1962 New South Wales state election

The 1962 New South Wales state election was held on 3 March 1962. It was conducted in single member constituencies with compulsory preferential voting and was held on boundaries created at a 1961 redistribution. The election was for all of the 94 seats in the Legislative Assembly.

1962 New South Wales state election

← 1959 3 March 1962 (1962-03-03) 1965 →

All 94 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
48 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  BobHeffron1963.jpg Robert Askin 1966.jpg
Leader Bob Heffron Bob Askin
Party Labor Liberal/Country coalition
Leader since 23 October 1959 17 July 1959
Leader's seat Maroubra Collaroy
Last election 49 seats 44 seats
Seats won 54 seats 39 seats
Seat change Increase5 Decrease5
Percentage 48.57% 44.22%
Swing Decrease0.55 Increase0.16

New South Wales Legislative Assembly 1962.svg
Legislative Assembly after the election

Premier before election

Bob Heffron

Elected Premier

Bob Heffron


A redistribution of electoral boundaries was undertaken in 1961 based on that year's Australian Census. The redistribution reflected the continuing relative population shifts from the Country and Eastern suburbs of Sydney to Western Sydney and the Central Coast. The Hunter Valley seat of Liverpool Plains, held by the Country Party was abolished while in the eastern suburbs the safe Liberal seat of Woollahra and the safe Labor seat of Paddington-Waverley were combined to form the marginal seat of Bligh. In Northern Sydney, the marginal Labor seat of North Sydney and the safe Liberal seat of Neutral Bay were combined to form the relatively safe Liberal seat of Kirribilli. Wakehurst was created in the Northern Beaches area with a notional Liberal majority and on the Central Coast, the seat of Wyong was established and was expected to have a large Labor majority. In Western Sydney the seats of Merrylands and Leichhardt were abolished and replaced by the safe Labor seats of Wentworthville and Bass Hill. The seat of The Hills was established in North-west Sydney mainly from the northern portion of Blacktown and this made Blacktown a safe Labor seat. While the theoretical effect of the redistribution was to increase the Liberal numbers by 1 at the expense of the Country Party, the boundary changes significantly improved Labor's position in several seats including Nepean, Coogee and Drummoyne.


In March 1962, Labor had been in power for 21 years and Robert Heffron had been premier for 2 and a half years. Heffron was 72 at the time of the election and his age and the longevity of the government were made issues by the opposition which described it as being composed of "tired old men". The prestige of Heffron's government had suffered when the electors clearly rejected its proposal to abolish the New South Wales Legislative Council at a referendum in April 1961. Labor's new policies for the election included the establishment of a Department of Industrial Development to reduce unemployment, free school travel, aid to home buyers and commencing the construction of the Sydney–Newcastle Freeway as a toll-road.[1]

In contrast to Labor the leader of the conservative coalition, Robin Askin put forward a positive program and addressed contentious issues including the introduction of State Aid for private schools, making rent control fairer and the legalisation of off-course betting on horse races. Askin accused the state government of allowing the transport infrastructure of the state to decline. He promised to build the Newcastle freeway without a toll, to construct the Eastern Suburbs Railway and to plan for a second crossing of Sydney Harbour. Askin also promised more resources for mental health and district hospitals.[2]



The Labor government's position improved substantially at this election. It had a buffer of 7 seats in the new parliament:

Prior to the election Labor had gained the seat of Lismore from the Country Party at a by-election after the Court of Disputed Returns ruling the 1959 election result invalid. Labor had lost the seat of Liverpool Plains to the Country Party at a by-election caused by the resignation of Roger Nott. However, Liverpool Plains was abolished by the redistribution at this election. In Oxley the sitting member, Les Jordan changed his allegiance from the Country Party to the Liberal Party,

Labor regained the seat of Waratah from the independent incumbent Frank Purdue and, as expected, won the new seats of Wyong, Wentworthville, Bass Hill and Bligh. Labor also gained Blacktown, Nepean, Drummoyne and Coogee from the Liberals.

