ID 1120

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

Election of 13 July 1886


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Election for the Legislative Council
Tasmania
Date of election
1886
Type of Legislative Council election
Periodic elections and by-elections, February to July 1886 (transition to 18 member Legislative Council)
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
18
If the Legislative Council has staggered terms, the number of seats to be filled at this election
4
Casual vacancies (by-elections) and additional seats to be filled at this election (see notes)
4
Total seats to be filled at this election
8

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
4,234
Number of uncontested seats
5
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
2,848
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
1,386
Total number of candidates
11
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
782
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
56.42%
Total valid votes
768
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
1.79%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Not applicable
Electoral system
Property franchise; plural voting permitted; 13 single member and 2 multimember electoral districts; first past the post (plurality) voting; staggered fixed six year terms; annual periodic elections (see notes)


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

Display Chart

Elections held in 1886
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)  11  768  100.00  0.00  100.00  18  100.00 
Totals 11  768  100.00    100.00  18  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.

Membership of the Legislative Council and new electoral districts: The Constitution Amendment Act, 1885 had increased the membership of the Legislative Council to 18 (to take effect from 1886) with the creation of four new electoral districts -- three single member districts, Macquarie, Russell and Westmorland, and a two-member district, Launceston -- and the abolition or restructuring of three existing electoral districts. The electoral districts of Jordon and Longford were abolished, and the electoral district of Tamar was reduced from a two-member district to a single member district. Transitional arrangements were made for the implementation of the new arrangements (see below). The result was a chamber with a membership of 18, elected from 13 single member electoral districts, a two-member district (Launceston), and a three-member district (Hobart).

Franchise: The property qualification for the Legislative Council franchise was further reduced in 1884 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 £20 or more; see Bennett and Bennett, p.8 (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: The Constitution Amendment Act, 1885 made significant changes to the electoral system in addition to increasing the membership of the chamber; '...periodic elections were held for the Council each year on the Tuesday immediately preceding the first Monday in May, and three members retired annually. Members elected in casual vacancies [at by-elections] held their seats for the unexpired portions for which their predecessors were elected. The first date of retirement for each member was specified..., Bennett and Bennett, p.8 (see 'Sources', below).

These changes to the terms of members, coupled with a fixed six year term for each member, created a predictable pattern of rotation for periodic elections for the Legislative Council, with three members retiring each year, and periodic elections all held on the same date.

First election for new seats and transitional arrangements: This was the first periodic election for the electoral district of Macquarie and one of the two seats for the electoral district of Launceston; it was also the first election, a by-election, for the restructured electoral district of Tamar. To create a regular rotation for periodic elections, the two members first elected after the passage of the legislation in 1885 had shortened terms; the member for Mersey a three year term expiring in 1888, and the member for the restructured single member district of Tamar, a four year term expiring in 1889. The new seat of Macquarie also had a shortened first term with its second periodic election held in 1890; for more details, see the notes for the electoral districts, below.

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).

Premier in upper house: James Wilson Agnew accepted his commission as Premier in 1886 while a member of the Legislative Council. He was the eighth Tasmanian premier to hold the office while a member of the Legislative Council. His Attorney-General, John Stockell Dodds, remained in office from Giblin's and Douglas's ministries for most of Agnew's period in office as leader for the government in the House of Assembly; see the entry for Premier Agnew 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, [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
15 February 1886
Type of election
By-election (resignation of member)
Date of previous election
8 March 1881
Enrolment
831
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
G Salier
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 Hobart

Date of election
13 July 1886
Type of election
Periodic election for one of the three seats in this electoral district
Date of previous election
22 March 1880
Enrolment
1,071
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
A McGregor
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Yes
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
Uncontested
First preference vote share %
Uncontested
Elected
Yes

Election for the district of Launceston

Date of election
13 July 1886
Type of election
Periodic election (first election for one of the two seats in this new electoral district; see notes)
Date of previous election
Enrolment
813
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
John Scott
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Yes
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
214
First preference vote share %
50.71
Elected
Yes
Candidate
W H D Archer
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
208
First preference vote share %
49.29
Elected

