ID 1046

Parliament of New South Wales Legislative Council election

Election of 19 March 1988

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Election for the Legislative Council
New South Wales
Date of election
19 March 1988
Type of Legislative Council election
Third of Council to be elected (see note)
Related or previous Assembly election

Government support in Legislative Council at and after election

Government majority in Legislative Council at date of election
Government majority in new Legislative Council

Composition of the Legislative Council and seats to be filled at this election

Total number of seats in the Legislative Council
If the Legislative Council has staggered terms, the number of seats to be filled at this election
Casual vacancies (by-elections) and additional seats to be filled at this election (see notes)
Not applicable
Total seats to be filled at this election

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
Not applicable
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
Total number of candidates
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
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Not applicable
Electoral system
Adult franchise (at 18 years), statewide (at large) voting with a third of the seats to be elected at each election, proportional representation by STV, optional preferences (but a minimum of 10 preferences to be indicated), above the line voting permitted, compulsory voting (see notes)

New South Wales, Legislative Council votes and seats won, and seats held

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Elections held in 19 March 1988
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 Candidates n First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won by party n Seats won by party % Seats held by party n Seats held by party %
Liberal Party - National Party (joint ticket)  10  1,403,300  46.15  +3.54  46.67     
Australian Labor Party  10  1,140,634  37.51  -9.37  40.00  21  46.67 
Call to Australia  173,569  5.71  -0.38  6.67  6.67 
Australian Democrats  82,248  2.70  -0.45  6.67  4.44 
Independent EFF (Enterprise, Freedom & Family)  72,965  2.40       
Independents  56,388  1.85  +1.44       
Environment Group  48,536  1.60       
Nuclear Disarmament Party  28,161  0.93       
Aboriginal Team  13,363  0.44       
Humanist Party  11,895  0.39       
Defence Ex-Service Team  6,970  0.23       
Marijuana Party  2,713  0.09         
Liberal Party              12  26.67 
National Party              15.56 
Totals 56  3,040,742  100.00    15  100.00  45  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.


History of the Legislative Council: For information and references on the evolution of the Legislative Council, see the note for the 1978 Legislative Council election.

Electoral system: The members of the Legislative Council were elected for three Legislative Assembly terms (a maximum of 12 years), a third of the membership (15 members) retiring every Legislative Council election which was held at the same time as general elections for the Assembly. The state was one electoral district (see at large election) and members were elected using proportional representation by the single transferable vote method (STV) with optional preferences above a minimum of 10 ranked candidates; see Clune and Griffith, pp. 503-515, and Twomey, pp. 346-350, (see 'References', below), and Green (in 'Sources', below).

This was the first election which permitted above the line voting for the New South Wales Legislative Council; see Hagan and Clothier, p. 275, (see 'References', below), and Green (see 'Sources', below).

Liberal and National parties: As with Senate contests in New South Wales, the Liberal Party and the National Party ran a joint ticket for the Legislative Council election, combining candidates from both parties; see seats won by ticket, seats won by party, and seats held by party.

Independents: The introduction of above the line voting for Legislative Council elections required Independent candidates to rethink their electoral strategy; there was now a stronger motivation to form a group of like-minded candidates to benefit from the new system. The candidates and votes shown for Independents for this Legislative Council election in the table above are the 3 candidates of the Community Independents group (52,992 votes), and the votes for 4 other candidates who ran without party or group affiliation in the ungrouped category on the ballot paper (3,396 votes); see Hagan and Clothier, p. 257, (see 'References', below), and note 'Independent EFF', below.

Independent EFF: The 7 candidates of the Independent EFF (Enterprise, Freedom and Family) group although a group of independents (see previous note), could be seen as a quasi-party (Hagan and Clothier, p. 257, see 'References', below), but the candidates maintained an anti-party stance; see Rodney Smith, Against the Machines: Minor Parties and Independents in New South Wales 1910-2006, pp. 96-97 (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876231). The Independent EFF group ran a joint ticket with other independents at the 1991 Legislative Council Election, but ran again as a separate group in 1995.

Environment Group: This green party grouping followed the Environmental Action group which ran in the 1981 New South Wales Legislative Council Election and was the precursor to the Greens party grouping which contested the following Legislative Council election in 1991.

References: A comprehensive study of the Legislative Council's history and operation can be found in David Clune and Gareth Griffith, Decision and Deliberation: The Parliament of New South Wales 1856-2003, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 186287591X), and Anne Twomey, The Constitution of New South Wales, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2004, ISBN 1862875162).

For a survey of this election and the preceding period, see Jim Hagan and Craig Clothier, '1988', in Michael Hogan and David Clune (editors), The People's Choice: Electoral Politics in 20th Century New South Wales, vol. 3 (1968-1999), pp. 251-281, (Sydney: Parliament of New South Wales and University of Sydney, 2001, ISBN 0909907412); pp. 257, and 275-276, deal with issues directly relating to the Legislative Council election.


Antony Green, Electing the New South Wales Legislative Council 1978 to 1995: Past Results and Future Prospects, (Sydney: New South Wales Parliamentary Library, Background Paper No. 1995/2, ISSN 8017-3796; ISBN 724095686); Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1985-1999, pp. 301-302, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2002, ISBN 1862874344).