Elections held in 1879
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)||4||4||100.00||16||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.
Enlargement of the Legislative Council: The Electoral Act No. 4, 1870 had created the new single member Legislative Council electoral district of Mersey and, together with the Constitution Amendment Act, 1871 increased the membership of the Legislative Council to 16.
Franchise: The property qualifications for the Legislative Council franchise was reduced in 1871 by the Constitution Amendment Act of that year. Voters for the Legislative Council had to be over 21 years of age who were owners of freehold estate of £30; 'a leasehold estate worth 200 p.a. with a lease of not less than five years could also satisfy the requirements', Bennett and Bennett, p.7 (see 'Sources', below). 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).
Qualifications for candidates: Candidates for Legislative Council elections had to be male British subjects of at least 30 years of age.
Electoral system and members' terms: From 1871 to 1885, the Legislative Council was composed of 16 members to be elected from 11 single member districts, a two member district (Tamar), and a three member district (Hobart). Each member was elected for a fixed six year term from the date of election, even if the election was a by-election. Fixed terms and the high incidence of by-elections prompted by resignation or death had created an uneven pattern of elections at which by-elections were as common as periodic elections in the period From 1871 to 1885.
Voting: Voting was by striking out the names of candidates on a printed ballot paper until 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).
No contested elections: No election held in 1879 was contested; the winning candidates were elected without any votes being cast. This explains the blanks in the tables above.
Ministerial by-election: One of the two by-elections held in 1879 was a ministerial by-election for the seat of Mersey at which the minister, W Moore, was returned unopposed.
Premier in upper house: William Lodewyk Crowther accepted his commission as Premier in 1878 while a member of the Legislative Council. He was the sixth Tasmanian premier to hold the office while a member of the Legislative Council. His Colonial Secretary, Thomas Reiby, led for the government in the House of Assembly; see the entry for Premier Crowther in the 'Governments' section of this website.
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, (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.