ID 1114

Parliament of Tasmania Legislative Council annual periodic election and by-elections

Election of 17 February 1881


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Election for the Legislative Council
Tasmania
Date of election
1881
Type of Legislative Council election
By-elections (no periodic election), February to June 1881
Previous Assembly election

Government support in Legislative Council at and after election

Government majority in Legislative Council at date of periodic 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
16
If the Legislative Council has staggered terms, the number of seats to be filled at this election
0
Casual vacancies (by-elections) and additional seats to be filled at this election (see notes)
4
Total seats to be filled at this election
4

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
1,151
Number of uncontested seats
2
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
768
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
383
Total number of candidates
6
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
256
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
66.84%
Total valid votes
256
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
0.00%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Not applicable
Electoral system
Property and occupational franchise; plural voting permitted; 11 single member and 2 multimember electoral districts; first past the post (plurality) voting; staggered fixed six year terms (see notes)


Tasmania, Legislative Council votes and seats won, and seats held

Display Chart

Elections held in 1881
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

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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)  256  100.00  0.00  100.00  16  100.00 
Totals 256  100.00    100.00  16  100.00 


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Notes

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).

Missing information for this election: Information on the number of informal (invalid) ballots is not available for the electoral districts of Meander and Pembroke; this may have understated the number of ballots cast and the rate of informal (invalid) voting in the table above.

By-election later annulled The by-election for the electoral district of Huon was later annulled; this was part of a sequence of electoral problems for the seat of Huon which were not resolved until by-elections in 1881 and 1882; for more details, see the note for the Huon by-election, below.

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, (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.

Sources

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.


Tasmania, Legislative Council votes and seats won by electoral district

Election for the district of Hobart

Date of election
8 March 1881
Type of election
By-election for one of the three seats in this electoral district (resignation of member)
Date of previous election
16 July 1877
Enrolment
643
Ballots cast
Uncontested
Turnout (rate of voting)
Not applicable
Total valid votes
Not applicable
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
T C Smart
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
Uncontested
First preference vote share %
Uncontested
Elected
Yes

Election for the district of Huon

Date of election
25 June 1881
Type of election
By-election (resignation of member; this election was later annulled; see notes)
Date of previous election
5 November 1880
Enrolment
125
Ballots cast
Uncontested
Turnout (rate of voting)
Not applicable
Total valid votes
Not applicable
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
J Watchorn
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
Uncontested
First preference vote share %
Uncontested
Elected
Yes

Notes

Annulled election: This election was part of a sequence of electoral problems in the electoral district of Huon which began at the election of June 1880; this election was won by J Solomon over W Fisher on the casting vote of the Returning Officer. The June 1880 election was declared void and a by-election was held in November 1880 at which Solomon again won against Fisher, but Solomon was later declared not to have been duly elected. Solomon resigned and a by-election was held to fill the seat in June 1881 (this election). But the election in June 1881 was then annulled when Fisher was held to have been duly elected at the by-election held on 5 November 1880. This sequence was to be concluded by the death of Fisher and the holding of a by-election to fill his seat in 1882; the seat was won by J Watchorn, the winner of the annulled election of 1881.

Election for the district of Meander

Date of election
17 February 1881
Type of election
By-election (death of member)
Date of previous election
1 July 1875
Enrolment
207
Ballots cast
136
Turnout (rate of voting)
65.70%
Total valid votes
136
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
0.00%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
F W Grubb
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
95
First preference vote share %
69.85
Elected
Yes
Candidate
W C Sleigh
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
41
First preference vote share %
30.15
Elected

Election for the district of Pembroke

Date of election
18 June 1881
Type of election
By-election (death of member)
Date of previous election
10 February 1876
Enrolment
176
Ballots cast
120
Turnout (rate of voting)
68.18%
Total valid votes
120
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
0.00%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
W Hodgson
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
65
First preference vote share %
54.17
Elected
Yes
Candidate
J Gray
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
55
First preference vote share %
45.83
Elected



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