List of Australian federal elections

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This article provides a summary of results for the general elections to the Australian House of Representatives and Senate, respectively the lower and upper halves of Australia's federal bicameral legislative body, the Parliament of Australia. The number of seats has increased steadily over time, from 111 for the first election, to the current total of 226. The current federal government structure was established in 1900 by the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900.

Two groups have dominated politics in Australia: Labor and the Coalition, composed of the Liberal Party and the National Party. Since the foundation of the Liberal Party in 1944, these two groups have formed every government. With the exception of the Greens (who won the 2002 Cunningham by-election and Melbourne at the 2010 general election), and Palmer United (who won Fairfax at the 2013 general election) -- no other party has won election to the House of Representatives since 1946.

Although government has been a two-party system, the Senate has a multi-party tradition, beginning with the 1955 election, where one DLP candidate was elected (under the ALP-AC banner). Although the DLP ceased to be a force after Gough Whitlam took power in 1972, the Liberal Movement and its successor the Australian Democrats carved out their own niche. In the 1980s, the NDP and later the Greens joined the Senate, and more recently One Nation and Family First have done the same.

In the past decade, the Democrats' federal parliamentary representation has disappeared, while the Greens have emerged at the national level to take their place. The Nationals' representation has also steadily declined, with their percentage of the vote hitting new lows. With the high-profile defection of Senator Julian McGauran to the Liberals in 2006, questions have been raised about the Nationals' viability, and proposals for a Liberal-National party merger have increased in strength.

Summary of results[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

The total for the party forming government after the election is bolded. Parties that have never formed government are listed under "Others".

Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labour Free Trade Protectionist - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
1st 1901 Sir Edmund Barton Edmund Barton.jpg The Protectionists do not gain a majority, and form a minority government with Labour support, while George Reid's Free Traders form the opposition. 14 28 31   2   75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labour Free Trade Protectionist - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
2nd 1903 Alfred Deakin
(1856–1919)

Chris Watson
(1867–1941)
Sir George Reid
(1845–1918)
Alfred Deakin
(1856–1919)

AlfredDeakin.jpeg

ChrisWatsonSepia.jpg
George Reid cph.3c31684.jpg
AlfredDeakin.jpeg

Protectionist Alfred Deakin forms an minority government with Labour, but the coalition splits over a dispute on the Conciliation and Arbitration Bill.

Free Trade leader George Reid declines Government, so the Governor-General commissions Labour leader Chris Watson to form Government.

Watson resigns four months later and Free Trade forms Government under Reid, finally passing the Conciliation and Arbitration Act five months later.

Labour and the Protectionists return to Government in 1905 when Reid loses the confidence of the parliament.

23 25 26     1 Revenue Tariff 75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labour Anti-Socialist Protectionist - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
3rd 1906 Alfred Deakin
(1856–1919)

Andrew Fisher
(1862–1928)
Alfred Deakin
(1856–1919)

AlfredDeakin.jpeg

Andrewfisher.JPG
AlfredDeakin.jpeg

Protectionist Alfred Deakin forms another minority government, which remains in power largely due to the Anti-Socialists reluctance to pass a vote of no-confidence in it.

Deakin loses Labour's support in late 1908 and Andrew Fisher of the Labour Party becomes Prime Minister.

Alfred Deakin regains the Prime Ministership as leader of the new Commonwealth Liberal Party.

26 27 16   1 1 Western Australian 75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labour Commonwealth Liberal - - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
4th 1910 Andrew Fisher
(1862–1928)
Andrewfisher.JPG Labour wins control of the House of Representatives and the Senate under Andrew Fisher, becoming Australia's first elected federal majority. 43 31     1   75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Commonwealth Liberal - - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
5th 1913 Joseph Cook
(1860–1947)
JosephCookPEO.jpg The Commonwealth Liberals win a one-seat majority under Joseph Cook while Labor retains control of the Senate. 37 38         75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Commonwealth Liberal - - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
6th 1914 Andrew Fisher
(1862–1928)

Billy Hughes
(1862–1952)

Andrewfisher.JPG

Nla.ms-ms1538-10-582-e.jpg

Labor forms a government under Andrew Fisher after the double dissolution election, where World War I breaks out in the middle of the campaign. Fisher resigns due to ill-health, and Labor forms government under Billy Hughes.

