1917 Victorian state election

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1917 Victorian state election
Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg
  1914 15 November 1917 (1917-11-15) 1920  

all 65 seats in the Victorian Legislative Assembly
 First partySecond partyThird party
  26Johnbowser.jpg 25Georgeelmslie.jpg 20Alexanderpeacock.jpg
Leader John Bowser George Elmslie Alexander Peacock
Party Nationalist Labor Ministerial
Leader sinceNovember 1917September 1913June 1914
Leader's seat Wangaratta Albert Park Allandale
Last election0 seats22 seats43 seats
Seats won27 seats18 seats13 seats
Seat changeIncrease2.svg 27Decrease2.svg 4Decrease2.svg 30
Percentage*32.29%*
Swing*Decrease2.svg 7.29*

Premier before election

Alexander Peacock
Nationalist

Elected Premier

John Bowser
Nationalist

The 1917 Victorian state election was held in the Australian state of Victoria on Thursday 15 November 1917 for the state's Legislative Assembly. 51 of the 65 Legislative Assembly seats were contested. [1]

Contents

Background

By 1917, World War I was placing an enormous strain on the Victorian economy. While the Liberal party had won the 1914 election with a large majority, many in the party were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the government's actions on difficulties in the rural areas. The Victorian Farmers' Union emerged as a party, was gathering support and ran candidates for the first time.

The Labor Party had undergone a split in 1916 over the Conscription debate and some of its pro-conscription members led by Prime Minister Billy Hughes left the party and joined with the Liberals to form the Nationalist Party. At the state level, however, some of these members ran as National Labor candidates.

The breaking point for the Nationalist government was Premier Alexander Peacock's decision to increase rail fares to rural areas. The party split into a pro-Peacock Ministerial faction (mostly composed of city-based members), and an opposition faction led by John Bowser, composed mostly of country members. The two factions ran candidates against each other in most Nationalist seats. This did not effectively split the vote, as Victoria had introduced compulsory preferential voting for this election, and most of the preferences resulting from multiple Nationalist candidates were kept within the party. After the election, on 29 November, the rural faction of the Nationalist government led by Bowser won control of the party, ousting Peacock.

Results

Legislative Assembly

1917 Victorian state election [2]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19141920 >>

Enrolled voters658,488
Votes cast356,999 Turnout 54.21+0.29
Informal votes11,245Informal3.15+0.88
Summary of votes by party
PartyPrimary votes %SwingSeatsChange
  Nationalist 197,03656.99+0.1040– 3
  Labor 111,63732.29–7.2918– 4
  Victorian Farmers 21,1836.13*4+ 4
  National Labor 7,7472.24*3+ 3
  Independent 8,1612.36*0± 0
Total345,754  65 

Notes:

Aftermath

As the Bowser faction had won the most seats within the Nationalist party factions, Alexander Peacock resigned as Premier and John Bowser took his place. The previous government's increase on rail fares was reversed, but the issue of how the railways were to be financed remained unresolved. The opposition parties defeated a railway estimates bill in March 1918, and Bowser resigned as Premier in response, having little taste for the office. Bowser then eventually left the Nationalist party for the Victorian Farmers' Union. Peacock supporter Harry Lawson became Premier, after which the factions reunited and formed majority government with 40 of the 65 seats.

See also

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References

  1. Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968 ( ISBN   0708102700).
  2. Election held on 21 October 1917, Australian Politics and Elections Database (University of Western Australia).