ID 0487

Parliament of Western Australia, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 5 December 1890

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Western Australia, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 5 December 1890
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)  2,922  100.00  30  19  100.00 
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 2,922  100.00    30  19  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.


Election dates: Elections were held over the period from 5-12 December 1890; for details of polling dates, see Black, Election Statistics, pp. xv-xvii, (see 'Sources', below).

First premier and responsible government: Forrest was the first Premier to take office as head of government under the system of parliamentary responsible government granted to Tasmania by Britain. On the choice of Forrest as Premier, see C T Stannage, 'John Forrest and the Formation of the First Ministry under Responsible Government in Western Australia', University Studies in History, [University of Western Australia], 5 (2) 1968: 23-33; and de Garis, p. 64 (see 'References', below).

On the period leading up to the granting of self-government to Western Australia, see David Black, '"At Last She Moves" -- The Advent of Responsible Government in Western Australia 1890', and the two essays by Brian de Garis, 'The First Legislative Council, 1832-1870', and, 'Constitutional and Political Developments, 1870-1890', all three essays to be found in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 9-19, 21-39, and 41-62, (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).

Franchise and electoral system: The qualifications for voting for this Legislative Assembly election (1890) were set by the Constitution Act 1889 which continued the electoral laws applicable to the previous Legislative Council. The franchise was limited to those who were British subjects by birth or naturalization, aged twenty-one and had owned property worth £500 or a yearly value of £50 for a year preceding the election; for details, see Hughes and Graham, Handbook, p. 561 (see 'Sources', below). Plural voting was permitted if an elector had the required property qualification in more than one electoral district.

The members of the Legislative Assembly were elected from 30 single member electoral districts for a maximum parliamentary term of four years; voting '... was by striking out names of candidates not voted for on the ballot paper ... ', Hughes and Graham, Handbook, p. 562 (see 'Sources', below). At this election (1890), a large number of electoral districts were uncontested (19 of 30 seats, or 63 percent); note Campbell Sharman, ‘Uncontested Seats and the Evolution of Party Competition: The Australian Case’, Party Politics, 9 (6) November 2003: 679-702.

Missing data: Hughes and Graham indicate that the informal (invalid) vote for this election is 'not known' (p. 567, see Handbook, 'Sources', below); they do, however, show the total number of voters as 2,925 but the total number of valid votes as 2,922. While there may have been additional informal votes, the difference between the two figures provides a minimum number of 3 informal votes; this is the figure used for the 'Rate of informal (invalid) voting' in the table above.

References: For a study of the context of parliamentary and electoral politics in Western Australia's first two decades of self-government, see Brian de Garis, 'Self-Government and the Emergence of Political Parties, 1890-1911', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 63-95 , (Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839), and note C T Stannage, 'The Composition of the Western Australian Parliament 1890-1911', University Studies in History, [University of Western Australia], 4(3), 1965: 85-94.


Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1968, SBN 708102700); Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, Voting for the South Australian, Western Australian and Tasmanian Lower Houses 1890-1964, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1976, ISBN 0708113346); 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).