ID 0477

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) 30 May 1970

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 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 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 1,827,595 
Number of Assembly seats 73 
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 1,827,595 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 1,728,363 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 94.57% 
Total valid votes 1,673,222 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 3.19%
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 30 May 1970
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 693,105  41.42  +3.53     22  30.14 
Liberal Party 614,094  36.70  -0.77     42  57.53 
Democratic Labor Party 222,591  13.30  -0.99        
Country Party 107,011  6.40  -2.25     10.96 
Independents 19,687  1.18  +0.43      
Council for Defence of Government Schools (DOGS) 7,663  0.46  *        
Independent Labor 5,728  0.34  -0.10     1.37 
Progressive Reform Party 3,343  0.20  *        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 1,673,222  100.00    73  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 Party government lost two seats at this Assembly election in 1970 but was returned with a comfortable majority and a decline of less that 1 percent of its first preference votes.

Australian Labor Party: The Labor Party, in spite of some organizational tensions, made its first substantial gains since the 1955 split in the party. Its first preference vote rose by 3.5 percent and it gained an additional six seats (note Carr, in 'Sources', below). Some of the Australian Labor Party's success can be attributed to a decision by the Country Party's attempt to enhance its influence by giving its second preferences to the Labor Party rather than the Liberals; see Holmes, p.408 in 'References', below. On the evolution of the Labor Party in Victoria during this period, see James Jupp, 'Victoria: Left, Right and Centre', in Adrew Parkin and John Warhurst (editors), Machine Politics in the Australian Labor Party, ch. 3 (North Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1983 ISBN 0868613096).

Democratic Labor Party: The Democratic Labor Party (DLP) continued its practice of endorsing candidates for all seats in the Legislative Assembly at this election in 1970, a significant organizational feat for a party unlikely to win a seat in the Assembly. The DLP gained 13.3 percent of the first preference vote, a 1 percent decline from the previous Assembly 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, a strategy complicated at this election by the decision of the Country Party to favour Labor candidates (see Holmes, p.408 in 'References', below).

On the role of the DLP in Australian politics during this period, see Richmond, pp 335-344 in 'References', below; P L Reynolds, The Democratic Labor Party, (Milton, Qld: Jacaranda Press, 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.

Country Party: 'The Country party ... decided to switch its preferences to Labor in the hope of forming a coalition government on the pattern of the successful Dunstan ministries of the 1930s and 1940s ...' Holmes, p.408 in 'References', below. This controversial strategy put the leader of the Victorian Country Party at odds with the leader of the federal party, exposed the party to attacks from the Liberals, and corresponded with the decline in the party's vote share and the loss of four seats.

Independents: The surge in the number of Independent candidates who had run without some claimed association with a party grouping at the previous election in 1967 continued in 1970 although the number of candidates declined to 14; none of these candidates was elected.

Council for the Defence of Public Schools (DOGS): Six candidates ran as candidates for this party grouping at the 1970 Assembly election. The party opposed state financial aid to private schools and argued for enhanced funding for the public education system. It fielded candidates at some federal and state elections between 1969 and 1985; summaries of its activities can be found in Richmond, pp 351-353 in 'References', below, and in Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague On Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN1864484217).

Independent Labor: John P Mutton was returned to the seat of Coburg as an Independent Labor candidate continuing a family tradition begun by Charles Mutton's tenure of the seat from 1940 to 1967.

Progressive Reform Party: A dissident non-Labor candidate ran under this party label at the 1935 and 1937 Victorian Assembly elections. At this 1970 Assembly election, two Progressive Reform Party candidates contested the election on a platform produced by Dr Bertram Wainer, the party's founder. It favoured a range of progressive policies including abortion law reform; for details, see Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague On Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, p.85, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN1864484217).

References: A survey of the 1970 Assembly election can be found in Jean Holmes, 'Victoria', Political Chronicle, May-August 1970, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 16 (3) December 1970: 407-412.

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 review of Victorian government and politics in this period see, Jean Holmes, The Government of Victoria, (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1976), and 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 details of selected minor parties in Keith Richmond, 'Minor Parties' in Grame Starr, in Keith Richmond and Graham Maddox, Political Parties in Australia, (Richmond, Vic.: Heinemann, 1978, ISBN 0858591782).

Sources

For this Assembly election (1970), there is agreement between the three sources below (Hughes 1977, Hughes 1981, 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 1981.

Colin A Hughes , A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1965-1974, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1977, ISBN 0708113400); Colin A Hughes Voting for the Australian State Lower Houses 1965-1974, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1981, ISBN 909596735).

Adam Carr, 'Forty-fifth Parliament Elected 30 May 1970', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 22 January 2018].

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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