1988 New South Wales state election

Elections to the 49th Parliament of New South Wales were held on Saturday 19 March 1988. All seats in the Legislative Assembly and a third of the seats in the Legislative Council were up for election. The Labor government of Premier Barrie Unsworth was defeated by the Liberal-National Coalition, led by Opposition Leader Nick Greiner.

1988 New South Wales state election

← 1984 19 March 1988 (1988-03-19) 1991 →

All 109 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
and 15 (of the 45) seats in the New South Wales Legislative Council
55 Assembly seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  No image.png
Leader Nick Greiner Barrie Unsworth
Party Liberal/National coalition Labor
Leader since 15 March 1983 4 July 1986
Leader's seat Ku-ring-gai Rockdale
Last election 37 seats 58 seats
Seats won 59 seats 43 seats
Seat change Increase22 Decrease15
Percentage 56.0% 44.0%
Swing Increase8.4 Decrease8.4

New South Wales Legislative Assembly 1988.svg
Legislative Assembly after the election

Premier before election

Barrie Unsworth
Labor

Elected Premier

Nick Greiner
Liberal/National coalition

The election took place following a redistribution of seats, which resulted in the Assembly growing from 99 to 109 seats.

IssuesEdit

The Labor Party, under Neville Wran and, since 1986, Barrie Unsworth, had been in office for 12 years. A number of corruption scandals had tarnished Labor's image. Among these was the jailing of Labor's Minister for Corrective Services Rex Jackson in 1987 for accepting bribes for the early release of prisoners.

Even before then, two by-elections in 1986 indicated that NSW voters were about to call time on the three-term Labor government. When Unsworth, then a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, ran for the previously safe Labor Assembly seat of Rockdale in 1986, he only won it by 54 votes after losing more than 17 percent of Labor's primary vote from 1981. Additionally, Labor suffered a 22-percent primary vote swing in Wran's old seat of Bass Hill, allowing the Liberals to take it on a 103-vote margin.[1] However, by-elections in Heathcote and Bankstown in 1987 saw only small swings against the government.

The Liberals' campaign slogan was "A change for the better". Greiner campaigned on a promise to clean up state government, foreshadowing the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, as well as promising to freeze government expenditure, create 16,000 new employment and training positions, and pay more attention to law enforcement.

In rural electorates, Labor's positions on gun laws and conservation alienated many voters. Health care was also a campaign issue.

Future Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted in 2005 that he voted Labor at this election saying that Unsworth "was the best deal premier that New South Wales had ever had" and knew that it would not damage Greiner's prospects at this election.[2]

Key datesEdit

Date Event
22 February 1988 The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.[3]
26 February 1988 Nominations for candidates for the election closed at noon.
19 March 1988 Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
25 March 1988 The Unsworth ministry resigned and the Greiner-Murray ministry was sworn in.
22 April 1988 The writ was returned and the results formally declared.
27 April 1988 Parliament resumed for business.

ResultsEdit

Legislative AssemblyEdit

The result was a landslide for the Coalition parties. Election analyst Antony Green later noted that "the 1988 result was startling, the worst Labor performance, and best Coalition result, since the Lang era of the 1930s".[4] Labor lost heartland seats including Balmain, Newcastle and Swansea for the first time since the turn of the century.

Seven non-aligned Independents were elected to the Legislative Assembly.

