Elections held in 1997
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 %|
|Australian Labor Party||2||13,455||23.79||*||1||25.00||4||21.05|
* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.
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 .
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