The Liberal Party won the new seats of Kirribilli, Wakehurst and The Hills. In Manly, the sitting Liberal member Douglas Darby, who had lost his party's pre-selection, successfully contested the seat as an Independent Liberal.

The DLP and the Communist party both performed poorly, each party gained less than 2% of the primary vote.

Non-elected Premier Bob Heffron was elected his own right as Premier and would be the last non-elected Premier to achieve this until Morris Iemma in 2007.

Seats changing party representationEdit

This table lists changes in party representation since the 1959 election

Seat Incumbent member Party New member Party
Bass Hill New seat Clarrie Earl   Labor
Blacktown Alfred Dennis   Liberal Jim Southee   Labor
Bligh New Seat Tom Morey   Labor
Coogee Kevin Ellis   Liberal Lou Walsh   Labor
Drummoyne Walter Lawrence   Liberal Reg Coady   Labor
Kirribilli New seat John Waddy   Liberal
Leichhardt Reg Coady   Labor Seat abolished
Lismore   Country Keith Compton   Labor
Liverpool Plains   Labor Seat abolished
Manly Douglas Darby   Liberal Douglas Darby   Independent Liberal
Merrylands Jack Ferguson   Labor Seat Abolished
Nepean Bill Chapman   Liberal Alfred Bennett   Labor
Neutral Bay Ivan Black   Liberal Seat abolished
North Sydney Ray Maher   Labor Seat abolished
Oxley Les Jordan   Country Les Jordan   Liberal
Paddington-Waverley Keith Anderson   Labor Seat abolished
The Hills New seat Max Ruddock   Liberal
Wakehurst New seat Dick Healey   Liberal
Waratah Frank Purdue   Independent Edward Greaves   Labor
Wentworthville New Seat Jack Ferguson   Labor
Woollahra Vernon Treatt   Liberal Seat abolished
Wyong New Seat Ray Maher   Labor

† Labor won the seat of Lismore from the Country Party's Jack Easter at a 1959 by-election caused by the Court of Disputed Returns overturned the 1959 election result

‡ The Country Party's Frank O'Keefe won the seat of Liverpool Plains from Labor at a 1961 by-election caused by the retirement of Roger Nott

Key datesEdit

Date Event
5 February 1962 The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.
9 February 1962 Nominations for candidates for the election closed at noon.
3 March 1962 Polling day.
6 April 1962 Last day for the writs to be returned and the results formally declared.
10 April 1962 Opening of 40th Parliament.

Tabulated resultsEdit

New South Wales state election, 3 March 1962
Legislative Assembly
<< 19591965 >>

Enrolled voters 2,173,768[a]
Votes cast 1,957,406 Turnout 94.00 +0.00
Informal votes 30,048 Informal 1.54 −0.29
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 936,047 48.57 −0.55 54 +5
  Liberal 671,716 34.85 −0.50 25 −3
  Country 180,640 9.37 +0.66 14 −2
  Independent 60,420 3.13 −0.50 0 −1
  Independent Liberal 37,555 1.95 +1.95 1 +1
  Democratic Labor 28,830 1.50 +0.18 0
  Communist 12,150 0.63 −0.82 0
Total 1,927,358     94  


Robert Heffron resigned in April 1964, aged 74 and was replaced by Jack Renshaw. Robert Askin and Charles Cutler remained as leaders of their respective parties throughout the term of the parliament. During the parliament there were 4 by-elections. These produced no change in party representation with the exception of Labor losing Waratah to the independent former member, Frank Purdue.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ There were 2,082,320 enrolled voters in 90 contested electorates and 91,448 were enrolled in 4 uncontested electorates (2 Labor, 2 Liberal).[4]


  1. ^ "Labor Election Policy". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 February 1962. p. 1.
  2. ^ "Pledge to Suspend Toll Road Proposals". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 February 1962. p. 1.
  3. ^ McMullin, Ross (1991). The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891-1991. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-554966-X.
  4. ^ Green, Antony. "1962 election totals". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 12 August 2019.