ID 0514

Parliament of Western Australia, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 30 March 1974

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)
30 March 1974

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
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)
National Alliance

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

Western Australia, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

Display Chart

Election held on 30 March 1974
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  248,395  48.10  -0.81  22  43.14 
Liberal Party   208,288  40.33  +11.26  23  45.10 
National Alliance  44,071  8.53  5.88 
Country Party - National Alliance  7,900  1.53  3.92 
Country Party  3,775  0.73  -4.91  1.96 
Australia Party  2,052  0.40  +0.36     
Independent Liberal  997  0.19  -0.39     
Independents  921  0.18  -2.93     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 516,399  100.00    51  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 after election: The Tonkin Australian Labor Party majority government was defeated at this general election for the Legislative Assembly in March 1974; Premier Tonkin resigned on 8 April 1974, and Charles Court was commissioned as Premier of a Liberal Party and National Alliance coalition government.

Reduction of minimum age for members of parliament: The Constitution Acts Amendment Act or 1973 had reduced the minimum age of members of parliament to 18 years; see Hughes, Voting, p. 121 in 'Sources', below.

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. Note also Douglas Mitchell, 'Western Australia: The Struggle to Adapt', in Andrew Parkin and John Warhurst (editors), Machine Politics in the Australian Labor Party, pp 165-185, (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1983).

Liberal Party and Liberal and Country League: The Liberal and Country League had reverted to its earlier name of Liberal Party at the party conference in 1968; see 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).

Democratic Labor Party: See 'National Alliance and Country Party', below.

National Alliance and Country Party: In the face of dwindling electoral support and vigorous competition from the Liberal Party, the Country Party merged with the Democratic Labor Party to form the National Alliance '... an unlikely union given the very different social roots and political concerns of the two', Lenore Layman, 'The Country Party: Rise and Decline', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 159-190, at p.183 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495). Not all Country Party parliamentary members joined the new party, and some candidates had joint endorsement for both the Country Party and the National Alliance; as shown in the table above, three members were elected with National Alliance endorsement (H J Cowan, A V Crane, and W P McPharlin), two with joint endorsement from the Country Party and National Alliance (R C Old and P Jones), and one with endorsement from the Country Party alone (M E Stephens).

The poor performance of the fused party led the Country Party to revert to its previous name and organization after this election; support for the Democratic Labor Party had collapsed after the election of the Whitlam Australian Labor Party government in Canberra in 1972. For the formation of the Democratic Labor Party in Western Australia and its effect on Labor politics into the 1970s, see the notes for the 1959 Legislative Assembly elections.

Australia Party: This party emerged as a group to reform the federal Liberal Party in 1966; while its primary focus was on national politics, it fielded candidates at various state elections in all mainland states between 1971 and 1979; see Keith Richmond, 'Minor Parties in Australia', in Graeme Starr, Keith Richmond and Graham Maddox (editors), Political Parties in Australia, pp 317-384, at 344-351, and note 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). The party fielded 6 candidates at this Assembly election (1974).

References: For a brief survey of this election and its context, see B M Hamilton, 'Western Australia', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, 20 (2) August 1974: 256-259; for a more extensive treatment, see G S Reid (editor), The Western Australian elections, 1974, (Perth:Department of Politics, University of Western Australia, 1976).

For the political context of this election (1974), 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, (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 Harry Phillips, 'The Modern Parliament, 1965-1989', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 185-262, at pp 210-227,(Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).


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); 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).