INFORMATION IN THE DATABASE
The information on this website was originally entered by researchers associated with the University of Western Australia (see Credits) and is intended for anyone who wants to find out general information about Australian elections and parliamentary politics from 1856 to 2018 (note the Disclaimer for information displayed on this website).
Many of the terms used in the website are explained in the Glossary. But the best way of finding out the kind of material in the archive database is to explore the various web pages. The information in the database can be summarized under a number of headings.
1. Elections from 1856 to 2018
Summary details of the results of state and colonial (pre-federation) assembly (lower house) general elections are listed since the first election after the grant of responsible government to each colony or territory: New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria from 1856; South Australia from 1857; Queensland from 1860; and Western Australia from 1890. The Northern Territory had its first assembly election after self-government in 1974, with the Australian Capital Territory following in 1989.
Notes and references for each assembly election are provided for New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia, and are being added for South Australia, with Queensland to follow.
Details of legislative council (upper house) elections together with notes and references, are provided for Tasmania since 1856, Western Australia since 1894, and New South Wales since its legislative council was directly elected from 1978; it is hoped that details for the South Australian and Victorian legislative councils can be added.
Summary details of Commonwealth Parliamentary general elections are shown for the House of Representatives and the Senate since federation in 1901, showing nation-wide and state-wide election results.
2. Political Parties
The ability to track the votes and seats gained by parties at all state and federal elections was a major goal for the initial design of this database. Summary information is listed for all parties which have won more than 2 percent of the vote or won a seat at any general election. The parties’ share of votes and seats is shown together with the various electoral forums in which each party has run candidates. For full details of the criteria for the inclusion of parties in this database, see the Glossary entry for listed party.
To find information on party vote and seat shares, searches can be made for parties by parliament or state, by words in a party’s name (note party name), by party type, or by time period; see the 'Party Search' section listed on the homepage.
3. Governments, premiers and prime ministers
To complement the study of elections and representation, this database provides basic details of the duration and partisan composition of governments. The information is organized by the periods in office of premiers and prime ministers (note the definition of period in office in the Glossary).
Details are included for the dates on which a premier or prime minister gained and lost office, the reason for the beginning and end of the period in office, the number of ministers in the government at the start of each period, and the nature of the partisan support for the government in parliament.
New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia have notes and references for each period in office since the start of responsible government; these are being added for South Australia with Queensland to follow.
A description of terms used in this database is provided together with general information on elections and key Australian institutions of government related to the database and associated web pages.
5. Search functions
The homepage shows a number of ways in which information in this database can be found and displayed. Search functions are provided for elections and parliaments, together with summary tables for state elections and representation. In addition, there are several ways for searching information in the database on the performance of parties. A word search is available for searching notes on elections and periods in office for those series where notes are provided.
Comments on the archive database are welcome (see Contact).
Campbell Sharman, 13 January 2020
Please contact us if:
... you wish to correct an error or have suggestions about how information could be better displayed in the web pages.
... you are having trouble working with the website. Note that there is useful information on how to use the archive database in the About section of this web site. But if the problem you are having is not covered, please get in touch.
... you would like access to data sets on parties, elections, representation, or periods in office for Australian or comparative research purposes. We welcome use of the archive database to advance research.
... you think the web site is really good!
In all these cases, please get in touch with Campbell Sharman, University of Western Australia, (firstname.lastname@example.org).
This web version of the Australian Politics and Elections Database was first launched in October 2001 at the University of Western Australia. Major upgrades have been undertaken in 2005-2006, 2009-2010 and 2016-2017 funded by the University of Western Australia, and work is continuing to add information and update entries.
Additional material was added on New South Wales government and politics in 2006 under a grant from the Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government History Project set up by the government of New South Wales, and major additions were made to the entries for Tasmania with funding from the Tasmanian Parliament in 2008-2009.
Similar additions were completed for Western Australia in 2009-2010 under an Australian Research Council Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant administered through the University of Western Australia, with other states and territories to follow.
Database and web design
Without the pioneering work done by Colin Hughes and his associates during his time at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, in collecting information on Australian government and politics, this database would not have been possible. The book A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics, 1890-1964 by Colin Hughes and Bruce Graham (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968) and its supplements were the inspiration for the production of this database as an electronic version of information on Australian government and politics which would be widely available to any interested person.
In preparing information for the expanded entries for New South Wales and Tasmania, we are indebted to David Clune, former Manager of the Research Service of the New South Wales Parliamentary Library for his frequent help in finding information on parliamentary representation in New South Wales, and to Bryan Stait, Terry Newman and Vena Bowman of the Tasmanian Parliamentary Research Service for their extensive assistance in providing material on representation in the Tasmanian Parliament.
The database was established by a grant to the University of Western Australia from the Australian Research Council (1995-1997), and the website created by a grant from the National Council for the Centenary of Federation (1999-2001).
