ID 0517

Parliament of Western Australia, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 19 February 1983


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Western Australia, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 19 February 1983
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  342,536  53.16  +7.21  32  56.14 
Liberal Party   256,846  39.86  -3.89  20  35.09 
National Country Party  22,148  3.44  -0.86  5.26 
National Party   10,767  1.67  -1.29  3.51 
Australian Democrats  6,426  1.00  -0.96     
Independents  4,140  0.64  +0.13     
Socialist Labor League  688  0.11  -0.02     
Independent Labor  590  0.09  -0.04     
Communist Party  213  0.03  -0.04     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 644,354  100.00    57  100.00 


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Notes

Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous Legislative Assembly election in 1980. 'Despite months of speculation, Sir Charles Court kept the pundits guessing to the last moment before announcing on 18 December [1981] that he would retire as premier and member for Nedlands to date from 25 Ianuary 1982. His deputy, Mr O’Connor, was elected unopposed as premier ...', Black, 'Western Australia', p. 121 in 'References', below. O'Connor became Premier of a Liberal Party and National Country Party coalition government.

For the context and summary details of the change of Premier and references on their careers, see the entries for each Premier in the 'Periods in office' component of this website.

Increase in membership of Legislative Assembly: The Acts Amendment (Electoral Provinces and Districts) Act of 1981 increased the membership of the Legislative Assembly from 55 to 57 members and altered the rules under which a redistribution of seats would be made; see Hughes, p. 215 in 'Sources', below.

Premier in office after election: The O'Connor Liberal Party and National Country Party coalition government was defeated at this general election (1983) for the Legislative Assembly; O'Connor resigned and Burke was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government on 25 February 1983.

Australian Labor Party: For a study of the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia leading up to this election, see 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) and see 'References', below.

National Country Party and National Party: A split within the National Country Party in 1978 led to '... the existence of two parties: the larger and more conservative National Country Party (NCP), the Liberals' coalition partner, and the smaller, more radical National Party (NP) playing a cross-bench role. The 1978 split was the culmination of a period of uncertainty as the party tried a number of strategies to arrest electoral decline', Geoff Gallop and Lenore Layman, 'Western Australia', in Brian Costar and Dennis Woodward (editors), Country to National: Australian Rural Politics and Beyond, pp 109-118, at p. 109 (North Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1985, ISBN 0868617084).

Australian Democrats: The Australian Democrats emerged as a centre party immediately preceding the 1977 federal election to capture the support of voters who were dissatisfied with both the Labor and Liberal parties; see John Warhurst (editor), Keeping the Bastards Honest: The Australian Democrats' First Twenty Years, (St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1997, ISBN 1864484209). The Australian Democrats fielded candidates for House of Representatives and Senate seats in Western Australia from 1977; the party endrosed 12 candidates at this Legislative Assembly election (1983).

Socialist Labor League and Communist Party: Each of these left-wing parties endorsed one candidate at this election (1983); see Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, pp 133, 137, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217).

References: For a brief survey of this election and its context, see David Black, 'Western Australia', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, 29 (3) December 1983: 518-530 at pp 519-522.

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 226-246, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).

Sources

Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, (Sydney: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X); Colin A Hughes and Don Aitkin, Voting the the Australian State Lower Houses 1975-1984, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1987, ISBN 909779244); 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).