During 1871 and 1872 the Victorian Premier, Charles Gavan Duffy, led his minsters on a banqueting tour of the colony during which he made a series of speeches in defence of his Government. Little noticed since but controversial at the time, Duffy's tour called into question the centrality of parliament and the meaning of colonial democracy. Earlier interpretations, derived from the study of colonial New South Wales, paint Australian politics in this period as ideologically somnolent and unprincipled. Yet Duffy's tour and the associated hullabaloo reveal the intellectual vitality and vigour of democracy's brash antipodean form. Its significance has been overlooked by historians. However Duffy's oratory tour was undertaken almost a decade before Gladstone's 1879 apparently pioneering Midlothian campaign, and the electioneering practices he initiated in the early 1870s shaped elections in the years that followed.