ID 0474

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) 15 July 1961

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 Majority 
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 1,554,856 
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 1,554,856 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 1,467,862 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 94.41% 
Total valid votes 1,431,925 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 2.45%
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 15 July 1961
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 552,015  38.55  +0.86     17  25.76 
Liberal and Country Party 521,777  36.44  -0.74     39  59.09 
Democratic Labor Party 242,753  16.95  +2.53        
Country Party 102,184  7.14  -2.16     13.64 
Independent Liberal 6,267  0.44  -0.14     1.52 
Communist Party 3,722  0.26  +0.16        
Progressive United Labor Party 1,717  0.12  *        
Independent Liberal and Country Party 1,150  0.08  *        
Independents 340  0.02  -0.10      
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 1,431,925  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

Government in office after election: The Bolte Liberal and Country Party government was returned at this Assembly election in 1961 with its majority of seats unchanged; note Carr in 'Sources', below.

Australian Labor Party: The Australian Labor Party gained a marginal increase in its primary vote share at this Assembly election but lost a seat. Although the party with the largest number of first preference votes, malapportionment and the policy of the Democratic Labor Party to direct its second preferences to the Liberal and Country Party limited the ability of the Labor Party to gain seats in the Assembly.

Democratic Labor Party: By 1961, the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) had 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 66 candidates at this election in 1961, the DLP gained 17.0 percent of the first preference vote but 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 Liberal: Robert H Suggett, the member for Moorabbin, had been secretary of the Liberal and Country Party Parliamentary Party. A minor legal conviction in 1960 had led some members of the Party's State Executive to suggest to Suggett that he consider his future in the Party. The conviction was later quashed on appeal but the State Executive withdrew Suggett's endorsement for the 1961 election and requested the Moorabbin branch select another candidate. The incident triggered a dispute between the State Executive and the Moorabbin branch of the Party over the right of the electorate organization to choose its own candidate.

Suggett ran as an Independent Liberal candidate for his seat at the 1961 Assembly election and defeated the endorsed Liberal and Country Party candidate for Moorabbin; Suggett was later accepted back into the party. For a discussion of the incident and its implications for party organization, see Aimer, pp 126-127, and West, pp 54-56, both in 'References', below.

Communist Party: The Communist Party endorsed 5 candidates for this Assembly election (1961) but its electoral support remained below 0.3 percent of the first preference vote.

Progressive United Labor Party: There is no information on the nature of this party grouping except that none of its four candidates had contested a Victorian Legislative Assembly election before this election in 1961.

Independent Liberal and Country Party: John A Hipworth was a perennial candidate for the Assembly seat of Swan Hill. He won the seat as a member of the Country Party at the 1945 and 1947 Assembly elections and retained it as a candidate for the Liberal and Country Party in 1950. But he was defeated as a candidate for the Electoral Reform League in 1952 and was unsuccessful as an Independent Liberal at the 1955 and 1958 Assembly elections. At this election in 1961, after being expelled from the Liberal and Country Party (see Jupp, p.108 in 'References', above), he ran as an Independent Liberal and Country Party candidate for Swan Hill but was not elected.

Independents: Only one candidate at this election (1961) ran without any party affiliation; the candidate was not elected.

References: A survey of the 1961 Assembly election can be found in James Jupp, 'Victoria', Political Chronicle July-December 1961, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 8 (1) May 1962: 108-111.

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 (1961), 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-second Parliament Elected 15 July 1961', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 14 October 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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