Hughes – a strong advocate of conscription – holds a national plebiscite on conscription to give his stance legitimacy. The plebiscite is defeated. On the 15 September, 1916, Hughes is expelled from the Labor party. Hughes briefly forms the National Labor Party and forms Government, but then merges with the Commonwealth Liberal Party to form the Nationalist Party, with Hughes as Prime Minister and Joseph Cook as his deputy.

42 32     1   75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Nationalist - - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
7th 1917 Billy Hughes
(1862–1952)
Nla.ms-ms1538-10-582-e.jpg The Nationalists form a government under Billy Hughes. A second plebiscite on conscription is held and is defeated again in 1917. 22 53         75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Nationalist Various Agrarian Parties[A] - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
8th 1919 Billy Hughes
(1862–1952)
Nla.ms-ms1538-10-582-e.jpg The Nationalists form another government under Billy Hughes with Independent support. 26 37 11   1   75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Nationalist Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
9th 1922 Billy Hughes
(1862–1952)

Stanley Bruce
(1883–1967)

Nla.ms-ms1538-10-582-e.jpg

StanleyBruce2.jpg

From around 1920, Hughes loses the support of many of the conservative elements of his party. The Nationalists lose their majority in the election. Earle Page declares that his Country Party will not serve under Hughes, forcing Hughes to resign a month after his re-election. His Treasurer Stanley Bruce forms a coalition Government with the Country Party. 29 26 14   1 5 Liberal 75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Nationalist Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
10th 1925 Stanley Bruce
(1883–1967)
StanleyBruce2.jpg The Coalition of Nationalists and the Country Party forms another government under Stanley Bruce. 23 37 14   1   75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Nationalist Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
11th 1928 Stanley Bruce
(1883–1967)
StanleyBruce2.jpg The Coalition forms another government under Stanley Bruce despite Labor gaining eight seats under Jim Scullin. 31 29 13   1 1 Country Progressives 75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Nationalist Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
12th 1929 Jim Scullin
(1876–1953)
Portrait of the Right Hon. J. H. Scullin.png Labor forms a government under Jim Scullin in an election where Prime Minister Stanley Bruce is defeated in his seat of Flinders. 46 14 10   4 1 Country Progressives 75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor United Australia Party Country Lang Labor Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
13th 1931 Joe Lyons
(1879–1939)
JosephLyons2.jpg United Australia, forms a minority government under Joe Lyons. 14 34 16 4 1 6 Emergency Committee 75
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor United Australia Party Country Lang Labor Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
14th 1934 Joe Lyons
(1879–1939)
JosephLyons2.jpg The Coalition of the UAP and the Country Party forms a government under Joe Lyons. 18 28 14 9   5 LCL 74
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor United Australia Party Country Lang Labor Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
15th 1937 Joe Lyons
(1879–1939)




Sir Earle Page
(1880–1961)




Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)

JosephLyons2.jpg

EarlePage.jpg

RobertMenzies.jpg

The Coalition forms another government under Joe Lyons. 29 28 16   1   74
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor United Australia Party Country Lang Labor Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
16th 1940 Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)




Arthur Fadden
(1895–1973)




John Curtin
(1885–1945)

RobertMenzies.jpg

FaddenPEO.jpg

JohnCurtin.jpg

The Coalition forms a minority government under Robert Menzies.

Billy Hughes later replaces him as UAP leader, and Country Party leader Arthur Fadden replaces him as Coalition leader and Prime Minister. Fadden serves for only 40 days, until Labor and the independents defeat his budget.

Labor forms Government under John Curtin.

