ID 0508

Parliament of Western Australia, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 7 April 1956

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Western Australia, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 7 April 1956
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

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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  114,676  48.80  -0.97  29  58.00 
Liberal & Country League  73,605  31.32  -8.23  11  22.00 
Independent Liberal  20,787  8.85  +6.89  4.00 
Country and Democratic League  12,319  5.24  +2.04  16.00 
Independent Labor  6,440  2.74     
Independents  5,502  2.34  -1.57     
Communist Party  1,683  0.72  -0.36     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 235,012  100.00    50  16  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.


Premier at election: The Hawke Australian Labor Party majority government was returned at this election (1956) with an increased majority of seats In the Legislative Assembly even though its vote share declined marginally.

Australian Labor Party: For a study of the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia which includes this period, see 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), and see 'References', below.

Liberal and Country League: In 1949, a public meeting '... attended by several hundred people from various parts of the state approved the formation of the Liberal and Country League (LCL) .... The Liberal Party agreed to submerge its identity in the new party...' 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.218 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495). Black argues that this change of name was part of a continuing struggle between the Liberal Party and the Country Party; see 'References', below.

Country Party and Country and Democratic League: The Country Party had changed its name in 1944 to the Country and Democratic League as a sign of the party's intention to widen its electoral appeal (see the notes for the 1947 Legislative Assembly elections); the parliamentary party -- but not the organization -- reverted to the name Country Party in 1949. Nonetheless, after the electoral changes of 1947, demographic trends and competition from the Liberals, the party struggled to maintain its representation; see Lenore Layman, 'The Country Party: Rise and Decline', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 159-190, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495), and 'References', below

References: For the political context of this election (1956), see David Black, 'The Liberals Triumphant: The Politics of Development 1947-1980', in C T Stannage (editor), A New History of Western Australia, pp 441-470, at pp 445-447, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1981, ISBN 0855641819).

For an overview of the context of Western Australian parliamentary and electoral politics in this period, see Lenore Layman, 'Continuity and Change 1947-1965', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 153-183, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).


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).