ID 0478

Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 19 May 1973

Show only vote and seat summary details

Previous election in this series | Next election in this series
General election for the Legislative Assembly
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day)
19 May 1973

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
Legislative Assembly support for government at election
If coalition, coalition partner(s)

Government in office after election

Premier's party affiliation
Liberal Party
Legislative 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
Adult franchise at 18 years, single member districts, preferential voting (AV), compulsory preferences, compulsory voting

Victoria, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 19 May 1973
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  803,385  42.34  +5.64  46  63.01 
Australian Labor Party  789,561  41.61  +0.19  18  24.66 
Democratic Labor Party  147,890  7.79  -5.51     
Country Party  113,029  5.96  -0.44  10.96 
Australia Party  30,006  1.58     
Independent Labor  6,156  0.32  -0.02  1.37 
Independents  4,300  0.23  -0.95     
Council for Defence of Government Schools (DOGS)  2,004  0.11  -0.35     
Social Justice Party  590  0.03     
Communist Party  398  0.02     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 1,897,319  100.00    73  100.00 

Previous election in this series | Next election in this series | Display Chart

* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.


Electoral system and voting: The Constitution Act Amendment (Qualifications) Act passed in March 1973 reduced the qualifying age for voters and members of the Victorian Parliament to 18 years.

Government in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous Assembly election in May 1970. In July 1972, after more than 17 years in office, Premier Bolte announced his decision to retire as Premier from 23 August. His preferred successor was Hamer whom Bolte had encouraged to move from the Legislative Council to the the Legislative Assembly at a by-election for the Assembly in 1971. The Parliamentary Liberal Party selected Hamer as leader on 22 August (see Hughes, p.35 in 'Sources', and Colebatch, ch. 12 in 'References', below). Hamer succeeded Bolte as Premier of a Liberal Party majority government.

Government in office after election: The Hamer government was returned at this Victorian Assembly election in 1973 with an increase of 5.6 percent in the Liberal Party's first preference vote and a gain of 4 seats (see Carr, in 'Sources', and Tranter, in 'References', below). This result was in spite of the Liberal Party's having been in office since 1955 and the success of the Australian Labor Party in winning the federal election of 1972.

Australian Labor Party: While the first preference vote for the Australian Labor Party was almost unchanged from the previous Assembly election in 1970, the party lost 4 seats at this election in 1973. This result was disappointing for a party which had gone through a series of structural reforms during 1972. On the evolution of the Labor Party in Victoria during this period, see James Jupp, 'Victoria: Left, Right and Centre', in Adrew Parkin and John Warhurst (editors), Machine Politics in the Australian Labor Party, ch. 3 (North Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1983 ISBN 0868613096).

Democratic Labor Party: The Democratic Labor Party (DLP) continued its practice of endorsing candidates for all seats in the Legislative Assembly at this election in 1973, a significant organizational feat for a party unlikely to win a seat in the Assembly. But the party's strategy of preventing the Australian Labor Party from gaining office was undermined by both reforms adopted by the Australian Labor Party and the Labor Party's success in winning office at the federal election of 1972. The DLP suffered a 5.5 percent loss in its primary vote at this Assembly election in 1973, the largest decline in support for the DLP since the party had first contested Assembly seats in 1955.

On the role of the DLP in Australian politics during this period, see Richmond, pp 335-344 in 'References', below; P L Reynolds, The Democratic Labor Party, (Milton, Qld: Jacaranda Press, 1974, ISBN 0701607033), and Michael Lyons, 'Defence, the Family and the Battler: The Democratic Labor Party and its Legacy', Australian Journal of Political Science, 43(3) September 2008: 425-442.

Country Party: The Country Party had hoped that the Liberal Party might suffer a sufficient drop in its support for it to need the support of the Country Party to form a governing coalition (see Tranter p.261 in 'References', below). The Country Party's share of the first preference vote declined to 6.0 percent but malapportionment maintained its control of 8 seats (11.0 percent of the seats).

Australia Party: This party was founded by Gordon Barton as the Liberal Reform Group in 1966 and supported a range of progressive policies including liberalizing abortion laws and censorship. The party contested some state and federal elections between 1969 and 1977 (see Richmond, pp 344-351, in 'References', below, and Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague On Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, pp 32-33, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217).

Some 19 candidates contested this Assembly election in 1973 as members of the Australia Party (see note in 'Sources', below, about the number of candidates).

Independent Labor: John P Mutton was returned to the seat of Coburg at this Assembly election in 1973 as an Independent Labor candidate continuing a family tradition begun by Charles Mutton's tenure of the seat from 1940 to 1967.

Independents: Fewer Independent candidates ran without any association with a party grouping at this Assembly election in 1973 than had contested the previous two Assembly general elections. There were 6 Independent candidates at this election, none of whom was elected.

Council for the Defence of Public Schools (DOGS): Three candidates ran as candidates for this party grouping at the 1973 Assembly election. The party opposed state financial aid to private schools and argued for enhanced funding for the public education system. It fielded candidates at some federal and state elections between 1969 and 1985; summaries of its activities can be found in Richmond, pp 351-353 in 'References', below, and in Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague On Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN1864484217).

Social Justice Party: One candidate ran for this Assembly election in 1973 as a candidate for the Social Justice Party: he was not elected.

Communist Party: The Communist Party endorsed a candidate for this Assembly election in 1973. The party gained 0.02 percent of the first preference vote; its candidate was not elected.

References: A survey of the 1973 Assembly election can be found in Richard Tranter, 'Victoria', Political Chronicle, January-April 1973, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 19 (3) August 1973: 261-267.

Premier Hamer's period in office is surveyed in Paul Rodan, 'Rupert "Dick" Hamer: The Urbane Liberal', in Brian Costar and Paul Strangio (editors), The Victorian Premiers 1856-2006, ch. 22 (Sydney: Federation Press, 2006, ISBN 9781862876019), and in Tim Colebatch, Dick Hamer: The Liberal Liberal, (Brunswick, Vic.: Scribe, 2014, ISBN 9781925106138). For a review of Victorian government and politics in this period see, Jean Holmes, The Government of Victoria, (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1976), and for a study of Victorian parliamentary politics during this period of Liberal dominance, see Wright, ch. 10 (in 'Sources', below).

The organization and history of the Liberal Party in Victoria during this period is surveyed in Peter Aimer, Politics, Power and Persuasion: The Liberals in Victoria, (East Hawthorn, Vic.: James Bennett, 1974, ISBN 0909595011), and details of selected minor parties can be found in Keith Richmond, 'Minor Parties' in Grame Starr, in Keith Richmond and Graham Maddox, Political Parties in Australia, (Richmond, Vic.: Heinemann, 1978, ISBN 0858591782).


For this Assembly election (1973), there is broad agreement between the three sources below (Hughes 1977, Hughes 1981, and Carr) on the first preference votes for the larger parties but Hughes 1981 understates the number of candidates running for the Australia Party. This appears to be the result of entry errors and the number of candidates used to calculate the Australia Party vote has been taken from Hughes 1977 and Carr; the votes and partisan affiliation of other minor party and Independent candidates are calculated from Hughes 1981.

Colin A Hughes , A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1965-1974, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1977, ISBN 0708113400); Colin A Hughes Voting for the Australian State Lower Houses 1965-1974, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1981, ISBN 909596735).

Adam Carr, 'Forty-sixth Parliament Elected 19 May 1973', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 25 January 2018].

Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel: A History of the Parliament of Victoria 1856-1990, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0195533593)

Victoria, Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel, 'Victorian Historical Acts', online here [accessed 1 February 2018].