ID 0422

Parliament of Tasmania, House of Assembly election

Election of 31 May 1919


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General election for the House of Assembly
Tasmania
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day)
31 May 1919

Government in office and parliamentary support before and after the election

Government in office at election

Premier in office at date of election. (check notes to see if change of Premier since previous election)
Premier's party affiliation
Nationalist Party
House of Assembly support for government at election
Minority
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Government in office after election

Premier in office after election.
Premier's party affiliation
Nationalist Party
House of Assembly support for government after election
Majority
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
107,541
Number of Assembly seats
30
Number of uncontested seats
0
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
107,541
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
71,064
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
66.08%
Total valid votes
68,250
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
3.96%
Informal (invalid) ballots in multiple voting system
Not applicable
Electoral system
Adult franchise at 21 years; multimember districts; proportional representation by the single transferable vote method (STV)


Tasmania, House of Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 31 May 1919
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 First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won n Uncontested seats held n Seat share %
Nationalist Party (Nationalists)  37,675  55.20  16  53.33 
Australian Labor Party  28,286  41.44  -7.03  13  43.33 
Independents  2,289  3.35  +0.06  3.33 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 68,250  100.00    30  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.

Notes

Government in office at election: After the previous Assembly election in March 1916, Lee had been commissioned as Premier of a Liberal Party minority government dependent on the support of the Independent member J T H Whitsitt. In November 1916, the Australian Labor Party split over the introduction of conscription to send Australian soldiers to Europe during the First World War. The majority of Labor Party members opposed conscription, but two Labor Party members of the Assembly, including the opposition leader and former Premier Earle, left the party over the issue; see Davis, pp 429-430 (see 'References', below). During 1917, the Liberal Party joined with other groups which favoured conscription to form the Nationalist Party (Nationalists); see Hughes and Graham, p. 601 (see 'Sources', below). Lee's government became a Nationalist Party government.

Government in office after election: At the general election for the House of Assembly held on 31 May 1919 (this election), the Nationalist Party (see note below) won 16 of the 30 seats in the Assembly and Lee was recommissioned as Premier of a Nationalist Party majority government.

Franchise: The Constitution Act Amendment Act of 1903 introduced universal franchise for House of Assembly elections (but not for the Legislative Council); although all women over 21 could vote under the same conditions as men, women could not stand as candidates; for details of the franchise and qualifications for candidates, see the notes to the 1903 House of Assembly elections. For previous franchise arrangements, see the notes to House of Assembly elections before 1903.

Electoral system and voting: The Constitution Amendment Act 1906 '...reduced the number of Assembly districts to five, the boundaries of which were to be identical with the five Commonwealth electoral districts. The Assembly was to number 30 members, with 6 elected from each district', Bennett and Bennett, p.12, (see 'Sources', below). The Electoral Act 1907 introduced proportional representation by the single transferable vote (STV) method to elect all members of the Assembly, a method which became known as the Hare-Clark system. For details of the adoption of STV and references on the operation of the electoral system, see the notes to the 1909 House of Assembly elections; for a brief summary of changes to the electoral system from 1909 to 1994, see Terry Newman, Representation of the Tasmanian People, Expanded edition 1803-1994, Appendix 2 (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, 1994, ISBN 0724642475).

The Electoral Amendment Act of 1917 provided that '...casual vacancies be filled, not by a fresh poll of the electorate [by-election] but by a re-count of the ballot papers which elected the vacating member. Candidates at the preceding general election were required to apply to be considered candidates....', Hughes and Graham, 1890-1964, p. 590 (see 'Sources', below).

Nationalist Party (Nationalists): The split in the Australian Labor Party in 1916 prompted by disagreements over the introduction conscription to send Australian soldiers to Europe during the First World War, divided the Party in all states except Queensland with major consequences for both state and federal politics. In Tasmania, the new Nationalist Party (Nationalists) established in September 1917, was a coalition of interests supporting conscription which brought together members of the Liberal Party, members defecting from the Labor Party, and the nationalist organization, the National Association.

Independents: The vote shown for Independents in the table above is the vote gained by two candidates who ran for election without any stated party affiliation, one of whom, J T H Whitsitt, was elected.

References: For a description of the style of elections and parliamentary government in this period, see W A Townsley, 'Electoral Systems and Constituencies', and John Reynolds, 'Premiers and Political Leaders', in F C Green (editor), Tasmania: A Century of Responsible Government 1856-1956, (Hobart: L G Shea, Government Printer, [1956]), and W A Townsley, Tasmania From Colony to Statehood 1803-1945, (Hobart: St David's Park Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0724625753), and note R P Davis, 'Tasmania', in D J Murphy (editor), Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880-1920, pp 389-445, (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1975, ISBN 0702209392) and Richard Davis, Eighty Years' Labor: The ALP in Tasmania, 1903-1983, (Hobart: Sassafras Books and the History Department, University of Tasmania, 1983, ISBN 0859012212).

Sources

Information for this election was taken from 'House of Assembly Election Results, 1909-2006', Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, Tasmanian Parliament website: https://bit.ly/2uvczZ8 ; Scott Bennett and Barbara Bennett, Tasmanian Electoral Handbook, 1851-1982, (Kensington, NSW: Reference Section of History Project Incorporated, University of New South Wales, 1983); Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); and note Report on General Election, 31 May 1919, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Papers, 1919), online at: https://bit.ly/2LvkQnu



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