ID 1245

Parliament of Western Australia Legislative Council election

Election of 16 July 1894

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Election for the Legislative Council
Western Australia
Date of election
16 July 1894
Type of Legislative Council election
First elections for an elected Legislative Council as the upper house of Parliament (see notes)
Related or previous Assembly election

Government support in Legislative Council at and after election

Government majority in Legislative Council at date of election
Government majority in new Legislative Council

Composition of the Legislative Council and seats to be filled at this election

Total number of seats in the Legislative Council
If the Legislative Council has staggered terms, the number of seats to be filled at this election
Casual vacancies (by-elections) and additional seats to be filled at this election (see notes)
Not applicable
Total seats to be filled at this election

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
Not applicable
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
Total number of candidates
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
Total valid votes
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
Not applicable
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Electoral system
Male property franchise; plural voting permitted; first past the post (plurality) voting; 7 multimember districts with staggered six year fixed terms (see notes)

Western Australia, Legislative Council votes and seats won, and seats held

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Elections held in 16 July 1894
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 % Uncontested seats at this election n Seats held by party n Seats held by party %
Independents (no disciplined party groupings)  38  7,331  100.00  21  100.00    21  100.00 
Totals 38  7,331  100.00    21  100.00    21  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.


History of the Legislative Council before 1890: Western Australia was settled as a British colony in 1829 and, by 1832, a Legislative Council had been set up to assist the Governor in the government of the colony. The first Legislative Council was composed of the Governor and four other government officials but, in 1839, this was supplemented by four notables nominated by the Governor. By 1870, agitation for elected representation led to the composition of the Legislative Council being changed to include three government officials, three nominees of the Governor, and approximately twelve members elected on a property franchise. This composition of the Legislative Council continued until Western Australia achieved responsible government in 1890. For details of the early Legislative Council, see Brian de Garis, 'The First Legislative Council, 1832-1870', and 'Constitutional and Political Developments, 1870-1890', in Black, The House on the Hill, pp 21-39 and 41-62 (see 'References', below), and note David Black and Brian de Garis, Legislative Council of Western Australia Elections and Election Law 1867-1890, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1992, ISBN 0730950077).

The Legislative Council from 1890 to 1894: With self-government for Western Australia in 1890 and popular elections for a newly created Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Council became the upper house of a bicameral legislature. But the Constitution Act of 1889 specified that the Legislative Council was to revert to a nominated body summoned by the Governor (section 6) until the population of the colony reached sixty thousand (section 42). The rapid growth of the colony and the discovery of gold led to this figure being passed in 1893 and, with the modifications contained in the Constitution Act Amendment Act of 1893, elections for an elective Legislative Council of 21 members was held in 1894 (this election); see Brian de Garis, 'Self-Government and the Emergence of Political Parties', pp 63-69, in Black, The House on the Hill, pp 63-95 (see 'References', below)

Franchise: The franchise for the Legislative Council was conferred on men of at least twenty-one years of age who were British subjects '... and have resided in Western Australia for at least twelve months. Electors had to satisfy a property qualification, i.e., possess freehold property worth at least One Hundred Pounds, as a householder occupy a dwelling of clear annual value of Twenty-Five Pounds ...., hold a leasehold estate of similar annual value, or hold a mining or pastoral lease with an annual rental of at least Ten Pounds. Aboriginals were debarred from voting except in terms of the freehold qualification', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 4 (see 'Sources', below). Plural voting was permitted for those who had the qualifications for the franchise in more than one of the seven provinces (electoral districts) for the Legislative Council.

Qualifications for candidates: To be eligible for election to the Legislative Council, candidates had to be men who were electors '... of at least thirty years of age who had resided in the colony for two years and were natural born British subjects or had been naturalised for at least five years prior to the election', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 4 (see 'Sources', below)

Electoral system and voting for the first election: The Legislative Council had 21 members chosen from seven multimember electoral districts called provinces, each returning 3 members. The members had staggered six year fixed terms, one of the three members from each province retiring every two years. For the first election only, all three members were chosen for each province, with a six year term granted to the candidate with the most votes in each province, four years for the runner up, and two years for the candidate who came third.

First past the post (plurality) voting was used to count the votes '... with voters asked to strike out the names of those candidates for whom they did not wish to vote', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 4 (see 'Sources', below). For this first election, voters could vote for one, two or three candidates by this method (multiple voting). Black (pp 26, 27) provides figures for the number of voters plumping -- voting for only one candidate -- in three provinces; information is not available for the other provinces.

Missing information for these elections: Enrolment figures are not available for two of the seven electoral districts (Central and East provinces); this may cause the turnout rate to be overstated in the 'Enrolment and voting' table above. Information on the number of informal (invalid) ballots is not available for two electoral districts (Central and South-East provinces).

References: For a description of the context of electoral politics in Western Australia's first decades of self-government, see Brian de Garis, 'Self-Government and the Emergence of Political Parties, 1890-1911', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 63-95 , (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).


Information for this election was taken from David Black, Legislative Council of Western Australia: Membership Register, Electoral Law and Statistics 1890-1989, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, 1989, revised 1991, ISBN 0730936414).