rodan, 'Rupert "Dick" Hamer: The Urbane Liberal', in Strangio and Costar, ch. 22 (see 'Sources', below).


Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1965-1974, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1977, ISBN 0708113400); Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, (Rushcutters Bay, NSW: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X); 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.