ID 1122

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

Election of 8 May 1888


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Election for the Legislative Council
Tasmania
Date of election
1888
Type of Legislative Council election
Periodic elections, 8 May 1888
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
3
Casual vacancies (by-elections) and additional seats to be filled at this election (see notes)
0
Total seats to be filled at this election
3

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
1,647
Number of uncontested seats
3
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
1,647
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
Not applicable
Total number of candidates
3
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
Not applicable
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
See notes
Total valid votes
0
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
Not applicable
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

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Elections held in 1888
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)        100.00  18  100.00 
Totals 0.00    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.

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 to 18; '...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 and first election for new electoral district: 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 (this election; see the note to the results for the district of Mersey, below), 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 of the changes implemented in 1886 and transitional arrangements, see the notes for the 1886 Legislative Council election. The first election for the second member for the new two-member electoral district of Launceston took place in 1888 (this election; see the note to the results for the district of Launceston, 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).

No contested elections: No election held in 1888 was contested; all the winning candidates were elected without any votes being cast. This explains the blanks in the tables 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, [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 Huon

Date of election
8 May 1888
Type of election
Periodic election
Date of previous election
29 April 1882
Enrolment
250
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
Yes
First Preference vote n
Uncontested
First preference vote share %
Uncontested
Elected
Yes

Election for the district of Launceston

Date of election
8 May 1888
Type of election
Periodic election (first election for one of the two seats in this new electoral district; see note)
Date of previous election
Enrolment
899
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
W Hart
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
Yes
First Preference vote n
Uncontested
First preference vote share %
Uncontested
Elected
Yes

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 in 1885. Some sitting members in the Legislative Council in 1885 were assigned to newly created electoral districts for the remainder of their term. W Hart had won one of the two seats in the old electoral district of Tamar at a by-election in 1885. With the 1885 reduction in the number of seats in Tamar from two to one and the alteration of the district's boundaries, Hart was assigned to one of the two seats in the newly created adjacent electoral district of Launceston.

The Tamar by-election which Hart had won in 1885 had been required as the consequence of the resignation of the sitting member, J Aikenhead, who had been elected to one of the two seats in Tamar in 1882; when Hart was assigned to the new electoral district of Launceston, he had to serve out the remainder of Aikenhead's six year term, requiring a periodic election for Launceston in 1888 (this election).

Election for the district of Mersey

Date of election
8 May 1888
Type of election
Periodic election
Date of previous election
13 July 1886
Enrolment
498
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 H McCall
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
Uncontested
First preference vote share %
Uncontested
Elected
Yes

Notes

End of transitional arrangement: The seat for the electoral district of Mersey had been one of the seats given a shorter term expiring after three years in 1888 under the transitional arrangements for the increase in membership of the Legislative Council and the alteration in election dates to ensure regular periodic elections; for details, see the notes for the 1886 Legislative Council election.



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