1978 New South Wales state election

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1978 New South Wales state election
Flag of New South Wales.svg
  1976 7 October 1978 (1978-10-07) 1981  

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 partySecond party
  Neville Wran CNZM (cropped).jpg Peter Coleman, June 2012, His Home (cropped).jpg
Leader Neville Wran Peter Coleman
Party Labor Liberal/National coalition
Leader since17 November 197316 December 1977
Leader's seat Bass Hill Fuller (lost seat)
Last election50 seats48 seats
Seats won63 seats35 seats
Seat changeIncrease2.svg13Decrease2.svg13

New South Wales Legislative Assembly 1978.svg
Legislative Assembly after the election

Premier before election

Neville Wran

Elected Premier

Neville Wran

A general election was held in the state of New South Wales, Australia, on Saturday 7 October 1978. The result was a landslide victory for the Labor Party under Neville Wran, popularly known as the "Wranslide."


It is notable for being so successful for the Labor Party that it tallied 57 percent of the primary vote, the largest primary vote for any party in over a century. Having gone into the election with a razor-thin majority of one seat, Labor scored a 13-seat swing, giving it a strong majority of 63 seats. Labor even managed to defeat the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Coleman, in his own electorate. The seats of many other prominent Shadow Ministers fell to Labor as well. Labor also won took many seats in areas long reckoned as Coalition heartland. Among them were four seats that Labor had never won before this election--Willoughby (contested for the Liberal Party by Nick Greiner who later became Premier), Manly, Wakehurst and Cronulla. It also came within striking distance of taking several more. For instance, it pared down the margin in Pittwater, the seat of former premier Bob Askin, to only 1.4 percent.

The state's first elections to the New South Wales Legislative Council, the state parliament's upper house, were held simultaneously. Voters had approved a referendum to introduce a directly elected council in June of that year.

The election was also the first in the state to be contested by the Australian Democrats.

Labor continued to campaign heavily on the strengths of Wran himself, with the slogan "Wran's our man".

Key dates

12 September 1978The Legislative Assembly was dissolved, and writs were issued by the Governor to proceed with an election. [1]
18 September 1978Nominations for candidates for the election closed at noon.
7 October 1978Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
19 October 1978The second Wran ministry was constituted.
3 November 1978The writ was returned and the results formally declared.
7 November 1978Parliament resumed for business.


Legislative Assembly

New South Wales state election, 7 October 1978 [1] [2] [3]
Legislative Assembly
<< 19761981 >>

Enrolled voters3,085,661
Votes cast2,862,616 Turnout 92.77–0.52
Informal votes65,274Informal2.28+0.52
Summary of votes by party
PartyPrimary votes %SwingSeatsChange
  Labor 1,615,94957.77+8.0263+13
  Liberal 754,79626.98–9.3118–12
  National Country 276,9849.90–0.1317– 1
  Democrats 74,0192.65+2.650± 0
  Communist 8,4720.30+0.220± 0
  Socialist Workers 4,4670.16+0.070± 0
  Independent 62,6552.24–0.581± 0
Total2,797,342  99 
Popular vote
National Country
National Country

Legislative Council

New South Wales state election, 7 October 1978 [4]
Legislative Council

Enrolled voters3,085,661
Votes cast2,862,616 Turnout 92.77 
Informal votes115,995Informal4.05 
Summary of votes by party
PartyPrimary votes %SwingSeats
  Labor 1,508,07854.91 923
  Liberal/National Coalition 996,46336.28 620
  Communist 79,7942.91 0 
  Democrats 76,3692.78 0 
 Family Action Movement36,0761.31 0 
  Marijuana 25,0550.91 0 
  Independent 24,7860.90 0 
Total2,746,621  15 

The final 2 party preferred result was 60.7% for Labor and 39.3% for the Coalition, making it one of the biggest landslide victories in New South Wales's electoral history. In 2PP terms it was a 9.1% swing to Labor from the Coalition. This was beaten by the Coalition's result of 64.2% and 35.8% for Labor in the 2011 election. However, Labor's record primary vote of 57.7 percent still stands today.

Seats changing hands

Albury  Liberal Gordon Mackie 8.1-8.80.7 Harold Mair Labor 
Armidale  National Country David Leitch 6.6-7.20.6 Bill McCarthy Labor 
Burwood  Liberal John Jackett 8.4-10.01.6 Phil O'Neill Labor 
Cronulla  Liberal Ian Griffith 3.8-12.48.6 Michael Egan Labor 
Fuller  Liberal Peter Coleman 3.4-8.75.3 Rodney Cavalier Labor 
Manly  Liberal Douglas Darby 7.7-11.53.8 Alan Stewart Labor 
Miranda  Liberal Tim Walker 4.0-10.56.5 Bill Robb Labor 
Nepean  Liberal Ron Rofe 2.3-10.88.5 Peter Anderson Labor 
Wakehurst  Liberal Allan Viney 7.8-14.06.2 Tom Webster Labor 
Willoughby  Independent* Laurie McGinty 13.1-13.90.8 Eddie Britt Labor 
Wollondilly  Liberal Tom Lewis 7.6-8.00.4 Bill Knott Labor 
Yaralla  Liberal Lerryn Mutton 4.4-12.68.2 Garry McIlwaine Labor 

