Albert Dunstan

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The Honourable

Albert Dunstan
33rd Premier of Victoria
In office
2 April 1935 – 14 September 1943
Preceded by Stanley Argyle
Succeeded by John Cain (senior)
In office
18 September 1943 – 2 October 1945
Preceded by John Cain (senior)
Succeeded by Ian Macfarlan
Personal details
Born 26 July 1882
Donald, Victoria, Australia
Died 14 April 1950(1950-04-14) (aged 67)
Camberwell, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Victorian Farmers Union
Country Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Jessie Gerard Chisholm (m. 1911)
Occupation Farmer

Sir Albert Arthur Dunstan, KCMG (26 July 1882 –14 April 1950) was an Australian politician. A member of the Country Party (now National Party of Australia), 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.

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.

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".



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