November 1

Examples of use of vice regal powers in Australia since Federation


This is a companion document to the address by the same author on the same subject delivered to the Conference of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy in August 2005.  For the purpose of publication, it has been expanded to give a more detailed treatment of the subject-matter.
1904                                    Australia’s first Federal Labour Government, led by Mr. J. C. Watson, was defeated in the House of Representatives on 17th August 1904 on a vote 34-36 which the Ministry treated as one of confidence.  Mr. Watson advised the Governor-General, Lord Northcote, to grant him a dissolution.  The Governor-General refused this request whereupon Mr. Watson resigned.  Lord Northcote then commissioned Mr. G. H. (later Sir George) Reid who led the Opposition Free Trade Party to form an administration which was supported by all Free Traders and a section of the Protectionists. 1905                                    A fate similar to the Watson Ministry’s was to befall the Reid-McLean administration on 30th June 1905 with its defeat in the House of Representatives when a majority carried an Opposition amendment to the motion for the Address-in-Reply:  by convention this was the equivalent of a motion of no-confidence.  Mr. Reid thereupon advised Lord Northcote to grant him a dissolution and resigned when this was refused.  The Governor-General then commissioned Mr. Alfred Deakin to form a Protectionist Ministry and he then commenced his second term as Prime Minister. 
Lord Northcote (1st Baron) is worth a short comment.  He was appointed Governor-General in succession to Lord Tennyson (2nd Baron) whose father had been the distinguished Poet Laureate.  Northcote had previously been Governor of Bombay.  He was a younger son of the 1st Earl of Iddesleigh, better known as Sir Stafford Northcote, whom Disraeli as Conservative Prime Minister had appointed Leader of the House of Commons in 1876 when he himself moved to the House of Lords as Earl of Beaconsfield.  After Lord Beaconsfield’s defeat by the Liberals at the general election in 1880 and his death in 1881 Sir Stafford’s prospects of becoming the Conservative Party’s next Prime Minister came to be confounded when he was steadily outshone by Lord Beaconsfield’s successor as Conservative Leader of the House of Lords, the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury.
1907                                    The Governor of Queensland, Lord Chelmsford, who had held that office since 1905, refused the request of the Liberal Premier, Mr. William Kidston, whose administration was supported by the Labour Party, to swamp the nominated Legislative Council with new appointments.  He sent for the Conservative Opposition Leader, Mr. (later Sir) Robert Philp, and asked him to form an administration.  When Philp as the newly sworn Premier was defeated in the Legislative Assembly and was unable to persuade the Lower House to vote Supply to his administration he obtained a dissolution from Lord Chelmsford but lost the ensuing election.  Lord Chelmsford then recommissioned Mr. Kidston as Premier.  This apparent setback did not affect Lord Chelmsford’s pro-consular career.  Although Dr. H. V. Evatt in his book The King and His Dominion Governors treated Lord Chelmsford’s handling of the matter sympathetically, officials in the Colonial Office at the time tended to be critical.  Even so, they considered that his qualities overall outshone this instance of poor judgment as they saw it.  He was appointed Governor of New South Wales in 1909 and established cordial relations with New South Wales’s first Labour administration led by Mr. J. S. T. McGowen which was elected in 1910;  and these continued until he completed his term in March 1913, aged 44, and returned to England. 
Lord Chelmsford’s background is of interest when assessing the type of appointment made at that time to Australian State Governorships.  His grandfather, Frederic John Thesiger, the Ist Baron Chelmsford, had served as Solicitor-General in the Conservative administration of Sir Robert Peel from 1841 to 1846 first as Solicitor-General in 1844 and then from 1845 to 1846 as Attorney-General.  He was re-appointed as Attorney-General in the brief administration of the 14th Earl of Derby in 1852 and, when Lord St. Leonards declined to be re-appointed as Lord Chancellor in Lord Derby’s second administration in 1858 because of his age, Chelmsford was appointed in his place.  He was also appointed Lord Chancellor in Lord Derby’s third administration in 1866-68.  When a near fatal attack of gout forced Lord Derby’s resignation in 1868, his successor as Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, was determined to appoint Hugh McCalmont Cairns as Lord Chancellor.  He put out feelers to Lord Chelmsford that he might consider appointment as a Knight Grand Cross of the Bath (GCB) to ease him on his way from the Woolsack.  Lord Chelmsford greeted Disraeli’s offer with derision saying, “He might as well offer me the Victoria Cross”. 
         His son, the 2nd Baron Chelmsford GCB, GCVO, had a distinguished military career and was GOC South Africa at the time of the Zulu War which clouded the last years of Disraeli’s second administration by which time he was Earl of Beaconsfield.           His son, the 3rd Baron Chelmsford, before his vice-regal appointments in Queensland and New South Wales put him on the map, had proceeded from Winchester College to Magdalen College, Oxford, and on taking a First in Jurisprudence was elected a Fellow of All Souls.  He also represented Oxford at cricket and was Captain of the Oxford XI in 1894.  Rather than go to the Bar like his grandfather, he dedicated himself to education policy and sat on the London County Council.
In January 1916, while serving in India as a Captain with the 4th Royal Dorset (Territorial) Regiment, Lord Chelmsford was unexpectedly appointed that country’s Viceroy by the British wartime coalition government led by Mr. H. H. Asquith.  According to Lord Hardinge of Penshurst (1st Baron), the outgoing Viceroy, who had only just invited Chelmsford to take a mission of inquiry to the Persian Gulf on the medical mismanagement there, the names of four Tory peers had been submitted by leading Conservative Ministers for consideration as his successor.  The Prime Minister, however, “would not look at them”;  instead Mr. Asquith preferred in Lord Chelmsford a quondam Fellow of All Souls already on the spot.  Apparently Chelmsford had the letter notifying him of his appointment in his pocket when his colonel told him he should be doing something more important than commanding a company.
Lord Chelmford’s very staid family background contrasted with the somewhat rackety standing of the family into which he married.  His wife, the Honourable Frances Charlotte Guest, was the eldest daughter of Lord Wimborne (1st Baron) whom Lord Beaconsfield had had raised to the peerage in his last honours list in 1880.  Lady Chelmsford’s mother was Lady Cornelia Spencer-Churchill; hence Lady Chelmsford and her siblings were first cousins of Sir Winston Churchill.  Lady Chelmsford’s Wimborne father and brother were keen anglers for promotion within the peerage, but it was only her brother who succeeded by being created 1st Viscount Wimborne in 1918 after three troubled years as Lord Aberdeen’s successor as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  Lady Chelmsford’s younger brother, Freddie Guest, was the coalitionist Liberals’ Chief Whip and was therefore up to his armpits in the sale of honours scandal which besmirched the reputation of the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.
