Deputy Premier of Victoria

The Deputy Premier of Victoria is the second-most senior officer in the Government of Victoria. The Deputy Premier position was created in March 1932, with Albert Dunstan being the first person to hold the position. The Deputy Premier is appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Premier. The Deputy Premier is usually also a minister in the government.

Deputy Premier of Victoria
James Merlino

since 4 December 2014
StyleThe Honourable
AppointerGovernor of Victoria
Term lengthAt the Governor's pleasure, contingent on serving as deputy leader of party or coalition commanding a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly
FormationConstitution of Victoria
First holderSir Albert Dunstan

When the Labor Party forms government, the deputy leader of the Labor parliamentary party typically becomes the Deputy Premier. The same was the case when the Liberal Party formed government on its own. When the Liberal-National coalition is in government, the Deputy Premier is usually the leader of the junior coalition partner, the Nationals (or its predecessor, the Country Party). The current Deputy Premier is James Merlino of the Labor Party, who has held the position since 4 December 2014.


The duties of the Deputy Premier are to act on behalf of the Premier in his or her absence overseas or on leave. The Deputy Premier has always been a member of the Cabinet, and has always held at least one substantive portfolio (It would be technically possible for a minister to hold only the portfolio of Deputy Premier, but this has never happened).

If the Premier were to die, become incapacitated or resign, the Governor would normally appoint the Deputy Premier as acting Premier. If the governing or majority party had not yet elected a new leader, that appointment would be on an interim basis. Should a different leader emerge, that person would then be appointed Premier.

List of Deputy Premiers of Victoria

Please note that this list may be incomplete due to lack of information

No. Name Portrait Term of Office Affiliation
1 Albert Dunstan March 1932 16 May 1932 Country
2 Robert Menzies May 1932 July 1934 Nationalist
3 Wilfrid Kent Hughes March 1935 April 1935 Nationalist
4 Murray Bourchier April 1935 June 1936 Country
5 Francis Old June 1936 October 1937 Country
6 Albert Lind 13 October 1937 14 September 1943 Country
7 Herbert Cremean 14 September 1943 18 September 1943 Labor
8 Thomas Hollway 18 September 1943 2 October 1945 United Australia
9 Thomas Maltby 2 October 1945 21 November 1945 United Australia
10 Frank Field November 1945 November 1947 Labor
11 John McDonald November 1947 December 1948 Country
(3) Wilfrid Kent Hughes December 1948 October 1949 Liberal/Liberal and Country
12 Trevor Oldham November 1949 June 1950 Liberal and Country
13 Keith Dodgshun June 1950 October 1952 Country
14 Alexander Dennett October 1952 October 1952 Independent
(13) Keith Dodgshun October 1952 December 1952 Country
15 Bill Galvin 17 December 1952 7 June 1955 Labor
16 Sir Arthur Rylah June 1955 March 1971 Liberal
17 Rupert Hamer March 1971 August 1972 Liberal
18 Lindsay Thompson August 1972 June 1981 Liberal
19 Bill Borthwick 5 June 1981 8 April 1982 Liberal
20 Robert Fordham 8 April 1982 31 January 1989 Labor
21 Joan Kirner 7 February 1989 10 August 1990 Labor
22 Jim Kennan 10 August 1990 6 October 1992 Labor
23 Pat McNamara 6 October 1992 21 October 1999 National
24 John Thwaites 21 October 1999 30 July 2007 Labor
25 Rob Hulls 30 July 2007 2 December 2010 Labor
26 Peter Ryan 2 December 2010 4 December 2014 National
27 James Merlino 4 December 2014 present Labor

Living former Deputy Premiers

As of January 2016, there are five living former Deputy Premiers. The most recent Deputy Premier to die was Joan Kirner on 1 June 2015.

NameTerm of officeDate of birth
Robert Fordham 1982–1989 10 February 1942
Pat McNamara 1992–1999 11 August 1949
John Thwaites 1999–2007 15 October 1955
Rob Hulls 2007–2010 23 January 1957
Peter Ryan 2010–2014 30 October 1950

Notable careers

Among the most notable former Deputy Premiers of Victoria have been Sir Robert Menzies (1932–1934) who become the longest serving Prime Minister of Australia. Others include Sir Albert Dunstan (1932) who later became Premier for a then record of eleven years, Sir Rupert Hamer (1971–1972) who later became a long serving Premier and Thomas Hollway (1943–1945) who was Premier on three different occasions.

See also


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