1981 New South Wales state election

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 Labor Party under Neville Wran. Labor increased its already sizeable majority, winning what is still its biggest-ever share of seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly–69 out of 99 seats, 69.7 percent of the chamber.

1981 New South Wales state election

← 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
50 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Neville Wran CNZM (cropped).jpg
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

New South Wales Legislative Assembly 1981.svg
Legislative Assembly after the election

Premier before election

Neville Wran
Labor

Elected Premier

Neville Wran
Labor

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, the National Country Party. In fact it was the second election in a row in which the sitting Liberal leader had failed to win a seat; Peter Coleman had been rolled in his own seat 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, and partisan gerrymandering was eliminated. Additionally, the practice of creating smaller rural seats to boost country representation was ended. Two further reforms were proposed—and passed—in referendums put to voters on the same day.

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

Key datesEdit

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.

ResultsEdit

Legislative AssemblyEdit

New South Wales state election, 19 September 1981[1][2][3]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19781984 >>

Enrolled voters 3,178,225[a]
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  
Two-party-preferred
  Labor 58.7% -2.0%
  Liberal/National 41.3% +2.0%

Legislative CouncilEdit

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
  Republican 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  

Seats changing handsEdit

Seat Pre-1981 Swing Post-1981
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Dubbo   Liberal John Mason 3.4 N/A 9.2 Ian Glachan National Country  
Northern Tablelands   National Country new seat 1.9 -4.8 2.9 Bill McCarthy Labor  
North Shore   Liberal new seat 3.8 -8.4 4.6 Ted Mack Independent  
  • Members in italics did not recontest their seats.
  • In addition, the National Country held the seat of Murray, which it won from the Liberals in the 1980 by-election.

Redistribution affected seatsEdit

Seat 1978 Election 1980 Redistribution Swing 1981 Election
Party Member Margin Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Bathurst   National Country Clive Osborne 2.7   Labor Notional 7.7 -7.6 0.1 Mick Clough Labor  
Bligh   Liberal John Barraclough 8.4   Labor Notional 6.6 -3.9 2.7 Fred Miller Labor  
Castlereagh   Labor Jim Curran 6.9   National Country Notional 4.3 -0.9 3.4 Roger Wotton National Country  
Clarence   National Country Matt Singleton 10.9   Labor Notional 2.8 +3.8 6.6 Don Day Labor  
Hornsby   Liberal Neil Pickard 0.8   Labor Notional 1.7 -5.5 3.8 Neil Pickard Liberal  
Maitland   Liberal Peter Toms 4.3   Labor Notional 0.3 +7.2 7.5 Allan Walsh Labor  
Willoughby   Labor Eddie Britt 0.8   Liberal Notional 2.2 +1.5 3.7 Peter Collins Liberal  

