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Queensland state election, 1983

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Title: Queensland state election, 1983  
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Queensland state election, 1983

Queensland state election, 1983

22 October 1983 (1983-10-22)

All 82 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Joh Bjelke-Petersen Keith Wright Terry White
Party National Labor Liberal
Leader since 8 August 1968 20 October 1982 (1982-10-20) August 1983
Leader's seat Barambah Rockhampton Redcliffe
Last election 35 seats 25 seats 22 seats
Seats won 41 seats 32 seats 8 seats
Seat change 6 7 14
Percentage 38.93% 43.98% 14.88%
Swing 10.99 2.49 12.04

Premier before election

Joh Bjelke-Petersen

Elected Premier

Joh Bjelke-Petersen

Elections were held in the Australian state of Queensland on 22 October 1983 to elect the 82 members of the state's Legislative Assembly.

The election resulted in a sixth consecutive term of office for the National Party under Joh Bjelke-Petersen. It was the tenth election win for the National Party in Queensland since it first came to office in 1957.


  • Background 1
  • Key dates 2
  • Results 3
  • Seats changing hands 4
  • Post-election pendulum 5
  • Aftermath 6
  • References 7


The election was triggered when a number of Liberal MLAs, including a cabinet minister, crossed the floor of the Parliament in order to support a Labor motion to create an Expenditure Review Committee. As a result, the coalition between the Liberal and National Parties was dissolved, and the Liberal Party elected Terry White as its new leader. Labor was also led by a new leader, Keith Wright.

Labor hoped to make use of the division between the conservative parties to make gains, while the Liberals hoped to win enough seats to force the Nationals back into coalition under more favourable terms. The Nationals sought to gain enough seats to form a majority government in their own right.

Key dates

Date Event
13 September 1983 The Parliament was dissolved.[1]
13 September 1983 Writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election.[2]
22 September 1983 Close of nominations.
22 October 1983 Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
7 November 1983 The Bjelke-Petersen Ministry was reconstituted.
18 November 1983 The writ was returned and the results formally declared.
22 November 1983 Parliament resumed for business.[3]


The National Party was returned to office, one seat short of a majority. Labor also made gains, although not enough to challenge the continuing dominance of the Bjelke-Petersen Government. The Liberals lost fourteen seats, including most of the members who crossed the floor of Parliament.

Queensland state election, 22 October 1983[4][5]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19801986 >>

Enrolled voters 1,458,205
Votes cast 1,336,985 Turnout 91.69% +2.76%
Informal votes 19,591 Informal 1.47% –0.04%
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 579,363 43.98% +2.49% 32 + 7
  National 512,890 38.93% +10.99% 41 + 6
  Liberal 196,072 14.88% –12.04% 8 –14
  Democrats 10,926 0.83% –0.55% 0 ± 0
  Progress 741 0.06% –0.31% 0 ± 0
  Independent 16,994 1.29% –0.49% 1 + 1
  Others 408 0.03% –0.09% 0 ± 0
Total 1,317,394     82  

Seats changing hands

Seat Pre-1983 Swing Post-1983
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Ashgrove   Liberal John Greenwood 0.4 -2.0 1.6 Tom Veivers Labor  
Aspley   Liberal Beryce Nelson 13.9 -24.4 10.4 Brian Cahill National  
Callide   National Lindsay Hartwig 15.8 N/A 9.3 Lindsay Hartwig Independent  
Greenslopes   Liberal Bill Hewitt 12.3 -16.6 4.3 Leisha Harvey National  
Ipswich   Liberal Llewellyn Edwards 5.1 -14.8 9.7 David Hamill Labor  
Kurilpa   Liberal Sam Doumany 2.7 -4.7 2.0 Anne Warner Labor  
Mansfield   Liberal Bill Kaus 8.3 N/A 6.1 Bill Kaus National  
Maryborough   Labor Brendan Hansen 0.6 -0.6 0.03 Gilbert Alison National  
Mount Gravatt   Liberal Guelfi Scassola 15.7 -23.6 7.9 Ian Henderson National  
Mount Isa   National Angelo Bertoni 0.9 -3.7 2.8 Bill Price Labor  
Pine Rivers   Liberal Rob Akers 7.5 -7.9 0.4 Yvonne Chapman National  
Salisbury   Liberal Rosemary Kyburz 2.3 -3.4 1.1 Wayne Goss Labor  
Stafford   Liberal Terry Gygar 0.7 -0.8 0.1 Denis Murphy Labor  
Toowong   Liberal Ian Prentice 13.1 -18.3 5.2 Earle Bailey National  
Toowoomba North   Liberal John Lockwood 5.5 -9.1 3.6 Sandy McPhie National  
Townsville   Liberal Norman Scott-Young 6.0 -7.5 1.5 Ken McElligott Labor  
Windsor   National Bob Moore* 1.3 -3.4 2.1 Pat Comben Labor  
  • Members in italics did not recontest their seats.
  • Bob Moore was elected as a Liberal in the previous election, but changed to the National party in 1983.

Post-election pendulum


On 25 October, following the election, two Liberal MLAs, Brian Austin (Wavell) and Don Lane (Merthyr) defected to the National Party. This left only six Liberals, and marked the end of Terry White’s leadership and Angus Innes’ deputy leadership. Sir William Knox (Nundah) was returned as the new leader of the party.

Labor had performed well, but not well enough, especially in North Queensland. Still, Labor strategists hoped that they had recovered enough seats to make a win in 1986 possible.

The addition of Austin and Lane gave the Government 43 seats. The National Party had formed a majority government for the first time in Australian history. The coalition was not reformed and Joh Bjelke-Petersen continued as Premier.


  1. ^ "A Proclamation".  
  2. ^  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Australian Government and Politics Database. "Parliament of Queensland, Assembly election, 22 October 1983". Retrieved 22 February 2009. 
  5. ^ Hughes, Colin A. (1986). A handbook of Australian government and politics, 1975-1984. ANU Press. pp. 206–207.  
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