The database and website have been maintained and upgraded since 1997 with generous support from the Discipline of Political Science and International Relations, the School of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Arts, and the Vice-Chancellery of the University of Western Australia. Funds for designing and entering additional material on New South Wales government and politics were provided by grant from the Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government History Project set up by the government of New South Wales (2005-2006), and similar work on Tasmanian parliamentary representation was funded by the Tasmanian Parliament. Additions to the Western Australian components of the website in 2009-2010 were funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage, Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant administered through the University of Western Australia,
Administrative support has been provided by the School of Social Sciences and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education. Special thanks are due to Linley Hill, the former Administrative Officer of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Western Australia
First version of the database and website, 1996-2001
Jeremy Moon, now at the Department of Intercultural Communication and Management in the Copenhagen Business School, was joint investigator for the original database project until 2001. Imogen Fountain, Richard Miles, and Anthony Sayers made major contributions to the operation of the first version of the database as research associates in the period between 1996 and 1999, and Anne McNevin, Narelle Miragliotta, and Simon Thackrah provided valuable research assistance from 1999 to 2001.
We would also like to thank a number of people and institutions who provided information and advice on the first version of the database and website: David Denemark; Robert Hymus; Graeme Rymill; Bruce Stone; electoral commissions and offices around Australia; the parliaments and parliamentary libraries of the Commonwealth, states and territories; and the Department of the Senate.
University of Western Australia
A number of publications have been produced by researchers working with the Database since its origins in 1995. In addition to providing useful information, these publications may suggest ideas for future research using material in the Database.
(Note that publications on ministerial portfolios makes reference to components of the Database that are not displayed on the website.)
1. Jeremy Moon and Imogen Fountain (1997) 'Keeping the Gates? Women as Ministers in Australia, 1970-96', Australian Journal of Political Science, 32(3): 455-266.
2. Campbell Sharman and Anthony Sayers (1998) ‘Swings and Roundabouts? Patterns of Voting for the Australian Labor Party at State and Commonwealth Lower House Elections, 1901-96’, Australian Journal of Political Science, 33(3): 339-354.
3. Jeremy Moon and Anthony Sayers (1999) ‘The Dynamics of Governmental Activity: A Long-run Analysis of the Changing Scope and Profile of Australian Ministerial Portfolios’, Australian Journal of Political Science, 34(2): 149-167.
4. Campbell Sharman (1999) ‘The Representation of Small Parties and Independents in the Senate’, Australian Journal of Political Science, 34(3): 353-361.
5. Campbell Sharman (2002) ‘A Web-based Database on Australian Government and Politics (http://elections.uwa.edu.au)’, Australian Journal of Political Science, 37(2): 347-351.
6. Anthony Sayers and Jeremy Moon (2002) 'State Government Convergence and Partisanship: A Long-Run Analysis of Australian Ministerial Portfolios', Canadian Journal of Political Science, 35(3): 589-612.
7. Campbell Sharman, Anthony Sayers and Narelle Miragliotta (2002) ‘Trading Party Preferences: The Australian Experience of Preferential Voting’, Electoral Studies, 21(4): 543-560.
8. Jeremy Moon and Campbell Sharman (editors) (2003) Australian Politics and Government: The Commonwealth, the States and the Territories 1901-2001, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (This publication included contributions from Brian Costar, Nick Economou, Jenny Fleming, Dean Jaensch, Aynsley Kellow, Jeremy Moon, Andrew Parkin, Campbell Sharman, Rodney Smith, Paul Strangio, John Wanna, John Warhurst, and Patrick Weller)
9. Campbell Sharman (2003) ‘Uncontested Seats and the Evolution of Party Competition: The Australian Case’, Party Politics 9(6): 679-702.
10. Narelle Miragliotta and Campbell Sharman (2012) ‘Federalism and New Party Insurgency in Australia’, Regional and Federal Studies, 22(5) : 577-594.
11. Campbell Sharman (2013) 'Limiting Party Representation: Evidence from a Small Parliamentary Chamber’, Legislative Studies Quarterly, 38(3): 327-348.
When using or referring to the information on this website, please give the citation as:
Australian Politics and Elections Database, University of Western Australia (http://elections.uwa.edu.au/).
While the information in the Australian Politics and Elections Archive 1856-2018 website is as accurate as the compilers can make it, we do not guarantee that the information it contains is correct or complete. The archive database and website contain summary information for general research purposes (see About this database) which is not intended to be a substitute for authoritative information from the appropriate official source.
In particular, the names of parties have sometimes been edited for clarity and consistency of display, and the dates of periods in office of premiers and prime ministers have sometimes been adjusted to fit election dates (see Glossary). Information on the period before 1910 is often difficult to summarize and should be treated with caution. We welcome the correction of errors and omissions, and suggestions for the more accurate or helpful display of information (see Contact).