32 23 14 4 1   74
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor United Australia Party Country Lang Labor Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
17th 1943 John Curtin
(1885–1945)




Frank Forde
(1890–1983)




Ben Chifley
(1885–1951)

JohnCurtin.jpg

Frankforde.jpg

Benchifley.jpg

Labor forms a government under John Curtin. 49 12 7   1 5 Country-National (3), Liberal Country, Country (QLD) 74
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country Lang Labor Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
18th 1946 Ben Chifley
(1885–1951)
Benchifley.jpg Labor forms a government under Ben Chifley. 43 15 11 1 1 3 LCL (2), Liberal Country 74
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
19th 1949 Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)
RobertMenzies.jpg The Coalition forms a government under Robert Menzies, but lacks a Senate majority. Menzies uses the Senate’s rejection of the Commonwealth Bank Bill 1951 as a trigger for a double dissolution election. 47 55 19       121
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
20th 1951 Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)
RobertMenzies.jpg The Coalition forms another government under Robert Menzies and gains control of the Senate after a double dissolution. 52 52 17       121
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
21st 1954 Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)
RobertMenzies.jpg The Coalition forms another government under Robert Menzies. 57 47 17       121
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
22nd 1955 Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)
RobertMenzies.jpg The Coalition forms another government under Robert Menzies. 47 57 18       122
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
23rd 1958 Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)
RobertMenzies.jpg The Coalition forms another government under Robert Menzies. 45 58 19       122
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
24th 1961 Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)
RobertMenzies.jpg The Coalition forms another government under Robert Menzies. 60 45 17       122
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
25th 1963 Sir Robert Menzies
(1894–1978)




Harold Holt
(1908–1967)

RobertMenzies.jpg

HaroldHoltPortrait1953.JPG

The Coalition forms another government under Sir Robert Menzies. 50 52 20       122
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
26th 1966 Harold Holt
(1908–1967)




John McEwen
(1900–1980)




John Gorton
(1911–2002)

HaroldHoltPortrait1953.JPG

Nla.pic-an23474705-v.jpg

JohnGorton1954.JPG

The Coalition forms a government under Harold Holt. 41 61 21   1   124
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
27th 1969 John Gorton
(1911–2002)




William McMahon
(1908–1988)

JohnGorton1954.JPG

Nla.pic-an23458756-v.jpg

The Coalition forms a government under John Gorton. 59 46 20       125
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
28th 1972 Gough Whitlam
(1916– )
Whitlam1955.jpg Labor forms its first government since 1949 under Gough Whitlam. 67 38 20       125
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Country - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
29th 1974 Gough Whitlam
(1916– )
Whitlam1955.jpg Labor forms another government under Gough Whitlam after a double dissolution triggered by a hostile Senate and resulting in the 1974 Joint Sitting. 66 40 21       127
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal National Country Party - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
30th 1975 Gough Whitlam
(1916– )




Malcolm Fraser
(1930– )

Whitlam1955.jpg

MalcolmFraser1982.JPEG

The Coalition forms a government under Malcolm Fraser following his appointment as Prime Minister by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in the 1975 constitutional crisis. 36 68 23       127
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal National Country Party - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
31st 1977 Malcolm Fraser
(1930– )
MalcolmFraser1982.JPEG The Coalition forms another government under Malcolm Fraser. 38 67 19       124
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal National Country Party - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
32nd 1980 Malcolm Fraser
(1930– )
MalcolmFraser1982.JPEG The Coalition forms another government under Malcolm Fraser. 51 54 20       125
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
33rd 1983 Bob Hawke
(1929– )
BobHawke(cropped).jpg Labor forms a government under Bob Hawke after a double dissolution. 75 33 17       125
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
34th 1984 Bob Hawke
(1929– )
BobHawke(cropped).jpg Labor forms another government under Bob Hawke. 82 45 21       148
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
35th 1987 Bob Hawke
(1929– )
BobHawke(cropped).jpg Labor forms another government under Bob Hawke after a double dissolution over the Australia Card. 86 43 19       148
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
36th 1990 Bob Hawke
(1929– )




Paul Keating
(1944– )

