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 Labor Party under Neville Wran, popularly known as the "Wranslide."
All 99 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
and 15 (of the 44) seats in the New South Wales Legislative Council
50 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
Legislative Assembly after the election
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. It also came within striking distance of taking several more. For instance, it pared down the margin in Pittwater, the seat of former premier Bob Askin, to only 1.4 percent.
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".
|12 September 1978||The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.|
|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.|
|Summary of votes by party|
|National Country||276,984||9.90||–0.13||17||– 1|
|Socialist Workers||4,467||0.16||+0.07||0||± 0|
|Summary of votes by party|
|Family Action Movement||36,076||1.31||0|
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.
Seats changing handsEdit
|Seat||1976 election||Swing||1978 election|
|Albury||Liberal||Gordon Mackie||8.1||8.8||0.7||Harold Mair||Labor|
|Armidale||National Country||David Leitch||6.6||7.2||0.6||Bill McCarthy|
|Burwood||Liberal||John Jackett||8.4||10.0||1.6||Phil O'Neill|
|Cronulla||Ian Griffith||3.8||12.4||8.6||Michael Egan|
|Earlwood [a]||5.5||16.1||10.6||Ken Gabb|
|Fuller||Peter Coleman||3.4||8.7||5.3||Rodney Cavalier|
|Manly||Douglas Darby||7.7||11.5||3.8||Alan Stewart|
|Miranda||Tim Walker||4.0||10.5||6.5||Bill Robb|
|Nepean||Ron Rofe||2.3||10.8||8.5||Peter Anderson|
|Wakehurst||Allan Viney||7.8||14.0||6.2||Tom Webster|
|Willoughby||Laurie McGinty [b]||13.1||13.9||0.8||Eddie Britt|
|Wollondilly||Tom Lewis||7.6||8.0||0.4||Bill Knott|
|Yaralla||Lerryn Mutton||4.4||12.6||8.2||Garry McIlwaine|
- Members listed in italics did not recontest their seats.
- Earlwood Liberal MLA Eric Willis resigned on 16 June 1978. Labor candidate Ken Gabb won the resulting by-election on 15 July.
- The sitting member for Willoughby, Laurie McGinty, lost preselection as the Liberal candidate and contested the election as an Independent. Margin is Liberal vs. Labor at the 1976 election.
- Green, Antony. "1978 election totals". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- Australian Government and Politics Database. "Parliament of New South Wales, Assembly election, 7 October 1978". Retrieved 6 February 2010.
- Hughes (1986), p. 191.
- Hughes (1986), p. 192.