ID 0744

Commonwealth Parliament, Senate election

Election of 29 March 1901

Show only vote and seat summary details

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General election for the Senate
Commonwealth of Australia
Date of election
29 March 1901
Type of Senate election
Full Senate with House of Representatives (first election)

Government in office at Senate election

Prime Minister in office at date of Senate election. (check notes to Senate national summary table to see if change of Prime Minister since previous election)
Prime Minister's party affiliation
Protectionist Party
Government majority in Senate at date of election
Change of government
Government majority in new Senate
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Senate enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
See notes
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
See notes
Total valid votes
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
Not applicable

Electoral composition of the Senate for this election

Total number of seats in the Senate
Total number of seats for each state
Number of seats for each territory
Seats to be filled at this Senate election
Casual vacancies/additional seats included in seats to be filled
Electoral System
Varied by state for first election; see entries for each state

Senate votes and seats won, and seats held, national summary

Display Chart

Election held on 29 March 1901
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

* to view table drag left or right.
Party Name First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won by ticket n Seats won by ticket % Seats won by party n Seats won by party % Seats held by party n Seats held by party %
Protectionist Party  1,197,723  44.86  11  30.56  11  30.56  11  30.56 
Free Trade Party  1,053,012  39.44  17  47.22  17  47.22  17  47.22 
Australian Labor Party   360,494  13.50  22.22  22.22  22.22 
Independents  58,679  2.20           
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00             
Totals 2,669,908  100.00    36  100.00  36  100.00  36  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.


As the first election for the recently established Commonwealth of Australia, this election was for all members of the Senate and a general election for the House of Representatives; see terms of senators. The 1901 House of Representatives results can be seen here.

In the table above, see the Glossary distinctions between Seats won by ticket and Seats won by party, and between Seats won by party and Seats held by party.

The franchise for this first election for the Senate was required by the Constitution to be the same as Assembly elections in each state, but the electoral system for this Senate election was set by each state parliament, with consequent variations in the way votes were cast and counted; see Joan Rydon, 'Electoral Methods', in Simms, pp 21-27 (see 'References' below). See the glossary of this website for information on the terms block voting and plumping in those states where these voting rules applied.

Missing data: Information on the number of voters and the number of ballots cast is not available for all states; without this information, it is not possible to calculate the turnout rate; the rate of informal (invalid) voting cannot be calculated for most states because of missing data or the use of multiple voting systems.

Party allegiances in the period before 1910 were fluid and party labels often referred to loose associations of like minded candidates and parliamentary representatives; see generally, P Loveday, A W Martin, and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1978, ISBN 09080940305). The compilers of this database are grateful to the Department of the Senate for for information on the, sometimes changeable, party affiliation of senators for Senate elections during the period 1901 to 1906.

References: A comprehensive study of this election is provided by Marian Simms (editor), 1901: The Forgotten Election, (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 2001, ISBN 0702233021). See also the historical sections of J.R. Odgers, Australian Senate Practice, 5th edition (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1976); a more recent version is online here [accessed 20 May 2020]. And note Stanley Bach, Platypus and Parliament: The Australian Senate in Theory and Practice (Canberra: Department of the Senate, 2003), online here [accessed 21 May 2020].


Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra; Australian National University Press, 1968 SBN 708112700); Commonwealth Parliament, Department of the Senate.