ID 0417

Parliament of Tasmania, House of Assembly election

Election of 29 March 1906

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Tasmania, House of Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 29 March 1906
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 %
Ministerialists  12,160  30.49  +6.28  16  45.71 
Australian Labor Party  10,583  26.54  +15.95  22.86 
Opposition  4,922  12.34  -37.65  22.86 
Independents  3,302  8.28  -5.81  8.57 
Votes for other than listed parties 8,914 22.35 +21.23       
Totals 39,881  100.00    35  100.00 

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Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous House of Assembly general elections in 1903. Premier Propsting had won office as a result of the 1903 election. 'Following defeats in the Legislative Council, cabinet interviewed the Lieutenant-Governor on 30 June [1904] seeking a dissolution which was refused. An Opposition no-confidence motion was tabled and Propsting resigned. Evans, Leader of the Opposition, was commissioned [as Premier on 12 July 1904]', Hughes and Graham, p. 255 (see 'Sources', below). 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.

Franchise: The Constitution Act Amendment Act of 1903 introduced universal franchise for House of Assembly elections (but not for the Legislative Council); although all women over 21 could vote under the same conditions as men, women could not stand as candidates; for details of the franchise and qualifications for candidates, see the note to the 1903 House of Assembly elections. For previous franchise arrangements, see the notes to House of Assembly elections before 1903.

Electoral system and voting: The Electoral Act of 1901 '...established 35 single-member districts for the House of Assembly, thus abolishing the system of proportional representation introduced in 1896 [see the notes to the 1900 House of Assembly elections]. Electors had to strike out surplus names once more in all seats, with a simple majority needed for election', Bennett and Bennett, p.11, (see 'Sources', below).

Differences in voting figures: The aggregate voting figures shown in the tables above for this election are calculated from information published in Bennett and Bennett (see 'Sources', below). Hughes and Graham p. 597 (see 'Sources', below) provide figures most of which differ only slightly from those of Bennett and Bennett (the exceptions are the enrolment figures for contested and uncontested seats for the 1906 elections): enrolment in contested seats 59,363; enrolment in uncontested seats 29,666; total enrolment 89,029; total ballots cast 40,313; rate of informal (invalid) voting, 1.21 percent; total valid votes 39,826. The figures for party groupings in the table above are those provided by Hughes and Graham (see note below).

Ministerialists and the emergence of political parties During the 1890s, the factional politics of previous years began to give way to political groupings and electoral organizations which foreshadowed the emergence of modern political parties. The labels Ministerialists, Opposition and Independents in the table above are provided by Hughes and Graham to indicate the groupings of members elected at the election and their likely support for the government. Support for what was to become the Labor Party showed that this was about to change (see note below). For studies of the emergence of political parties in Tasmania, see Patrick Weller, 'Tasmania' in P Loveday, A W Martin and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, pp 355-382 (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035), and R P Davis, 'Tasmania', in D J Murphy (editor), Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880-1920, pp 389-445, (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1975, ISBN 0702209392).

Australian Labor Party: The entry for the Australian Labor Party in the table above does not refer to a single organization, but a cluster of like minded groups and candidates whom Hughes and Graham label as 'Labor'. 'In October 1901 the Tasmanian Workers' Political League was formed, and by the 1903 election there were Leagues on the West Coast and in Hobart to hold pre-selections', Hughes and Graham, p. 597 (see 'Sources', below); see Weller and Davis in the note above, and Richard Davis, Eighty Years' Labor: The ALP in Tasmania, 1903-1983, (Hobart: Sassafras Books and the History Department, University of Tasmania, 1983, ISBN 0859012212). The term 'Australian Labor Party' has been used for this election to indicate a political movement which had many of the characteristics of the organization which later became the Australian Labor Party.

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, (Hobart: L G Shea, Government Printer, [1956]), and W A Townsley, Tasmania From Colony to Statehood 1803-1945, (Hobart: St David's Park Publishing, 1991, ISBN 0724625753).


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 party groupings shown in the table 'Tasmania, Assembly, votes and seats won' are taken from Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); see notes above.

The difficulties of determining the accuracy of early Tasmanian election results are 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.