Lord Chelmsford’s term as Viceroy of India was to prove almost as troubled as his brother-in-law’s term as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  It was no doubt with some relief that he returned to England in 1921 on completing his term.  By then he was a Privy Councillor, appointed in 1916, and also he held the Grand Cross or its equivalent of the Orders of the Star of India (GCSI), St. Michael and St. George (GCMG), the Indian Empire (GCIE) and the British Empire (GBE).  To have accumulated four Grand Crosses was no mean achievement given that they did not include the two his father had obtained.  Yet relief at his homecoming was tempered with disappointment.  As one author was to put it, “as a reward for his labours as Viceroy, he was merely to be promoted from Baron to Viscount;  just one step in the Peerage whereas according to precedent he should have been given an Earldom or the Garter.  So Chelmsford arrived back in London upset and resentful.  ‘Rather sloppy ice’ was Montagu’s somewhat unkind description of his mood”.  (Mark Bence-Jones, The Viceroys of India, Constable London, 1982, p. 229.)  [Edwin Montagu was the Secretary of State for India.]  Viscount Chelmsford served as First Lord of the Admiralty in the first but short-lived Labour Government led by Ramsay MacDonald in 1924.  In 1926 he was appointed Agent-General for New South Wales.  The Premier, J. T. Lang, justified this appointment by saying that “it was absolutely necessary that the State should be represented by a gentleman who would be in close touch with the London financial market”.  In October 1927, the incoming Premier, T. R. (later Sir Thomas) Bavin, declined to renew Chelmsford’s appointment.  In 1930 he was appointed Warden of Winchester College, a much-prized distinction for an Old Wykehamist.  In 1929 he had been re-elected a Fellow of All Souls:  he was elected its Warden in 1932.  His expectations of a lengthy term in that office were not fulfilled.  He died suddenly the following year.
1908                                    The Governor of Victoria, Sir Thomas (later Lord) Carmichael, accepted the advice of the Premier, Sir Thomas Bent, that the Legislative Assembly be dissolved after his Government had lost a motion of no-confidence.  The Governor did this in the belief, which he was to explain at some length, that no other party leader in the Legislative Assembly as then constituted could have mustered the support enabling him to form a government.  Bent’s administration was defeated in the subsequent election.
1909                                    The Labour Prime Minister, Mr. Andrew Fisher, was defeated in the House of Representatives on a motion of no-confidence by a combination of Protectionists, who had previously given conditional support to his government, and Free Traders (by then known as the Anti-Socialists) who had fused to form a single political party under the leadership of Mr. Alfred Deakin.  Mr. Fisher asked the Governor-General, Lord Dudley, for a dissolution and resigned when this was refused.  The 2nd Earl of Dudley, to give him his full title, then asked Mr. Deakin to form a Fusion administration which remained in office until the Parliament expired in 1910.  The Deakin administration was defeated in the subsequent election and Mr. Fisher was commissioned to form his second administration.  It was after this electoral reverse that the forces comprising the Fusion unified under the name of Liberal and continued as a party until 1917.
1914                  The Liberal Government led by Mr. (later Sir) Joseph Cook, elected in 1913, was in a very difficult position.  It lacked a majority in the Senate, and it could only obtain a working majority in the House of Representatives on the casting vote of the Speaker.  When in 1914 the Senate failed to pass a particular Bill which the Government treated as an urgent measure and the Government claimed that the Senate’s action had fulfilled the requirements of Section 57 of the Constitution, it fell to the incoming Governor-General, Sir Ronald Munro-Ferguson, who had only recently succeeded Lord Denman (3rd Baron), to decide whether or not a double dissolution should be granted on the advice of the Prime Minister.  As Professor John Poynter put it in his entry on Munro-Ferguson in the Australian Dictionary of Biography: “Munro-Ferguson had excellent precedents for claiming a discretion to refuse the request, and he rejected the arguments of the Attorney-General, Sir William Irvine, that the Governor-General was obliged to follow the advice of the Prime Minister, but after consulting the Chief Justice, Sir Samuel Griffith, convinced that it was in the best interests of both parties, he granted the dissolution.  Munro-Ferguson was increasingly annoyed that his action was interpreted as acceptance of Irvine’s narrow interpretation of his powers.  He believed he could seek advice from any source, even the Opposition, and acted on his assumption that he could discuss confidential government business with any Privy Councillor”. 
War was declared against Germany in the middle of the campaign for the consequent election for both House of Representatives and the whole of the Senate.  The Labour Party under the leadership of Andrew Fisher emerged as the victor, gaining working majorities in both Houses and enabling Fisher to form his third administration.  Even so the Governor-General came in for a great deal of criticism when his decision to accept Joseph Cook’s advice was announced, criticism of a character which would be very much at odds with the posture subsequently adopted by the Labour Party which had its apotheosis in the contentious debate surrounding the dismissal of the Whitlam Government in November 1975.  The Address to the Governor-General, carried by the Labour-controlled Senate on 17th June 1914, declared in its second paragraph:
The decision of Your Excellency appears to be fatal to the principles upon which the Senate has hitherto acted, which, we submit, are in strict accordance with a truly Federal interpretation of the Constitution.  The Constitution deliberately created a House in which the States as such may be represented, and clothed this House with coordinate power (save in the origination of Money Bills) with the Lower Chamber.  These powers were given to the Senate in order that they might be used;  but if a Senate may not reject or even amend any Bills because a Government calls it a ‘test’ Bill, although such Bill contains no vital principle or gives effect to no reform, the powers of the Senate are reduced to a nullity.  We submit that no constitutional sanction can be formed for that view, which is repugnant to one of the fundamental bases of the Constitution, viz. a Legislature of two Houses, clothed with equal powers, one representing the people as such, the other representing the States.  And we respectfully submit that the dissolution of the Senate ought not to follow upon a mere legitimate exercise of its functions under the Constitution, but only upon such action as makes responsible government impossible, e.g. the rejection of a measure embodying a principle of vital importance necessary in the public interest, creating an actual legislative deadlock and preventing legislation upon which the Ministry was returned to power.  These conditions do not exist in the present case. . .  (My emphasis)
1916                  The Governor-General, Sir Ronald Munro-Ferguson, refused to accede to the request of Andrew Fisher’s successor as Labour Prime Minister, Mr. W. M. Hughes, to promise him in advance to grant him a dissolution when his own support in the Cabinet seemed to crumble on the eve of the first conscription referendum which was held of 28th October.