New South Wales state election, 19 March 1988[3]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19841991 >>

Enrolled voters 3,541,447
Votes cast 3,314,229 Turnout 93.58% +1.07%
Informal votes 63,870 Informal 3.07% +0.84%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal 1,147,613 35.80 +3.62 39 +17
  Labor 1,233,612 38.48 –10.27 43 –15
  National 440,482 13.74 +2.90 20 + 5
  Democrats 58,163 1.81 –1.03 0 ± 0
  Independent EFF 39,194 1.22 +1.22 0 ± 0
  Call to Australia 14,205 0.44 +0.37 0 ± 0
  Illawarra Workers Party 6,755 0.21 +0.21 0 ± 0
  Socialist 2,717 0.08 –0.05 0 ± 0
  Nuclear Disarmament 1,064 0.03 +0.03 0 ± 0
  Independent 261,719 8.16 +3.08 7 + 3
Total 3,205,524     109  
Two-party-preferred
  Liberal/National 1,725,936 55.96 +8.4
  Labor 1,358,049 44.04 –8.4

Legislative CouncilEdit

New South Wales state election, 19 March 1988.[4]
Legislative Council
<< 19841991 >>

Enrolled voters 3,541,447
Votes cast 3,307,855 Turnout 91.92 –0.60
Informal votes 267,113 Informal 8.01 +1.42
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats
won
Seats
held
  Liberal/National Coalition 1,403,300 46.15 +3.54 7 19
  Labor 1,140,634 37.51 –9.37 6 21
  Call to Australia 174,553 5.74 –0.35 1 3
  Democrats 90,634 2.73 –0.42 1 2
  Independent EFF 72,965 2.40 +2.40 0 0
  Community Independents 52,992 1.74 +1.74 0 0
  Environment Group 48,536 1.60 +1.60 0 0
  Nuclear Disarmament 28,161 0.93 +0.93 0 0
  Aboriginal Team 13,363 0.44 +0.44 0 0
  Humanist Party 11.895 0.39 +0.39 0 0
  Defence Ex-Service Team 6,970 0.23 +0.23 0 0
  Marijuana 2,713 0.09 +0.09 0 0
  Independent 3,396 0.11 –0.31 0 0
Total 3,040,742     15  

Seats changing handsEdit

Seat Pre-1988 Swing Post-1988
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Albury   Labor Harold Mair 2.1 -13.8 11.7 Ian Glachan Liberal  
Ballina   Independent* new seat N/A N/A 18.0 Don Page National  
Balmain   Labor Peter Crawford 19.3 -21.0 1.7 Dawn Fraser Independent  
Bass Hill   Liberal Michael Owen 18.4 (ALP) -14.1 4.3 Bill Lovelee Labor  
Bathurst   Labor Mick Clough 7.6 -9.8 2.2 David Berry Liberal  
Bligh   Liberal Michael Yabsley 0.2 -0.8 0.6 Clover Moore Independent  
Blue Mountains   Labor Bob Debus 4.6 -4.9 0.3 Barry Morris Liberal  
Burrinjuck   Labor Terry Sheahan 4.9 -8.6 3.7 Alby Schultz Liberal  
Cessnock   Labor Stan Neilly 8.9 -9.4 0.5 Bob Roberts Liberal  
Earlwood   Labor Ken Gabb 5.9 -7.2 1.3 Phil White Liberal  
Georges River   Labor Frank Walker 5.9 -8.0 2.1 Terry Griffiths Liberal  
Gladesville   Labor Rodney Cavalier 5.3 -8.3 3.0 Ivan Petch Liberal  
Gosford   Labor Brian McGowan* 0.9 -8.7 7.8 Chris Hartcher Liberal  
Heathcote   Labor Ian McManus* 5.1 -6.9 1.8 Allan Andrews Liberal  
Lismore   Independent Bruce Duncan N/A N/A 19.9 Bill Rixon National  
Minchinbury   Labor new seat 10.4 -12.9 2.5 Anne Cohen Liberal  
Monaro   Labor John Akister 8.0 -11.9 3.9 Peter Cochran National  
Newcastle   Labor Arthur Wade 14.5 -19.8 5.3 George Keegan Independent  
Parramatta   Labor Barry Wilde 5.4 -5.9 0.5 John Books Liberal  
Penrith   Labor Peter Anderson 8.1 -10.3 2.2 Guy Matheson Liberal  
Ryde   Labor Garry McIlwaine 5.1 -5.3 0.2 Michael Photios Liberal  
Sutherland   Labor Maurie Keane 5.1 -7.6 2.5 Chris Downy Liberal  
Swansea   Labor Don Bowman 18.7 -27.1 8.4 Ivan Welsh Independent  
The Entrance   Labor new seat 7.9 -9.9 2.0 Bob Graham Liberal  
  • Members in italics did not recontest their seats.
  • Ballina was a new seat created from much of the area of the old district of Lismore, which was held by Independent member Bruce Duncan, who retired from politics at this election.
  • The sitting Labor member for Gosford, Brian McGowan instead contested the new seat of The Entrance and lost.
  • The sitting Labor member for Heathcote, Ian McManus instead contested the new seat of Burragorang and won.
  • In addition, the National party held the seat of Northern Tablelands, which it had won from Labor in the 1987 by-election.

