New South Wales state election, 1981

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New South Wales state election, 1981
New South Wales
1978 ←
19 September 1981 (1981-09-19) → 1984

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
 
Leader Neville Wran Bruce McDonald
Party Labor Liberal/National coalition
Leader since 17 November 1973 1 June 1981
Leader's seat Bass Hill contested North Shore and lost
Last election 63 seats 35 seats
Seats won 69 seats 28 seats
Seat change Increase6 Decrease7
Percentage 55.73% 38.83%
Swing Decrease2.04 Increase1.95

Premier before election

Neville Wran
Labor

Elected Premier

Neville Wran
Labor

Elections were held in the state of New South Wales, Australia, on Saturday 19 September 1981. The result was a second "Wranslide": a landslide victory for the Australian Labor Party under Neville Wran, in which the government increased its already sizeable majority.

The Liberals suffered the double indignity of losing the seat contested by their leader Bruce McDonald to an independent, and of being reduced to the same number of seats in parliament as their ostensible junior coalition partner. In fact it was the second election in a row in which the sitting Liberal leader had failed to be elected to Parliament after Peter Coleman in 1978. Both the Liberals and National Country Party finished with 14 seats.

The election marked another milestone for electoral reform in New South Wales. The allocation of preferences became optional, gerrymandering was eliminated Two further reforms were proposed—and passed—in referendums put to voters on the same day.

Ted Mack, a former mayor of the North Sydney Council, won the seat of North Shore from Opposition Leader Bruce McDonald. John Hatton was re-elected unopposed in the seat of South Coast.

Changes to the process for setting electoral district boundaries took effect at this election: eliminating both partisan gerrymandering and the routine creation of smaller rural seats to boost the share of country representatives in parliament.

Key dates[edit]

Date Event
28 August 1981 The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.[1]
3 September 1981 Nominations for candidates for the election closed at noon.
19 September 1981 Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
2 October 1981 The fourth Wran ministry was constituted.
23 October 1981 The writ was returned and the results formally declared.
28 October 1981 Parliament resumed for business.

Results[edit]

Legislative Assembly[edit]

New South Wales state election, 19 September 1981[2][3]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19781984 >>

Enrolled voters 3,178,225[1]
Votes cast 2,897,033 Turnout 91.15 –1.62
Informal votes 89,306 Informal 3.08 +0.80
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes  % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 1,564,622 55.73 –2.04 69 + 6
  Liberal 775,463 27.62 +0.64 14 – 4
  National Country 314,841 11.21 +1.31 14 – 3
  Democrats 68,252 2.43 –0.22 0 ± 0
  Communist 6,150 0.22 –0.08 0 ± 0
  Independent 78,399 2.79 +0.55 2 + 1
Total 2,807,727     99  
1 There were 3,212,657 enrolled voters but 34,432 were enrolled in South Coast (Independent) which was uncontested at the election.

Legislative Council[edit]

New South Wales state election, 19 September 1981[4]
Legislative Council

Enrolled voters 3,212,657
Votes cast 2,927,971 Turnout 91.14 –1.63
Informal votes 200,367 Informal 6.84 +2.79
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes  % Swing Seats
won
Seats
held
  Labor 1,412,426 51.78 –3.13 8 24
  Liberal/National Coalition 921,081 33.77 –2.49 5 18
  Call to Australia 248,425 9.11 +7.80 1 1
  Democrats 109,939 4.03 +1.25 1 1
  Environmental Action 18,056 0.66 +0.66 0 0
  Australian Republicans 10,184 0.37 +0.37 0 0
  Progress 3,121 0.11 +0.11 0 0
  Social Democrats 2,512 0.09 +0.09 0 0
  Independent 24,786 0.07 –0.83 0 0
Total 2,727,604     15  

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parliament of New South Wales. "1981 Election". Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Australian Government and Politics Database. "Parliament of New South Wales, Assembly election, 19 September 1981". Retrieved 6 February 2010. 
  3. ^ Hughes, Colin A. (1986). A handbook of Australian government and politics, 1975-1984. ANU Press. p. 192. ISBN 0-08-033038-X. 
  4. ^ Hughes (1986), p.194.