New South Wales state election, 1978

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New South Wales state election, 1978
New South Wales
1976 ←
7 October 1978 (1978-10-07)
→ 1981

All 99 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
and 15 (of the 44) seats in the New South Wales Legislative Council
  First party Second party
  Peter Coleman, June 2012, His Home (cropped).jpg
Leader Neville Wran Peter Coleman
Party Labor Liberal/National coalition
Leader since 17 November 1973 16 December 1977
Leader's seat Bass Hill Fuller (lost seat)
Last election 50 seats 48 seats
Seats won 63 seats 35 seats
Seat change Increase13 Decrease13
Percentage 60.7% 39.3%
Swing Increase9.1 Decrease9.1

Premier before election

Neville Wran
Labor

Elected Premier

Neville Wran
Labor

A general election was held in the state of New South Wales, Australia, on Saturday 7 October 1978. The result was a landslide victory for the Australian Labor Party under Neville Wran, popularly known as the "Wranslide."

It is notable for being so successful for the Labor Party that it tallied 57 percent of the primary vote, the largest primary vote for any party in over a century. Having gone into the election with a razor-thin majority of one seat, Labor scored a 13-seat swing, giving it a strong majority of 63 seats. Labor even managed to defeat the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Coleman, in his own electorate. The seats of many other prominent Shadow Ministers fell to Labor as well. Labor also won took many seats in areas long reckoned as Coalition heartland. Among them were four seats that Labor had never won before this election--Willoughby (contested for the Liberal Party by Nick Greiner who later became Premier), Manly, Wakehurst and Cronulla.

The state's first elections to the New South Wales Legislative Council, the state parliament's upper house, were held simultaneously. Voters had approved a referendum to introduce a directly elected council in June of that year.

The election was also the first in the state to be contested by the Australian Democrats.

Labor continued to campaign heavily on the strengths of Wran himself, with the slogan "Wran's our man".

Key dates[edit]

Date Event
12 September 1978 The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.[1]
18 September 1978 Nominations for candidates for the election closed at noon.
7 October 1978 Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
19 October 1978 The second Wran ministry was constituted.
3 November 1978 The writ was returned and the results formally declared.
7 November 1978 Parliament resumed for business.

Results[edit]

Legislative Assembly[edit]

New South Wales state election, 7 October 1978[2][3]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19761981 >>

Enrolled Voters 3,085,661
Votes Cast 2,862,616 Turnout 92.77 –0.52
Informal Votes 65,274 Informal 2.28 +0.52
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 1,615,949 57.77 +8.02 63 +13
  Liberal 754,796 26.98 –9.31 18 –12
  National Country 276,984 9.90 –0.13 17 – 1
  Democrats 74,019 2.65 +2.65 0 ± 0
  Communist 8,472 0.30 +0.22 0 ± 0
  Socialist Workers 4,467 0.16 +0.07 0 ± 0
  Independent 62,655 2.24 –0.58 1 ± 0
Total 2,797,342     99  

Legislative Council[edit]

New South Wales state election, 7 October 1978[4]
Legislative Council

Enrolled Voters 3,085,661
Votes Cast 2,862,616 Turnout 92.77  
Informal Votes 115,995 Informal 4.05  
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary Votes % Swing Seats
won
Seats
held
  Labor 1,508,078 54.91   9 23
  Liberal/National Coalition 996,463 36.28   6 20
  Democrats 76,369 2.78   0  
  Communist 79,794 2.91   0  
  Family Action Movement 36,076 1.31   0  
  Marijuana 25,055 0.91   0  
  Independent 24,786 0.90   0  
Total 2,746,621     15  

The final 2 party preferred result was 60.7% for Labor and 39.3% for the Coalition, making it one of the biggest landslide victories in New South Wales's electoral history. In 2PP terms it was a 9.1% swing to Labor from the Coalition. This was beaten by the Coalition's result of 64.2% and 35.8% for Labor in the 2011 election. However, Labor's record primary vote of 57.7 percent still stands today.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Parliament of New South Wales. "1978 Election". Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Australian Government and Politics Database. "Parliament of New South Wales, Assembly election, 7 October 1978". Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Hughes, Colin A. (1986). A handbook of Australian government and politics, 1975-1984. ANU Press. p. 191. ISBN 0-08-033038-X. 
  4. ^ Hughes (1986), p.192.