1917-18            The Governor-General, Sir Ronald Munro-Ferguson, advised the Prime Minister, Mr. W. M. Hughes, who by then was leading a Nationalist administration formed by the amalgamation of the National Labour Party and the Liberal Party, to honour his repeated promise to the Australian people that he would resign if the second conscription referendum was defeated on 20th December 1917.  The Governor-General’s advice on this defeat was that Mr. Hughes should resign and recommend another Nationalist to be commissioned in his place.  Mr. Hughes and his Ministers resigned on 8th January 1918 but Mr. Hughes as the outgoing Prime Minister gave the Governor-General no advice as to what should then be done.  The Governor-General consulted the Labour leader, Mr. Frank Tudor, and others, and made the almost preordained discovery that it was not possible to form anything but a Nationalist administration from the existing Parliament, and that as Mr. Hughes remained the leader of the Nationalists he was thus the only person who could form such a government.  It was hardly surprising, therefore, that the Governor-General, bowing to the exigencies of war, felt disinclined to hold Mr. Hughes to his earlier promise.  Dr. H. V. Evatt claimed that it could have been open to the Governor-General to summon the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Frank Tudor, commission him as Prime Minister and then grant him a dissolution.
         Sir Ronald Munro-Ferguson is worth a comment at this point. He served as an officer of the Grenadier Guards from 1879 to 1884 and then sat in the House of Commons as a Liberal for an almost unbroken period of thirty years.  He had been strongly aligned with the Liberal Imperialists and had been very much a protégé of the 5th Earl of Rosebery, acting as his Private Secretary during his terms as Gladstone’s Foreign Secretary.  During Rosebery’s term as Gladstone’s successor as Prime Minister from 1894 to 1895 Munro-Ferguson had served as a Junior Lord of the Treasury (or Whip).  His continuing identification with Lord Rosebery after he had resigned both the office of Prime Minister and the leadership of the Liberal Party tended to harm his prospects of advancement for he was very much out of sympathy with Rosebery’s successor, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman.  Munro-Ferguson had been excluded from the Ministry formed by Campbell-Bannerman in 1905.  When Asquith succeeded Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister in 1908, there was no place for Munro-Ferguson in his reconstructed Ministry.  He had been refused the Governorship of Bombay in 1906 and had declined the offer of the Governorship of Victoria in 1910 as he had the Governorship of South Australia in 1895.  In 1910 he was appointed a Privy Councillor but in that same year he declined the offer of a peerage.  In 1914, however, he accepted the appointment as Governor-General of Australia. 
         In 1886 Munro-Ferguson visited India and in due course was betrothed to Lady Helen Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, a daughter of the Viceroy, the 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, a glittering but debt-ridden and impoverished Scots-Irish grandee.  (Lady Helen’s sister, Lady Victoria Alexandrina, in 1894 married the Honourable William Lee Plunket, son and heir to the 4th Baron Plunket, Bishop of Meath 1876-84 and Archbishop of Dublin 1884-97.  Having succeeded as the 5th Baron in 1897, he was Governor of New Zealand from 1904 to 1910.)  In 1889 Munro-Ferguson and Lady Helen were married by which time Lord Dufferin had been appointed Ambassador to Italy.  Having inherited the Irish barony of Dufferin and Clandeboye to become the 5th Baron, Munro-Ferguson’s father-in-law had held Cabinet office, been created a Knight of the Order of St. Patrick (KP) in 1864, been advanced to an earldom in 1871 as 1st Earl of Dufferin in the peerage of the United Kingdom and then appointed Governor-General of Canada in 1872.  He had been a Lord-in-Waiting to H.M. Queen Victoria in 1848-52 when Lord John Russell was Prime Minister, and in 1854-58 with the 4th Earl of Aberdeen and the 2nd Viscount Palmerston as Prime Ministers, Under-Secretary for India 1864-6, and for War 1866 in the administrations of Lord Palmerston and the 1st Earl Russell (formerly Lord John Russell), and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Paymaster-General 1868-72 in the first administration of William Ewart Gladstone.  Appointed GCMG in 1876 he completed his term in Ottawa in 1878 and was appointed to ambassadorial postings at St. Petersburg in 1879 and to Constantinople in 1881.  From 1881 to 1888 he was Viceroy of India and, having been appointed GCB in 1883 and GCSI and GCIE as Viceroy, he was created 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava in 1888.  From 1888 to 1896 he was in succession Ambassador to Italy and then to France.  In his retirement Lord Dufferin lost heavily in investing in the London and Globe Finance Company of which he was Chairman.  The company, promoted by an unscrupulous financier, Whittaker Wright, collapsed leaving Dufferin “nearly ruined” financially.  Munro-Ferguson assumed his father-in-law’s debts after his death in 1902. 
Lord Dufferin’s impressive diplomatic career was assisted at its beginning and in its latter stages by Lord Salisbury.  This was all the more remarkable given that the offices which Dufferin had held before his appointment to St. Petersburg had been given to him, not by the Conservatives, but by Whig and Liberal administrations and the non-Conservative coalition led by the Peelite, Lord Aberdeen.  His appointments to Constantinople and as Viceroy of India had also been made by the second Liberal Government led by W. E. Gladstone.  As the 5th Baron Dufferin, however, he had been one of Lord Salisbury’s few friends during his miserable time at Eton (as Lord Robert Gascoyne-Cecil).  Lord Dufferin had been President of the Oxford Union in the year before Lord Robert matriculated;  the latter was elected Secretary of the Union in due course.  Two days before he died in February 1902, Lord Dufferin wrote to Lord Salisbury, only five months before he laid down the office of Prime Minister:  he was himself to die in August 1903.  The terms of that letter (cited from Andrew Roberts, Salisbury:  Victorian Titan, Phoenix, 2000, p. 815) could not have been more poignant:
Being, as the doctors seem to say, on my death-bed, I desire, while I have my wits about me . . . to thank you for the great kindness and consideration which you have never failed to show me since the time you started me in my diplomatic career, for having kept the Italian embassy so long for me, and for innumerable acts of kindness.  I do not think you ever knew how much I liked you from the time you were a thin, little lower boy at Cookesley’s [Salisbury’s House at Eton], even then writing, as my tutor used to say, such clever essays.  This is all I have strength to say.  Good-bye and God bless you.  Ever yours, Dufferin and Ava.
