ID 1051

Parliament of New South Wales Legislative Council election

Election of 27 March 1999


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Election for the Legislative Council
New South Wales
Date of election
27 March 1999
Type of Legislative Council election
Half 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
No
Government majority in new Legislative Council
No

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

Total number of seats in the Legislative Council
42
If the Legislative Council has staggered terms, the number of seats to be filled at this election
21
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
21

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
4,115,059
Number of uncontested seats
0
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
Not applicable
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
4,115,059
Total number of candidates
264
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
3,832,356
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
93.13%
Total valid votes
3,557,762
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
7.17%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Not applicable
Electoral system
Universal suffrage (at 18 years), statewide (at large) voting with a half of the seats to be elected at each election, proportional representation by STV, optional preferences (but a minimum of 15 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

Display Chart

Elections held in 27 March 1999
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 %
Australian Labor Party  15  1,325,819  37.27  +2.02  38.10  16  38.10 
Liberal Party - National Party (joint ticket)  15  974,352  27.39  -11.11  28.57     
NSW Leg. Council 1999 'micro-parties' (see notes)  171  408,427  11.48       
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party  225,668  6.34  4.76  2.38 
Australian Democrats  142,768  4.01  +0.81  4.76  2.38 
Christian Democratic Party  112,669  3.17  4.76  4.76 
Greens  103,463  2.91  -0.84  4.76  4.76 
Shooters Party  11  59,295  1.67  -1.17    2.38 
Progressive Labor Party  56,037  1.58       
Marijuana Party  43,991  1.24       
Reform the Legal System  35,712  1.00  4.76  2.38 
Unity Party  34,785  0.98  4.76  2.38 
A Better Future For Our Children  15,800  0.44  -0.84    2.38 
Australians Against Further Immigration  10,881  0.31  -1.35       
Outdoor Recreation Party  7,264  0.20  4.76  2.38 
Independents  801  0.02  -2.29      4.76 
Liberal Party              21.43 
National Party              9.52 
Totals 264  3,557,762  100.00    21  100.00  42  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

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 two Legislative Assembly terms (8 years), half the membership (21 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 15 ranked candidates, and above the line voting; see Clune and Griffith, pp. 503-515, and Twomey, pp. 346-350, (see 'References', below), and the two publications by Green (in 'Sources', below).

Minor parties and other groupings: This election became notorious for the very large number of party groups on the ballot, creating a table cloth sized ballot paper. The ease with which party groups could register a party name and the requirement that only two candidates were needed to be listed as a group on the ballot paper encouraged a large number of groups with a wide variety of political interests to contest this Legislative Council election. For a discussion of the effect of the electoral system on the representation of these so-called micro-parties in the New South Wales Legislative Council (see below), and the measures taken to prevent the proliferation of party groups at subsequent elections, see Smith, Against the Machines, particularly pp. 134-137, (see 'References', below).

'Micro-parties': Of the large number of small parties on the ballot at this election, the only ones shown by name in the table above are those which elected a member, gained more than 1 percent of the first preference vote, held a seat from a previous election or were to contest a subsequent election for the New South Wales Legislative Council under the same party name. The votes for the remaining 66 party groupings are summed and presented as a single 'micro-parties' aggregate result. For full details of the names and vote shares of these groups, see Green, New South Wales Elections 1999, pp. 47-56 (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.

Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party: This rural based populist party contested the 1999 New South Wales election after winning more than 20 percent of the vote in the June 1998 Queensland Assembly election, and 8 percent of the vote in the October 1998 House of Representatives elections; see Smith, Against the Machines, particularly pp. 98-100, (see 'References', below).

Christian Democratic Party: This party was the successor to the Call to Australia party; see Smith, 1999, p. 396, (see 'References', below).

Reform the Legal System: This party was led by Peter Breen who '... had begun his party as the Bill of Rights Party in 1997 but changed its name in 1999 ....' Smith, Against the Machines, particularly pp. 103-104, (see 'References', below).

Unity Party: The formation of this party was prompted by the anti-immigrant policies of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party, and supported multiculturalism and the rights of ethnic communities; see Smith, Against the Machines, p. 100, (see 'References', below).

Outdoor Recreation Party: This party '... represented four wheel drive enthusiasts, horse riders, campers and other who wanted greater access to national parks and other areas', Smith, Against the Machines, p. 103, (see 'References', below).

Independents: Two Independent members are shown as holding seats at the time of the 1999 Legislative Council election. One Richard Stanley Leigh Jones who was elected to the Legislative Council in 1988 as a member of the Australian Democrats but resigned from the party in 1996 and served out the remainder of his term as an Independent until 2003. The other was Helen Wai-Har Sham-Ho who was elected to the Legislative Council in 1988 as a member of the Liberal Party but resigned from the party in 1998 and served the remainder of her term as an Independent until 2003.

The vote shown for Independents in the table above is restricted to the votes gained by the 6 candidates who ran as candidates without party or group affiliation in the ungrouped category on the ballot paper. Several of the 66 'micro-party' groups (see above) had 'Independent' in their group label, but the difficulty of distinguishing these groups from other party groupings has restricted the definition of Independents to ungrouped candidates for this election.

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 Smith, '1999', in Michael Hogan and David Clune (editors), The People's Choice: Electoral Politics in 20th Century New South Wales, vol. 3 (1968-1999), pp. 369-413, (Sydney: Parliament of New South Wales and University of Sydney, 2001, ISBN 0909907412); pp. 374-376, 396-396, 408-409, and 411 deal with issues directly relating to the Legislative Council election. For a study of minor parties and groups contesting New South Wales elections, see Smith, Against the Machines: Minor Parties and Independents in New South Wales 1910-2006, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876231).

Sources

Antony Green, New South Wales Legislative Council Elections 1999, (Sydney: New South Wales Parliamentary Library Research Service, Background Paper No. 2/200, ISSN 1325-5142 ISBN 0731316762),online here [accessed 13 August 2015]; Antony Green, New South Wales Elections 1999, (Sydney: New South Wales Parliamentary Library Research Service, Background Paper No. 4/99, 1999, ISSN 1325-5142, ISBN 073131655X), online here [accessed 13 August 2015]; Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1985-1999, pp. 309-311, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2002, ISBN 1862874344); New South Wales Parliament, Legislative Council, Annual Report 2000, pp. 67-68, (Sydney: Government Printer, 2000, ISSN 1324-1974).



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