List of Western Australian Legislative Assembly elections

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This article provides a summary of results for elections to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, the lower house in Western Australia's bicameral state legislative body, the Parliament of Western Australia, which came into being in 1890 when Western Australia achieved responsible self-government. The number of seats has increased over time, from 30 at its first election, to the current total of 57 seats. Western Australian politics were initially non-partisan, with individual Members of Parliament choosing to align either with the Government or the Opposition. This began to change in the 1901 election with the election of six Labor members, and then with Labor attaining outright victory in the 1904 election. By 1911, a rival party to Labor had emerged in the centre-right Liberal Party of Western Australia, which many of the former independents had joined.[1] This entity evolved into the Nationalist Party and eventually into the Liberal Party in 1944.[2]

The chart below shows the information graphically, with the most recent results on the right. It shows the popularity in terms of seats won, of the Australian Labor Party (red) and the Nationalist Party and its predecessors (mid-blue) in the first half of the 20th century, as well as the emergence of the Country Party (green) in 1914, with whom the Nationalists and later the Liberals formed a coalition in order to form government. Two distinct periods were characterised by one party or coalition's dominance—the Labor Party won six of the seven elections between 1924 and 1947, and the Liberal Party (dark blue) in coalition with the Country Party won seven of the eight elections between 1959 and 1983. Occasional internal splits within the Country Party, now known as the Nationals, are also shown on the chart in differing shades of green.

WA Elections 1890-2005.png  
Party colour key
  Liberal   Labor
Nationalist;
Liberal (1911–17)
National Labor
Ministerialist National;
National Country;
Country[3]
Oppositionist
Independent Other[3]

Summary of results[edit]

The table below shows the total number of seats won by the major political parties at each election. The totals of the winning party or coalition are shown in bold, while other parties in government are shown in bold italic. Full details on any election are linked via the year of the election at the start of the row.


Election Date Total seats Labor Liberal [A] Nationalist [B] Country/ National [C] Nat. Lab. [D] Independent Other Parties
39th 9 March 2013 59 21 31 7
38th 6 September 2008 59 28 24 4 3
37th 26 February 2005 57 32 18 5 2
36th 10 February 2001 57 32 16 5 4
35th 14 December 1996 57 19 29 6 3
34th 6 February 1993 57 24 26 6 1
33rd 4 February 1989 57 31 20 6
32nd 8 February 1986 57 32 19 6
31st 19 February 1983 57 32 20 3 2 National [C]
30th 23 February 1980 55 23 26 3 3 National [C]
29th 19 February 1977 55 22 27 6
28th 30 March 1974 51 22 23 6
27th 20 February 1971 51 26 17 8
26th 23 March 1968 51 23 19 9
25th 20 February 1965 50 21 21 8
24th 31 March 1962 50 24 18 8
23rd 21 March 1959 50 23 17 8 2
22nd 7 April 1956 50 29 11 8 2
21st 14 February 1953 50 26 15 9
20th 25 March 1950 50 23 15 9 3
19th 15 March 1947 50 23 13 12 2
18th 20 November 1943 50 30 7 10 3
17th 18 March 1939 50 27 7 12 4
16th 15 February 1936 50 26 8 13 3
15th 8 April 1933 50 30 8 12
14th 26 March 1930 50 23 16 10 1
13th 26 March 1927 50 27 16 7
12th 22 March 1924 50 27 9 1 7
6
MCP
ECP[3]
11th 12 March 1921 50 16 10 16 6 2
10th 29 September 1917 50 15 16 12 6 1
9th 21 October 1914 50 26 16 8
8th 3 October 1911 50 34 16
7th 11 September 1908 50 22 28
6th 27 October 1905 50 15 35
5th 28 June 1904 50 22 19 9

Elections prior to political parties[edit]

Until the 1904 election, most candidates did not belong to political parties. However, some candidates declared their support for the administration of the time, while others declared their opposition to it. Full details on any election are linked via the year of the election at the start of the row.

Election Date Seats Government Opposition Independent Labor
4th April 1901 50 19 20 5 6
3rd May 1897 44 29 8 7
2nd June 1894 33 19 13 1
1st December 1890 30 30

Notes[edit]

A The Liberal Party was known as the Liberal and Country League from 1949 until 1968.
B Includes results for the Western Australian Liberal Party from 1911 until 1917, and the Ministerial Party from 1904 until 1911.
C The party was known as the Country Party (1914–1946; 1962–1973), Country and Democratic League (1946–1962), National Alliance (1974), National Country Party (1975–1984) and National Party (1984–present). A separate National Party existed from 1978–1984 and is shown under "Other Parties".
D The National Labor Party were a split from the Labor Party which sat in coalition with the Nationalists between 1917 and 1924.

Interpretation issues[edit]

Two features of the Western Australian electoral system are worthy of note in interpreting election results. The first is that until the 1974 election, many seats in both houses were uncontested—usually more than one-quarter of all seats on offer.[4] Since 1974, only three seats have been uncontested—that being the seats of Collie and East Melville in the 1980 election, when the rival party's candidates missed the nomination deadline and hence could not stand, and the seat of Narrogin in the 1983 election.

The second feature is malapportionment, which until 2008 was a significant feature of the Western Australian political landscape. Seats in metropolitan and rural areas did not contain the same number of electors—as at 30 September 2007, a Member of the Legislative Assembly represented either 28,519 metropolitan voters within the Metropolitan Region Scheme area, or 14,551 country voters.[5] This was believed to disproportionately favour the Nationals in terms of parliamentary representation.[6] Reforms enacted in 2005 which took effect at the 2008 election produced an average district enrolment of 21,350, which applied to all but five of the 59 districts created in the 2007 redistribution. An allowance remained for particularly large districts—those of 100,000 square kilometres (39,000 sq mi) or more, located in the north and east of the State—in the form of a Large District Allowance.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ de Garis, Brian (1991). "Self-Government and the Emergence of Political Parties 1890–1911". In Black, David. The House on the Hill: A history of the Parliament of Western Australia. Parliament of Western Australia. pp. 81–82. ISBN 0-7309-3983-9. 
  2. ^ Black, David (1981). "The Era of Labor Ascendancy 1924–1947". In Stannage, Tom. A New History of Western Australia. University of Western Australia Press. p. 439. ISBN 0-85564-170-3. 
  3. ^ a b c In 1923, the Country Party split into the Ministerial Country Party (MCP), with 15 members, and the Executive Country Party (ECP), with 3. At the 1924 election, the MCP won 7 seats and the ECP won 6—subsequently, the MCP merged with the Nationalists while the ECP reverted to the name Country Party. In 1978, a disagreement between those favouring coalition with the Liberals and those favouring independence resulted in the latter group splitting to form the National Party, while the original party remained as the National Country Party. In 1984, the two parties reunited, although the three NCP members ultimately joined the Liberal Party, with two of them losing to endorsed Nationals at the 1986 election. The Executive Country (1924) and National (1978–1984) parties are shaded light green in this list.
  4. ^ Black, p.110.
  5. ^ Western Australian Electoral Commission (30 September 2007). "September enrolment statistics". Retrieved 15 January 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ Green, Antony (17 November 2004). "WA: A Peculiar Electoral System". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 19 January 2008. 
  7. ^ Electoral Act 1907 (WA), s.16G (as added by No.1 of 2005, s.4.)

See also[edit]