         While Munro-Ferguson’s pro-consular career was not as distinguished as his father-in-law’s, his appointment as Governor-General of Australia in 1914 would have been welcome to him because he must have been reconciled to the unlikelihood of further advancement at Westminster.  His lack of distinction up to that time was a factor singled out for criticism in Australia but it has to be said that he proved to be the most distinguished of Australia’s early Governor-Generals.  His interest in forestry and in conservation marked him out for approval. On completing his term in 1920, Munro-Ferguson was raised to the peerage as Viscount Novar, of Raith.  Appointed GCMG in 1914, he was created a Knight of the Thistle (KT) in 1926, having served as Secretary for Scotland in the administrations of Andrew Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin from 1922 to 1924.
         A very interesting tribute was paid to him by a French diplomat in a diary entry dated 4th January 1946.  (Jacques Dumaine, Quai D’Orsay (1945-1951), with a Preface by François Mauriac, Chapman and Hall 1958, pp. 34-5):
I read through a letter sent to me in 1931 by Lord Novar, in which I found this pungent remark:  “I think I told you Lord Rosebery once said to me, ‘The worst of Democracy is its greed.’”
            Lord Novar was an old laird more Scots than his kilt, a sardonic learned agriculturist who loved France and salacity, and abused the English and his fellow men in general, although he knew how to plant trees.  He entertained me royally at Raith, his lovely property overlooking the Firth of Forth opposite Edinburgh, where he had a magnificent collection of Raeburn portraits and some striking pictures by Zoffany.  But his special love were the tall trees, foliage and decorative woods of his park and a fine tree meant more to him than all his family portraits.  He was wealthy and had never known hardship;  his cheerful and rebellious Scots nature allowed him to view with equanimity the possibility of upheaval in a world which had, nevertheless, brought him success.  He considered himself a republican, in spite of having been Secretary of State to the British Crown and Governor-General of Australia.  During his boyhood he used to spend the winter at Cannes and a frail old gentleman from the next house used to teach him how to make kites this was [Prosper] Mérimée.
         Lord Novar’s “republicanism”, as observed by Dumaine, sits most oddly with his Liberal Imperialist past and his frustrated ambition to be appointed Governor of Bombay, one of the three Presidencies of the British Raj the other two were Bengal and Madras which were outshone only by the office of Viceroy of India itself;  but it was doubtless a whimsical expression of his “cheerful and rebellious Scots nature”.  He died in 1934 without issue so his peerage became extinct. 
In 1945 Lord Novar’s great nephew by marriage was killed on active service near Ava in Burma, a territory included in his full title.  He had been a Captain in the Royal Horse Guards, a Lord-in-Waiting to the King 1936-7, and Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies 1937-40, positions which, but for the outbreak of war, portended a career which might have recalled elements of the 1st Marquess’s cursus honorum.  Sir John Betjeman, a contemporary at Oxford, was moved by the news of his death to write a haunting poem “In Memory of Basil, Marquess of Dufferin and Ava” (Collected Poems, with an Introduction by the 2nd Earl of Birkenhead, London, John Murray, 1988-9, pp. 120-1.) 
In 1988 the peerages created for Lord Novar’s father-in-law, Lord Dufferin, also became extinct with the death without issue of the son and successor to Basil, the 4th Marquess.  The Irish barony of Dufferin and Clandeboye which the 1st Marquess had inherited as the 5th Baron passed through a cadet branch of the Blackwood family to an Australian engineer who became the 10th Baron.  He was succeeded in 1991 by his son, John Francis Blackwood, the 11th Baron, who like his father also inherited two baronetcies;  he was educated at Barker College, Hornsby, and the University of New South Wales where he graduated B.Arch. and was admitted A.R.A.I.A.  Married with a son and daughter, he now lives in Orange and lists organic farming and fishing as his recreations in Who’s Who which also states that his claim to the peerage has not yet been established.
1932                                    A Federal United Australia Party government had assumed office after inflicting a landslide election defeat in December 1931 on the Scullin Labour government which had already been defeated in the House of Representatives through the defection of a number of Labour members acting at the direction of the Labour Premier of New South Wales, Mr. J. T. Lang.  (Mr. J. H. Scullin, on sustaining this Parliamentary defeat, could have resigned but he chose instead to advise the Governor-General, Sir Isaac Isaacs, to grant him a dissolution because he could not see any likelihood of an alternative government being formed in the turbulent state of parties in the existing Parliament.)  Apart from the Lang Labour Government all governments in Australia had accepted the inevitable and were faithfully adhering to that programme to cope with the Depression known as the Premiers’ Plan.  At a meeting of the Loan Council held in January 1932 it was noted that New South Wales alone had failed to introduce economies on an appropriate scale;  when in the following month Lang was again unable to meet overseas interest payments on State debts, the Loan Council refused to assist him.  To avoid the scandal of default, the Commonwealth took up the tab for the interest payments and immediately took legal steps to recover the money from New South Wales.  The Federal Parliament passed the Financial Agreement Enforcement Act requiring that certain State revenues be paid to the Commonwealth in conformity with the Financial Agreement between the Commonwealth and the States which had been inserted into the Constitution by referendum in 1928.  This Act also provided that certain moneys held by the banks on behalf of New South Wales should be garnisheed.  The application of this legislation was widened so that new classes of New South Wales revenue could be appropriated under it.  Lang decided to defy the Commonwealth by attempting to frustrate the provisions of the Act.  This action led him from defiance of the federal law to breaches of the law of his own State.  The Premier arranged for a circular to be sent to all New South Wales departments instructing them to cease operating government bank accounts and to pay all moneys direct to the State Treasury instead.  At the same time Mr. Lang directed that the Treasury be barricaded so that Federal officers could not gain access to its records.  The Governor, Air Vice Marshal Sir Philip Game, requested Mr. Lang to withdraw the circular on the grounds that it placed the Crown in the position of breaking the law, specifically the State Audit Act.  When Mr. Lang refused, the Governor revoked his commission and commissioned as Premier the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. B. S. B. (later Sir Bertram) Stevens, who obtained a dissolution of the Legislative Assembly and convincingly won the subsequent election.
