ID 1085

Parliament of Tasmania, House of Assembly election

Election of 6 September 1871

Show only vote and seat summary details

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General election for the House of Assembly
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day)
6 September 1871

Government in office and parliamentary support before and after the election

Government in office at election

Premier in office at date of election. (check notes to see if change of Premier since previous election)
Premier's party affiliation
Support from parliamentary factions and independents
House of Assembly support for government at election
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election.
Premier's party affiliation
Support from parliamentary factions and independents
House of Assembly support for government after election
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
Number of Assembly seats
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
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
Property and occupational franchise, plural voting, single member districts, first past the post (plurality) voting (see notes)

Tasmania, House of Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 6 September 1871
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

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Party Name First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won n Uncontested seats held n Seat share %
Independents (No disciplined party groupings)  4,492  100.00  0.00  32  16  100.00 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 4,492  100.00    32  16  100.00 

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Election dates: Elections were held over the period from 6 to 28 September 1871.

Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous election in 1866; Premier Dry died in office on 1 August 1869, and Wilson was commissioned as head of new government on 4 August 1869. By 1871, the Parliament had run its full five year term, and the House of Assembly was dissolved for an election in September. For more references on the Premier's career, click on Wilson's name in the 'Government in office at election' table, above.

Premier in office after election: A sufficient number of Wilson's supporters were elected to the House of Assembly for him to continue in office after the election.

Franchise: The electoral system had been modified in 1870-71; property qualifications for voting were reduced for the Assembly from £100 to £50 for a freehold estate, and from £10 to £7 annual rent, and from £100 to £80 annual salary (Bennett and Bennett, p. 7, see 'Sources', below). The franchise had to be claimed annually, and plural voting was permitted for those who had the qualifications for the franchise in more than one electoral district; see Terry Newman, Sandstone and Statutes: A History of the Tasmanian Parliament, (in process).

Electoral system and voting: The number of seats in the House of Assembly had been increased to 32 in 1870-71, all being single member electoral districts . Voters were required to strike out the names of candidates on a printed ballot paper until only one name remained on the ballot. Votes were counted by the first past the post (plurality) method and cast using the secret ballot (see Newman in 'References', below).

Missing data: No record of the number of informal (invalid) ballots is available for 11 of the 16 contested electoral districts at this election.

References: For a description of the style of elections and parliamentary government in this period, see W A Townsley, 'Electoral Systems and Constituencies', and John Reynolds, 'Premiers and Political Leaders', in F C Green (editor), Tasmania: A Century of Responsible Government 1856-1956, pp 59-65, and 115-192, (Hobart: L G Shea, Government Printer, [1956]), and W A Townsley, Tasmania From Colony to Statehood 1803-1945, pp 111-128 (Hobart: St David's Park Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0724625753). On Tasmania's early adoption of the secret ballot in 1856, see Terry Newman, 'Tasmania and the Secret Ballot', Australian Journal of Politics and History, 9 (1) 2003: 93-101, and note pp 99-100 which gives an idea of the context of voting in early Tasmanian elections.


Voting figures and election results calculated from information in Scott Bennett and Barbara Bennett, Tasmanian Electoral Handbook, 1851-1982, (Kensington, NSW: Reference Section of History Project Incorporated, University of New South Wales, 1983). The difficulties of determining the accuracy of early Tasmanian election results is discussed in Scott Bennett, 'The Statistics of Tasmania and the Study of Tasmanian Elections: A Cautionary Note', in Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Papers and Proceedings, 45(4), December 1998: 237-242.