Election held on 22 April 1972
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||108,910||54.93||+7.25||21||0||60.00|
|United Tasmania Group||7,741||3.90||*||0|
|Votes for other than listed parties||0||0.00||0.00|
* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.
Government in office at election: After the previous House of Assembly election in May 1969, both the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party had won 17 seats in the 35 seat Assembly. The remaining member, K O Lyons, the leader of the Centre Party, agreed to form a coalition government with the Liberal Party. The leader of the Liberal Party, Bethune, was commission as Premier of a Liberal Party and Centre Party coalition government.
'On 14 March  the Chief Secretary, Mr K O Lyons [leader of the Centre Party] resigned from the government and precipitated a crisis. In a statement to the House of Assembly he explained that the government was divided and the Premier incompetent. The Premier wasted no time ... and next day sought and obtained from the Governor a dissolution of the House of Assembly', Townsley, Chronicle, p.289 (see 'References', below).
Government in office after election: At the House of Assembly election in April 1972 (this election), the Australian Labor Party won 21 of the 35 Assembly seats and Reece was commissioned for his second period in office as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government.
Length of House of Assembly Term: The Constitution Act of 1936 had increased the maximum term of the House of Assembly from three to five years. The Bethune government elected in 1969 had been committed to a shorter term, and the Constitution Act of 1969 restored the life of the Assembly to a maximum of three years, except for the Assembly elected in 1969; see Bennett and Bennett, p.19, Hughes, p.125 (see 'Sources', below). The term was to be changed to four years in 1972; see the note to the Assembly election of 1976.
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', Bennett and Bennett, p.12, (see 'Sources', below). The 1906 Act specified six members in each electoral district, but this was increased to seven from 1959, creating an Assembly of 35 members. 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).
United Tasmania Group: The failure of the environmental movement to change state and federal government policy over the flooding of Lake Pedder in 1972 prompted a number of Tasmanian environmental activists to form the United Tasmania Group (UTG) as a party to contest state Assembly and Legislative Council elections between 1972 and 1979.
The UTG is claimed to have been the world's first Green party; see Peter Christoff, 'Environmental Politics', in Judith Brett, James Gillespie and Murray Good (editors), Developments in Australian Politics, pp. 348-367, at p.353, (Melbourne: Macmillan, 1994, ISBN 0732920094); and Richard Flanagan, 'Return the People's Pedder!', in Cassandra Pybus and Richard Flanagan (editors), The Rest of the World is Watching: The Tasmanian Greens, pp. 194-210, at pp. 196-204, (Sydney: Pan Macmillan, 1990, ISBN 0725106514); and note, Christine Milne, 'Green Politics', in Alison Alexander (editor), The Companion to Tasmanian History, p. 167 (Hobart: Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies, University of Tasmania, 2005, ISBN 186295223X), online at: https://bit.ly/2JzXBXu
Centre Party The Liberal Party's coalition partner in the previous government, the Centre Party, did not field any candidates at this election. 'The Centre Party had disintegrated and Lyons [its leader] had left the State', Townsley, Microcosm, p.294 (see 'References', below).
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. Two candidates ran as members of a group of Independents and gained 325 first preference votes, with neither being elected. In addition, ten 'ungrouped' Independent candidates gained 2,752 first preference votes, none of whom was elected.
Townsley notes that one of the ungrouped Independents, former Liberal Minister of Health and Road Safety, N D G Abbott, resigned from the Liberal Party to run as an Independent Liberal; see Townsley, Microcosm, p.294 (see 'References', below).
References: For a survey of this election and its context, see W A Townsley, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, January-April 1972, 18 (2) August 1972: 288-291; for a survey of Tasmanian politics in this period, see W A Townsley, Tasmania: Microcosm of the Federation or Vassal State, 1945-1983, particularly pp 293-294 (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).
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), Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1965-1974, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1977, ISBN 0708113400); and note Report on Parliamentary Elections, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Papers, 1973), online at: https://bit.ly/2F17zPr