Post-election pendulum

Wollondilly Bill Knott ALP0.4%
Armidale Bill McCarthy ALP0.6%
Albury Harold Mair ALP0.7%
Willoughby Eddie Britt ALP0.8%
Burwood Phil O'Neill ALP1.6%
Manly Alan Stewart ALP3.8%
Fuller Rodney Cavalier ALP5.3%
Fairly safe
Wakehurst Tom Webster ALP6.2%
Miranda Bill Robb ALP6.5%
Castlereagh Jack Renshaw ALP6.9%
Yaralla Garry McIlwaine ALP8.2%
Nepean Peter Anderson ALP8.5%
Cronulla Michael Egan ALP8.6%
Cessnock Bob Brown ALP9.1%
Monaro John Akister ALP9.3%
Gosford Brian McGowan ALP9.6%
Murrumbidgee Lin Gordon ALP9.6%
Casino Don Day ALP9.7%
Earlwood Ken Gabb ALP11.6%
Hurstville Kevin Ryan ALP13.7%
Blue Mountains Mick Clough ALP14.5% v IND
Coogee Michael Cleary ALP16.4%
Burrinjuck Terry Sheahan ALP16.9%
Georges River Frank Walker ALP17.0%
Charlestown Richard Face ALP17.4%
Kogarah Bill Crabtree ALP17.9%
Ashfield Paul Whelan ALP18.1%
Waverley Syd Einfeld ALP18.8%
Drummoyne Michael Maher ALP18.9%
Parramatta Barry Wilde ALP19.0%
Peats Keith O'Connell ALP20.8%
Woronora Maurie Keane ALP20.8%
Campbelltown Cliff Mallam ALP21.5%
Newcastle Arthur Wade ALP22.3%
Corrimal Laurie Kelly ALP22.5%
Maroubra Bill Haigh ALP22.5%
Lake Macquarie Merv Hunter ALP23.5%
Wollongong Eric Ramsay ALP23.8%
Wentworthville Ernie Quinn ALP24.2%
Heathcote Rex Jackson ALP25.2%
East Hills Pat Rogan ALP25.6%
Waratah Sam Jones ALP25.6%
Bankstown Nick Kearns ALP25.8%
Canterbury Kevin Stewart ALP26.0%
Penrith Ron Mulock ALP26.2%
Lakemba Vince Durick ALP27.0%
Broken Hill Lew Johnstone ALP27.1%
Blacktown Gordon Barnier ALP27.2%
Munmorah Harry Jensen ALP27.3%
Illawarra George Petersen ALP28.2%
Auburn Peter Cox ALP28.4%
Fairfield Eric Bedford ALP28.4%
Granville Pat Flaherty ALP28.6%
Merrylands Jack Ferguson ALP28.6%
Wallsend Ken Booth ALP29.3%
Bass Hill Neville Wran ALP29.7%
Phillip Pat Hills ALP29.7%
Rockdale Brian Bannon ALP29.7%
Marrickville Tom Cahill ALP29.8%
Heffron Laurie Brereton ALP30.0%
Liverpool George Paciullo ALP30.8%
Mount Druitt Tony Johnson ALP31.1%
Balmain Roger Degen ALP34.2%
Hornsby Neil Pickard LIB0.8%
Goulburn Ron Brewer CP0.9%
Pittwater Max Smith LIB1.4%
Orange Garry West CP1.7%
Bathurst Clive Osborne CP2.7%
Young George Freudenstein CP3.0%
Tamworth Noel Park CP3.3%
Dubbo John Mason LIB3.4%
Byron Jack Boyd CP3.6%
Kirribilli Bruce McDonald LIB3.8%
Wagga Wagga Joe Schipp LIB3.8%
Maitland Milton Morris LIB4.3%
Upper Hunter Col Fisher CP4.4%
Eastwood Jim Clough LIB4.5%
Vaucluse Rosemary Foot LIB4.5%
The Hills Fred Caterson LIB4.6%
Hawkesbury Kevin Rozzoli LIB5.2%
Raleigh Jim Brown CP5.3%
Fairly safe
Davidson Dick Healey LIB7.4%
Northcott Jim Cameron LIB7.4%
Lane Cove John Dowd LIB7.5%
Barwon Wal Murray CP8.3%
Burrendong Roger Wotton CP8.3%
Bligh John Barraclough LIB8.4%
Gloucester Leon Punch CP9.2%
Tenterfield Tim Bruxner CP9.4%
Murray Mary Meillon LIB10.1%
Clarence Matt Singleton CP10.9%
Mosman David Arblaster LIB11.8%
Oxley Bruce Cowan CP12.5%
Lismore Bruce Duncan CP13.8%
Ku-ring-gai John Maddison LIB15.5%
Sturt Tim Fischer CP16.0%
Temora Jim Taylor CP17.6%
Gordon Tim Moore LIB24.0%
South Coast John Hatton IND20.5 v LIB

See also


  1. 1 2 Green, Antony. "1978 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, 7 October 1978" . Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  3. Hughes (1986), p. 191.
  4. Hughes (1986), p. 192.

Sources cited

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