ID 0482

Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 2 March 1985

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Victoria, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 2 March 1985
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  1,198,262  50.01  0.00  47  53.41 
Liberal Party  1,003,003  41.86  +3.53  31  35.23 
National Party  174,727  7.29  +2.32  10  11.36 
Independents  12,828  0.54  -0.43     
Weekend Trading Party  3,909  0.16     
Public Transport Party  3,390  0.14     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 2,396,119  100.00    88  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.


Parliament and electoral system: After winning office at the 1982 election, the Australian Labor Party government initiated a series of major changes to the composition of the Victorian Parliament and the rules governing elections. The Constitution (Electoral Provinces and Districts) Act 1983 increased the number of Legislative Assembly electoral districts by seven to 88 and provided that the provinces for elections to the Legislative Council would be composed of four contiguous Assembly districts.

The Constitution (Duration of Parliament) Act 1984 increased the maximum term length for future members of the Legislative Assembly (that is, for members elected in 1988) from three to four years and added a fixed minimum term provision that limited the power of the governor to dissolve the Assembly within a period of three years after an Assembly election unless the government had lost a confidence vote in the Assembly, or a bill ‘of special importance’ (section 7) had been twice rejected by the Legislative Council. Members of the Legislative Council would have terms equal to two terms of the Legislative Assembly.

The Constitution Act Amendment (Electoral legislation) Act 1984 affected the nature of representation in parliament by making changes to the administration of elections including the registration of political parties and the addition of the partisan affiliation of candidates on ballot papers. Section 38 of the Act included a provision which prohibited the registration of a party name (and hence a candidate affiliation) which combined ‘Independent’ with another party or political grouping (new section 148G of the principal Act). This had the effect of denying candidates who had resigned from a political party from running as an Independent candidate but indicating their former affiliation.

For a summary of all the legislative changes affecting elections made in the period before the 1985 election, see Hughes (1986), p.197, in ‘Sources’, below. Note also Brian Costar, 'Constitutional Change', in Mark Considine and Brian Costar (editors), Trials in Power: Cain, Kirner and Victoria 1982-1992, pp 201-214, (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1992).

Government in office after election: The Cain [jnr] Australian Labor Party majority government was returned at this Assembly election in 1985 with its equal highest vote share of 50.0 percent of the first preference votes unchanged from the previous election; this was the first time a Labor Party majority government had been returned in Victoria. The Labor Party many of the new metropolitan seats created by the redistribution (see Carr in 'Sources', below). The decision of the Australian Democrats not to contest this Assembly election in 1985, and the absence of candidates from the Democratic Labor Party and the Australia Party, assisted the three largest parties in maintaining or increasing their vote share.

National Party: While most of the seven new Assembly seats at this election in 1985 had been in the rapidly growing metropolitan areas of Victoria, the National Party contested an additional four seats at this Assembly election, increased its first preference vote share by 2.3 percent and won two additional seats.

Independents: The votes assigned to Independents in the table above includes the votes for all those candidates who, under the new rules for the registration of parties (see above), registered as Independents or left their affiliation blank. There were 10 such candidates at this Assembly election in 1985; none was elected.

Weekend Trading and Public Transport parties: These two parties conformed to the new rules for the registration of parties (see above). The Weekend Trading Party fielded 2 candidates, and the Public Transport Party, 3; none of these candidates was elected.

References: For a survey of this election, see Paul Rodan, 'Victoria', Political Chronicle, January-June 1985, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 31 (3) December 1985: 510-518, and note Brian Costar and Nicholas Economou, 'Elections and Electoral Change 1982-1992', 247-264, in Mark Considine and Brian Costar (editors), Trials in Power: Cain, Kirner and Victoria 1982-1992, (Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1992, ISBN 0522845371). A study of Victorian politics in the period before this election in 1985 can be found in P R Hay, J Halligan, J Warhurst and B Costar (editors), Essays on Victorian Politics, (Warrnambool, Vic.: Warnambool Institute Press, 1985, ISBN 0949759066).

A study of Victorian parliamentary politics during the first eight years of the Australian Labor Party's period in office after 1982 can be found in Wright, ch. 11 (in 'Sources', below).


For this Assembly election (1985), there is agreement between the two sources below (Hughes 2002, and Carr) on the totals of first preference votes for the larger party groupings. Hughes gives the names of the Weekend Trading Party and the Public Transport Party but includes their votes with Independents ('Others' in Carr). The votes cast for these two parties was calculated from the Legislative Assembly Statistics, (see full reference, below).

Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1985-1999, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2002, ISBN 1862874344).

Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, (Rushcutters Bay, NSW: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 0 08 033038 X).

Adam Carr, 'Fiftieth Parliament Elected 2 March 1985', in 'Legislative Assembly Elections', Victorian Elections Since 1843, Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive, online here [accessed 2 April 2018].

Chief Electoral Officer for the State of Victoria, State of Victoria, Legislative Assembly, Statistics Relating to the General Election held on Saturday, 2nd March, 1985 together with Summary of Provisions Relating to Qualification and Enrolment of Electors, Postal Voting, Absent Voting, Unenrolled voting etc., in force thereat, Melbourne: Government Printer, [1985].

Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel of Victoria and AustLII, Victorian Historical Acts, online here. [accessed 4 April 2018]

Raymond Wright, A People's Counsel: A History of the Parliament of Victoria 1856-1990, (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992, ISBN 0195533593)