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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Haines, Hon. William Clarke

Haines, Hon. William Clarke, M.L.A., first Premier of Victoria, was born in England in 1807, and educated for the medical profession. After practising as a surgeon he emigrated to Victoria in 1848. Three years later, when that colony was separated from New South Wales, he was nominated a non-official member of the semi-elective Legislative Council then formed. In 1854, when Mr. Foster was sacrificed by Governor Hotham in the hope of propitiating popular favour, Mr. Haines, who had farmed unsuccessfully near Geelong, was appointed to succeed him as Chief Secretary, and held that position until responsible government was conceded, when he and his colleagues resigned their posts, with a view, as was alleged, of securing the pensions allotted to them under the Constitution Act, in case of their being released from office on political grounds. For this conduct they only escaped censure in the Council by a single vote. In Dec. 1855 the Haines Government, who had been reappointed in the previous month to their former places, as the first responsible ministry, were defeated on Mr. Nicholson's ballot resolution, and resigned office. Mr. Nicholson not, however, being in a position to form a government, Mr. Haines and his colleagues were recalled, and remained in power until March 1857, when they were defeated on a vote of want of confidence, and Mr. (afterwards Sir) John O'Shanassy formed a ministry, which only, however, lasted seven weeks, a motion censuring their conduct in not having a representative in the Upper House being carried against them on the first night on which they met Parliament. Mr. Haines, who in the previous year had been returned to the first Legislative Assembly for South Grant, once more resumed the premiership with the office of Chief Secretary, but was again defeated, and succeeded by Mr. O'Shanassy in March 1858. He then paid a visit of three years to Europe, and on his return, in 1861, was elected to the Assembly for Portland. In the same year he took office under his old opponent Mr. O'Shanassy, and acted as Treasurer from Nov. 1861 to June 1863. Although he carried the measure granting universal suffrage, Mr. Haines was in many respects a Conservative, opposing the ballot, and combining with Sir John O'Shanassy in the attempt to strangle the national system of state education. He died in 1864.