Notes

Election for new seat: Launceston was one of the new electoral districts created by the redistribution of seats and the increase in the membership of the Legislative Council which came into effect in 1886 (see notes, above). Some of the sitting members in the Legislative Council in 1885 were assigned to newly created electoral districts for the remainder of their term. John Scott had won one of the two seats in the old electoral district of Tamar at a periodic election in 1880 and, with the 1885 reduction in the number of seats in Tamar from two to one and the alteration of the district boundaries, Scott was assigned to one of the two seats in the newly created adjacent electoral district of Launceston. Scott's term for his former seat of Tamar expired in 1886; this prompted the periodic election for one of the two seats in the new district of Launceston.

Election for the district of Macquarie

Date of election
23 March 1886
Type of election
Periodic election (first election for new electoral district; see note)
Date of previous election
Enrolment
294
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 W Agnew
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Yes
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
Uncontested
First preference vote share %
Uncontested
Elected
Yes

Notes

Election for new seat: Macquarie was one of the new electoral districts created by the redistribution of seats and the increase in the membership of the Legislative Council which came into effect in 1886 (see notes, above). Some of the sitting members in the Legislative Council in 1885 were assigned to newly created electoral districts for the remainder of their term. J W Agnew had won the seat of Jordan at a by-election in 1884 and, with the abolition of this seat in 1885, was assigned to Macquarie. Agnew's term for the extinguished seat of Jordan expired in 1886; this prompted the periodic election for the new seat of Macquarie which Agnew held unopposed. The first term of office for the new seat of Macquarie was shortened to four years with the next periodic election occurring in 1890.

Election for the district of Mersey

Date of election
13 July 1886
Type of election
By election (assignment of member to new electoral district; see notes)
Date of previous election
Enrolment
386
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 Smith
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
Uncontested
First preference vote share %
Uncontested
Elected
Yes

Notes

Reassignment of sitting member: New electoral districts were created and two existing ones were abolished by the redistribution of seats and the increase in the membership of the Legislative Council which came into effect in 1886 (see notes, above). Some sitting members in the Legislative Council in 1885 were assigned to newly created electoral districts for the remainder of their term. The sitting member for Mersey, W Moore, had won the seat at a periodic election in 1885 but was reassigned to the new electoral district of Russell. This left a vacancy in Mersey to be filled at this by-election.

Election for the district of North Esk

Date of election
13 July 1886
Type of election
Periodic election
Date of previous election
20 July 1880
Enrolment
297
Ballots cast
181
Turnout (rate of voting)
60.94%
Total valid votes
179
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
1.10%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
H I J R Rooke
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
121
First preference vote share %
67.60
Elected
Yes
Candidate
D Cameron
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Yes
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
58
First preference vote share %
32.40
Elected

Election for the district of South Esk

Date of election
2 April 1886
Type of election
By-election (resignation of member)
Date of previous election
17 July 1884
Enrolment
266
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 Gibson
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 Tamar

Date of election
13 July 1886
Type of election
By-election (altered electoral district; see notes)
Date of previous election
29 December 1885
Enrolment
276
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
A Coote
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
86
First preference vote share %
51.50
Elected
Yes
Candidate
J Whitehead
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
81
First preference vote share %
48.50
Elected

Notes

By-election for reconstructed seat: The electoral district of Tamar lost one of its two seats and its boundaries were redrawn as part of the redistribution of seats and the increase in the membership of the Legislative Council which came into effect in 1886 (see notes, above). W Hart, who was elected unopposed at a by-election in 1885 under the old boundaries, was assigned to one of the two seats for the newly created adjacent Launceston electoral district from 1886 as did John Scott who had been elected for Tamar at a by-election in 1880. This left the reconstructed seat of Tamar without a sitting member; the vacancy was filled at this by-election.



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