1935                  In Victoria a United Australia PartyUnited Country Party coalition led by Sir Stanley Argyle faced a State election and campaigned as a composite Ministry with the Labour Party contesting it as the Opposition.  Although the Country Party ran a campaign of its own as was customary, all Country Party Ministers sat with their UAP colleagues on the platform of the Malvern Town Hall when the Premier gave his policy speech.  A peculiarity of the election, as it had been for a goodly part of the previous Parliamentary session, was that the Country Party’s Parliamentary leader was not himself a Minister.  As it happened this was of no great moment in the events which were to unfold.  The Government was returned with a reduced majority and nothing that had been said during the campaign by any Country Party Minister or by the leader of that party, Brigadier Bourchier, could have suggested that this UAPUCP composite Ministry would not continue into the next Parliamentary session.  Nor had anything been said by any Labour member during the campaign which suggested that that party would seek a working arrangement with any other party.  After the election results were posted, the Labour leader, Mr. Thomas Tunnecliffe, made an offer as a bolt from the blue to the Country Party that if it would join with Labour in ousting the United Australia Party from office his party would put the Country Party in office as a government in its own right and support it from the corner benches.  The immediate reaction to this offer in the Press was one of scepticism and this was widespread.  Even The Age, which was for many years to support this accommodation after it was brought to fruition, had made a less than enthusiastic editorial comment on the content of Bourchier’s policy speech.  In the event the Country Party did withdraw from the Ministry but did this some days after Mr. (later Sir) Albert Dunstan, the party’s newly elected leader, who had been a Minister in the Argyle Government, had accepted the Deputy Premiership from Argyle.  With the Country Party’s withdrawal, authorized by a majority at a joint meeting of that party’s Central Council and Parliamentary Party, Sir Stanley Argyle reconstructed his Ministry with UAP members filling the vacancies left by the departing Country Party Ministers.  Parliament was formally opened with the new Government’s programme outlined by the Governor, Lord Huntingfield, in the Speech from the Throne.  This programme conformed with the policy speech delivered before the election by the Premier.  The Address-in-Reply debate was effectively suspended by a no-confidence motion moved by Mr. Dunstan which was carried with Labour support.  This situation, apparently having no precedent, seemed bizarre.  The Governor, after some hesitation, agreed to commission a Country Party Ministry with Mr. Albert Dunstan as Premier but only after he had received a written assurance from Mr. Tunnecliffe that Labour would provide the necessary support to give it a working majority.  This Tunnecliffe gave by writing a declaration to that effect on the title page of the Country Party policy speech which had been delivered before the election by Brigadier Bourchier.
1939                                    The United Australia Party Prime Minister, Joseph Aloysius Lyons, died on Good Friday of that year.  The succession was complicated by the fact that the office of Deputy Leader of the UAP was vacant due to the recent resignation from the Ministry of Mr. R. G. (later Sir Robert) Menzies.  The pretext for Menzies’s resignation was the Government’s announcement that it would decline to proclaim the recently enacted National Insurance legislation because of budgetary constraints.  Menzies had been closely committed to this legislation.  The Governor-General, Lord Gowrie (1st Baron), commissioned as Prime Minister the leader of the Country Party, Sir Earle Page, who had until Lyons’s death been Deputy Prime Minister.  His Excellency did this on the understanding that Page would make way for any newly elected leader of the majority party in this coalition, the UAP.  Lord Gowrie had been advised to do this by Mr. W. M. Hughes, who had been Prime Minister from 1915 to 1923 and who had also served under Mr. Lyons’s leadership in various UAPCountry Party governments from 1934.  When the UAP duly elected Mr. R. G. Menzies as its leader, Sir Earle Page resigned and the Governor-General invited Menzies to form a government. 
Lord Gowrie, as Brigadier-General the Honourable Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven (pronounced Hore-Rivin), had previously served as Governor of South Australia and then for a short time as Sir Philip Game’s successor as Governor of New South Wales before he was appointed to succeed Sir Isaac Isaacs as Governor-General.  His successor as Governor of New South Wales was Lord Wakehurst (2nd Baron).  In 1935 Hore-Ruthven was advanced to GCMG (having been appointed KCMG on his appointment as Governor of South Australia in 1928) and created the 1st Baron Gowrie;  he was sworn of the Privy Council in 1937.
Lord Gowrie was unquestionably very well-connected.  He was the second son of Walter James Hore-Ruthven, 8th Baron Ruthven in the peerage of Scotland and later 1st Baron Ruthven in the peerage of the United Kingdom, and his wife, Lady Caroline Annesley Gore, daughter of the 4th Earl of Arran.  Lady Caroline was a first cousin once removed of the distinguished Anglo-Catholic divine, Bishop Charles Gore, whose appointment as Bishop of Worcester he was later translated to Birmingham and then to Oxford was the last ecclesiastical appointment made on the recommendation of Lord Salisbury.  Lady Caroline’s niece, Lady Alice Gore, daughter of the 5th Earl of Arran, married Lord Salisbury’s son and heir, James, Viscount Cranborne, who in 1903 succeeded him as the 4th Marquess of Salisbury. 
Lord Gowrie must rank as the most decorated vice-regal appointment ever made in Australia.  Educated at Winchester and Eton, he joined the militia in 1892.  The following details of his career are taken from his entry in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.  He served in the Sudan in 1898 where he was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Victoria Cross, the first such award to be given to a militia officer.  In May next year he was gazetted to the Cameron Highlanders.  He then saw service in the White Nile in 1900 where he was mentioned in dispatches three times and then as special-service officer in Somaliland in 1903-04.  He then rejoined the Cameron Highlanders in Dublin and in 1904-08 was Military Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Dudley, and to his successor Lord Aberdeen (7th Earl, created 1st Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair 1916).  In July 1908 he rejoined Lord Dudley who was then Governor-General of Australia.  In 1909 Hore-Ruthven joined Lord Kitchener’s staff in England and accompanied him on his tour of Australia.  Next year he was appointed to the Staff College, Quetta, India.  When war was declared in 1914 he became Arabic interpreter to the Meerut Division which sailed to France.  A major in the Welsh Guards from April 1915, he fought at Gallipoli, was severely wounded in Suvla in August and returned to England.  In 1917 he served in France, joining the Guards division.  Next year he was Brigadier-General, 7th Army Corps, until its decimation in March 1918 and in July he took command of the Highland Brigade of the 9th Division.  By the war’s end he had been mentioned in dispatches five times, awarded the Distinguished Service Order with Bar and the French and Belgian Croix de Guerre, and appointed CMG in 1918 and CB in 1919.  In 1920-24 he commanded the Welsh Guards and in 1924-28 the 1st Brigade of Guards at Aldershot.
Lord Gowrie was raised to an earldom as 1st Earl of Gowrie in 1945, having completed his much extended term as Governor-General in 1944.  In 1945 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor and Deputy-Constable of Windsor Castle. 
