ID 1280

Parliament of Western Australia, Legislative Council election

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Election for the Legislative Council Western Australia 
Date of election 12 May 1962
Type of Legislative Council election Biennial periodic elections; third of Council to be elected 
Related or previous Assembly election Assembly 31 March 1962

Government support in Legislative Council at and after election

Government majority in Legislative Council at date of election No
Government majority in new Legislative Council No

Composition of the Legislative Council and seats to be filled at this election

Total number of seats in the Legislative Council 30
If the Legislative Council has staggered terms, the number of seats to be filled at this election 10
Casual vacancies (by-elections) and additional seats to be filled at this election (see notes) Not applicable
Total seats to be filled at this election 10
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Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 167,212 
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats 56,764 
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 110,448 
Total number of candidates 16 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 46,014 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 41.66% 
Total valid votes 45,821 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 0.42%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system Not applicable
Electoral system Property franchise; plural voting permitted; preferential voting (the alternative vote), compulsory preferences; 10 multimember districts with staggered six year fixed terms (see notes) 

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Western Australia, Legislative Council votes and seats won, and seats held

Elections held in 12 May 1962
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

Party Name Candidates n First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won by party n Seats won by party % Uncontested seats at this election n Seats held by party n Seats held by party %
Liberal and Country League 26,769  58.42  +18.57     20.00    10  33.33 
Australian Labor Party 18,988  41.44  -0.68     40.00  13  43.33 
Liberal Party 64  0.14  *            
Country Party          20.00  6.67 
Country and Democratic League     -16.58     10.00  16.67 
Totals 16  45,821  100.00    90.00  30  100.00 


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* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.

Notes

Last Legislative Council election under old rules: Although there had been modifications to the size and franchise of the Legislative Council since its first election as the upper house of the Parliament of Western Australia in 1894 (see notes, below), its basic structure as a chamber based on a property franchise with biannual periodic elections remained unchanged until 1962. Legislation passed in 1963 and 1964 would make major changes to its composition and electoral system.

History of the Legislative Council: For information and references on the origins and early history of the Legislative Council, see the notes for the 1894 Legislative Council elections.

Franchise: The Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1899 had enfranchised women for the Legislative Council (and for the Legislative Assembly), but property requirements remained. The franchise for the Legislative Council was restricted to those of twenty-one years of age who were British subjects and had resided in Western Australia for at least twelve months. The Constitution Act Amendment Act of 1911 relaxed the property requirements for the Legislative Council franchise; electors were required to own '... freehold worth at least Fifty Pounds [or] leasehold or householder qualifications or Seventeen Pounds annual value', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 5 (see 'Sources', below). For details of the Legislative Council franchise before 1911, see the notes to Legislative Council elections before 1912.

Plural voting was permitted for those who had the qualifications for the franchise in more than one province (electoral district) for the Legislative Council.

Qualifications for candidates: The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act of 1920 enabled women to be members of the Legislative Council, but age and and other restrictions remained. To be eligible for election to the Legislative Council, candidates had to be electors '... of at least thirty years of age who had resided in the colony for two years and were natural born British subjects or had been naturalised for at least five years prior to the election', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 4 (see 'Sources', below)

Electoral system and voting: The Legislative Council had ten provinces (electoral districts) each returning three members. Members had staggered six year fixed terms, one of the three members from each province retiring every two years at periodic elections; '... the date of retirement for each senior member [the member in the sixth year of his term] would be computed on a two yearly basis as from 21 May in the year of the previous biennial election', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 4 (see 'Sources', below).

The Electoral Act of 1907 had introduced preferential voting (the alternative vote) with optional preferences for Legislative Council elections but the Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1911 made it compulsory to indicate '... preferences for all but the least favoured candidate', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 5 (see 'Sources', below).

Seats held by parties: The total number of members in the Legislative Council affiliated with each party after an election is shown in the seats held by party column of the 'Votes and seats' table, above.

Country Party and Country and Democratic League: The name Country and Democratic League had been adopted by the Country Party in 1944, but the parliamentary party reverted to the name 'Country Party' in 1949 even though the '... title of the organization did not revert from CDL [Country and Democratic League] to Country Party until the 1960s', Lenore Layman, 'The Country Party: Rise and Decline', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 159-190, endnote 49, p. 188 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495).

References: For commentary on parliamentary politics in Western Australia from 1947-1965, including reference to the activities of the Legislative Council, see Lenore Layman, 'Continuity and Change, 1947-1965', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 153-183 , (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).

The Australian Journal of Politics and History has provided short surveys of Western Australian politics since 1955 (including parliamentary politics) in the 'Political Chronicle' section of the journal in issues of each annual volume. This publication can be viewed online through Wiley-Blackwell Journals at subscribing libraries.

A survey of electoral and party politics in Western Australia during this period can be found in David Black, 'Liberals Triumphant: The Politics of Development 1947-1980', in C T Stannage (editor), A New History of Western Australia, pp 441-470 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1981, ISBN 0855641819). For general background on Western Australian government and politics during this period, see F K Crowley, 'The Government of Western Australia', in S R Davis (editor), The Government of the Australian States, pp 405-478, (Melbourne: Longmans, 1960).

Sources

Information for this election was taken from David Black, Legislative Council of Western Australia: Membership Register, Electoral Law and Statistics 1890-1989, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, 1989, revised 1991, ISBN 0730936414). David Black, An Index to Parliamentary Candidates in Western Australian Elections State and Federal 1890-2006, 2nd edition, (Perth: Western Australian History Project, 2006, ISBN 920830774) has been used to identify the party affiliation of some candidates.



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