John Cain II

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John Cain (born 26 April 1931), Australian Labor Party politician, was the 41st Premier of Victoria, holding office from 1982 to 1990.



Cain was born in Melbourne, the son of John Cain, leader of the Labor Party in Victoria from 1937 to 1957 and three times Premier. He was educated at Bell Primary School, Northcote High School, Scotch College, Melbourne and at the University of Melbourne, where he graduated in law. He practised law in suburban Melbourne, and was Chairman of the Victorian Law Institute in 1971–72. He was also a member of the Law Council of Australia and a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

Cain was 24 at the time of the 1955 split in the Labor Party that brought down his father's last government. He lost a preselection battle with Frank Wilkes for his late father's seat of Northcote in 1956.

During the 1960s he was a member of the group, known as The Participants, which also included John Button, Richard McGarvie and Barry Jones, who opposed the left-wing group which controlled the Victorian Labor Party from 1955 onwards. In 1971 he supported the moves by supporters of Gough Whitlam, led by Bob Hawke and others, that in 1971 brought about federal intervention in the Victorian branch and ended left-wing control. He became Vice-Chairman of the Victorian Labor Party in 1973. That group of Participants later became known as the Independents faction which predominantly voted with the Socialist Left.


In 1976 Cain was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly as MP for Bundoora . He became shadow Attorney-General under the leadership of Frank Wilkes, but when Wilkes lost the 1979 election to the Liberal premier, Dick Hamer, Cain challenged him for the leadership, becoming leader in September 1981. In March 1982 Cain defeated the Liberals and formed the first Labor government in Victoria for 27 years.


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