1917 Victorian state election

Last updated

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
Swing*Decrease2.svg 7.29*

Premier before election

Alexander Peacock

Elected Premier

John Bowser

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]



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.


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 



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

Related Research Articles

Nationalist Party (Australia) Former Australian political party

The Nationalist Party, also known as the National Party was an Australian political party. It was formed on 17 February 1917 from a merger between the Commonwealth Liberal Party and the National Labor Party, the latter formed by Prime Minister Billy Hughes and his supporters after the 1916 Labor Party split over World War I conscription. The Nationalist Party was in government until electoral defeat in 1929. From that time it was the main opposition to the Labor Party until it merged with pro-Joseph Lyons Labor defectors to form the United Australia Party (UAP) in 1931. The party is a direct ancestor of the Liberal Party of Australia, the main centre-right party in Australia.

The Electoral district of Brown Hill-Ivanhoe was a Legislative Assembly electorate in the state of Western Australia. It covered part of the Goldfields city of Boulder, near Kalgoorlie, and neighbouring mining areas. It was created at the 1911 redistribution out of the former seats of Brown Hill and Ivanhoe, and was first contested at the 1911 election. It was abolished in the 1948 redistribution, with its area split between the neighbouring electorates of Boulder and Hannans, taking effect from the 1950 election. The seat was a very safe one for the Labor Party.

John Cain (34th Premier of Victoria) Australian politician

John Cain was an Australian politician, who became the 34th premier of Victoria, and was the first Labor Party leader to win a majority in the Victorian Legislative Assembly. He is the only premier of Victoria to date whose son has also served as premier.

Alexander Peacock Australian politician, 20th Premier of Victoria

Sir Alexander James Peacock was an Australian politician who served as the 20th Premier of Victoria.

John Bowser Australian politician

Sir John Bowser, Australian politician, was the 26th Premier of Victoria. He was born in London, the son of an army officer, and arrived in Melbourne as a child with his family. He grew up at Bacchus Marsh and when he left school got a job with the Bacchus Marsh Express. As a young man he went to Scotland and worked on newspapers while studying at Edinburgh University. Returning to Australia, he settled in Wangaratta, where he farmed and managed the Wangaratta Chronicle, which he eventually bought.

Harry Lawson (politician) Australian politician

Sir Harry Sutherland Wightman Lawson KCMG, was an Australian politician who served as Premier of Victoria from 1918 to 1924. He later entered federal politics, serving as a Senator for Victoria (1929–1935) and briefly as a minister in the Lyons Government. He was a member of the Nationalist Party until 1931, when it was replaced with the United Australia Party.

John Allan (Australian politician) Australian politician

John Allan was an Australian politician who served as the 29th Premier of Victoria. He was born near Lancefield, where his father was a farmer of Scottish origin, and educated at state schools. He took up wheat and dairy farming at Wyuna and was director of a butter factory at Kyabram. In 1892 he married Annie Stewart, with whom he had six children.

The Victorian Farmers' Union (VFU) was an association of farmers and primary producers formed in 1914 in the Australian state of Victoria. Although initially formed as an "absolutely non-political" entity, the VFU became a political party in 1916, and nominated candidates for the 1917 state election and subsequent elections. In later years it used the names Victorian Country Party, then United Country Party and is now the National Party of Australia – Victoria. At the 1917 election, because the support for the VFU was concentrated in rural seats, it won four of the 11 seats in the Victorian Legislative Assembly it contested, gaining about 6% of the vote state-wide. In 1918 it also won its first seat in the federal parliament, after preferential voting was introduced. At the 1920 state election the VFU vote increased to 8% and the number of seats to 13, giving the VFU the balance of power in the state Legislative Assembly.

This is a list of members of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly between the 1914 election and the 1917 election, together known as the Ninth Parliament. The re-election of Premier John Scaddan's Labor Government with a 26-24 majority in 1914 was tempered when, a year later, Labor member Joseph Gardiner's seat was declared vacant on account of his non-attendance and a Liberal was elected in his stead, and Labor became a minority government when on 18 December 1915, Edward Johnston resigned from the Labor Party and became an independent. On 27 July 1916, the Scaddan Ministry was defeated and the Liberals' Frank Wilson became the new Premier.

1917 Western Australian state election

Elections were held in the state of Western Australia on 29 September 1917 to elect 50 members to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. The Nationalist-Country-National Labor coalition, led by Premier Sir Henry Lefroy, retained government against the Labor Party led by Opposition Leader Philip Collier. The election followed a series of major changes in the Western Australian political landscape.

1918 South Australian state election

State elections were held in South Australia on 6 April 1918. All 46 seats in the South Australian House of Assembly were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Union government led by Premier of South Australia Archibald Peake defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Leader of the Opposition Andrew Kirkpatrick. Each district elected multiple members, with voters casting multiple votes.

1955 Victorian state election

The 1955 Victorian state election was held in the Australian state of Victoria on Saturday 28 May 1955 to elect 65 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.

1932 Victorian state election

The 1932 Victorian state election was held in the Australian state of Victoria on Saturday 14 May 1932 to elect 44 of the 65 members of the state's Legislative Assembly. The other 21 seats were uncontested.

1924 Victorian state election

The 1924 Victorian state election was held in the Australian state of Victoria on Thursday 26 June 1924 to elect the 65 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.

1917 New South Wales state election Colonial election for New South Wales, Australia in March 1917

The 1917 New South Wales state election was held on 24 March 1917. This election was for all of the 90 seats in the 24th New South Wales Legislative Assembly and it was conducted in single-member constituencies with a second ballot if a majority was not achieved on the first. The 23rd parliament of New South Wales was dissolved on 21 February 1917 by the Governor, Sir Gerald Strickland, on the advice of the Premier William Holman.

1920 Victorian state election

The 1920 Victorian state election was held in the Australian state of Victoria on Thursday 21 October 1920 to elect the 65 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.

1914 Victorian state election

The 1914 Victorian state election was held in the Australian state of Victoria on Thursday, 26 November 1914 to elect 49 of the 65 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.

The Australian Labor Party , commonly known as Victorian Labor, is the semi-autonomous Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). The Victorian branch comprises two major wings: the parliamentary wing and the organisational wing. The parliamentary wing comprising all elected party members in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, which when they meet collectively constitute the party caucus. The parliamentary leader is elected from and by the caucus, and party factions have a strong influence in the election of the leader. The leader's position is dependent on the continuing support of the caucus and the leader may be deposed by failing to win a vote of confidence of parliamentary members. By convention, the premier sits in the Legislative Assembly, and is the leader of the party controlling a majority in that house. The party leader also typically is a member of the Assembly, though this is not a strict party constitutional requirement.

This is a list of candidates who stood for the 1917 Victorian state election. The election was held on 15 November 1917.

This is a list of electoral district results for the 1917 Victorian state election.


  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).