Although the UAP was the nominal senior partner in the Coalition, it found itself bereft of leadership following the forced resignation of its leader, Robert Menzies. Hughes succeeded him as UAP leader, but at the age of 77 was too old and frail to be a wartime Prime Minister. Country Party leader Fadden was thus forced to take over as Prime Minister, but only stayed in office for six weeks before two independents joined Labor in voting down his budget. Governor-GeneralLord Gowrie was reluctant to call an election for a Parliament barely a year old, especially considering the international situation. At his urging, the independents threw their support to Labor for the remainder of the parliamentary term.
Over the next two years, Curtin proved to be a very popular and effective leader, and the Coalition was unable to get the better of him. Labor thus went into the election in a strong position, and scored an 18-seat swing. Notably, the Coalition was completely shut out in Western Australia, and lost all but one of its seats in South Australia.
This election was significant in the fact that it resulted in the election of the first female member of the House of Representatives, Enid Lyons, and the first female Senator, Dorothy Tangney. The election remains Labor's greatest federal victory in terms of proportion of seats and two party preferred votes in the lower house, and primary vote in the Senate.
House of Reps (IRV) — 1943–46 — Turnout 96.32% (CV) — Informal 2.89%