ID 0431

Parliament of Tasmania, House of Assembly election

Election of 21 August 1948


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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)
21 August 1948

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
Australian Labor Party
House of Assembly support for government at election
Majority
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Government in office after election

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

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
161,088
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
161,088
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
148,588
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
92.24%
Total valid votes
142,722
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
3.95%
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); compulsory voting


Tasmania, House of Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 21 August 1948
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

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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  70,476  49.38  -1.59  15  50.00 
Liberal Party  54,010  37.84  +3.60  12  40.00 
Independents  18,236  12.78  -2.01  10.00 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 142,722  100.00    30  100.00 


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Notes

Premier in office at election: There had been two changes of Premier since the previous general election for the House of Assembly in November 1946 when Cosgrove was confirmed in office as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government. 'In December 1947 a Royal Commission led to criminal charges for bribery and conspiracy being laid against Cosgrove. On 15 December caucus elected Brooker leader pending a decision on the charges, and on 18th Cosgrove resigned and Brooker was commissioned [as Premier]', ... 'Following Cosgrove's acquittal on 22 February 1948, Brooker resigned. Caucus elected Cosgrove leader on 25 February, and he chose a new ministry', Hughes and Graham, p. 264, (see 'Sources', below); see also Townsley, Microcosm, pp 34-36 (see 'References', below). For more information and references, see the entries for each Premier in the 'Periods in office' component of this website.

The continuing political debate over the Royal Commission into the conduct of the Premier, and constitutional disagreements over the proper role of the Legislative Council led the Council to refuse to pass the government's Supply bill. This forced the Cosgrove government to seek a dissolution of the House of Assembly for an election in August 1948; see Townsley, Microcosm, pp 37-38 (see 'References', below).

Government in office after election: The Australian Labor Party won 15 of the 30 seats at the general election for the Assembly in August 1948 (this election), and Cosgrove was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party minority government, relying on the support of one of the three Independent members, W G Wedd.

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.

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 [countback] 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). 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).

Independents: Changes to the Electoral Act in 1941 meant that candidates who ran for election without any stated party affiliation (Independents) could run with one or more other like-minded Independents as a 'group' on the ballot paper, or be listed with all other Independent candidates in that electoral district in an 'ungrouped' list; for details, see the note to the 1941 House of Assembly elections.

The vote shown for Independents in the table above is the vote gained by the combination of both sets of Independent candidates. Twelve candidates ran as members of groups of Independents and gained 16,947 first preference votes, with three candidates, G H Gray, R C Townley and W G Wedd being elected. In addition, five 'ungrouped' Independent candidates gained 1,289 first preference votes, none of whom was elected.

Hughes and Graham list two of the Independents as Independent Liberals, and one as Communist; see Hughes and Graham, p. 607, (see 'Sources', below).

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]), W A Townsley, Tasmania: Microcosm of the Federation or Vassal State, 1945-1983, particularly pp 26-28 (Hobart: St David's Park Publishing, 1994, ISBN 0724623450), 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 Parliamentary Elections, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Papers, 1949), online at: https://bit.ly/2Lx7UgO



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