ID 1233

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

Election of 31 May 1997


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Election for the Legislative Council
Tasmania
Date of election
1997
Type of Legislative Council election
Periodic elections and by election, 31 May 1997
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
19
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)
1
Total seats to be filled at this election
4

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
66,661
Number of uncontested seats
0
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
Not applicable
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
66,661
Total number of candidates
11
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
58,806
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
88.22%
Total valid votes
56,564
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
3.81%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Not applicable
Electoral system
Universal suffrage (from 1968) at 18 years (from 1973); single member electoral districts; preferential voting (the alternative vote) with optional preferences after the third preference, and rotation of candidates' names on the ballot; staggered fixed six year terms; annual periodic elections; compulsory voting (see notes)


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

Display Chart

Elections held in 1997
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

* to view table drag left or right.
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  38,102  67.36  -28.67  25.00  13  68.42 
Australian Labor Party  13,455  23.79  25.00  21.05 
Independent Labor   5,007  8.85  25.00  5.26 
Liberal Party              5.26 
Totals 11  56,564  100.00    75.00  19  100.00 


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* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.

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 Constitution Act of 1968 '...abolished all property restrictions on Council electors, making the franchise the same as for the Assembly', Scott Bennett and Barbara Bennett, Tasmanian Electoral Handbook, 1851-1982, p. 17 (Kensington, NSW: Reference Section of History Project Incorporated, University of New South Wales, 1983). The franchise was further widened from 1973 when the minimum age for voting and standing as a candidate for the Legislative Council was reduced to 18 years. The restrictive property qualification for the Legislative Council had been progressively relaxed since 1856 (see notes to previous elections) so that, by 1954 there was a long list of eligible voters which ensured that most Tasmanians could vote at Legislative Council Elections; see section 28 of the Constitution Act 1934, as amended to 1959, in the consolidated Tasmanian Statutes 1826-1959, (Hobart, Government Printer, 1959). For the slow enfranchisement of women for the Legislative Council, see the notes to Legislative Council elections before 1968. Women gained the vote for the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1903.

Qualifications for candidates: The Constitution Act of 1921 gave women the right to sit as members of the Tasmanian Parliament but the restrictions on women's franchise limited the number of eligible women candidates until 1954; the remaining restrictions for both men and women were removed with the introduction of universal franchise for the Legislative Council in 1968. Under the Constitution Act of 1946, candidates for Legislative Council elections had to be British subjects of at least 25 years of age (previously 30 years, and from 1973, 18 years) and have been resident in the state for five years at any one time or two years preceding the election.

Membership of the Legislative Council: With the passage of the Constitution Act of 1946, a major redistribution of seats for the Legislative Council was undertaken and its membership increased to 19 with effect from 1947. The three member electoral district of Hobart was reconstituted as three single member districts (Hobart, Newdegate, and Queenborough), and the two member electoral district of Launceston was reconstituted as two single member districts (Launceston and Cornwall). Elections for the new districts were to be phased in to match a new sequence of annual periodic elections; three periodic elections for the Legislative Council in May each year, and four every sixth year from 1953.

Members' terms: The Constitution Amendment Act, 1885 had made significant changes to the electoral system (see the notes for the 1886 Legislative Council election). 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 periodic elections for the year all held on the same date; for details of the previous electoral arrangements, see the notes to Legislative Council elections before 1885.

Electoral system and voting: The Electoral Act of 1907 introduced preferential voting with semi-optional preferences for Legislative Council elections -- voters were required to express preferences for all candidates on the ballot paper but, if there were more than three candidates for an electoral district, preferences beyond the third were not mandatory. The electoral system was first used for Legislative Council elections in 1909. This change was introduced in the same year as proportional representation by STV was first used for the House of Assembly. The Electoral Act of 1928 made voting compulsory for both houses of the Tasmanian Parliament. The Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1979 provided for the rotation of candidates' names on ballot papers, often called Robson rotation; see Andrew Hawkey, A Discussion Paper on Robson Rotation in Tasmania, (Hobart: Tasmanian Electoral Commission, April 2008) available online at: https://bit.ly/2spGeEB [accessed 10 June 2009].

Electoral redistribution and creation of new electoral districts: The 1997 election was the first conducted under the changed electoral boundaries created by the Legislative Council Electoral Boundaries Act, 1995. This redistribution produced by the newly constituted Redistribution Tribunal made major changes to the composition of several electoral districts and greatly reduced the malapportionment that had characterized some districts. Five electoral districts were abolished -- Gordon, Meander, Russell, Tamar, and West Devon -- and five new ones created -- Emu Bay, Leven, Murchison, Roland and Rumney. Sitting members were assigned to the new seats and a new periodic cycle for Legislative Council Elections was prepared (see Parliamentary Elections Report 1995-1997, pp. i, 3-4; see reference in 'Sources', below). Note that the restructuring of the Legislative Council in 1999 would mean that no elections were held for the electoral districts of Emu Bay and Roland, and only one election for the electoral district of Leven

The implementation of the 1996 redistribution under the Legislative Council Electoral Boundaries Act, 1995, had been delayed because of difficulties with the legislation which were resolved by subsequent legislation; for a discussion of the issues, see Michael Stokes, 'A Tangled Web: Redistributing Electoral Boundaries for Tasmania's Legislative Council', University of Tasmania Law Review, 15 (2) 1996, 143-195.

At this election, Geoffrey Squibb, the member assigned to the new electoral district of Leven, resigned from this seat to contest the new periodic election for the reconstituted electoral district of Mersey (the name of the district for which Squibb had been a member before the redistribution). This required a by-election (and first election) for the new seat of Leven. This was to be the only election for the electoral district of Leven before the district was abolished in 1999. For details of both contests, see the tables below.