The King had hoped that Lord Gowrie would be appointed Provost of Eton.  This post had been vacant since 1944 with the retirement of Lord Quickswood, the former Lord Hugh Cecil, and a brother-in-law to Lord Gowrie’s first cousin, Lady Salisbury, the wife of the 4th Marquess.  Normally Provosts of Eton had died in office but, as Lord Quickswood announced to the school, “I go to Bournemouth in lieu of Paradise”.  Lord Gowrie refused to accept this post.  He was not a university graduate and his appointment therefore would have required an amendment to the Statutes which he was not prepared to countenance.  (This information was kindly provided by Mr. Michael Collins Persse of Geelong Grammar School.)  Not until 1977 were the Statutes amended to ease the appointment as a non-graduate Provost of the Queen’s former private secretary, Lord Charteris of Amisfield.
It was in his role as Lieutenant-Governor and Deputy Constable of Windsor Castle that Lord Gowrie came under the special notice of King George VI.  Sir John Wheeler-Bennett has recorded the following in his official biography of the King (p. 736):
At the stand-down parade of the Windsor Home Guard towards the end of the war, the King, as he passed down the line, noticed that Lord Gowrie, V.C., was wearing, embedded in his five rows of decorations, both the China Medal for the Relief of the Peking Legations [1900] and Queen Victoria’s medal for the first part of the South African War [1899-1902].  Turning to the Officer Commanding, Sir Owen Morshead, the King asked:  ‘Have you ever known another case of a man’s holding both these medals?  I never have.  How on earth did he get from China to South Africa in time?’ 
Gowrie had never claimed service in China.  The East & Central Africa ribbon [1897-9], however, which Gowrie was almost certainly entitled to wear, and the China ribbon have the same colours of scarlet and gold.  The former has the left half in gold and the right half in scarlet:  the latter has a central stripe of scarlet (3/5 of the total width) with gold border stripes.  It is just possible that the King in his own mind had confused the two medals or that Gowrie’s military outfitter had mistakenly substituted the China ribbon for the East & Central Africa ribbon and that the error had remained undiscovered for all that time. 
Gowrie remained in that posting at Windsor until his retirement in 1953 during which time he and his wife entertained thousands of Australian visitors;  he died in 1955.  The Gowries had lost their only surviving child, Captain Patrick Hore-Ruthven, in the Second World War.  The peerages which had been created in Lord Gowrie’s name therefore passed to his grandson, Alexander Patrick Greysteil Hore-Ruthven, who is the 2nd and present Earl of Gowrie.  Grey Gowrie served in Margaret Thatcher’s early administrations.  His posts were:  Minister of State first in the Department of Employment 1979-81, then in the Northern Ireland Office as Deputy to the Secretary of State 1981-3, then in the Privy Council Office 1983-4.  Finally he was Minister for the Arts 1983-5 and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 1984-5.
In his last official position at Windsor the 1st Earl of Gowrie would have witnessed from year to year his first cousin once removed, the 5th Marquess of Salisbury, processing to St. George’s Chapel as a Knight of the Garter.  ‘Bobbety’, as he was known, had been created a Knight of the Garter in 1946 and presented a rare instance outside the Royal Family of holding that distinction at the same time as his father, the 4th Marquess, who died in 1947.  According to Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, the previous occasion was five hundred years earlier, in the case of the father and brother of Elizabeth Woodville, King Edward IV’s Queen.
1943                                    As already recorded Mr. Albert Dunstan formed an administration confined to Country Party members in 1935.  The Labour Party had supported it in office until 1942.  It withdrew its support ostensibly because the Dunstan Government joined with other States in challenging the Commonwealth Government’s uniform taxation in the High Court.  The Labour Party in Victoria apparently saw no contradiction between this ostensible pretext and the fact that most of the other States which challenged the Commonwealth Labour Government led by John Curtin on this issue were at that time governed by the Labour Party.  From the time the Labour Party withdrew its support from the Dunstan Government until the election in 1943, Dunstan’s Ministry continued in office with the United Australia Party filling the breach left by Labour and supporting Dunstan from the corner benches.  The election in 1943, like almost all elections in that period in Victoria, resulted in a Legislative Assembly in which no one party commanded a majority but in which the combined numbers of the Country Party and the UAP exceeded the Labour Party, the largest single party.  When subsequent to this election the Dunstan Government was defeated in the Legislative Assembly by a combination of Labour and UAP members, Mr. Dunstan resigned and a Labour Ministry led by Mr. John Cain Snr. was commissioned.  On patching up a deal with the UAP, Mr. Dunstan was able to marshal the two parties to defeat Mr. Cain’s Labour Ministry within a matter of days.  Refused a dissolution by the Governor, Major-General Sir Winston Dugan, Mr. Cain resigned and Mr. Dunstan was commissioned to lead a Country PartyUnited Australia Party composite Ministry.  The United Australia Party emerged as the new Liberal Party in 1945.  Sir Winston Dugan had been appointed to succeed Lord Huntingfield when the latter completed his term as Governor of Victoria.  He had previously served as Governor of South Australia in succession to Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven, later Lord Gowrie.  Towards the end of his term in Victoria, Sir Winston was raised to the peerage as Baron Dugan of Victoria.
1945                  When the Prime Minister since 1941, Mr. John Curtin, died in office on 5th July, the Governor-General, H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester, commissioned the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party’s deputy leader, Mr. Frank Forde, as Prime Minister.  It was recognized that Curtin’s successor as party leader would be elected by the Federal Parliamentary Labour Party or Caucus and that the office of Prime Minister would have to be filled immediately while that election was being arranged.  When the Treasurer in the Curtin Government, Mr. J. B. Chifley, defeated Mr. Forde in the Caucus ballot, Mr. Forde resigned from the office of Prime Minister and the Duke of Gloucester commissioned Mr. Chifley as his successor.
1945                                    At the end of September, the Victorian Legislative Assembly voted to refuse Supply to the Dunstan-Hollway Government which had held office since 1943.  Five Liberals, two Country Party members and one Independent had voted with the Labour Party Opposition on the grounds of dissatisfaction with the Government’s legislative programme and opposition to Mr. Dunstan’s leadership.  Instead of resigning, however, Mr. Dunstan persuaded the Governor, Sir Winston Dugan, to grant him a dissolution.  The terms on which this dissolution was granted drew fire from the Opposition.  It was claimed that the Governor in his letter to Mr. Dunstan, which he read to the Legislative Assembly, had left himself open to the charge of instructing the Assembly to grant Supply to a Ministry which had already been refused it and to no other.  When it became clear that the Assembly would not grant Supply to the Dunstan Ministry, Mr. Dunstan resigned and the Governor commissioned as Premier Mr. Ian Macfarlan, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, who had been Attorney-General in Mr. Dunstan’s Ministry, on the production of written assurances of support from the Labour Opposition and from the members of the Liberal Party, the Country Party and the Independent whose revolt had led to Mr. Dunstan’s defeat.  Mr. Macfarlan formed an administration, both Houses passed votes of Supply, and the dissolution took immediate effect.  At the subsequent General Election in November the Labour Party obtained a working majority with the support of two Independents and formed an administration.  The state of parties was Labour 32, Country Party 18, Liberals 13, Independents 2.  Mr. Macfarlan was one of the defeated candidates. 
