Tasmania's first Labor Government lasted just seven days.
It was 1909, and a turning point in politics. The only party was Labor and they had 12 members in the 30-seat House of Assembly.
The rest were independents, who'd formed a "fusion" coalition to run the state under Premier Sir Elliott Lewis.
However it was an uneasy alliance with Tory and progressive elements, and no party structure or discipline. They were united only by a determination to keep Labor out of Government.
In October 1909 the fusionists split, led by Norman Ewing and Captain Jack Evans declaring themselves dissatisfied with Tory leadership and moving no-confidence.
Labor was caught. They weren't strong enough to form a Ministry - but how could they refuse to support no-confidence in the arch-Tory Premier?
So the no-confidence motion won and the Ministry fell. Sir Elliott tendered his resignation and recommended he invite Labor's John Earle to form a Government.
Mr Earle was commissioned on October 18 and quickly announced his Cabinet.
Immediately, Sir Elliott announced he would be moving a no-confidence motion on the return of parliament.
This was a bit rude, given he'd recommended Mr Earle to the Governor only two days before.
Even the conservative Mercury felt a man should have a chance to announce his policies before being shot down!
But Sir Elliott believed his rebels had learned a lesson. Now he gambled on them agreeing to come together again to defeat their common enemy.
True to his word, when parliament reconvened on October 22, Sir Elliot immediately moved "That Ministers do not possess the confidence of this House."
It appeared Jack Evans had been regretting his shafting of Sir Elliott and backed the no-confidence motion.
"The Captain's back on board" quipped one member and the motion passed easily.
All the rebels had rejoined the "fusion" and two Labor members didn't even turn up for the vote.
Rather than simply resign, Labor's Premier Earle asked the Governor for a new election.
The Governor thought about it, but decided the reunited fusion group likely had a workable majority on the floor of the Assembly. Thus no dissolution and election was needed. Mr Earle then handed over his resignation and the Governor sent for Sir Elliott.
The old government group was now stronger than before. The rebels would not make the same mistake twice and it seemed Sir Elliott was more amenable to their concerns. He recommissioned his old ministers and after all the fuss, the only change was a minister without a portfolio retired.
Thus the first Labor Government lasted a week, a Tasmanian record that has never been broken.
Parliament resumed as though nothing had happened, and Labor relaxed back into its familiar role as the official Opposition.
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