ID 0441

Parliament of Tasmania, House of Assembly election

Election of 15 May 1982

Show only vote and seat summary details

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General election for the House of Assembly
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day)
15 May 1982

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
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Government in office after election

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

Enrolment and voting

Total number of voters on the roll
Number of Assembly seats
Number of uncontested seats
If uncontested seats, number of voters on the roll in uncontested seats
Number of voters on the roll in contested seats
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
Universal suffrage at 18 years (from 1976); 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 15 May 1982
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 %
Liberal Party  121,346  48.52  +7.21  19  54.29 
Australian Labor Party  92,184  36.86  -17.46  14  40.00 
Independents  23,090  9.23  +7.72  2.86 
Australian Democrats  13,476  5.39  +2.52  2.86 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 250,096  100.00    35  100.00 

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Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous general election for the House of Assembly in July 1979. Factional tensions in the Australian Labor Party and disagreements within the parliamentary party over schemes for the damming of the Gordon, Franklin and Olga rivers for hydroelectric power generation, led to the replacement of Premier Lowe as party leader on 11 November 1981. After a series of disputes within caucus, and following the delivery of a petition by twelve members of caucus requesting his resignation, Lowe lost a vote of confidence by twelve votes to nine. Lowe resigned from the Labor Party and moved to the cross benches. Holgate was confirmed as leader by caucus and was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government.

On 17 November 1981, the government whip, Mary Willey, resigned from the Labor Party to join Mr Lowe and Australian Democrat N K Sanders on the cross benches. Her departure created a minority Labor government. On 26 March 1982 the minority Holgate Labor Government was defeated on a no confidence motion in the House of Assembly and Premier Holgate requested a dissolution of the House of Assembly. For a detailed survey of these events, see Graham A Smith, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, July-December 1981, 28 (1) April 1982: 106-111

Government in office after election: At the general election for the House of Assembly on 15 May 1982 (this election), the Liberal Party won 19 of the 35 seats in the House of Assembly and Gray was commissioned as Premier of a Liberal Party majority government.

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).

Rotation of candidates names within party groups on ballots: The Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1979 provided for the rotation of candidates' names within party lists on ballot papers, often called Robson rotation; see David M Farrell and Ian McAllister, The Australian Electoral System: Origins, Variations and Consequences, pp 61-62 (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2006, ISBN 0868408581), Terry Newman, Hare-Clark in Tasmania: Representation of All Opinions, pp 94-96 (Hobart: Joint Library Committee of the Parliament of Tasmania, 1992, ISBN 0724638768); and note Andrew Hawkey, A Discussion Paper on Robson Rotation in Tasmania, (Hobart: Tasmanian Electoral Commission, April 2008) available online at: [accessed 10 June 2009].

Robson rotation had first been used in 1980 for the 'Exceptional by-election' (see the note to the 1979 House of Assembly elections ). The Assembly election of 1982 (this election) was the first general election at which Robson rotation was used.

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. Fifteen candidates ran as members of six groups of Independents and gained 20,553 first preference votes, with one candidate -- former Labor Premier Lowe -- being elected. In addition, seventeen 'ungrouped' Independent candidates gained 2,537 first preference votes, none of whom was elected.

References: For a survey of this election and its context, see Graham A Smith and R J K Chapman, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, January-June 1982, 28 (3) December 1982: 438-443; 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 400-401 (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: ; 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 1975-1984, (Sydney: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X); and note Report on Parliamentary Elections, (Hobart: Tasmanian Parliamentary Papers, 1982), online at: