ID 1052

Parliament of New South Wales Legislative Council election

Election of 22 March 2003

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Election for the Legislative Council
New South Wales
Date of election
22 March 2003
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
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 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 22 March 2003
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  18  1,620,190  43.54  +6.27  10  47.62  18  42.86 
Liberal Party - National Party (joint ticket)  19  1,239,107  33.30  +5.91  33.33     
Greens  21  320,010  8.60  +5.69  9.52  7.14 
Christian Democratic Party  15  112,865  3.03  -0.13  4.76  4.76 
Shooters Party  21  76,133  2.05  +0.38  4.76  2.38 
Pauline Hanson Group  17  71,368  1.92       
Australian Democrats  19  58,494  1.57  -2.44    2.38 
One Nation NSW  16  55,396  1.49    2.38 
Unity Party  18  52,979  1.42  +0.45    2.38 
Fishing & Horse Riders & 4 Wheel Drive parties  21  39,315  1.06       
Australians Against Further Immigration  15  33,409  0.90  +0.59       
Save Our Suburbs  21  18,033  0.48       
Reform the Legal System  15  9,644  0.26  -0.74    2.38 
No Privatisation Peoples Party  20  6,652  0.18       
Socialist Alliance  21  5,428  0.15       
Independents  2,434  0.07  +0.04       
Outdoor Recreation Party        -0.20      2.38 
Liberal Party              21.43 
National Party              9.52 
Totals 284  3,721,457  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.


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).

Changes to the electoral system for the Legislative Council were made after the 1999 Legislative Council election to limit the proliferation of small party groupings by changes to the rules for the registration of parties, candidate listings on the ballot paper (a minimum of 15 candidates for listing as a group), and the allocation of preferences; see the three publications by Green (in 'Sources', below); for an outline of the changes and their effect on the representation of small parties, see Clune and Griffith, pp. 670-675, and Smith, Against the Machines, pp. 136-138, (see 'References', 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 Group: 'Pauline Hanson made a late decision to contest the election without a [registered] party behind her'; see Smith, Against the Machines, pp. 137-138, (see 'References', below). She headed Group L without a party label which was nominally a group of Independents even though the group was designed to permit her to contest the Legislative Council election.

One Nation NSW: This party was registered by David Oldfield after his expulsion from Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party in 2000; see Smith, Against the Machines, pp. 98-100, and 186, (see 'References', below).

Outdoor Recreation Party and related parties: The Outdoor Recreation Party had won a seat at the previous Legislative Council election in 1999 which is shown in the 'Seats held by party' in the table above. In an effort to cope with the new electoral rules for the Legislative Council (see above), candidates for similar parties ran on a joint ticket -- the Fishing Party, the Horse Riders Party and the Four Wheel Drive Party -- in the hope of winning a seat. The proliferation of these parties, many with a nominal membership, and the success of the Outdoor Recreation Party in channeling preferences to win a seat at the 1999 election, had prompted the electoral changes to Legislative Council elections which applied in 2003; see generally Smith, Against the Machines (see 'References', below).

Independents: The candidates and votes shown for Independents for this Legislative Council election in the table above are the votes for the 7 candidates who ran without party or group affiliation in the ungrouped category on the ballot paper.

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, see Rodney Smith, 'The New South Wales Election of 22 March 2003', Australian Journal of Political Science, 38 (3) November 2003: 549-556; 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).


Antony Green, Prospects for the 2003 Legislative Council Election, (Sydney: New South Wales Parliamentary Library Research Service, Background Paper No. 3/03. ISSN 1325-5142, ISBN 0731317270), online here [accessed 13 August 2015]; Antony Green, New South Wales Legislative Council Elections 2003, (Sydney: New South Wales Parliamentary Library Research Service, Background Paper No. 8/03, ISSN 1325-5142 ISBN 0731317505), online here [accessed 13 August 2015]; Antony Green, 2003 New South Wales Election - Final Analysis, (Sydney: New South Wales Parliamentary Library Research Service, Background Paper No. 6/03, 2003, ISSN 1325-5142, ISBN 0731317432), online here [accessed 13 August 2015]; New South Wales Parliament, Legislative Council, Annual Report 2004, volume 1, Department of the Legislative Council, pp. 59-60, (Sydney: Government Printer, 2004, ISSN 1324-1974).