¶ Bass Hill was won by the Liberal party in the 1986 by-election. It was regained by Labor in this election.

Redistribution affected seatsEdit

Seat 1984 Election 1986 Redistribution Swing 1988 Election
Party Member Margin Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Camden   Liberal John Fahey 5.2   Labor Notional 5.8 -5.7 0.1 Peter Primrose Labor  
Wollongong   Independent Frank Arkell 4.2   Labor Notional 4.7 -10.2 5.5 Frank Arkell Independent  

Post-election pendulumEdit

LIBERAL/NATIONAL SEATS (59)
Marginal
Ryde Michael Photios LIB 0.2%
Blue Mountains Barry Morris LIB 0.3%
Parramatta John Books LIB 0.5%
Cessnock Bob Roberts LIB 0.5%
Earlwood Phil White LIB 1.3%
Heathcote Allan Andrews LIB 1.8%
The Entrance Bob Graham LIB 2.0%
Georges River Terry Griffiths LIB 2.1%
Penrith Guy Matheson LIB 2.2%
Bathurst David Berry LIB 2.2%
Sutherland Chris Downy LIB 2.5%
Minchinbury Anne Cohen LIB 2.5%
Gladesville Ivan Petch LIB 3.0%
Burrinjuck Alby Schultz LIB 3.7%
Monaro Peter Cochran NAT 3.9%
Fairly safe
Hurstville Guy Yeomans LIB 6.4%
Wakehurst John Booth LIB 7.5%
Gosford Chris Hartcher LIB 7.8%
Safe
Murwillumbah Don Beck NAT 10.1%
Pittwater Jim Longley LIB 10.1% v IND
Miranda Ron Phillips LIB 11.5%
Cronulla Malcolm Kerr LIB 11.6%
Albury Ian Glachan LIB 11.7%
Manly David Hay LIB 12.2%
Strathfield Paul Zammit LIB 12.8%
Davidson Terry Metherell LIB 14.0% v IND
Hornsby Neil Pickard LIB 14.7%
Clarence Ian Causley NAT 15.0%
Southern Highlands John Fahey LIB 16.8%
Eastwood Andrew Tink LIB 17.6%
Upper Hunter George Souris NAT 17.8%
Ballina Don Page NAT 18.0%
Carlingford Wayne Merton LIB 18.2%
Murrumbidgee Adrian Cruickshank NAT 18.4%
Bega Russell Smith LIB 18.7%
Northern Tablelands Ray Chappell NAT 19.0%
Goulburn Robert Webster NAT 19.3%
Port Macquarie Bruce Jeffery NAT 19.4%
Myall Lakes John Turner NAT 19.9%
Lismore Bill Rixon NAT 19.9%
Middle Harbour Peter Collins LIB 21.2%
Dubbo Gerry Peacocke NAT 21.3%
Coffs Harbour Matt Singleton NAT 21.4%
Castlereagh Roger Wotton NAT 21.9%
Hawkesbury Kevin Rozzoli LIB 22.1%
Orange Garry West NAT 22.5%
Wagga Wagga Joe Schipp LIB 22.6%
Lane Cove John Dowd LIB 22.6%
Lachlan Ian Armstrong NAT 23.6%
Mosman Phillip Smiles LIB 23.9%
Manning Wendy Machin NAT 23.9%
Barwon Wal Murray NAT 24.3%
Tamworth Noel Park NAT 25.4%
The Hills Fred Caterson LIB 25.9%
Northcott Bruce Baird LIB 26.0%
Murray Jim Small NAT 27.0%
Vaucluse Ray Aston LIB 27.2%
