Elections held in 1887
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)||8||8||100.00||18||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.
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; for details of the previous situation, see notes to Legislative Council elections before 1885.
Transitional arrangements: 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 note for the 1886 Legislative Council election.
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).
By-elections, recontested seats, and ministerial by-elections: Five of the eight Legislative Council elections held in 1887 were by-elections, two of which were for separate by-elections for the three member electoral district of Hobart, in addition to a separate periodic election. Both the Hobart by-elections had been prompted by the resignation of sitting members who recontested their seats; both members, W Crosby and A McGregor were returned unopposed. Two of the by-elections were ministerial by-elections, one for the seat of Buckingham at which the minister, P O Fysh, was returned unopposed, and the other for the seat of North Esk at which the minister, H I J R Rooke, was also returned unopposed.
No contested elections: No election held in 1887 was contested; all the winning candidates were elected without any votes being cast. This explains the blanks in the tables above.
Premier in upper house: Philip Oakley Fysh accepted a commission as Premier in 1887 while a member of the Legislative Council. He was the ninth and last Tasmanian Premier to hold the office while a member of the Legislative Council. His Treasurer, Bolton Stafford Bird, led for the government in the House of Assembly; see the entry for Premier Fish 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.