Albert Dunstan

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Sir Albert Dunstan

Albert Dunstan (cropped).jpg
33rd Premier of Victoria
In office
2 April 1935 – 14 September 1943
Preceded byStanley Argyle
Succeeded byJohn Cain (senior)
In office
18 September 1943 – 2 October 1945
Preceded byJohn Cain (senior)
Succeeded byIan Macfarlan
Personal details
Born26 July 1882
Donald, Victoria, Australia
Died14 April 1950(1950-04-14) (aged 67)
Camberwell, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political partyVictorian Farmers Union
Country Party of Australia
Jessie Gerard Chisholm (m. 1911)

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.

Early life[edit]

Dunstan was born on 26 July 1882 at Donald East, Victoria, the son of a Cornish gold rush immigrant.[1]


Dunstan was the first Deputy Premier of Victoria, serving from March 1932 until May 1932 under premier Edmond Hogan. Dunstan became premier when he unexpectedly withdrew his party's support for the government of Stanley Argyle.

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)[citation needed]. 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.[2]

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".


  1. ^ "Dunstan, Sir Albert Arthur (1882 - 1950)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  2. ^ "Appointment Solicitor-General Albert Dunstan". Victorian Government Gazette. 22 April 1938. p. 1938:1315.
Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Tom Tunnecliffe
Member for Eaglehawk
District abolished
New district Member for Korong and Eaglehawk
District abolished
New district Member for Korong
Succeeded by
Keith Turnbull
Political offices
Preceded by
Stanley Argyle
Premier of Victoria
Succeeded by
John Cain
Preceded by
John Cain
Premier of Victoria
Succeeded by
Ian Macfarlan
Preceded by
Bill Barry
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Trevor Oldham
Party political offices
Preceded by
Murray Bourchier
Leader of the Country Party in Victoria
Succeeded by
John McDonald