Election held on 19 September 1981
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'
|Party Name||First preference vote n||First preference vote share %||Change from previous election %||Seats won n||Uncontested seats held n||Seat share %|
|Australian Labor Party||1,564,622||55.73||-2.04||69||0||69.70|
|National Country Party||314,841||11.21||+1.31||14||0||14.14|
|Votes for other than listed parties||0||0.00||-0.16|
Electoral legislation: The electoral system was altered in 1979 to permit the optional expression of preferences for Legislative Assembly elections, to remove of the distinction between city and country electoral districts in calculating the number of voters to be included in an electoral district for the Assembly, and to grant final authority in determining electoral district boundaries to an Electoral Districts Commission; see Turner, p.193 (see 'Reference', below).
Public funding for election campaigns: Legislation was passed in 1981 to provide for public funding for parties and candidates at New South Wales state elections; see Turner, pp. 194-195 (see 'Reference', below).
Referendums on four year parliamentary terms and the pecuniary interests of members of parliament: Two referendums were held on the same day as the 1981 general election, one to extend the maximum period between elections for the Legislative Assembly from three to four years (from 1984), and the other to establish a register of the pecuniary interests of parliamentarians; see Turner, p.193 (see 'Reference', below). The referendum on the extension of parliamentary terms passed by 1,951,455 votes to 874,944; the referendum on registering the pecuniary interests of parliamentarians passed by 2,391,036 votes to 388,791: see Anne Twomey, The Constitution of New South Wales, p. 319 (Sydney: Federation Press, 2004, ISBN 1862875162).
Independents: Two independents were elected at this election; John Hatton was elected unopposed in the electoral district of South Coast, and Ted Mack defeated the opposition leader and leader of the Liberal Party, Bruce McDonald, in North Shore; see Turner, p. 207 (see 'Reference', below).
Reference: For a comprehensive survey of this election and the preceding period, see Ken Turner, '1981', in Michael Hogan and David Clune (editors), The People's Choice: Electoral Politics in 20th Century New South Wales, vol. 3 (1968-1999), pp. 181-214, (Sydney: Parliament of New South Wales and University of Sydney, 2001, ISBN 0909907412), and note Richard Lucy, 'Wran Acts: The NSW Election of 1981', Politics, 17(1) May 1982: 100-110.
Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, pp. 189-196, (Rushcutters Bay, NSW: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X); New South Wales, Parliament, The New South Wales Parliamentary Record: Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly, 1824-1999, vol. VI, pp. 7-15, (Sydney: Parliament of New South Wales, 1999).