ID 0516

Parliament of Western Australia, Legislative Assembly election

Election of 23 February 1980

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Western Australia, Legislative Assembly votes and seats won

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Election held on 23 February 1980
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  270,165  45.95  +1.73  23  41.82 
Liberal Party   257,218  43.75  -5.61  26  47.27 
National Country Party  25,260  4.30  -0.99  5.45 
National Party   17,411  2.96  5.45 
Australian Democrats  11,513  1.96     
Independents  3,042  0.52  -0.03     
Progress Party  1,041  0.18  -0.28     
Independent Labor  792  0.13     
Socialist Labor League  766  0.13     
Communist Party  438  0.07     
Socialist Workers Party  323  0.05     
Votes for other than listed parties 0 0.00 0.00       
Totals 587,969  100.00    55  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.


Premier in office at election: The Charles Court Liberal and National Country Party coalition government was returned to office at this election (1980) with a decrease in vote share and a loss of six coalition seats.

Australian Labor Party: For a study of the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia in this period, see Douglas Mitchell, 'Western Australia: The Struggle to Adapt', in Andrew Parkin and John Warhurst (editors), Machine Politics in the Australian Labor Party, pp 165-185, (Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1983) and see 'References', below.

Liberal Party: For a study of the Liberal Party in Western Australia leading up to this election (1980), see 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.218 (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1979, ISBN 0855641495) and see 'References', below.

National Country Party and National Party: A split within the National Country Party in 1978 led to '... the existence of two parties: the larger and more conservative National Country Party (NCP), the Liberals' coalition partner, and the smaller, more radical National Party (NP) playing a cross-bench role. The 1978 split was the culmination of a period of uncertainty as the party tried a number of strategies to arrest electoral decline', Geoff Gallop and Lenore Layman, 'Western Australia', in Brian Costar and Dennis Woodward (editors), Country to National: Australian Rural Politics and Beyond, pp 109-118, at p. 109 (North Sydney: George Allen & Unwin, 1985, ISBN 0868617084).

Australian Democrats: The Australian Democrats emerged as a centre party immediately preceding the 1977 federal election to capture the support of voters who were dissatisfied with both the Labor and Liberal parties; see John Warhurst (editor), Keeping the Bastards Honest: The Australian Democrats' First Twenty Years, (St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1997, ISBN 1864484209). The Australian Democrats fielded candidates for House of Representatives and Senate seats in Western Australia from 1977. This was the first Legislative Assembly election contested by the party in Western Australia; the party fielded 10 candidates at this election (1980).

Progress Party: This party was committed to greatly reduced state intervention in social and economic affairs; see Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, p.146 (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217). The party fielded 3 candidates at this election (1980).

Socialist Labor League, Communist Party, and Socialist Workers Party: Each of these left-wing parties fielded one candidate at this election (1980); see Dean Jaensch and David Mathieson, A Plague on Both Your Houses: Minor Parties in Australia, pp 133, 137, 138, (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1998, ISBN 1864484217).

References: For a brief survey of this election and its context, see E D Watt, 'Western Australia', Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australian Political Chronicle, 26 (3) December 1980: 443-446 at pp 443-444.

For the political context of this election (1980), see David Black, 'The Liberals Triumphant: The Politics of Development 1947-1980', in C T Stannage (editor), A New History of Western Australia, pp 441-470, (Perth: University of Western Australia Press, 1981, ISBN 0855641819); for an overview of the context of Western Australian parliamentary and electoral politics in this period, see Harry Phillips, 'The Modern Parliament, 1965-1989', in David Black (editor), The House on the Hill: A History of the Parliament of Western Australia 1832-1990, pp 185-262, at pp 210-227,(Perth: Western Australian Parliamentary History Project, Parliament of Western Australia, 1991, ISBN 0730939839).


Colin A Hughes, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1975-1984, (Sydney: Australian National University Press, 1986, ISBN 008033038X); Colin A Hughes and Don Aitkin, Voting the the Australian State Lower Houses 1975-1984, (Canberra: Department of Political Science, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, 1987, ISBN 909779244); 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).