ID 0212

State Government of Victoria beginning 21 October 1999 - period in office of Premier Bracks, Stephen Phillip ending on 30 July 2007



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

Premier
Bracks, Stephen Phillip
Date of beginning of period in office
21 October 1999
Date of end of period in office
30 July 2007 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Loss of general election 
Reason for end of this government
Change of party leader
Number of days in office
2,839 

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
Australian Labor Party
If coalition government
Coalition partner 1
--none--
Coalition partner 2
--none--
Coalition partner 3
--none--
Coalition partner 4
--none--
Party support in parliament at beginning of period
Minority
If change in parliamentary support during period
30 November 2002
Majority
Result of general election
If further change during period
--none--  

Number of ministers at beginning of period (this may vary during the period)

Total number of ministers
19
Number from party of premier
19
Number from coalition party 1
Number from coalition party 2
Number from upper house
5
Number who are women
8

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 25 November 2006Stephen Phillip BracksAustralian Labor PartyStephen Phillip BracksAustralian Labor Party
VIC 30 November 2002Stephen Phillip BracksAustralian Labor PartyStephen Phillip BracksAustralian Labor Party
VIC 18 September 1999Jeffrey Gibb KennettLiberal PartyStephen Phillip BracksAustralian Labor Party

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Notes

Loss of general election (Kennett): Beginning of Bracks's period in office; 'At the election on 18 September 1999 the Kennett government won 43 seats to the Labor Party's 41, whilst 3 seats went to Independents; the death on polling day of the incumbent [Peter McLennan], a Liberal who had turned Independent, required another poll in Frankston East [on 16 October 1999]. The Independents formulated a "Charter of Good Government" and indicated their support in the Assembly would depend on the outcome would depend on the outcome of the supplementary election and the response to their proposed Charter. A substantial swing to the Labor Party gave it the additional seat. The National Party indicated it would terminate the Coalition [agreement it had made with the Liberal Party in 1990]. ...

... Kennett was believed ready to endorse the Charter and attempt a minority government, but personal conflict with the most prominent Independent [Russell Savage] closed off that possibility. He advised the Governor to commission the Labor Party leader, Bracks, who formed a minority government dependent on the support of Independents.' Hughes, p. 90 (see 'Sources', below). Bracks was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party minority government on 21 October 1999. More information on the general election and its consequences can be found in Dennis Woodward and Brian Costar, 'The Victorian Election of 18 September 1999: Another Case of Electoral Volatility?', Australian Journal of Political Science, 35 (1) March 2000: 125-133.

Kennett resigned as leader of the Liberal Party as did the leader of the National Party, Pat McNamara, both subsequently resigning their seats in the Legislative Assembly. Their previously safe seats were won by the Labor Party at the ensuing by-elections; Kennett's former seat of Burwood on 11 December 1999 and McNamara's former seat of Benalla on 20 May 2000. 'The balance in the Assembly became Labor 44, Liberal 35, Nationals 6, Independents 3, and the Government required the vote of only 1 Independent for a majority.' Hughes, p. 90 (see 'Sources', below).

Change in parliamentary support: At the general election for the Victorian Legislative Assembly held in November 2002, the Australian Labor Party increased its share of the primary vote by 2 percent, but gained 20 seats more than the party had won at the 1999 general election thanks, in large part, to the second preferences of the almost 10 percent of electors who voted for the new Australian Greens. The additional seats enabled Bracks to be commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government, no longer dependent on the support of Independents. The government also won a majority of seats in the Legislative Council and was able to pass legislation in 2003 reforming the Council and introducing proportional representation. For a survey of the election and its context, see Nick Economou, 'Victoria', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, 49 (2) June 2003: 259-267.

Although the Australian Labor Party lost almost 5 percent of its share of the primary vote at the Legislative Assembly election held in November 2006, the Bracks government was returner with a comfortable majority of seats in the Assembly.

Change of party leader (Bracks): Premier Bracks resigned unexpectedly from both the premiership and the Legislative Assembly in July 1999. His resignation was widely attributed to the death of his son in a car accident and '... the intersection of his family life with the demands of politics.' Economou, p.303 (see, 'References', below). The Treasurer, Brumby, was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government on 30 July 1999.

References: Two surveys of Bracks's period in office were published while he was Premier; Bryan Costar and David Haywood, 'Steve Bracks: Victoria's "Nice Guy" Who Won Against the Odds', in John Wanna and Paul Williams (editors), Yes, Premier: Labor Leadership in Australia's States and Territories, (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2005, ISBN 0868408409), and David Haywood, 'Steve Bracks: The Quiet Achiever', in Strangio and Costar, pp 382-403, (see 'Sources', below). The context of Bracks's resignation and its consequences are covered in Nick Economou, 'Victoria', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Political Chronicle, July to December 2007, 54 (2) June 2008: 302-308.

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.

Sources

Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1985-1999, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2002, ISBN 1862874346); Paul Strangio and Brian Costar (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019); Victoria Hansard (Record of Parliamentary Debates) on line at: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/hansard .

In consulting these sources, note the difference between ministries and periods in office.

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