- New South Wales state election, 1953
New South Wales state election, 1953 1950 ← 14 February 1953 → 1956 All 94 seats in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. First party Second party Leader Joseph Cahill Vernon Treatt Party Labor Liberal/Country coalition Leader since 2 April 1952 20 March 1946 Leader's seat Cook's River Woollahra Last election 46 seats 46 seats Seats won 57 seats 36 seats Seat change 11 10 Percentage 55.03% 39.54% Swing 8.3 7.2
Premier before election
The 1953 New South Wales state election was held on 14 February 1953. It was conducted in single member constituencies with compulsory preferential voting and was held on boundaries created at a 1952 redistribution. The election was for all of the 94 seats in the Legislative Assembly.
In February 1953, Labor had been in power for 12 years and James McGirr, who had led the party to a near defeat in 1950, had lost the premiership to Joe Cahill 10 months earlier. McGirr's period as the Labor leader had been marked by policy indecisiveness, budget overspending and internal conflict. Cahill had won popular support as a vigorous and impressive minister who had resolved problems with New South Wales' electricity supply and in his first 10 months as premier had reinvigorated the party. He appeared decisive and brought order to the government's chaotic public works program. In addition, he astutely attacked the increasingly unpopular federal Coalition government of Robert Menzies. In contrast, the Liberal Party and Country Party coalition led by Vernon Treatt and Michael Bruxner was racked with internal divisions and Treatt, despite having been opposition leader for 7 years had been unable to present a coherent alternative to the government or find a resonance with the public. .
The result of the election was a land-slide victory for Labor:
Labor's vote was particularly strong in the Western and Southern suburbs of Sydney. It won the seats of Concord, Coogee, Drummoyne, Kogarah, Parramatta, Ryde and Sutherland from the Liberal Party and picked up the new suburban seats of East Hills and Fairfield . Labor's vote was resurgent in rural New South Wales where it won the seats of Armidale, Dubbo and Mudgee from the Country party. Labor also picked up the seat of North Sydney from Independent member James Geraghty who was the last of the 4 Independent members of parliament who had been expelled from the Labor party for disloyalty during an indirect election of the Legislative Council in 1949. John Seiffert, another rebel from 1949 and the member for Monaro, had been readmitted to the party in 1950 and retained the seat at this election, giving a further boost to Labor's numbers. Labor's losses included Ashfield which had been won from the Liberal Party at the 1952 by-election and Hartley which was retained by Jim Chalmers who stood as an Independent Labor candidate after he resigned from the party over a pre-selection dispute. The Minister for Labour, Industry and Social Welfare, Frank Finnan was unseated when his electorate of Darlinghurst was abolished and he failed in an attempt to win Albury. Arthur Greenup also retired when his seat of Newtown-Annandale was abolished.
Seats changing party representation
Seat Incumbent member Party New member Party Armidale Davis Hughes Country Party Jim Cahill Labor Ashfield Jack Richardson Labor Richard Murden Liberal Concord John Adamson Liberal Party of Australia Thomas Murphy Australian Labor Party Coogee Kevin Ellis Liberal Lou Walsh Labor Darlinghurst Frank Finnan Labor Seat abolished Drummoyne Robert Dewley Liberal Roy Jackson Labor Dubbo Robert Medcalf Country Clarrie Robertson Labor East Hills New seat Arthur Williams Labor Fairfield New seat Clarrie Earl Labor Hartley Jim Chalmers Labor Jim Chalmers Independent Labor Kogarah Douglas Cross Liberal Bill Crabtree Labor Monaro John Seiffert Independent Labor John Seiffert Labor Mudgee Frederick Cooke Country Leo Nott Labor Newtown-Annandale Arthur Greenup Labor Seat abolished North Sydney James Geraghty Independent Labor Ray Maher Labor Parramatta George Gollan Liberal Kevin Morgan Labor Ryde Ken Anderson Liberal Frank Downing Labor Sutherland Cecil Monro Liberal Tom Dalton Labor
Date Event 14 January 1953 The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election. 19 January 1953 Nominations for candidates for the election closed at noon. 14 February 1953 Polling day. 14 March 1953 Last day for the writs to be returned and the results formally declared. 11 March 1953 Opening of 37th Parliament.
Enrolled Voters 1,953,953 Votes Cast 1,548,877 Turnout 93.86 +1.11 Informal Votes 39,416 Informal 2.48 + .71 Summary of votes by party Party Primary Votes % Swing Seats Change Labor 852,276 55.03 + 8.28 57 +11 Liberal 432,739 27.94 -9.57 22 -7 Country 179,680 11.60 +2.63 14 -3 Independent 38,822 2.51 +.20 0 - Communist 21,421 1.38 +0.54 0 - Independent Labor 16,533 1.07 -0.58 1 - 1 Lang Labor 7,046 0.48 -0.74 0 - Total 1,588,293 94
- 1 There were 1,692,231 enrolled voters in 81 contested electorates and 261,722 were enrolled in 13 uncontested electorates (9 Labor, 3 Liberal and 1 Country ).
Joe Cahill's triumph at this election ensured that he remained premier during the course of the parliament. Treatt faced increasing opposition within the Liberal Party and was replaced as Leader of the Opposition by Murray Robson in August 1954. Bruxner continued as the Leader of the Country Party, a position he had held since 1932. During the parliament there were 7 by-elections with no change of party representation except for Kahibah where an Independent Labor candidate Tom Armstrong defeated the endorsed Labor candidate.
- ^ McMullin, Ross (1991). The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891-1991. Oxford University Press. pp. 266–7. ISBN 019554966X.
- ^ McMullin, Ross (1991). The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891-1991. Oxford University Press. ISBN 019554966X.
- ^ *Antony Green. "1953 New South Wales state election". New South Wales Parliament. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/resources/nswelectionsanalysis/1953/Home.htm. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
- Candidates of the New South Wales state election, 1953
- Members of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, 1953–1956
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