ID 0345

State Government of Victoria beginning 6 May 1868 - period in office of Premier Sladen, Charles ending on 11 July 1868

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

Sladen, Charles
Date of beginning of period in office
6 May 1868
Date of end of period in office
11 July 1868 
Reason for end of preceding period in office
Resignation of premier 
Reason for end of this government
Resignation of premier
Number of days in office

Parliamentary support during period

Party affiliation of premier at start of period
Support from parliamentary factions and independents
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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Resignation of premier (McCulloch): Beginning of Sladen's period in office; After an Assembly election in February 1868 fought on the issue of the Legislative Council's refusal to pass the government's appropriation bill, the McCulloch ministry was returned with an overwhelming majority, winning '... 60 supporters in a House of 78.', Wright p.79 (see 'Sources', below). Notwithstanding this public support, the new governor (Manners-Sutton) and the colonial office instructed the ministry to submit an appropriation bill in a form that was acceptable to the Legislative Council. McCulloch tendered his resignation on 6 March 1868 in protest against the obstruction of the Council and the interference of the colonial office. For the next two months there was, in effect no government, since the majority in the Assembly still supported McCulloch and he refused to serve unless the Council yielded. In an attempt to solve the deadlock, Sladen, a member of the Legislative Council, was commissioned to form a government on 6 May 1868; for details and background, see Wright, pp 77-80 (in 'Sources', below), and Waugh, pp 32-33 (in 'References', below).

Premier from upper house: Sladen was the only premier of Victoria to lead a government as a member of the Legislative Council. Thomas Fellows, the minister of justice, led for the government in the Assembly but had a majority of the house against him. 'The situation proved impossible. Two of Sladen's ministers were defeated in the obligatory ministerial by-elections. If McCulloch's supporters left the floor of the Lower House, the Assembly had to adjourn for want of a quorum. The address-in-reply was negatived without division. A 45-14 vote of no confidence in the government was ignored by Governor Manners-Sutton.', Wright, p.79 (see 'Sources', below).

Resignation of premier (Sladen): Victoria faced a crisis. 'It was being governed by a ministry that was neither constitutional nor responsible. There was no Supply and no apparent prospect of getting Supply. The power of the Legislative Council appeared unlimited even at the cost of community cohesion. Most importantly, there seemed to be no mechanism by which these difficult issues could be resolved. Circumstances had grown, in the worried words of the secretary of state in London, "dangerous and increasingly dangerous to the existing Constitution of Victoria".', Wright, pp 79-80 (see 'Sources', below).

The situation was resolved by the colonial office in London reinstating Darling as governor (for the circumstances of Darling's removal as governor and the consequent deadlock over the appropriation bill, see the notes for McCulloch’s first period in office. Sladen '... resigned the day after the news arrived (6 July) ...' Wright, p.80 (see 'Sources', below).

References: For a study of the Victorian parliament in this period, see, Wright, ch. 5 (see 'Sources', below), and note the 'Prologue' in Geoffrey Serle, The Rush to be Rich: A History of the Colony of Victoria, 1883-1889, pp 1-13 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1971). A study of Sladen's brief premiership can be found in John Waugh, ' ''The Inevitable McCulloch" and his Rivals, 1863-1877', in Strangio and Costar (editors), ch. 3 (see 'Sources', below), and for a survey of Sladen's career, see James Grant, 'Sladen, Sir Charles (1816–1884)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1976), on line here [accessed 15 February 2014].


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