Elections held in 1859
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'
|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 %|
|Independents (No disciplined party groupings)||26||2,103||100.00||0.00||11||84.62||15||100.00|
History of the Legislative Council: For information and references on the early history of the Legislative Council, see the note for the 1856 Legislative Council election.
Franchise: The franchise for the Legislative Council 'was conferred on males over 21 years who were owners of freehold estate of £50 annual value or who were graduates, barristers, solicitors, medical practitioners, ministers of religion or officers, including retired officers, or Her Majesty's forces'; Townsley, Tasmania, p. 111, (see 'References', below). The franchise had to be claimed annually. 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), and note Bennett and Bennett, pp 5-6 (see 'Sources', below).
Qualifications for candidates: Candidates for Legislative Council elections had to be male British subjects of at least 30 years of age.
Electoral system and length of members' terms: The Legislative Council was composed of 15 members to be elected from ten single member districts, a two member district (Tamar), and a three member district (Hobart). The term of each member was six years with a third retiring every five years. 'After the first Council election, the names of the new members were put on a members roll by lot, with the first five on the roll retiring after three years. Every three years thereafter, the first five on the roll were to retire', Bennett and Bennett, p.5 (see 'Sources', below).
This rather confusing arrangement for the rotation of members was modified with the passage of the Constitution Act Amendment Act, 1859, which confirmed that all members had fixed terms of six years. 'This was necessary because in part a series of deliberate resignations had muddled the electoral pattern and also because the Tasmanian Constitution does not allow the State Governor to ever dissolve the Legislative Council', Terry Newman, Representation of the Tasmanian People: Expanded Edition, 1803-1994, p. 141 (Hobart: joint Library Committee of the Parliament of Tasmania, 1994, ISBN 0724641475).
Voting: Voting was by striking out the names of candidates on a printed ballot paper until, for single member districts, only one name remained. Votes were counted by the first past the post (plurality) method and cast using the secret ballot (see Newman in 'References', below).
Periodic elections and by-elections: Of the thirteen seats to be filled at Legislative Council elections during 1859, five were periodic elections (see above). Two of these seats were from the electoral district of Hobart and two members were elected at the same election; this was the last occasion at which more than one member was elected to the Legislative Council at the same election. Among the eight by-elections held in 1859, there was a separate by-election for one of the three seats from the electoral district of Hobart, and two separate by-elections for the electoral district of Cambridge.
Missing information for this election: Enrolment figures for all electoral districts are taken from the 1856 Legislative Council elections. Information on the number of informal (invalid) ballots is not available for the only contested electoral district at this election, Cambridge; this may have understated the number of ballots cast and the rate of informal (invalid) voting in the table above.
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, ), 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.