BobHawke(cropped).jpg

Paul Keating - 2007.jpg

Labor forms another government under Bob Hawke. 78 55 14   1   148
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
37th 1993 Paul Keating
(1944– )
Paul Keating - 2007.jpg Labor forms a government under Paul Keating. 80 49 16   2   147
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
38th 1996 John Howard
(1939– )
The Coalition forms a government under John Howard. 49 75 19   5   148
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
39th 1998 John Howard
(1939– )
The Coalition forms another government under John Howard. 67 64 16   1   148
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
40th 2001 John Howard
(1939– )
The Coalition forms another government under John Howard. 65 69 13   3   150
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
41st 2004 John Howard
(1939– )
The Coalition forms another government under John Howard. 60 75 12   3   150
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals - Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
42nd 2007 Kevin Rudd
(1957– )




Julia Gillard
(1961– )

Kevin Rudd official portrait.jpg


Julia Gillard 2010.jpg

Labor forms a government under Kevin Rudd. 83 55 10   2   150
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals Greens Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
43rd 2010 Julia Gillard
(1961– )




Kevin Rudd
(1957– )

Julia Gillard 2010.jpg

Kevin Rudd official portrait.jpg

Labor forms a minority government with the support of 3 independents and 1 Green under Julia Gillard. 72 44 (+ 16 LNP and 1 CLP) 6 + (5 LNP) 1 4 1 WA Nationals 150
Election
Year
Prime Minister Summary Labor Liberal Nationals Greens Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
44th 2013 Tony Abbott
(1957– )
Tony Abbott - 2010.jpg The Coalition forms a government under Tony Abbott. 55 58 (+ 16 LNP and 1 CLP) 9 (+6 LNP) 1 2 2 (1) Katter's Australian Party
(1) Palmer United
150

Primary, TPP and seat results since 1937[edit]

ALP = Australian Labor Party, L+NP = grouping of Liberal/National/LNP/CLP Coalition Parties (and predecessors), Oth = other parties and independents.

House of Representatives results and polling
Primary vote TPP vote Seats
ALP L+NP Oth. ALP L+NP ALP L+NP Oth. Total
7 Sep 2013 election 33.4% 45.6% 21.1% 46.5% 53.5% 55 90 5 150
21 Aug 2010 election 38.0% 43.3% 18.8% 50.1% 49.9% 72 72 6 150
24 Nov 2007 election 43.4% 42.1% 14.5% 52.7% 47.3% 83 65 2 150
9 Oct 2004 election 37.6% 46.7% 15.7% 47.3% 52.7% 60 87 3 150
10 Nov 2001 election 37.8% 43.0% 19.2% 49.0% 51.0% 65 82 3 150
3 Oct 1998 election 40.1% 39.5% 20.4% 51.0% 49.0% 67 80 1 148
2 Mar 1996 election 38.7% 47.3% 14.0% 46.4% 53.6% 49 94 5 148
13 Mar 1993 election 44.9% 44.3% 10.7% 51.4% 48.6% 80 65 2 147
24 Mar 1990 election 39.4% 43.5% 17.1% 49.9% 50.1% 78 69 1 148
11 Jul 1987 election 45.8% 46.1% 8.1% 50.8% 49.2% 86 62 0 148
1 Dec 1984 election 47.6% 45.0% 7.4% 51.8% 48.2% 82 66 0 148
5 Mar 1983 election 49.5% 43.6% 6.9% 53.2% 46.8% 75 50 0 125
18 Oct 1980 election 45.2% 46.3% 8.5% 49.6% 50.4% 51 74 0 125
10 Dec 1977 election 39.7% 48.1% 12.2% 45.4% 54.6% 38 86 0 124
13 Dec 1975 election 42.8% 53.1% 4.1% 44.3% 55.7% 36 91 0 127
18 May 1974 election 49.3% 44.9% 5.8% 51.7% 48.3% 66 61 0 127
2 Dec 1972 election 49.6% 41.5% 8.9% 52.7% 47.3% 67 58 0 125
25 Oct 1969 election 47.0% 43.3% 9.7% 50.2% 49.8% 59 66 0 125
26 Nov 1966 election 40.0% 50.0% 10.0% 43.1% 56.9% 41 82 1 124
30 Nov 1963 election 45.5% 46.0% 8.5% 47.4% 52.6% 50 72 0 122
9 Dec 1961 election 47.9% 42.1% 10.0% 50.5% 49.5% 60 62 0 122
22 Nov 1958 election 42.8% 46.6% 10.6% 45.9% 54.1% 45 77 0 122
10 Dec 1955 election 44.6% 47.6% 7.8% 45.8% 54.2% 47 75 0 122
29 May 1954 election 50.0% 46.8% 3.2% 50.7% 49.3% 57 64 0 121
28 Apr 1951 election 47.6% 50.3% 2.1% 49.3% 50.7% 52 69 0 121
10 Dec 1949 election 46.0% 50.3% 3.7% 49.0% 51.0% 47 74 0 121
28 Sep 1946 election 49.7% 39.3% 11.0% 54.1% 45.9% 43 26 5 74
21 Aug 1943 election 49.9% 23.0% 27.1% 58.2% 41.8% 49 19 6 74
21 Sep 1940 election 40.2% 43.9% 15.9% 50.3% 49.7% 32 36 6 74
23 Oct 1937 election 43.2% 49.3% 7.5% 49.4% 50.6% 29 44 2 74


