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Edmond John Hogan
|30th Premier of Victoria|
20 May 1927 – 22 November 1928
|Preceded by||John Allan|
|Succeeded by||William Murray McPherson|
12 December 1929 – 19 May 1932
|Preceded by||William Murray McPherson|
|Succeeded by||Stanley Argyle|
|Born||12 December 1883|
Wallace, Victoria, Australia
|Died||23 August 1964 (aged 80)|
|Spouse(s)||Molly Magdelene, née Conroy|
Edmond John "Ned" Hogan (12 December 1883 – 23 August 1964) was an Australian politician who was the 30th Premier of Victoria. He was born in Wallace, Victoria, where his Irish-born parents were small farmers. After attending a Roman Catholic primary school, he became a farm worker and then a timber worker, and spent some time on the goldfields of Western Australia.
In 1913, Hogan was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Warrenheip, an electorate near Ballarat, which was renamed Warrenheip and Grenville in 1927. Although it was not a natural Labor seat, it was heavily Irish-Catholic, which helped Hogan, an active Catholic, retain it for 30 years. In 1914, he was elected to the Labor Party's state executive, becoming state president in 1922.
Hogan was a fine speaker and soon became a leading figure in a parliamentary party which was thin on talent. Victoria was Labor's weakest state and in the 1920s there seemed little chance it would ever win a state election. In 1924, Hogan was made Minister for Agriculture and Railways in the short-lived minority government of George Prendergast. When Prendergast stepped down as leader in 1926, Hogan was the obvious choice to succeed him. His main drawback was his close association with the Melbourne horse-racing, boxing and gambling identity John Wren, who was widely suspected of corruption. The Wren connection alienated many middle-class voters from Labor through the 1920s and 1930s.
Nevertheless, at the 1927 state election, Hogan was able to capitalise on resentment against rural over-representation in the state parliament, and the consequent domination by the Country Party. Labor won 28 seats to the Nationalists 15 and the Country Party's ten.
Hogan was able to form a government with the support of the four Country Progressive Party and two Liberal members. However, the alliance broke down in 1928 in the face a prolonged and violent industrial dispute on the Melbourne waterfront, and in November his government was defeated in a confidence vote and he resigned, being succeeded by the Nationalist William McPherson, who had the support of the Victorian Country Party.
In 1929, the Country Party withdrew its support from McPherson's government and there was another election, fought just as the Great Depression was breaking over Australia. Hogan led Labor to its best result yet, winning 30 seats to the Nationalists' 17 and the Country Party's 11. A collection of Country Progressives, Liberals and independents held the balance of power, and they agreed to support a second Hogan government. Tom Tunnecliffe was Chief Secretary, John Cain was Minister for Railways and William Slater was Attorney-General.
The Depression had a devastating effect on Victoria's economy and society, because the state was heavily dependent on agricultural exports, mainly wheat and wool, for its income, and those industries collapsed almost completely as demand in Britain dried up. By 1931, most Victorian farmers were bankrupt and about 25 percent of the workforce was unemployed. Hogan's government, in common with all other governments, had no solution to the disaster. Even if the Hogan government had been minded to attempt radical solutions, it was dependent on Country Progressive support in the Assembly, and had only six members in the Legislative Council.
Hogan adopted the orthodox economic view that governments must balance their budgets, and since the Council would not permit any increases in taxation, the only way to do that, in the face of falling government revenue, was to cut expenditure. That increased the burdens on the poor and unemployed, while providing no stimulus to the economy. There was little possibility of effective unemployment relief, although there were some government works to soak up unemployment, such as the building of Shrine of Remembrance and the Great Ocean Road.
In August 1930, Hogan attended a conference with the other Premiers and the Labor Prime Minister, James Scullin, to consider what to do. On the advice of Sir Otto Niemeyer, a senior official of the Bank of England (which controlled most of Victoria's access to credit in the City of London), they agreed to radical cuts to government spending and borrowing. This provoked a storm of protest in the Labor Party and trade unions, who regarded Scullin and Hogan as traitors.
In June 1931, a second conference, produced the Premiers' Plan, which entailed further cuts in government spending, accompanied by increases in taxation on the wealthy. In the circumstances, both of those measures further depressed the economy, while not satisfying either side of politics. The New South Wales Labor Party, led by Jack Lang, rebelled and, in November, Lang's supporters in the federal parliament voted to bring down the Scullin government. However, Hogan's government survived because the Country Party continued to support it from the cross benches. As well, the Nationalists, now renamed the United Australia Party (UAP), preferred to see Hogan implement the Premiers' Plan.
In February 1932, Hogan travelled to London to talk to the banks about Victoria's desperate economic plight. While he was away, Tom Tunnecliffe was acting Premier, and he was much more willing than Hogan to reject the Premiers' Plan. As a result, the Country Party withdrew its support and, in April, the government was defeated in a confidence vote.
Tunnecliffe replaced Hogan as Labor leader and led the Labor campaign in the May election, now rejecting the Premiers' Plan completely. The Labor Party executive expelled everyone who had supported the Premiers' Plan, including Hogan, although it did not run a candidate against him in Warrenheip and Grenville. At the elections the UAP won 31 seats to Labor's 16 and the reunited Country Party's 14. Hogan and one of his ex-ministers were elected as "Premiers' Plan Labor" candidates. The UAP's Stanley Argyle became Premier.
After sitting as an independent for four years, Hogan joined the Country Party in 1935, and formed a close relationship with the Country Party leader Albert Dunstan. The result was a renewed alliance between the Country Party and Labor, brokered by Hogan, John Wren and the Victorian Labor State President, Arthur Calwell. In April 1935, Dunstan walked out of Argyle's government, and became Premier with Labor support. Hogan was appointed Minister for Agriculture and Mines, and held those posts through Dunstan's record term as Premier, which lasted until September 1943.
At the 1943 election, after 30 years as its member, the 60-year-old Hogan was defeated in Warrenheip and Grenville by the Labor candidate. Hogan retired to St Kilda in Melbourne, where he lived until his death in 1964, aged 81. He was interred in a modest lawn grave at the Cheltenham Memorial Park (Wangara Road).
- Australian Dictionary of Biography (Online Edition)
- Geoff Browne, A Biographical Register of the Victorian Parliament, 1900–84, Government Printer, Melbourne, 1985
- Don Garden, Victoria: A History, Thomas Nelson, Melbourne, 1984
- Kathleen Thompson and Geoffrey Serle, A Biographical Register of the Victorian Parliament, 1856–1900, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1972
- Kate White, John Cain and Victorian Labour 1917–1957, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1982
- Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel. A History of the Parliament of Victoria, 1856–1990, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1992
|Victorian Legislative Assembly|
| Member for Warrenheip
|District created|| Member for Warrenheip and Grenville
| Premier of Victoria
| Premier of Victoria
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Labor Party in Victoria