Ku-ring-gai Nick Greiner LIB 29.7%
Gordon Tim Moore LIB 32.9%
LABOR SEATS (43)
Marginal
Camden Peter Primrose ALP 0.1%
Charlestown Richard Face ALP 0.1%
Port Stephens Bob Martin ALP 0.2%
Waverley Ernie Page ALP 0.5%
Keira Col Markham ALP 0.8%
Maitland Allan Walsh ALP 0.8%
Ashfield Paul Whelan ALP 1.2%
Coogee Michael Cleary ALP 1.2%
Broken Hill Bill Beckroge ALP 2.0%
Drummoyne John Murray ALP 2.1%
Kogarah Brian Langton ALP 2.2%
Lakemba Wes Davoren ALP 2.6%
Londonderry Paul Gibson ALP 3.0%
Canterbury Kevin Moss ALP 3.4% v EFF
Fairfield Geoff Irwin ALP 3.9%
Wentworthville Pam Allan ALP 3.9%
Bass Hill Bill Lovelee ALP 4.3%
Illawarra Terry Rumble ALP 4.4%
Wyong Harry Moore ALP 4.5%
Macquarie Fields Stan Knowles ALP 4.9%
Seven Hills Bob Christie ALP 5.0%
Mulgoa Tony Aquilina ALP 5.5%
Campbelltown Michael Knight ALP 5.7%
Fairly safe
Lake Macquarie Merv Hunter ALP 6.4%
Burragorang Ian McManus ALP 6.6%
Cabramatta John Newman ALP 6.6%
McKell Sandra Nori ALP 6.6% v IND
Rockdale Barrie Unsworth ALP 7.0
Riverstone Richard Amery ALP 7.2
East Hills Pat Rogan ALP 7.4
Peats Tony Doyle ALP 7.5
Bankstown Doug Shedden ALP 9.2
Blacktown John Aquilina ALP 9.2
Heffron Laurie Brereton ALP 9.2
Wallsend Ken Booth ALP 9.4
Safe
Maroubra Bob Carr ALP 10.4%
Auburn Peter Nagle ALP 10.7%
Smithfield Janice Crosio ALP 10.8%
Granville Laurie Ferguson ALP 10.9%
Kiama Bob Harrison ALP 11.4%
Waratah John Price ALP 11.4%
Liverpool George Paciullo ALP 14.1%
Marrickville Andrew Refshauge ALP 15.5%
CROSSBENCH SEATS (7)
Bligh Clover Moore IND 0.6% v LIB
Balmain Dawn Fraser IND 1.7% v ALP
Newcastle George Keegan IND 5.3% v ALP
Wollongong Frank Arkell IND 5.5% v ALP
Swansea Ivan Welsh IND 8.4% v ALP
North Shore Ted Mack IND 9.9% v LIB
South Coast John Hatton IND 14.7% v LIB

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "By-election bloodbaths". Crikey. 27 November 2005. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  2. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/I-voted-Labor-says-Abbott/2005/06/12/1118514925725.html
  3. ^ a b Green, Antony. "1988 election totals". New South Wales Election Results 1856-2007. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b Green, Antony (October 1998). "Changing Boundaries Changing Fortunes: an analysis of the NSW Elections of 1988 and 1991" (PDF). Occasional Paper No 7. NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service. Retrieved 14 August 2019.