ID 0481

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) 3 April 1982

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) Lindsay Hamilton Simpson Thompson
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. John Cain [jnr]
Premier's party affiliation Australian Labor 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 2,453,642 
Number of Assembly seats 81 
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 2,453,642 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 2,305,773 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 93.97% 
Total valid votes 2,245,501 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 2.61%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system Not applicable
Electoral system Adult franchise at 18 years, single member districts, preferential voting (AV), compulsory preferences, compulsory voting 

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Victoria, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 3 April 1982
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 1,122,887  50.01  +4.77     49  60.49 
Liberal Party 860,669  38.33  -3.11     24  29.63 
Australian Democrats 119,083  5.30  -0.06        
National Party 111,579  4.97  -0.64     9.88 
Independents 21,640  0.96  -0.11        
Democratic Labor Party 7,636  0.34  -0.17        
Australia Party 1,333  0.06  -0.19        
Marxist Party 674  0.03  -0.08        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 2,245,501  100.00    81  100.00 


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Notes

Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous Assembly election in May 1979. 'On 15 March 1981 [Minister Ian] Smith announced that he would introduce a private member's bill to legalize casinos, a policy which the Liberal parliamentary party had just rejected. He was immediately dismissed [from the ministry] but was restored to cabinet two days later. On 22 May he publicly criticized Hamer and, after repeating his criticism at a cabinet meeting [chaired by Lindsay Thompson], resigned. Hamer, who had been overseas, returned on 28 May and resigned. At the election of a new leader [by the Liberal caucus] on 2 June Thompson defeated defeated [William] Borthwick who became deputy leader.' Hughes, p. 54 (see 'Sources', below). A more detailed account of the resignation can be found in Tim Colebatch, Dick Hamer: The Liberal Liberal, ch. 26 (Brunswick, Vic.: Scribe, 2014, ISBN 9781925106138).

Thompson was commissioned as Premier of a Liberal Party majority government on 5 June 1981.

Government in office after election: At this Assembly election in 1982 there was a major swing to the Australian Labor Party which gained 50 percent of the first preference votes and won 17 seats at the expense of the Liberal Party, giving the Labor Party a majority of 6 seats. The leader of the Labor Party, John Cain [jnr] -- the son of John Cain [snr] who had been the last Labor Party Premier of Victoria -- was commissioned as Premier of a Labor Party majority government on 8 April 1982.

Australian Labor Party: The 50.1 percent Australian Labor Party share of first preference votes was equal to its largest vote share at any election for the Victorian Assembly. Details of the seats it won from the Liberal Party are set out in Carr (see 'Sources' below). Information on the Labor Party's campaign at this election in 1982 can be found in the materials listed in 'References', below. The evolution of the Labor Party in Victoria leading up to this period is covered in James Jupp, 'Victoria: Left, Right and Centre', in Andrew Parkin and John Warhurst (editors), Machine Politics in the Australian Labor Party, ch. 3 (North Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1983 ISBN 0868613096).

Australian Democrats: Founded by Don Chipp, a former federal Liberal minister, during the polarized politics of the 1977 federal election, the Australian Democrats aimed to be a centre party, drawing support from the moderate wings of both the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party. For the following 25 years, the Australian Democrats played an important role as a minor party in the Senate and those state elections using proportional representation; see generally, John Warhurst (editor), Keeping the Bastards Honest: The Australian Democrats' First Twenty Years, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1997, ISBN 1864484209).

At this Assembly election in 1982, the Australian Democrats increased the number of their candidates to 63 but their first preference vote remained substantially the same as in the 1979 Assembly election.

National Party: The declining fortunes of the Country Party across much of Australia had prompted discussions within the party about broadening its electoral base; see generally, Brian Costar and Dennis Woodward (editors), Country to National: Australian Rural Politics and Beyond, (North Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1985 ISBN 0868617164). One strategy was to change the party's name but the process was complicated by the party's federal structure; between 1975 and 1982, the federal party and some state parties had slightly differing names. In Victoria, the party was renamed the National Party in 1975 but, at the federal level, the party name was the National Country Party until 1982.

At this election in 1982, the National Party lost 0.6 percent of its first preference votes for a total of 5.0 percent, but it maintained its 8 members in the Assembly.

Independents: The votes assigned to Independents in the table above includes the votes of all those candidates who ran without a party label. There were 20 such candidates at this Assembly election in 1982 but none was elected.

Democratic Labor Party: The Democratic Labor Party (DLP) had ceased to be a significant player in Victorian Assembly elections by 1976. At this Assembly election in 1982, it fielded 9 candidates and gained less than 0.3 percent of the first preference vote. On the role of the DLP in Australian politics, note 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.

References: For a short survey of this election, see Brian J Costar, 'Victoria', Political Chronicle, January-June 1982, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 28 (3) December 1982: 443-448. An extensive study of many aspects of this election and the new Australian Labor Party state government, see Brian J Costar and Colin Hughes (editors), Labor to Office: The Victorian State Election of 1982, (Blackburn, Vic.: Drummond, 1983, ISBN 909081735). Note also, Brian Costar and Nicholas Economou, 'Elections and Electoral Change 1982-1992', 247-264, in Mark Considine and Brian Costar (editors), Trials in Power: Cain, Kirner and Victoria 1982-1992, (Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1992, ISBN 0522845371).

A study of Victorian parliamentary politics during the first eight years of the Australian Labor Party's period in office after 1982 can be found in Wright, ch. 11 (in 'Sources', below).

Sources

For this Assembly election (1982), there is agreement between the two sources below (Hughes 1986, and Carr) on the totals of first preference votes for the larger party groupings. Hughes gives more information on the smaller parties, and these figures are subtracted from Carr's 'Others' category.

Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, (Rushcutters Bay, NSW: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 0 08 033038 X).

Adam Carr, 'Forty-ninth Parliament Elected 3 April 1982', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 12 March 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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