1950                                    After the Victorian election in November 1947, which had been forced by the denial of Supply by the Legislative Council, a LiberalCountry Party composite Ministry was formed to replace the defeated Labour administration led by Mr. John Cain Snr.  The Liberal leader, Mr. T. T. Hollway, was appointed Premier and the leader of the Country Party, Mr. J. G. B. (later Sir John) McDonald, was appointed Deputy Premier.  Mr. McDonald as the leader of the second largest party in the last Parliament had been Leader of the Opposition and the principal tactician in the blocking of Supply to the Cain Government.  Mr. Tom Hollway was brought around by Mr. McDonald to the very grudging acceptance of the former Premier, Mr. Albert Dunstan, as a member of the Cabinet.  After much haggling Mr. Hollway reluctantly appointed Mr. Dunstan to be Minister of Health.  This administration fell apart in December 1948 with Mr. Hollway claiming that Sir Albert Dunstan, a recently appointed KCMG, was the principal disrupter with his compulsive intriguing.  Mr. Hollway reconstructed his Ministry from among his own Liberal supporters while most of the Country Party members supported that Ministry from the corner benches for the remainder of that Parliament.  Some Country Party members, sickened by the previous inter-party brawling and by Sir Albert Dunstan in particular whom they saw as its instigator, joined the Liberal Party which then, to confuse matters, called itself the Liberal and Country Party.  In campaigning in the May 1950 election for the Legislative Assembly, the LCP under the leadership of the Premier, Mr. Hollway, made a bold attempt to destroy the Country Party as an electoral force.  The results were disappointing.  The LCP emerged from the poll as the largest party with 26 seats, Labour with 24 seats and the Country Party with 13 seats.  The Premier, Mr. Hollway, still determined if he could to strike another blow against the Country Party, attempted to obtain Labour support by an offer of a redistribution.  When this offer was knocked back by the Labour Party, Mr. Hollway sought a dissolution which was refused by the Lord Dugan’s successor as Governor, General Sir Dallas Brooks.  (Brooks had served in the Royal Marines.)  The Labour Party, still prevented by its own platform from entering a coalition or forming a minority government dependant on the support of another party, undertook to support a Country Party Ministry committed at Labour’s bidding to a specified programme of reform.  Sir Albert Dunstan was no longer available for appointment to that Ministry, having died the previous month. 
1951                  The second double dissolution in the history of the Commonwealth Parliament was granted on the advice of the Prime Minister, R. G. (later Sir Robert) Menzies, by the Governor-General, W. J. (later Sir William) McKell.  Menzies in his formal statement of advice stressed that the Governor-General had a discretion whether or not to accept this advice.  This he did on the advice of G. E. (later Sir Garfield) Barwick KC, at that time a leader of the Sydney Bar.  McKell, who had been Labour Premier of New South Wales from 1941 until he was appointed Governor-General in late 1946 on the recommendation of the Labour Prime Minister, J. B. Chifley, was attacked by members of the Labour Party.  They had acted on the belief, which McKell by his actions demonstrated to be unfounded, that the Governor-General would be swayed by his past affiliations and would not grant the double dissolution.  There have been double dissolutions granted subsequently which, apart from the extraordinary circumstances of 1975, have been accepted without controversy.  The first two double dissolutions had been sought in connection with only one Bill.  The High Court has since held that a Government may allow Bills which fall within the terms of Section 57 to accumulate and at a time of its choosing seek a double dissolution on all of them.  This means that such Bills can be passed by a joint sitting of House of Representatives and Senate in the event of a double dissolution election resulting in the Government which recommended it being returned but still facing a hostile Senate
1952                  In the Victorian Parliament on 22nd July the Labour Party withdrew its support from the McDonald Country Party Government which it had kept in office since 1950.  A possible election was averted when the Liberal and Country Party (LCP) under new leadership (Mr. Hollway had been deposed in December 1951 and replaced by Mr. L. G. Norman) undertook to support the McDonald Government.  As the political climate at the time was anything but propitious for the LCP it understandably had no wish to force an election.  Mr. Hollway’s obsession with redistribution had cost him his party’s leadership and it was to be the issue dominating the subsequent Parliamentary crisis.  Once again Mr. Hollway approached the Labour Party with the offer they had rejected in 1950 of a redistribution if they would join him and six other Liberal rebels in defeating the McDonald Government’s combined support of Country Party and LCP members.  On this occasion the Labour Party agreed to support Mr. Hollway and in September 1952 he challenged the Government with a motion of no-confidence based on the question of electoral reform.  The voting was 32 for the Government and 31 against (comprising Hollway and his six supporters and the Labour Party) these voting figures remained unchanged in every division of the Legislative Assembly for the remainder of that Parliament.  Mr. Hollway was then expelled from the LCP.  Mr. Hollway’s next move came on 21st October when the combined votes of the Labour Party and his own rebel supporters in the Legislative Council sufficed to deny Supply to the McDonald Government.  The purpose of this stratagem was to force the McDonald Government’s resignation, to put Hollway and his supporters in office as a caretaker government supported by the Labour Party and committed to electoral reform which when achieved would be followed by a dissolution and an election held on the new boundaries which were to provide for two State seats for every Federal seat in Victoria the so-called ‘two-for-one’ electoral scheme.  On the very day Supply was denied by the Legislative Council, the Premier, Mr. McDonald, sought a dissolution from the Governor, Sir Dallas Brooks.  This was refused because the Governor could see no way that the McDonald Government could obtain Supply.  Mr. McDonald accordingly resigned.  The Governor then commissioned Mr. Hollway to form an administration and with the support of the Labour Party his administration was able to obtain Supply on the vote of the Legislative Council.  At no time, however, was the Hollway Government able to obtain a majority in the Legislative Assembly.  When, in the light of this, Mr. Hollway advised the Governor to grant him a dissolution, Sir Dallas Brooks refused.  Mr. Hollway, instead of volunteering his resignation as convention required, had to be requested by the Governor to resign and he did so in the full knowledge that, if he had not acted as requested, the Governor would have been obliged to dismiss him.  The Governor then commissioned Mr. McDonald as Premier and he immediately advised a dissolution and the Governor accepted this advice.  The Governor, in refusing a dissolution to Hollway and in granting one to McDonald as Hollway’s successor, followed the advice of the Chief Justice of Victoria, Sir Edmund Herring, which was subsequently confirmed in a separate consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia, Sir Owen Dixon.  (Conveniently for the Governor, the High Court was sitting in Melbourne at this very time.)  At the election on 6th December, the Labour Party under the leadership of John Cain Snr. gained a majority in the Legislative Assembly in its own right the first time in the history of Victoria that that party was so favoured. 
