Election held on 16 December 1903
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 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 %|
|Free Trade Party||986,030||34.33||-5.11||4||21.05||4||21.05||12||33.33|
|Australian Labor Party||854,628||29.76||+16.25||10||52.63||10||52.63||14||38.89|
|Liberal Party (Qld)||136,727||4.76||*||0|
|Tariff Reform Party (Tas)||25,310||0.88||*||1||5.26||1||5.26||1||2.78|
|Votes for other than listed parties||0||0.00||0.00|
* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.
This election in 1903 was a regular election for half the members of the Senate held at the same time as a general election for the House of Representatives; see terms of senators. The 1903 House of Representatives results can be seen here.
An additional senator had to be elected for Victoria to fill a casual vacancy; note Narelle Miragliotta & Campbell Sharman, 'Managing Midterm Vacancies: Institutional Design and Partisan Strategy in the Australian Parliament 1901–2013', Australian Journal of Political Science, 52(3) 2017: 351-366.
Electoral system: The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902 (No.19 of 1902) provided for plurality (first past the post) voting in each state as a multimember electoral district for the selection of senators. Section 150 provided that each voter was required to cast as many votes as there were vacancies to be filled (block voting), selecting three candidates for half Senate elections (more if there were casual vacancies). The multiple voting system for the election of of senators from 1903 to 1917 meant that the number of valid votes was much larger than the number of ballot papers cast. This voting system precludes the usual calculation of the informal (invalid) vote for these elections in the table above.
Ballot design: The design of the Senate ballot paper for the election of senators from each state was set out in Form O of the Electoral Act (Section 131). Candidates were ranked in a single list in alphabetical order of surname; no party affiliation or additional information about candidates was provided unless there were two candidates with the same name and then a geographical location was provided to distinguish them.
Parties: 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: 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.