Senate[edit]

Parties that have never won multiple seats in consecutive elections are listed under "Others". Results represent the composition of the Senate after the elections. Double dissolutions are underlined and highlighted in puce.

Election
Year
Labor[A] Liberal[B] National[C] Democratic
Labor
Democrats Greens CLP Independent Other
parties
Total
seats
1st 1901 8 11[D] 17               36
2nd 1903 8 12[D] 14           1 1 Revenue Tariff 36
3rd 1906 15 6[D] 13           2   36
4th 1910 22 14               36
5th 1913 29 7               36
6th 1914 31 5               36
7th 1917 12 24               36
8th 1919 1 35               36
9th 1922 12 24               36
10th 1925 8 25 3             36
11th 1928 7 24 5             36
12th 1931 10 21 5             36
13th 1934 3 26 7             36
14th 1937 16 16 4             36
15th 1940 17 15 4             36
16th 1943 22 12 2             36
17th 1946 33 2 1             36
18th 1949 34 21 5             60
19th 1951 28 26 6             60
20th 1953 29 26 5             60
21st 1955 28 24 6 2           60
22nd 1958 26 25 7 2           60
23rd 1961 28 24 6 1       1   60
24th 1964 27 23 7 2       1   60
25th 1967 27 21 7 4       1   60
26th 1970 26 21 5 5       3   60
27th 1974 29 23 6         1 1 Liberal Movement 60
28th 1975 27 26 6       1 1 1 Liberal Movement 64
29th 1977 27 27 6   2   1 1   64
30th 1980 27 28 3   5   1 1   64
31st 1983 30 23 4   5   1 1   64
32nd 1984 34 27 5   7   1 1 1 Nuclear Disarmament 76
33rd 1987 32 26 7   7   1 2 1 Nuclear Disarmament 76
34th 1990 32 28 5   8   1 1 1 WA Greens 76
35th 1993 30 29 6   7   1 1 2 Greens (WA) (2) 76
36th 1996 29 31 5   7   1 1 2 Greens (WA), Greens (Tas) 76
37th 1998 29 31 3   9 1 1 1 1 One Nation 76
38th 2001 28 31 3   8 2 1 2 1 One Nation 76
39th 2004 28 33 5   4 4 1   1 Family First 76
40th 2007 32 32 4     5 1 1 1 Family First 76
41st 2010 31 28 + (3 LNP) 2 1   9 1 1   76
42nd 2013                   76

Notes[edit]

A 1 Includes Famers and Settlers Party and Victorian Farmers Union
B 1 2 Includes results for the Free Trade Party for 1901 and 1903, the Anti-Socialist Party for 1906, the Commonwealth Liberal Party for 1910—1914, the Nationalist Party for 1917—1929, and the United Australia Party for 1931—1943.
C 1 2 Includes results for the Country Party for 1919—1974 and the National Country Party for 1975—1980.
D 1 2 3 4 5 6 Protectionist Party
E 1 2 3 4 Lang Labor

See also[edit]

References[edit]