Western Australian state election, 1974
All 51 seats in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly
and 15 (of the 30) seats to the Western Australian Legislative Council
26 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
Elections were held in the state of Western Australia on 30 March 1974 to elect all 51 members to the Legislative Assembly and 15 members to the 30-seat Legislative Council. The one-term Labor government, led by Premier John Tonkin, was defeated by the Liberal Party, led by Opposition Leader Charles Court.
The Liberal Party won the election after a campaign focused mostly on inflation, industrial unrest, states' rights and education. The outgoing Tonkin government had had a turbulent ride in its three years of office, having only a one-seat majority in the Assembly and being outnumbered two-to-one in the Council.
The 15-month-old Whitlam Labor federal government had proven unpopular in Western Australia which saw it as taking a centralist view towards federal-state affairs, and Whitlam himself was hit by a soft drink can and a tomato whilst addressing voters at Forrest Place during the campaign. The Country Party had tentatively merged with the Democratic Labor Party in the period preceding the election, going to the voters as the National Alliance which put forward a centrist platform—however, they lost both votes and seats as compared to the 1971 election in doing so. Arthur Bickerton, the member for Pilbara, became the first Minister to be defeated at an election since 1939.
In order to form a parliamentary majority, the National Country Party under its new leader, Ray McPharlin, agreed to form a coalition with the Liberals after the election, and negotiated three seats in the Ministry.
|Summary of votes by party|
|Alliance (CP/DLP)||55,746||10.80%||–5.55%||6||– 2|
|Australia Party||2,052||0.40%||+0.36%||0||± 0|
- 1 604,222 electors were enrolled to vote at the election, but one seat, Mount Marshall, held by the National Alliance's Ray McPharlin and representing 6,887 electors, was uncontested.
- 2 The Western Australian Country Party agreed to a trial merger with the Democratic Labor Party prior to the election, known as the "National Alliance". They contested 44 seats including many in the metropolitan area. The Alliance ceased to exist shortly after the 1974 election, and the National Country Party adopted a more traditional strategy for subsequent elections.
Western Australian state election, 30 March 1974
|Summary of votes by party|
|LIBERAL/ALLIANCE SEATS (29)|
|Roe||Geoff Grewar||LIB||1.8% v NA|
|South Perth||Bill Grayden||LIB||8.6%|
|East Melville||Des O'Neil||LIB||8.9%|
|Mount Lawley||Ray O'Connor||LIB||8.9%|
|Moore||Walter McPharlin||NA||17.7% v LIB|
|Mount Marshall||Ray McPharlin||NA||unopp.|
|LABOR SEATS (22)|
|Mount Hawthorn||Ron Bertram||ALP||5.7%|
|Victoria Park||Ron Davies||ALP||14.4%|
- Members of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, 1971–1974
- Members of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, 1974–1977
- Hamilton, Barbara (August 1974). "Australian Political Chronicle: January–April 1974". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 20 (2): 256–259. ISSN 0004-9522.
- Penrose, Sandra (December 1974). "Australian Political Chronicle: May–August 1974". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 20 (3): 414. ISSN 0004-9522.