ID 0446

Parliament of Tasmania, House of Assembly election

Election of 29 August 1998


Show only vote and seat summary details

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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)
29 August 1998

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
Liberal Party
House of Assembly support for government at election
Minority
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Government in office after election

Premier's party affiliation
Australian Labor 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
322,754
Number of Assembly seats
25
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
322,754
Total ballots cast (may differ from number of votes in multiple voting systems)
306,655
Turnout (rate of voting in contested seats)
95.01%
Total valid votes
294,678
Rate of informal (invalid) voting
3.91%
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 29 August 1998
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 %
Australian Labor Party  131,981  44.79  +4.32  14  56.00 
Liberal Party  112,146  38.06  -3.14  10  40.00 
Tasmanian Greens  30,008  10.18  -0.95  4.00 
Tasmania First Party  15,017  5.10     
Independents  2,899  0.98  -2.51     
Australian Democrats  2,627  0.89  +0.15     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 294,678  100.00    25  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: There had been a change of Premier since the previous general election for the House of Assembly on 24 February 1996 at which the Liberal Party had won 16 of the 35 Assembly seats and the Australian Labor Party 14. Premier Groom had initially indicated that he would be willing to continue in government and lead a minority Liberal government supported by the four members of Tasmanian Greens in the Assembly but, after three weeks, he resigned from his office and Rundle became Premier of a Liberal Party minority government; see Stephen Tanner, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, January-June 1996, 42 (3) August 1996: 453-460.

Arguing that the Parliament could no longer function effectively, on 13 July 1998, Premier Rundle called an election for the House of Assembly on 29 August 1998. 'In a move aimed directly at his minority government supporters, the [Tasmanian] Greens, the Premier ... announced that he would recall parliament on 22 July so that the Labor party parliamentary reform model could be passed. This legislation would cut the number of members in the House of Assembly from 35 to 25 and the Legislative Council from 19 to 15', McCall, 'Tasmania', p.292 (see 'References', below). The Parliamentary Reform Act of 1998 was passed with the combined support of the the Liberal Party and Labor Party members of the Assembly, was assented to on 27 July, and had immediate effect for the Assembly election to be held on 29 August 1998, reducing the number of members to be elected to 25.

Government in office after election: At the general election for the House of Assembly on 29 August 1998 (this election), the Australian Labor Party won of 14 of the 25 Assembly seats, and Bacon was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government.

Decrease in the membership of the House of Assembly: As outlined in the note above, the Parliamentary Reform Act of 1998 reduced the membership of the House of Assembly from 35 to 25. The number of preferences required to be expressed on each ballot paper was reduced from seven to five under the system of proportional representation used to elected members to the Assembly (see note, below). There had been several previous government initiated attempts to reduce the membership of the Tasmanian parliament; see Terry Newman, 'Tasmania Rejects a Smaller Parliament', The Parliamentarian, 66 (2) April 1985: 77-79, and Stephen Tanner, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, July-December 1994, 41 (2) August 1995: 310-315 at 311-312; and note T L Morling, R K J Chapman, B R Archer, and B K Miller, Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Size and Constitution of the Tasmanian Parliament, (Hobart: 1994).

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, and then reduced to five from 1998 creating a House of Assembly of 25 (see notes, above). 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. From 1980, candidates' names were rotated within party lists on the ballots under a system of Robson rotation; for details, see the note to the 1979 House of Assembly election.

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).

Tasmania First Party: This party, '... closely linked to the rural gun lobby, endorsed candidates in each electorate with a particular focus on rural electorates ...', McCall, p.295 (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. Ten candidates ran as members of four groups of Independents and gained 1,219 first preference, with no candidate being elected. In addition, ten 'ungrouped' Independent candidates gained 1,680 first preference votes; none of these candidates was elected.

References: For a survey of this election and its context, see Tony McCall, 'Tasmania', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, July-December 1998, 45 (2) June 1999: 292-300.

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), Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1985-1999, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2002, ISBN 1862873433); and note Parliamentary Elections Report (1998), (Hobart: Tasmanian Electoral Office, 1999), online at: https://bit.ly/2spJuj5



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