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Campbell Sharman, "Uncontested Seats and the Evolution of Party Competition: The Australian Case,"Party Politics, 9 (November 2003), 679-702.

First Paragraph:
Representative democracy presumes competitive elections at which voters have a choice of candidates. This is consistent with the current nature of party organization and electoral campaigning which are system-wide and embrace every opportunity for partisan competition. Uncontested seats at parliamentary elections are associated with earlier stages of representative government before parties emerged in their current form and local notables could dominate electoral contests to the point of precluding rivals. Once political parties become major players in electoral contests, other factors may lead to a few uncontested seats; the electoral system may have limited effective competition or a party may have been so dominant in some electoral districts as to forestall competition from the candidates of other parties. Even so, the existence of uncontested seats appears anomalous in any system where there is vigorous competition for parliamentary representation and the control of government.

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1: New South Wales Legislative Assembly: Proportion of uncontested seats in Assembly and proportion of ALP seats uncontested, 1891-1999
Figure 2: Queensland Legislative Assembly: Proportion of uncontested seats in Assembly and proportion of ALP seats uncontested, 1893-2001
Figure 3: South Australian House of Assembly: Proportion of uncontested seats in Assembly and proportion of ALP seats uncontested, 1890-1997
Figure 4: Tasmanian House of Assembly: Proportion of uncontested seats in Assembly, 1891-1998
Figure 5: Victorian Legislative Assembly: Proportion of uncontested seats in Assembly and proportion of ALP seats uncontested, 1892-1999
Figure 6: Western Australian Legislative Assembly: Proportion of uncontested seats in Assembly and proportion of ALP seats uncontested, 1890-2001
Figure 7: Commonwealth House of Representatives: Proportion of uncontested seats in House and proportion of ALP seats uncontested, 1901-1998
Table 1: Uncontested seats, Australian State and Commonwealth Lower Houses, 1890-2001
Table 2: Proportion of uncontested seats hel dby major parties by State since 1920: Australian Labor Party, Liberal Paarty, and National Party

Last Paragraph:
From this perspective, the study of uncontested seats is not simply the investigation of an institutional anomaly, but a way of raising questions about the evolution of party organization and the operation of partisan politics in parliamentary democracies.