ID 0515

Parliament of Western Australia, Assembly election

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General election for the Assembly Western Australia 
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day) 19 February 1977

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) Charles Walter Michael Court
Premier's party affiliation Liberal Party 
Assembly support for government at election Coalition  
If coalition, coalition partner(s) National Alliance  

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election. Charles Walter Michael Court
Premier's party affiliation Liberal Party
Assembly support for government after election Coalition  
If coalition, coalition partner(s) National Country Party  
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Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll 633,113 
Number of Assembly seats 55 
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 633,113 
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems) 601,975 
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats) 95.08% 
Total valid votes 582,827 
Rate of informal (invalid) voting 3.18%
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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Western Australia, Assembly votes and seats won

Election held on 19 February 1977
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 %
Liberal Party 287,651  49.35  +9.02     27  49.09 
Australian Labor Party 257,730  44.22  -3.88     22  40.00 
National Country Party 30,784  5.28  *     10.91 
Independents 3,165  0.54  +0.36        
Progress Party 2,640  0.45  *        
Australia Party 549  0.09  -0.30        
Secessionist Party 308  0.05  *        
Votes for other than listed parties 0.00  0.00          
Totals 582,827  100.00    55  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

Premier in office at election: The Charles Court Liberal and National Country Party coalition government was returned to office at this election (1977) with an 11 percent increase in the vote share of the Liberal Party and a gain of 5 seats for the party.

Enlargement of the Legislative Assembly: The Electoral Districts Act Amendment Act, and the Constitution Acts Amendment Act, both of 1975, increased the membership of the Legislative Assembly by four members to fifty-five; see Phillips, p. 216, in 'References', below.

Liberal Party: For a study of the Liberal Party in Western Australia during this period, see David Black, 'The Liberal Party and its Predecessors', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 191-232, at p.218 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495).

Australian Labor Party: For a study of the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia which includes this period, see Ralph Pervan and Douglas Mitchell, 'The Changing Nature of the Australian Labor Party', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 129-158, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495), and see 'References', below. Note also Douglas Mitchell, 'Western Australia: The Struggle to Adapt', in Andrew Parkin and John Warhurst (editors), Machine Politics in the Australian Labor Party, pp 165-185, (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1983).

National Country Party and Country Party: In response to tensions within the party, and in a further attempt to redefine its role and broaden its electoral appeal, the Country Party changed its name in 1975 to the National Country Party; for context and analysis, see Lenore Layman, 'The Country Party: Rise and Decline', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 159-190, at p.184 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495), and Geoff Gallop and Lenore Layman, 'Western Australia', in Brian Costar and Dennis Woodward (editors), Country to National: Australian Rural Politics and Beyond, pp 109-118, (North Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1985, ISBN 0868617084).

Progress Party: This party was committed to greatly reduced state intervention in social and economic affairs; see Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, p.146 (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217). The party fielded 5 candidates at this election (1977).

Australia Party: This party emerged as a group to reform the federal Liberal Party in 1966; while its primary focus was on national politics, it fielded candidates at various state elections in all mainland states between 1971 and 1979; see Keith Richmond, 'Minor Parties in Australia', in Graeme Starr, Keith Richmond and Graham Maddox (editors), Political Parties in Australia, pp 317-384, at 344-351, and note Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, pp 32-33, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217). The party fielded one candidate at this Assembly election (1977).

Secessionist Party This party supported the secession of Western Australia from the Commonwealth of Australia; see Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, p. 74, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217). The party fielded one candidate at this Assembly election (1977).

National Alliance: For the fate of the National Alliance which contested the 1974 Legislative Assembly election but fell apart soon afterwards, see the notes for the 1974 Legislative Assembly elections.

References: For a brief survey of this election and its context, see Martyn Forrest, 'Western Australia', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, 23 (3) December 1977: 448-453 at pp 448-458; for a more extensive treatment, see B M Hamilton (editor), In Firm Hand: The Western Australian State Elections, 1977, (Perth:Department of Politics, University of Western Australia, 1979).

For the political context of this election (1977), see David Black, 'The 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 an overview of the context of Western Australian parliamentary and electoral politics in this period, see Harry Phillips, 'The Modern Parliament, 1965-1989', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 185-262, at pp 210-227,(Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).

Sources

Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, (Sydney: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X); Colin A Hughes and Don Aitkin, Voting the the Australian State Lower Houses 1975-1984, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1987, ISBN 909779244); David Black, Election Statistics Legislative Assembly of Western Australia 1890-1996, Listed Alphabetically by Constituency, (Perth: Parliament of Western Australia and Western Australian Electoral Commission, 1997); and David Black. An Index to Parliamentary Candidates in Western Australian Elections State and Federal 1890-2006, 2nd edition, (Perth: Parliament of Western Australia, 2006, ISBN 1920830774).



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