ID 0752

Commonwealth Parliament, Senate election

Election of 16 December 1922


Show only vote and seat summary details

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General election for the Senate
Commonwealth of Australia
Date of election
16 December 1922
Type of Senate election
Half Senate with 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
Nationalist Party
Government majority in Senate at date of election
Yes
Change of government
Yes
Government majority in new Senate
Yes
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Senate enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
3,186,574
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
1,728,224
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
57.99%
Total valid votes
1,565,087
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
9.44%

Electoral composition of the Senate for this election

Total number of seats in the Senate
36
Total number of seats for each state
6
Number of seats for each territory
Seats to be filled at this Senate election
19
Casual vacancies/additional seats included in seats to be filled
1
Electoral System
Adult franchise at 21 years; multimember districts; preferential voting (AV); optional preferences beyond one more than twice the number of vacancies to be filled

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

Display Chart

Election held on 16 December 1922
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   715,219  45.70  +2.86  11  57.89  11  57.89  12  33.33 
Nationalist Party (Nationalists)  567,084  36.23  -10.16  42.11  42.11  24  66.67 
Country Party  203,267  12.99  +4.20           
Liberal Party (SA)  43,706  2.79           
Independents  31,998  2.04  +0.63           
Majority Labor (NSW)  3,813  0.24           
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00             
Totals 1,565,087  100.00    19  100.00  19  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.

Notes

This election in 1922 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 1922 House of Representatives results can be seen here.

An additional senator had to be elected for Queensland 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.

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: A preferental voting system had been adopted for Senate elections under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1919 (No.31 of 1919) with each state being a multimember district. Section 7 provided that, for a valid ballot paper, voters had to rank at least one more than twice as many candidates as there were vacancies to be filled, and could rank more if they wished. This was a form of optional preferential voting; for the half-Senate election of 1922, it meant each voter had to rank at least 7 candidates (9 for Queensland voters).

Ballot design: Important changes were made to the Senate ballot papers for this election by the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1922 (No.14 of 1922). The previous single list of candidates had made it hard for voters to vote for a party ticket unless they knew the surnames of the relevant candidates. In the 1922 Electoral Act, section 4 permitted candidates to be grouped, implicitly by party, although the basis of the grouping was not specified. Candidates within each group were listed alphabetically. Those candidates who ran as Independents were in a separate, unmarked, group at the bottom of the ballot paper.

Section 11 of the 1922 Act stipulated that the groups were to be printed in the order of the average alphabetical value of the surnames in each group (see section 11(c)(i)-(iii) for the method of calculation). The groups were then printed on the ballot paper as groups A, B, C, ... so that the ballot paper looked like the model set out in section 28 Form E. Again, there was no explicit reference to party names so that voters had to rely on election publicity and party how-to-vote cards to find out the party affiliation of the groups.

Country Party: The perceived urban bias of the existing federal parties reinforced the belief of some rural groups that neither the Labor Party nor the Nationalists represented the interests of many non-metropolitan voters. This movement led to the creation of the Country Party which had contested seats at the 1919 federal elections; the existence of third party competition at federal elections had prompted the adoption of preferental voting systems for the House of Representatives and the Senate (see preceding note).

In the national summary for this Senate election in 1922, the Country Party increased its share of the Senate vote but was unsuccessful in winning a seat in the Senate.

Liberal Party (SA): The votes listed for the Liberal Party (SA) in the table above were the result of a split in the Nationalist Party in that state: 'In South Australia the Liberal Party broke with the ex-National Labor-dominated Nationalists to run its own candidates.' Hughes and Graham, p.325 (see 'Sources', below).

References: For the emergence of the Country Party, see B D Graham, The Formation of the Australian Country Parties, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1966), available for download here.

For general Senate reference, 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].

Sources

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.



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