ID 0749

Commonwealth Parliament, Senate election

Election of 5 September 1914

Show only vote and seat summary details

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General election for the Senate
Commonwealth of Australia
Date of election
5 September 1914
Type of Senate election
Double Dissolution of Senate and House of Representatives

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
Liberal 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)
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
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
Adult franchise at 21 years; multimember districts; first past the post (plurality) voting with multiple votes (block voting)

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

Display Chart

Election held on 5 September 1914
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 %
Australian Labor Party   6,119,018  52.16  +3.44  31  86.11  31  86.11  31  86.11 
Liberal Party  5,605,305  47.78  -1.60  13.89  13.89  13.89 
Independents  6,799  0.06  -0.79           
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00             
Totals 11,731,122  100.00    36  100.00  36  100.00  36  100.00 

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This election in 1914 was a so called double dissolution election for all the members of the Senate held at the same time as a general election for the House of Representatives; see terms of senators. The 1914 House of Representatives results can be seen here.

At the previous federal elections in 1913, the Liberal Party had won a bare majority of seats in the House of Representative but the Labor Party had retained its majority control of the Senate and could block or amend government legislation. After a year of continuing disagreement between the two chambers, Prime Minister Cook decided to invoke section 57 of the Constitution (the double dissolution provision) which was designed to deal with persistent deadlocks over legislation between the two houses by forcing an election for all senators and members of the House of Representatives.

An additional complication was the British declaration of war on Germany on 4 August 1914 during the election campaign. Both the Primer Minister and the leader of the opposition gave full support to Britain and committed Australia to the war.

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.

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 and six at this double dissolution election). 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.

After this double dissolution election in 1914 at which all Senate seats were contested, senators had to be divided into two groups, those who had six year terms and those who had three year terms; for details, see terms of senators.

References: For a summary of the details and context of this election, see Ernest Scott, Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18, volume XI, Australia during the War, (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1936), pp 15-19, online here.

For general reference on the Senate, see: 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.