ID 1291

Parliament of Western Australia Legislative Council election

Election of 14 December 1996

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Western Australia, Legislative Council votes and seats won, and seats held

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Elections held in 14 December 1996
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'

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Party Name Candidates n First preference vote n First preference vote share % Change from previous election % Seats won by party n Seats won by party % Uncontested seats at this election n Seats held by party n Seats held by party %
Liberal Party  22  332,588  33.97  -11.63  26.47    14  41.18 
Australian Labor Party  32  323,886  33.08  -3.74  12  35.29    12  35.29 
Liberal Party - National Party (joint ticket)  18  117,211  11.97  23.53       
Australian Democrats  12  64,461  6.58  +3.57  5.88    5.88 
Greens WA  54,336  5.55  +0.39  8.82    8.82 
Independents  37,236  3.80  -0.38         
Australian Marijuana Party  24,373  2.49         
Call to Australia  6,675  0.68  +0.41         
Australia First Party  5,856  0.60         
Natural Law Party  12  5,514  0.56         
National Party  5,087  0.52  -3.47      8.82 
Racism No!  1,939  0.20         
Totals 129  979,162  100.00    34  100.00    34  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.


History of the Legislative Council: For information and references on the origins and early history of the Legislative Council, see the notes for the 1894 Legislative Council elections.

Franchise and qualifications for candidates: The Constitution Acts Amendment Act (No. 2) of 1963 abolished the property franchise and plural voting for the Legislative Council, making the franchise identical to that of the Legislative Assembly. 'In addition, the qualifications for membership of the Upper House were brought into line with those for the Assembly with the lowering of the minimum age from thirty to twenty-one [eighteen from 1973] and the reduction of the residential period within the state from two years to one year', David Black, Legislative Council, p. 6 (see 'Sources', below). For details of the previous franchise and candidate qualifications, see the notes to Legislative Council elections before 1965.

Electoral system: The Acts Amendment (Electoral Reform) Act of 1987 made major changes to the way members of the Legislative Council were elected. While the number of members remained at 34, and members retained fixed terms, the terms were reduced from six to four years. Staggered terms were abandoned, all members retiring on the same date.

The Electoral Act Amendment Act of 1964 had previously ensured that Legislative Council elections would usually be held on the same date as general elections for the Legislative Assembly; see David Black, Legislative Council, p. 6 (see 'Sources', below). This provision did not affect the fixed terms of Legislative Council members; successful candidates at an early Legislative Council election would have to wait until the following May to take up their seats.

From 1989, members of the Legislative Council were elected from six multimember electoral districts (2 seven member, and 4 five member regions) by a system of proportional representation by the single transferable vote method (PR-STV). The Electoral (Procedures) Amendment Act of 1987 enabled party names to be printed on ballot papers, and provided for above the line voting at Legislative Council elections.

For information on previous Legislative Council electoral systems, see the notes to Legislative Council elections before 1989.

Seats held by parties: The total number of members in the Legislative Council affiliated with each party after an election is shown in the seats held by party column of the 'Votes and seats' table, above. With the abolition of staggered terms from 1989 (see notes above), the seats held by party will usually be the same as seats won by party. At this election (1996), the Liberal Party and the National Party ran a joint ticket which resulted in the seats won by party differing from the seats held by party (see note below).

Liberal Party-National Party (joint ticket): At this election (1996), the Liberal and National parties ran candidates for both parties on a joint ticket in two of the six multimember districts for the Legislative Council (the Agricultural and South-West regions). Of the 8 members elected on this ticket, 5 sat as members of the Liberal Party, and 3 as members of the National Party (see note above).

Australian Marijuana Party: This party (under the name Marijuana Party) was formed in 1977; for details, see Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, p.59 (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217).

Australia First Party: This party was formed in 1996 by Graeme Campbell, the former Australian Labor Party member for the House of Representatives seat of Kalgoorlie, who left the party and ran successfully for the seat in the 1996 election until defeated in 1998; for more information, see Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, p.87 (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217).

Natural Law Party: Formed in 1992, this party was committed to '... bring national life in harmony with Natural law so that every Australian will enjoy peace, happiness and prosperity ...', Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, pp 71-72 (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217).

References: The Australian Journal of Politics and History has provided short surveys of Western Australian politics since 1955 (including parliamentary politics) in the 'Political Chronicle' section of the journal in issues of each annual volume. This publication can be viewed online through Wiley-Blackwell Journals at subscribing libraries.


Antony Green, Western Australian State Election 1996, Western Australian Parliamentary Library, Election Paper Series 1/2001 (Perth, Western Australian Parliamentary Library, 2001, ISBN 0730761002), also online at:

See also Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1985-1999, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2002, ISBN 1862873433), and David Black, Legislative Council of Western Australia: Membership Register, Electoral Law and Statistics 1890-1989, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, 1989, revised 1991, ISBN 0730936414).