1962                                    In the South Australian election the Premier, Sir Thomas Playford, lost his majority in the House of Assembly.  The result was Labour 19 seats, Liberal 18 seats and the Independents 2 seats.  The leader of the Labour Party, Mr. Frank Walsh, waited upon the Governor, Lieutenant General Sir Edric Bastyan, claiming that with 54 per cent of the total vote he had a mandate to form an administration.  The Governor maintained that, as neither party had won a majority of seats, it should be left to the House of Assembly to resolve the crisis when the Parliament met.  The Playford Government was able to obtain a working majority. 
1967                                    On the reported disappearance in the surf at Portsea of the Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Holt, on Sunday 17th December, the Governor-General, Lord Casey, immediately sought advice from the Chief Justice of the High Court, Sir Garfield Barwick, and from the Attorney-General, Mr. (later Sir) Nigel Bowen QC.  Lord Casey was of the view, with which they agreed, that he should wait a couple of days and then commission as Prime Minister Mr. (later Sir) John McEwen, who as Parliamentary leader of the Country Party had been Holt’s Deputy Prime Minister, pending a Liberal Party ballot for that party’s successor to Harold Holt as leader.  Lord Casey had thus decided to do this before he saw Mr. McEwen that evening.  This decision closely followed the precedent set in 1939 with appointment of Sir Earle Page as successor to Mr. J. A. Lyons on the latter’s death in 1939 except that in 1967 there was no vacancy, as there had been in 1939, in the office of deputy leader in the senior coalition party.  In 1967 the office of Liberal deputy leader was filled by Mr. William McMahon.  The tension between Messrs. McEwen and McMahon was well known to the Governor-General.  It follows that Lord Casey, subsequent to making this decision, was amenable to Mr. McEwen’s own advice that he, and not Mr. McMahon, should be commissioned as Prime Minister and perhaps Lord Casey was not altogether surprised to be told by Mr. McEwen that he would not serve under Mr. McMahon as Prime Minister, a decision Mr. McEwen was later to make public.  In the event, Mr. McMahon did not stand for the Liberal leadership which was won when Senator John Gorton defeated Mr. Paul Hasluck, a future Governor-General, who had earlier informed Lord Casey that he too would not serve under Mr. McMahon as Prime Minister.  Mr. McEwen then resigned to make way for Senator Gorton.  Quite apart from the circumstances which were peculiar to the situation in 1967, it can be argued that, when the leader of the senior coalition party dies suddenly and leaves the office of Prime Minister vacant, it is better that any stop-gap Prime Minister should not himself be a contestant for the senior coalition party’s leadership.  This was the case both with Sir Earle Page in 1939 and with Mr. John McEwen in 1967. 
1968                  In the South Australian election of March 1968 the ruling Labour Party lost two seats.  An Independent, Mr. Tom Stott, held the balance of power.  On Mr. Stott’s announcement that he would support the Liberals, the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Raymond Steele Hall, declared that he was prepared to form a government, but the Premier, Mr. Don Dunstan, with 52 per cent of the total vote, advised the Governor, Sir Edric Bastyan, to let the House of Assembly determine his Government’s fate.  The Governor, rather than requiring Mr. Dunstan to resign immediately (on pain of dismissal if he did not do so), accepted his advice that he should meet the Parliament and the Labour Government was defeated on the floor of the House.  The Governor then commissioned Mr. Steele Hall as Premier.  According to Professor Peter Howell’s entry on Sir Edric Bastyan in the Australian Dictionary of Biography, the Governor admonished the incoming Premier “to brook no resistance from his party to electoral reform”. 
1975                                    On 11th November the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Labour Government led by Gough Whitlam after the Opposition-controlled Senate had voted to 16th October, 25th October, and 6th November to deny Supply by deferring consideration of two Appropriation Bills.  With the Government and Opposition still maintaining their respective position on this deadlock on the morning of 11th November, and with Mr. Whitlam’s persistence later that day in an audience with the Governor-General in his refusal to advise an election for the House of Representatives or a double dissolution, Sir John Kerr revoked his commission.  His Excellency then commissioned the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Malcolm Fraser, as Prime Minister and when the Senate had duly passed the Appropriation Bills he dissolved both Houses of Parliament on Mr. Fraser’s advice.  The Fraser administration was confirmed in office by a landslide and given a majority in the Senate at the election of 13th December. 
1987                  The Premier of Queensland, Sir Jo Bjelke-Petersen, advised the Governor, Sir Walter Campbell, a former Chief Justice of Queensland, that he wanted to resign and for form a new administration.  Aware that the Premier had lost the confidence of his own Cabinet, the Governor pointed out to him that if he did resign he might not necessarily be recommissioned as Premier.  Thus advised, Sir Jo did not submit his resignation.  Soon afterward he had to resign on losing the leadership of his party.  The Governor then commissioned the National Party’s new leader, Mr. Mike Ahern, as Premier. 
1989                  The Tasmanian Liberal Government led by Mr. Robin Gray lost its majority in the House of Assembly after an election although the Premier’s party still maintained its position as the largest party in the House.  Mr. Gray fully expected to be allowed to form a new administration and there was some speculation which he did not discourage that he might even advise the Governor to call a new election.  In the end Mr. Gray was prevailed upon to resign and the Governor, General Sir Phillip Bennett, commissioned Mr. Michael Field, the Leader of the Opposition, to form a Labour administration after the Governor had satisfied himself from consultations with the party leaders that Mr. Field could form an administration with the support of the Greens.


You may also like

Celebrate the King’s Birthday

Celebrate the King’s Birthday

Record Online Audience 

Record Online Audience 
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter!