Elections held in 8 May 1920
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 %||Uncontested seats at this election n||Seats held by party n||Seats held by party %|
|Nationalist Party (Nationalists)||5||5,498||35.03||+14.34||4||40.00||1||9||30.00|
|Australian Labor Party||4||4,022||25.63||+0.26||2||20.00||6||20.00|
|National Labor Party||-14.25||2||6.67|
* 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 origins and early history of the Legislative Council, see the notes for the 1894 Legislative Council elections.
Franchise: The Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1899 had enfranchised women for the Legislative Council (and for the Legislative Assembly), but property requirements remained and women only became eligible to be members of the Legislative Council in 1920 (see note below). The franchise for the Legislative Council was restricted to those of twenty-one years of age who were British subjects and had resided in Western Australia for at least twelve months. The Constitution Act Amendment Act of 1911 relaxed the property requirements for the Legislative Council franchise; electors were required to own '... freehold worth at least Fifty Pounds [or] leasehold or householder qualifications or Seventeen Pounds annual value', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 5 (see 'Sources', below). For details of the Legislative Council franchise before 1911, see the notes to Legislative Council elections before 1912.
Plural voting was permitted for those who had the qualifications for the franchise in more than one province (electoral district) for the Legislative Council.
Women eligible for membership of the Legislative Council: The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act of 1920 enabled women to be members of the Legislative Council, but age and and other restrictions remained. To be eligible for election to the Legislative Council, candidates had to be 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: The Legislative Council had ten provinces (electoral districts) each returning three members. Members had staggered six year fixed terms, one of the three members from each province retiring every two years at periodic elections; '... the date of retirement for each senior member [the member in the sixth year of his term] would be computed on a two yearly basis as from 21 May in the year of the previous biennial election', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 4 (see 'Sources', below).
The Electoral Act of 1907 had introduced preferential voting (the alternative vote) with optional preferences for Legislative Council elections but the Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1911 made it compulsory to indicate '... preferences for all but the least favoured candidate', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 5 (see 'Sources', below).
Seats held by parties: The total number of members in the Legislative Council affiliated with each party after an election is shown in the seats held by party column of the 'Votes and seats' table, above. Candidates affiliated with the National Labor Party and Independent Nationalists had been elected at the previous election (1918), but no candidates affiliated with these parties contested this Legislative Council election (1920).
Nationalist Party (Nationalists): By 1920, the Nationalist Party had gained the support of most members of the Liberal Party and had replaced the Liberal Party as the largest anti-Labor party in the Legislative Council. For the origin of the Nationalist Party, see the note on Nationalist parties for the 1918 Legislative Council elections, and David Black, 'The Liberal Party and its Predecessors', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 191-232, at pp 197-199 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495). In this database, candidates with the support of the National League are referred to as affiliated with the Nationalist Party even though some references -- and contemporary commentary -- referred to the party in Western Australia as the National Party; the use of the label 'Nationalist' is used to distinguish the party from the National Party which emerged in the 1970s.
References: For a detailed survey of parliamentary politics in Western Australia from 1911 to 1947, including a study of the Legislative Council, see David Black, 'Factionalism and Stability, 1911-1947', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 97-151 , (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).
Studies of electoral and party politics in Western Australia during this period can be found in David Black, 'Party Politics in Turmoil 1911-1924', in C T Stannage (editor), A New History of Western Australia, pp 381-405 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1981, ISBN 0855641819), and H J Gibney, 'Western Australia', in D J Murphy (editor), Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880-1920, pp 343-385, (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1975, ISBN 0702209392).
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). David Black, An Index to Parliamentary Candidates in Western Australian Elections State and Federal 1890-2006, 2nd edition, (Perth: Western Australian History Project, 2006, ISBN 920830774) has been used to identify the party affiliation of some candidates.