ID 1087

Parliament of Tasmania, House of Assembly election

Election of 30 May 1877

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Tasmania, House of Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 30 May 1877
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 %
Independents (No disciplined party groupings)  7,571  100.00  0.00  32  10  100.00 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 7,571  100.00    32  10  100.00 

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Election dates: Elections were held over the period from 30 May to 29 June 1877.

Premier in office at election: There had been two changes of Premier since the previous House of Assembly general election in 1872; the Innes government had been defeated in Parliament over a taxation measure in August 1873 and Kennerley accepted a commission as Premier. Kennerley resigned as Premier in July 1876: 'It appears that the personal qualities of the Premier were not sufficient to enable the Ministry to overcome the antagonism of certain factions in the Parliament and so he resigned and retired from public life', Reynolds p. 143, (see 'References', below). Reibey was then commissioned to from a government but lost a vote of confidence in June 1877 and was granted a dissolution. For summary details of these changes of Premier and references on their careers, see the entries for each Premier in the 'Periods in office' component of this website; see also Reynolds, p. 123-149, (see 'References', below).

Premier in office after election: Despite the electoral success of his supporters, Reibey lost another vote of confidence after the election and Fysh was installed for his first period in office as Premier; see Terry Newman, Sandstone and Statutes: A History of the Tasmanian Parliament, (in process). For references on the Premier's career, click on Fysh's name in the 'Government in office after election' table, above.

Franchise: The electoral system had been modified in 1870-71; property qualifications for voting were reduced for the Assembly from £100 to £50 for a freehold estate, and from £10 to £7 annual rent, and from £100 to £80 annual salary (Bennett and Bennett, p. 7, see 'Sources', below). The franchise had to be claimed annually, and plural voting was permitted for those who had the qualifications for the franchise in more than one electoral district; see Terry Newman, Sandstone and Statutes: A History of the Tasmanian Parliament, (in process).

Electoral system and voting: The number of seats in the House of Assembly had been increased to 32 in 1870-71, all being single member electoral districts . Voters were required to strike out the names of candidates on a printed ballot paper until only one name remained on the ballot. Votes were counted by the first past the post (plurality) method and cast using the secret ballot (see Newman in 'References', below).

Missing data: No record of the number of informal (invalid) ballots is available for 8 of the 22 contested electoral districts at this election.

References: For a description of the style of elections and parliamentary government in this period, see W A Townsley, 'Electoral Systems and Constituencies', and John Reynolds, 'Premiers and Political Leaders', in F C Green (editor), Tasmania: A Century of Responsible Government 1856-1956, pp 59-65, and 115-192, (Hobart: L G Shea, Government Printer, [1956]), and W A Townsley, Tasmania From Colony to Statehood 1803-1945, pp 111-128 (Hobart: St David's Park Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0724625753). On Tasmania's early adoption of the secret ballot in 1856, see Terry Newman, 'Tasmania and the Secret Ballot', Australian Journal of Politics and History, 9 (1) 2003: 93-101, and note pp 99-100 which gives an idea of the context of voting in early Tasmanian elections.


Voting figures and election results calculated from information in Scott Bennett and Barbara Bennett, Tasmanian Electoral Handbook, 1851-1982, (Kensington, NSW: Reference Section of History Project Incorporated, University of New South Wales, 1983). The difficulties of determining the accuracy of early Tasmanian election results is discussed in Scott Bennett, 'The Statistics of Tasmania and the Study of Tasmanian Elections: A Cautionary Note', in Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Papers and Proceedings, 45(4), December 1998: 237-242.