Tasmanian state election, 1989

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Tasmanian state election, 1989

← 1986 13 May 1989 1992 →

All 35 seats to the House of Assembly

  First party Second party Third party
  Bob Brown profile.png
Leader Michael Field Robin Gray Bob Brown
Party Labor Liberal Ind. Green
Leader since 14 December 1988 11 November 1981 1983
Leader's seat Braddon Lyons Denison
Last election 14 seats 19 seats 2 seats
Seats won 13 seats 17 seats 5 seats
Seat change Decrease1 Decrease2 Increase3
Percentage 34.71% 46.92% 17.13%
Swing Decrease0.43 Decrease7.28 Increase11.58

Premier before election

Robin Gray

Resulting Premier

Michael Field

The Tasmanian state election, 1989 was held on 13 May 1989 in the Australian state of Tasmania to elect 35 members of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. The election used the Hare-Clark proportional representation system[1] — seven members were elected from each of five electorates. The quota required for election was 12.5% in each division.

The incumbent Liberal government headed by Robin Gray hoped to secure a third term in office. The Labor Party was headed by Michael Field. The Green independents were headed by Bob Brown. The Australian Democrats contested all electorates except Braddon. Green candidates were run in all electorates where they previously only fielded candidates in the south.

Prior to the election the Liberals held 19 of the 35 seats in parliament. The Labor Party held 14 and there were two Green independents.


Tasmanian state election, 13 May 1989
House of Assembly
<< 19861992 >>

Enrolled voters 310,066
Votes cast 288,575 Turnout 93.07 –0.74
Informal votes 15,438 Informal 5.35 –0.58
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal 128,143 46.92 –7.28 17 – 2
  Labor 90,003 34.71 –0.43 13 – 1
  Ind. Green 46,797 17.13 +11.58 5 + 3
  Democrats 2,451 0.90 –1.16 0 ± 0
  Independent 937 0.34 –2.71 0 ± 0
Total 273,137     35  

Distribution of Seats[edit]


After the election the Liberals had lost majority by one seat and the Greens gained the balance of power.

The Labor Party had suffered a minor swing against them, they lost one seat in Lyons to the Greens.

The Greens succeeded in electing one member to every electorate. This election victory would help form the official party of today's Tasmanian Greens. Bob Brown topped the poll in Denison and was first member elected. Their primary vote of 17.1% was a record for Green movements and wouldn't be beaten until the 2002 Tasmanian election.

Labor Party leader Michael Field formed a loose alliance with the Greens which became known as the Labor–Green Accord.

The Liberals determined to stay in government; tried to call a second election. Gray started a petition which attracted many signatures. Edmund Rouse attempted to bribe newly elected Labor member Jim Cox with $110,000 if he would cross the floor to support Gray instead of Field. Cox refused and reported the bribe to police. Rouse served 18 months in gaol and allegations surfaced that the Liberal party was involved. A later inquiry concluded there was no evidence Gray was connected to the bribe.

After the alliance was formed, the Greens joined with Labor to vote down the Liberals' choice for Speaker.[citation needed] Now realising he faced certain defeat on the floor of the legislature, Gray resigned and Michael Field became Premier.

See also[edit]