Seats held by the Australian Labor Party: Michael Aird was returned to the seat of Derwent at this election as a candidate affiliated with the Australian Labor Party, and Sue Smith won the new seat of Leven as a Labor Party candidate. They joined Douglas Parkinson who was elected to the seat of Hobart in 1994, and David Crean who was elected to the seat of Buckingham in 1992, both as candidates affiliated with the Labor Party. See the Glossary of this website for the definition of seats held by party.

Seat held by the Liberal Party: Peter McKay had been elected in 1995 to the seat of Pembroke as a candidate affiliated with the Liberal Party; see the Glossary of this website for the definition of seats held by party.

Independent Labor: The party label provided by the Tasmanian Parliamentary Research Service for Silvia Smith, the successful candidate for the district of Westmorland, was 'Independent ALP', but the term Independent Labor has been used in this database to aid comparison with other Legislative Council elections and elections for other parliamentary chambers across Australia.

References: The Australian Journal of Politics and History has provided brief surveys of Tasmanian politics since 1956 in the 'Political Chronicle' section of the journal in issues of each annual volume. This publication can be viewed online through Wiley-Blackwell Journals at subscribing libraries; for notes on members of the Legislative Council, see the 'Parliament of Tasmania from 1856' page on the Parliament of Tasmania website at: https://bit.ly/2spMiws .

Sources

Voting figures and election results are calculated from information provided by the Tasmanian Parliamentary Library on its website at: https://bit.ly/2sqeCyS [accessed 22 April 2009]. The party affiliation of candidates is derived from research by the Parliamentary Research Service, Parliament of Tasmania, unless otherwise indicated in the 'Notes', above.

Note also, Tasmanian Electoral Office, Parliamentary Elections Report (1995-1997), (Hobart: Tasmanian Electoral Office, 1997), on line at: https://bit.ly/2LtGkB0


Tasmania, Legislative Council votes and seats won by electoral district

Election for the district of Derwent

Date of election
31 May 1997
Type of election
Periodic election
Date of previous election
27 May 1995
Enrolment
17,232
Ballots cast
15,068
Turnout (rate of voting)
87.44%
Total valid votes
14,455
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
4.07%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
Michael Anthony Aird
Party affiliation
Australian Labor Party
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
Yes
First Preference vote n
8,318
First preference vote share %
57.54
Elected
Yes
Candidate
Will Frank
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
3,735
First preference vote share %
25.84
Elected
Candidate
Nigel Webb
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
2,402
First preference vote share %
16.62
Elected

Election for the district of Leven

Date of election
31 May 1997
Type of election
By-election (and first election) for new electoral district (resignation of sitting member to contest reconstituted district; see note)
Date of previous election
Enrolment
15,726
Ballots cast
14,162
Turnout (rate of voting)
90.05%
Total valid votes
13,554
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
4.29%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
Susan (Sue) Smith
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
5,137
First preference vote share %
37.90
Elected
Yes
Candidate
John R Bloomfield
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
3,049
First preference vote share %
22.50
Elected
Candidate
Rodney J Cooper
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
2,509
First preference vote share %
18.51
Elected
Candidate
Andrew Vanderfeen
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
2,131
First preference vote share %
15.72
Elected
Candidate
Peter H Murray
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
728
First preference vote share %
5.37
Elected

Notes

By-election for new seat: Geoffrey Squibb, the member assigned to the new electoral district of Leven as a consequence of the 1995 redistribution, resigned from this seat to contest the new periodic election for the reconstituted electoral district of Mersey (the name of the district for which Squibb had been a member before the redistribution). This required a by-election (and first election) for the new seat of Leven. This electoral district was abolished in the restructuring of the Legislative Council in 1999.

Election for the district of Mersey

Date of election
31 May 1997
Type of election
Periodic election (first election for reconstituted electoral district; see note)
Date of previous election
25 May 1996
Enrolment
16,540
Ballots cast
14,788
Turnout (rate of voting)
89.41%
Total valid votes
14,335
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
3.06%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
Geoffrey Bruce Squibb
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
5,345
First preference vote share %
37.29
Elected
Yes
Candidate
R J (Dick) Burgess
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
3,628
First preference vote share %
25.31
Elected
Candidate
Peter Hollister
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
3,439
First preference vote share %
23.99
Elected
Candidate
Andrew Ford
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
1,295
First preference vote share %
9.03
Elected
Candidate
Caroline Burnett
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
728
First preference vote share %
5.08
Elected

Notes

Reconstituted seat of Mersey: Geoffrey Squibb, the member assigned to the new electoral district of Leven as a consequence of the 1995 redistribution, resigned from this seat to contest the new periodic election for the reconstituted electoral district of Mersey (the name of the district for which Squibb had been a member before the redistribution).

Election for the district of Westmorland

Date of election
31 May 1997
Type of election
Periodic election
Date of previous election
25 May 1991
Enrolment
17,163
Ballots cast
14,788
Turnout (rate of voting)
86.16%
Total valid votes
14,220
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
3.84%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system

Candidate
Silvia Joy Smith
Party affiliation
Independent Labor
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
5,007
First preference vote share %
35.21
Elected
Yes
Candidate
Harry George (George) Brookes
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Yes
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
4,818
First preference vote share %
33.88
Elected
Candidate
Tony Le Fevre
Party affiliation
Independents
Sitting member
Sitting member from by-election
First Preference vote n
4,395
First preference vote share %
30.91
Elected



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