Sir Albert Arthur Dunstan, KCMG (26 July 1882 – 14 April 1950) was an Australian politician. A member of the Country Party (now National Party), Dunstan was the 33rd premier of Victoria. His term as premier was the second-longest in the state's history, behind Sir Henry Bolte. Dunstan, who was premier from 2 April 1935 to 14 September 1943, and again from 18 September 1943 to 2 October 1945, was the first premier of Victoria to hold that office as a position in its own right, and not just an additional duty taken up by the Treasurer, Attorney-General or Chief Secretary.
|33rd Premier of Victoria|
2 April 1935 – 14 September 1943
|Preceded by||Stanley Argyle|
|Succeeded by||John Cain Sr.|
18 September 1943 – 2 October 1945
|Preceded by||John Cain Sr.|
|Succeeded by||Ian Macfarlan|
|3rd Deputy Premier of Victoria|
15 March 1935 – 20 March 1935
|Premier||Sir Stanley Argyle|
|Preceded by||Ian Macfarlan|
|Succeeded by||Wilfrid Kent Hughes|
|Born||26 July 1882|
Donald, Victoria, Australia
|Died||14 April 1950 (aged 67)|
Camberwell, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Political party||Victorian Farmers Union|
Country Party of Australia
Jessie Gerard Chisholm
Dunstan was born on 26 July 1882 at Donald East, Victoria, the son of a Cornish gold rush immigrant.
Dunstan was the third Deputy Premier of Victoria, serving for five days under premier Sir Stanley Argyle in March 1935. Dunstan became Premier of Victoria when he and the Country Party unexpectedly withdrew his party's support for the Argyle Government.
Argyle had fought the March 1935 election with an improving economy, a record of sound, if unimaginative, management. With the Labor Party opposition still divided and demoralised, he was rewarded with a second comfortable majority, his United Australia Party winning 25 seats and the Country Party 20, while Labor won only 17. But at this point he was unexpectedly betrayed by his erstwhile Country Party allies. Dunstan was a close friend of the gambling boss John Wren, who was also very close to the Labor leader Tom Tunnecliffe (in the view of most historians, Tunnecliffe was, in fact, under Wren's control). Wren, aided by the Victorian Labor Party president, Arthur Calwell, persuaded Dunstan to break off the coalition with Argyle and form a minority Country Party government, which Labor would support in return for some policy concessions. Dunstan agreed to this deal, and on 28 March 1935 he moved a successful no-confidence vote in the government from which he had just resigned.
When the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General Lou Bussau resigned in 1938, Henry Bailey became Attorney-General while Dunstan added the portfolio of Solicitor-General to his offices of Premier and Treasurer.
The UAP (and later its successor the Liberal Party) never forgave the Country Party for this treachery. Henry Bolte, later Victoria's longest-serving premier, was 27 in 1935, and Dunstan's betrayal of Argyle lay behind his lifelong and intense dislike of the Country Party, whom he called "political prostitutes".
On 14 September 1943, Dunstan resigned when his government lost a vote of no confidence in the Victorian Legislative Assembly on the issue of electoral redistribution. For the next four days, Labor formed minority government with John Cain Sr. as Premier. On 15 September, the Cain government was defeated in the Legislative Assembly. Cain's motion to adjourn the parliament for over a week was defeated by the Country Party and the UAP, and Dunstan moved that Parliament resume the next day, giving notice that he would move a motion of no confidence against Cain's government, confident it would be carried by the CP–UAP alliance. Cain indicated that he would request a dissolution of parliament from the Governor, but if his request was refused, he would resign as Premier. On 17 September, Cain visited the Governor who refused his request for a dissolution, Cain then resigned and the Governor commissioned Dunstan to form a coalition government with the UAP, which was sworn in on Saturday 18 September.
At the end of September 1945, the Dunstan government was defeated in the Legislative Assembly, when it voted to refuse Supply to his government. Five Liberal Party (successor of the UAP) members, two Country Party members and one Independent voted with the Labor Opposition, on the grounds of dissatisfaction with the government's legislative program and opposition to Dunstan's leadership. When it became clear that the Assembly would not grant Supply to the Dunstan Ministry, the Governor commissioned Ian Macfarlan, who was the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, as Premier on 2 October, ending Dunstan's term as Premier.
A statue of Sir Albert Dunstan can be found at Treasury Place, East Melbourne. It is one of four statues in Premier's Lane honouring the longest-serving premiers of Victoria.
- ^ a b "Dunstan, Sir Albert Arthur (1882 - 1950)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- ^ "Sir Albert Arthur Dunstan". Re-Member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
- ^ "Appointment Solicitor-General Albert Dunstan". Victoria Government Gazette. Victorian Government Printer. 22 April 1938. p. 1938:1315.
- ^ Murray, Robert; White, Kate (1993). "Cain, John (1882–1957)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Vol. 13. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538.
- ^ "CAIN MINISTRY DEFEATED". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 16 September 1943. p. 4. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- ^ "SHORT LIFE". The Cairns Post. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 16 September 1943. p. 5. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- ^ "DISSOLUTION REFUSED". The Cairns Post. Qld.: National Library of Australia. 18 September 1943. p. 4. Retrieved 27 March 2011.
- ^ "Dunstan, Sir Albert Arthur (1882 - 1950)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- ^ Wright, R. "Macfarlan, Ian (1881–1964)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538.
- History of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Victoria. Accessed 24 March 2006.
- "Victoria's Longest-Serving Premiers Honoured", media release from the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Victoria, 9 December 1999.