ID 0494

Parliament of Western Australia, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 3 October 1911

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Western Australia, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 3 October 1911
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  47,460  52.54  +14.73  34  10  68.00 
Liberal Party  40,472  44.80  16  32.00 
Independents  2,405  2.66     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 90,337  100.00    50  10  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 3 to 31 October 1911; for details of polling dates, see Black, Election Statistics, pp. xv-xvii, (see 'Sources', below).

Premier in office at election: There had been a change of Premier since the previous Legislative Assembly election in 1908. 'In September 1910 Moore resigned on grounds of ill-health, and Wilson was commissioned', Hughes and Graham, Handbook, p. 227 (see 'Sources', below). Wilson was commissioned as Premier of a Ministerialist majority government on 16 September 1910. For the context and summary details of this change of Premier and references on their careers, see the entries for each Premier in the 'Periods in office' component of this website.

Premier in office after election: '... [T]he Wilson Government went into the 1911 election with confidence high, especially in view of the redistribution of seats which it had pushed through a few months before, against the vehement protest of the Labor Opposition, and the introduction of preferential voting [with compulsory preferences] which was expected to suit the Liberals. That the result was a Labor landslide shows the infinite capacity of politics to surprise', de Garis, p. 90 (see 'References', below). Scadden, the leader of the Labor Party, was commissioned as Premier of an Australian Labor Party majority government on 7 October 1911.

Electoral system: The Electoral Act of 1907 had introduced preferential voting (AV) with the optional expression of preferences for Legislative Assembly elections. The Electoral Act of 1911 modified this system by making the full expression of preferences compulsory; see Hughes and Graham, Handbook, p. 563, (see 'Sources', below).

There is some confusion in the literature over the electoral system used for the previous (1908) election; Hughes and Graham for example, call the system contingent voting, (Handbook, p. 563, in 'Sources', below). But the 1907 WA Electoral Act makes it clear that the system used for the 1908 election was preferential voting with the optional expression of preferences. The confusion may have arisen because some sections of the Act can be read to give the impression that contingent voting was used.

Liberal Party and Ministerialists: During the 1890s and early 1900s, factional politics began to give way to political groupings and electoral organizations which foreshadowed the emergence of modern political parties. The term Ministerialists is applied to groupings which, for a variety of reasons, supported a particular government but were not bound by party discipline. By 1911, the emergence of the Labor Party had the effect of polarizing parliamentary politics to that '[v]irtually every member of the Legislative Assembly was either described as Ministerialist or Labor', David Black, 'The Liberal Party and its Predecessors', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 191-232, at p. 192 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495).

'At this election [1911], the ministerialists campaigned for the first time as the Liberal party, bringing them into conformity with the federal party and the [Liberal] League', Brian de Garis, 'Western Australia', in P Loveday, A W Martin and R S Parker (editors), The Emergence of the Australian Party System, pp 298-354, at p. 354, (Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1977, ISBN 0908094035). At pp. 346-354 of this essay, de Garis provides a detailed study of non-Labor politics in this period; note also B K Hyams, 'Western Australian Political Parties, 1901-1916', University Studies in History and Economics, [University of Western Australia], 2(3), September 1955: 48-61.

Australian Labor Party: For a study of the Labor Party during this period, see H J Gibney, 'Western Australia', in D J Murphy (editor), Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880-1920, pp 343-385, (St Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press, 1975, ISBN 0702209392), and note Ralph Pervan and Douglas Mitchell, 'The Changing Nature of the Australian Labor Party', in Ralph Pervan and Campbell Sharman (editors), Essays on Western Australian Politics, pp 129-158, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495).

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, 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).