ID 0473

Parliament of Victoria, Assembly election

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General election for the Assembly Victoria 
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day) 31 May 1958

Government in office and parliamentary support before and after the election

Government in office at election

Premier in office at date of election. (check notes to see if change of Premier since previous election) Henry Edward Bolte
Premier's party affiliation Liberal and Country Party 
Assembly support for government at election Minority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. Henry Edward Bolte
Premier's party affiliation Liberal and Country Party
Assembly support for government after election Majority 
If coalition, coalition partner(s)  
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Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 1,478,065 
Number of Assembly seats 66 
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats  
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats 1,478,065 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 1,392,813 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 94.23% 
Total valid votes 1,368,053 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 1.78%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system Not applicable
Electoral system Adult franchise at 21 years, single member districts, preferential voting (AV), compulsory preferences, compulsory voting 

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Victoria, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 31 May 1958
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

Party Name First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won n Uncontested seats held n Seat share %
Australian Labor Party 515,638  37.69  +5.12     18  27.27 
Liberal and Country Party 508,678  37.18  -0.60     39  59.09 
Democratic Labor Party 197,380  14.43  *        
Country Party 127,228  9.30  -0.24     13.64 
Independent Liberal 7,856  0.57  +0.06        
Unendorsed Liberals 5,306  0.39  *        
Independent Labor 2,916  0.21  -0.42        
Independents 1,692  0.12  -0.89        
Communist Party 1,359  0.10  -0.26          
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 1,368,053  100.00    66  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

Electoral system and voting 'Because the [Electoral Districts Act 1953] required that districts for the Victorian Legislative Assembly be based on the Commonwealth Electoral Divisions on the “two-for-one” formula, the 1955 federal redistribution was followed by a redistribution in Victoria.' Carr in 'Sources', below.

Government in office after election: The Bolte Liberal and Country Party government was returned at this Assembly election in 1958 with an increased majority, winning an additional five seats in an Assembly increased by one seat.

Australian Labor Party: The Australian Labor Party increased its vote share at this Assembly election to 37.7 percent of the first preference vote but, with the Democratic Labor Party directing its second preferences to the Liberal and Country Party, the Labor Party lost a further two seats (see Jupp in 'References', below).

Democratic Labor Party: By June 1957, the Anti-Communist Labor Party had changed its name to the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) with branches in all States (the Queensland branch retained the name Queensland Labor Party until 1962). While claiming to be the 'real' Labor Party in Victoria and endorsing 60 candidates, the DLP gained only 14.3 percent of the first preference vote at this election and failed to win a seat. The DLP strategy at Assembly elections was to urge its supporters to use their second preferences under the Assembly's preferential voting system to keep the Australian Labor Party out of office in Victoria and to maintain voter support for federal elections where the DLP had a chance to elect senators under the Senate system of proportional representation; see generally P L Reynolds, The Democratic Labor Party, (Jacaranda Press, Milton, Queensland: 1974, ISBN 0701607033), and Michael Lyons, 'Defence, the Family and the Battler: The Democratic Labor Party and its Legacy', Australian Journal of Political Science, 43(3) September 2008: 425-442.

Independent and unendorsed Liberals: Three candidates ran as Independent Liberals and one as an unendorsed Liberal; none was elected.

Independent Labor: An Independent Labor candidate contested the new seat of Yarraville but was not elected.

Independents: The resurgence of the Liberal and Country Party and the emergence of the Democratic Labor Party are likely to have been factors in the reduction in the number of candidates contesting this election without any party affiliation. Only two of these candidates ran and none was elected.

Communist Party: The Communist Party endorsed three candidates for this Assembly election (1958) but its electoral support continued to decline to 0.1 percent of the first preference vote.

References: A survey of the 1958 Assembly election and its context can be found in James Jupp, 'Victoria', Political Chronicle, January-June 1958, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 4 (2) November 1958: 250-255.

Premier Bolte's long period in office is surveyed in David Dunstan, 'Henry Bolte: The Lucky Developer' in Brian Costar and Paul Strangio (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, ch. 21 (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019). For a study of Victorian parliamentary politics during this period of Liberal dominance, see Wright, ch. 10 (in 'Sources', below).

The organization and history of the Liberal Party in Victoria during this period is surveyed in Peter Aimer, Politics, Power and Persuasion: The Liberals in Victoria, (East Hawthorn, Vic.: James Bennett, 1974, ISBN 0909595011), and Katherine West, Power in the Liberal Party: A Study in Australian Politics, ch. 1 (Melbourne: Cheshire, 1965).

The growing academic interest in the study of Victorian state politics in this period is shown by The Government of Victoria: An Analysis of the Machinery of State, complied by the Department of Political Science, University of Melbourne (Melbourne: University of Melbourne Press, 1958), and the extensive study by A F Davies. 'The Government of Victoria', in S R Davis (editor), The Government of the Australian States, pp 177-247 (London: Longmans, 1960).

Sources

For this Assembly election (1958), there is agreement between the three sources below (Hughes and Graham 1968, Hughes and Graham 1975, and Carr) on the first preference votes for the larger parties. The votes and partisan affiliation of minor party and Independent candidates are calculated from Hughes and Graham 1975.

Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, Voting for the Victoria[n] Legislative Assembly 1890-1964, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1975, ISBN 070811332X).

Adam Carr, 'Forty-first Parliament Elected 31 May 1958', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 29 September 2017].

Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel: A History of the Parliament of Victoria 1856-1990, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0195533593)



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