ID 1289

Parliament of Western Australia Legislative Council election

Election of 4 February 1989

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Election for the Legislative Council
Western Australia
Date of election
4 February 1989
Type of Legislative Council election
First election for all seats at four yearly periodic elections (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
Not applicable
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
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Not applicable
Electoral system
Adult franchise at 18 years; 6 multimember districts; proportional representation by the single transferable vote method (STV), compulsory preferences; above the line voting permitted, compulsory voting (see notes)

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

Display Chart

Elections held in 4 February 1989
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 % Uncontested seats at this election n Seats held by party n Seats held by party %
Australian Labor Party  34  350,046  41.33  -3.25  16  47.06    16  47.06 
Liberal Party  32  347,665  41.05  -0.92  15  44.12    15  44.12 
National Party  19  42,338  5.00  +1.73  8.82    8.82 
Greypower  34,055  4.02         
Australian Democrats  10  28,111  3.32  -4.81         
Greens WA  11  16,156  1.91         
Independents  10  14,856  1.75  +1.75         
One Australia Movement  10  7,398  0.87         
Alternative Coalition  6,314  0.75         
Totals 135  846,939  100.00    34  100.00    34  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: For information and references on the origins and early history of the Legislative Council, see the notes for the 1894 Legislative Council elections.

Franchise and qualifications for candidates: The Constitution Acts Amendment Act (No. 2) of 1963 abolished the property franchise and plural voting for the Legislative Council, making the franchise identical to that of the Legislative Assembly. 'In addition, the qualifications for membership of the Upper House were brought into line with those for the Assembly with the lowering of the minimum age from thirty to twenty-one [eighteen from 1973] and the reduction of the residential period within the state from two years to one year', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 6 (see 'Sources', below). For details of the previous franchise and candidate qualifications, see the notes to Legislative Council elections before 1965.

Major changes to the electoral system of the Legislative Council: The Acts Amendment (Electoral Reform) Act of 1987 made major changes to the way members of the Legislative Council were elected. While the number of members remained at 34, and members retained fixed terms, the terms were reduced from six to four years. Staggered terms were abandoned, all members retiring on the same date.

The Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1964 had previously ensured that Legislative Council elections would usually be held on the same date as general elections for the Legislative Assembly; see David Black, Legislative Council, p. 6 (see 'Sources', below). This provision did not affect the fixed terms of Legislative Council members; successful candidates at an early Legislative Council election would have to wait until the following May to take up their seats.

Members of the Legislative Council would no longer be elected by preferential voting (the alternative vote) from two member provinces (electoral districts); from 1989 (this election), members were elected from six multimember electoral districts (2 seven member, and 4 five member regions) by a system of proportional representation by the single transferable vote method (PR-STV). The Electoral (Procedures) Amendment Act of 1987 enabled party names to be printed on ballot papers, and provided for above the line voting at Legislative Council elections.

A number of changes were made to the administration of elections, including the creation of the office of Electoral Commissioner, and transitional arrangements were made for sitting members of the Legislative Council to accommodate the new terms; see David Black, Legislative Council, pp 7, 23 (see 'Sources', below). For information on previous Legislative Council electoral systems, see the notes to Legislative Council elections before 1989.

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. With the abolition of staggered terms from 1989 (see notes above), the seats held by party will be the same as seats won by party.

Greypower: 'Formed in 1983 (?) as a federal party. Issues based around the rights of the elderly...', Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, p.119 (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217).

Greens WA: The Greens WA originated from groups concerned with environmental and anti-nuclear issues in the early 1980s; see Campbell Sharman and Jeremy Moon, 'Western Australia', in Jeremy Moon and Campbell Sharman (editors), Australian Politics and Government: The Commonwealth, the States and the Territories, pp 183-208, at pp 194-195 (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0521532051).

References: For commentary on parliamentary politics in Western Australia from 1965, see Harry Phillips, 'The Modern Parliament, 1965-1989', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 184-262 , (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).

The Australian Journal of Politics and History has provided short surveys of Western Australian politics since 1955 (including parliamentary politics) 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.


Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1985-1999, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2002, ISBN 1862873433); and 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).