ID 0493

Parliament of Western Australia, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 11 September 1908

Show only vote and seat summary details

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General election for the Legislative Assembly
Western Australia
Date of election (or first day of voting at elections held over more than one day)
11 September 1908

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
Legislative 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
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 21 years; single member districts; preferential voting (AV), optional preferences (see notes)

Western Australia, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 11 September 1908
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 %
Ministerialists  46,169  61.62  +7.78  28  56.00 
Australian Labor Party  28,325  37.80  +2.73  22  44.00 
Independent Labor  435  0.58  -3.55     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 74,929  100.00    50  100.00 

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Election dates: Elections were held over the period from 11 September to 27 October 1908; for details of polling dates, see Black, Election Statistics, pp. xv-xvii, (see 'Sources', below).

Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous Legislative Assembly election in 1904. Less than a year after the election, Rason resigned as Premier on 7 May 1906 for what he claimed were reasons of health; he became Agent-General for Western Australia in London. Moore was commissioned as Premier of a Ministerialist majority government. For the context and summary details of this change of Premier and references on their careers, see the entries for each Premier in the 'Periods in office' component of this website.

Adult franchise: The Electoral Act of 1907 '... introduced adult suffrage for all natural-born or naturalised British subjects over the age of twenty-one years who had resided in the State for six months continuously and had resided in the district for which enrolment was claimed for a continuous period of one month immediately preceding the date of claim', Hughes and Graham. Handbook, p. 563 (see 'Sources', below). For details of the franchise for previous elections, see the notes to the Legislative Assembly elections of 1890, 1894, 1901, and 1904.

Electoral system: The Electoral Act of 1907 introduced preferential voting (AV) with the optional expression of preferences for Legislative Assembly elections. There is some confusion in the literature over the electoral system used for this election; Hughes and Graham for example, call the system contingent voting, (Handbook, p. 563, in 'Sources', below). But the 1907 WA Electoral Act makes it clear that the system used for the 1908 election was preferential voting with the optional expression of preferences. The confusion may have arisen because some sections of the Act can be read to give the impression that contingent voting was used.

Ministerialists and the emergence of the Liberal Party: During the 1890s and early 1900s, factional politics began to give way to political groupings and electoral organizations which foreshadowed the emergence of modern political parties. The term Ministerialists is applied to groupings which, for a variety of reasons, supported a particular government but were not bound by party discipline .

By this election (1908), the success of the Labor Party had had the effect of encouraging the creation of a single non-Labor grouping. 'Although the term 'Liberal Party' did not come into general use until 1911 ... there were two "clearly opposed and fairly evenly balanced political parties" [reference to Hyams, see below]. Virtually every member of the Legislative Assembly was either described as Ministerialist or Labor. The degree of non-Labor unity within parliament was not immediately paralleled by the formation of an integrated extra-parliamentary organization ...', David Black, 'The Liberal Party and its Predecessors', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 191-232, at p. 192 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495).

For a detailed study of non-Labor politics in this period, see Brian de Garis, 'Western Australia', in P Loveday, A W Martin and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, pp 298-354, at pp 346-354 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035), and note B K Hyams, 'Western Australian Political Parties, 1901-1916', University Studies in History and Economics, [University of Western Australia], 2(3), September 1955: 48-61.

Australian Labor Party: For a study of the Labor Party during this period, see H J Gibney, 'Western Australia', in D J Murphy (editor), Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880-1920, pp 343-385, (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1975, ISBN 0702209392), and note Ralph Pervan and Douglas Mitchell, 'The Changing Nature of the Australian Labor Party', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 129-158, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495).

References: For a study of the context of parliamentary and electoral politics in Western Australia's first two decades of self-government, see Brian de Garis, 'Self-Government and the Emergence of Political Parties, 1890-1911', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 63-95, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839), and note C T Stannage, 'The Composition of the Western Australian Parliament 1890-1911', University Studies in History, 4 (3), 1965: 85-94.


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 and B D Graham, Voting for the South Australian, Western Australian and Tasmanian Lower Houses 1890-1964, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1976, ISBN 0708113346); David Black, Election Statistics Legislative Assembly of Western Australia 1890-1996, Listed Alphabetically by Constituency, (Perth: Parliament of Western Australia and Western Australian Electoral Commission, 1997); and David Black. An Index to Parliamentary Candidates in Western Australian Elections State and Federal 1890-2006, 2nd edition, (Perth: Parliament of Western Australia, 2006, ISBN 1920830774).