Post-election pendulumEdit

LABOR SEATS (69)
Marginal
Bathurst Mick Clough ALP 0.1%
Wollongong Eric Ramsay ALP 0.1% v IND
Manly Alan Stewart ALP 1.2%
Camden Ralph Brading ALP 2.0%
Bligh Fred Miller ALP 2.7%
Northern Tablelands Bill McCarthy ALP 2.9%
Miranda Bill Robb ALP 4.3%
Albury Harold Mair ALP 5.3%
Cronulla Michael Egan ALP 5.3%
Fairly safe
Campbelltown Michael Knight ALP 6.0% v IND
Clarence Don Day ALP 6.6%
Gosford Brian McGowan ALP 6.8%
Burwood Phil O'Neill ALP 6.9%
Wakehurst Tom Webster ALP 7.0%
Burrinjuck Terry Sheahan ALP 7.2%
Maitland Allan Walsh ALP 7.5%
Hurstville Kevin Ryan ALP 9.2%
Blue Mountains Bob Debus ALP 9.6%
Kiama Bill Knott ALP 9.9%
Safe
Gladesville Rodney Cavalier ALP 10.1%
Ryde Garry McIlwaine ALP 10.3%
Monaro John Akister ALP 11.4%
Woronora Maurie Keane ALP 12.1%
Earlwood Ken Gabb ALP 12.2%
Wentworthville Ernie Quinn ALP 12.6%
Murrumbidgee Lin Gordon ALP 13.9%
Ingleburn Stan Knowles ALP 14.3%
Parramatta Barry Wilde ALP 15.7%
Coogee Michael Cleary ALP 15.9%
Kogarah Bill Crabtree ALP 16.2%
Tuggerah Harry Moore ALP 16.8%
Ashfield Paul Whelan ALP 18.2%
Charlestown Richard Face ALP 18.3%
Bankstown Ric Mochalski ALP 18.7%
Maroubra Bill Haigh ALP 18.8%
Broken Hill Bill Beckroge ALP 19.0%
Georges River Frank Walker ALP 19.0%
Rockdale Brian Bannon ALP 19.2%
Seven Hills Bob Christie ALP 20.0%
Auburn Peter Cox ALP 20.3%
Peats Keith O'Connell ALP 20.8%
Penrith Peter Anderson ALP 20.8%
Newcastle Arthur Wade ALP 20.9%
Lake Macquarie Merv Hunter ALP 21.7%
Granville Pat Flaherty ALP 22.0%
Blacktown John Aquilina ALP 23.1%
Heathcote Rex Jackson ALP 23.1%
Waratah Sam Jones ALP 23.6%
Drummoyne Michael Maher ALP 23.8%
Riverstone Tony Johnson ALP 23.9%
Cabramatta Eric Bedford ALP 24.0%
Wallsend Ken Booth ALP 24.3%
East Hills Pat Rogan ALP 24.9%
Merrylands Jack Ferguson ALP 25.3%
Bass Hill Neville Wran ALP 25.7%
Corrimal Laurie Kelly ALP 25.7%
Heffron Laurie Brereton ALP 27.5%
St Marys Ron Mulock ALP 27.5%
Marrickville Tom Cahill ALP 28.0%
Canterbury Kevin Stewart ALP 28.6%
Lakemba Vince Durick ALP 28.6%
Swansea Don Bowman ALP 28.8%
Illawarra George Petersen ALP 29.6%
Fairfield Janice Crosio ALP 30.2%
Liverpool George Paciullo ALP 30.4%
Cessnock Stan Neilly ALP 30.5%
Balmain Roger Degen ALP 31.0%
Elizabeth Pat Hills ALP 34.7%
LIBERAL/NCP SEATS (28)
Marginal
Goulburn Ron Brewer NCP 1.8%
Castlereagh Roger Wotton NCP 3.4%
Orange Garry West NCP 3.5%
Willoughby Peter Collins LIB 3.7%
Hornsby Neil Pickard LIB 3.8%
Byron Jack Boyd NCP 4.3%
Fairly safe
Upper Hunter Col Fisher NCP 6.4%
Davidson Terry Metherell LIB 7.8%
Wagga Wagga Joe Schipp LIB 8.1%
Lachlan Ian Armstrong NCP 8.7%
Dubbo Gerry Peacocke NCP 9.2%
Coffs Harbour Matt Singleton NCP 9.3%
Eastwood Jim Clough LIB 9.7%
Safe
Gloucester Pat McNamara NCP 10.2%
Pittwater Max Smith LIB 10.9%
Oxley Jim Brown NCP 11.5%
The Hills Fred Caterson LIB 11.7%
Tamworth Noel Park NCP 12.1%
Hawkesbury Kevin Rozzoli LIB 12.8%
Barwon Wal Murray NCP 13.2%
Lane Cove John Dowd LIB 14.1%
Northcott Jim Cameron LIB 14.1%
Mosman David Arblaster LIB 14.2%
Lismore Bruce Duncan NCP 18.9%
Murray Tim Fischer NCP 19.1%
Vaucluse Rosemary Foot LIB 20.1%
Ku-ring-gai Nick Greiner LIB 20.8%
Gordon Tim Moore LIB 27.2%
CROSSBENCH SEATS (2)
North Shore Ted Mack IND 4.6% v LIB
South Coast John Hatton IND unopp.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ There were 3,212,657 enrolled voters but 34,432 were enrolled in South Coast (Independent) which was uncontested at the election.[1]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Green, Antony. "1981 election totals". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  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.