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State government

State government

Structure of the government

Victoria's state government is modelled on the British Westminster system. It is based in Melbourne which is the capital city of the state.

The Parliament of Victoria is a two house structure comprising of:

  • The Legislative Assembly (lower house) with 88 elected members (see current members)
  • The Legislative Council (upper house) with 40 elected members (see current members)

The parliament has the power to define laws for the state, except in areas which are under the jurisdiction of the federal government of Australia.


State elections are held every fourth year on the last Saturday in November. The last state election was held on Saturday 27th November 2010 and next state election is expected to be held on Saturday 29th November 2014.

Voting is compulsory and generally all Australian citizens 18 years or over must enrol to vote.

The party or coalition who wins the most seats in the Legislative Assembly (lower house) is invited to form government, with their leader becoming the premier of Victoria.

Leadership of Victoria

Victoria gained independence from New South Wales in 1851. Until government was formed four years later, the governor-general of New South Wales appointed lieutenant-governors to Victoria to head the state. Captain Charles La Trobe become the first appointed to this role, succeeded by Sir Charles Hotham in 1854.

Parliamentary government was formed in 1855 and William Haines became the first premier of Victoria on the 30th of November 1855.

Victoria's 10 longest serving premiers are listed below.

Rank Name Party Term(s) as premier Time in office
1 Henry Bolte Liberal 7 June 1955 - 23 August 1972 17 years, 77 days
2 Albert Dunstan Country 2 April 1935 - 14 September 1943
18 September 1943 - 2 October 1945
10 years, 179 days
3 James McCulloch   27 June 1863 - 6 May 1868
11 July 1868 - 20 September 1869
9 April 1870 - 19 June 1871
20 October 1875 - 21 May 1877
8 years, 304 days
4 Rupert Hamer Liberal 23 August 1972 - 5 June 1981 8 years, 286 days
5 John Cain Labor 8 April 1982 - 10 August 1990 8 years, 124 days
6 Steve Bracks Labor 20 October 1999 - 30 July 2007 7 years, 283 days
7 Jeff Kennett Liberal 6 October 1992 - 20 October 1999 7 years, 14 days
8 Harry Lawson Nationalist 21 March 1918 - 28 April 1924 6 years, 38 days
9 George Turner Liberal 27 September 1894 - 5 December 1899
19 November 1900 - 12 February 1901
5 years, 154 days
10 Alexander Peacock Liberal and
12 February 1901 - 10 June 1902
18 June 1914 - 29 November 1917
28 April 1924 - 18 July 1924
4 years, 363 days

See also the full list of Victorian premiers from 1855 to the present day. Note that some premiers have served multiple non-sequential terms.

Current premier of Victoria

Victoria's 47th and current premier is Denis Napthine.

Denis Napthine is the leader of the Liberal Party and was sworn into office on the 6th March 2013. He succeeded Ted Baillieu, premier for over 2 years, who resigned from the leadership position.

Denis Napthine

Political parties in Victoria

Prior to the late 1890s, there was no formal political party system in Victoria, with government ministries formed on the basis of personal or factional loyalties.

A number of political parties have representation within the current Victorian government.

Lower house:

  • Australian Labor Party (ALP)
  • Liberal Party (LP)
  • National Party (NAT)

Upper house:

  • Australian Greens (GRN)
  • Australian Labor Party (ALP)
  • Liberal Party (LP)
  • National Party (NAT)

Governor of Victoria

The governor is the Queen's official representative in Victoria and is appointed by the Queen on direct advice of the current premier of Victoria.

The main role of the governor is to act impartially to ensure that Victoria's democracy, which includes the government, parliament, state elections and the courts, works properly and in accordance with Victoria's Constitution.

In practice, the role of governor these days is largely symbolic and ceremonial. The governor speaks for the Victorian community at events which require non-political representation, and the governor interacts with the community to encourage attitudes of cohesion and mutual respect. The governor also builds relationships with international leaders and welcomes them to the state if they visit.

Victoria's longest-serving governor was Sir Reginald Alexander Dallas Brooks, who held the position for around 13½ years between 1949 and 1963.

Victoria's 28th and current governor is Alex Chernov who was appointed to the role on 8th April 2011.

For more information, see the Governor of Victoria.

Further information

Looking for information regarding any aspect of the State Government of Victoria? Telephone the state government call centre on:

1300 366 356

The experienced telephone staff will either answer your query directly or connect you to the right person.