Victorian general election, 1988

Victorian state election, 1988

Elections for the Victorian Legislative Assembly and for half the seats in the Victorian Legislative Council were held on Saturday 1 October 1988. John Cain's Labor government maintained a narrow majority on the floor of the Legislative Assembly.

The Campaign

The campaign was dominated by the government's handling of the Victorian Economic Development Corporation scandal but Labor was able limit its losses to just one seat - Warrandyte - due to an effective strategy of targeting Liberal leader Jeff Kennett whose aggressive leadership style was still seen as a liability as well as the instability in the federal Coalition due to the Joh for Canberra campaign.

Labor also ran a successful strategy of targeting marginal middle class seats, enabling it to win a majority of seats despite winning less than 50% of the two party preferred vote.


Jeff Kennett was dumped as Liberal leader in 1989 in a party room coup. Alan Brown led the party until, he too, was deposed in another party room coup which returned Kennett to the leadership.

Due to the narrow result, the belief arose that had the Liberals and the Nationals been in coalition, they would have won government. Despite what Political Scientist Brian Costar called a 'lack of psephological evidence to support this assertion' this belief led to pressure from the business community that led to the formation of the first Liberal-National Coalition in Victoria over forty years.



Victorian state election, 1988
Legislative Council Results

Enrolled Voters 2,739,614
Votes Cast 2,529,569 Turnout 92.33 -0.86
Informal Votes 109,578 Informal % 4.33 +1.32
Party Primary Votes % Swing Seats Won Seats Held
  Australian Labor Party 1,164,796 48.13 +0.85 9 19
  Liberal Party of Australia 1,052,591 43.50 +2.35 10 19
  National Party of Australia 181,074 7.48 +0.81 3 6
  Call to Australia 5,363 0.22 -0.49 0 0
  Other 16,167 0.67 +0.45 0 0
Total 2,419,991 22 44


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