1943 Australian federal election

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Australian federal election, 1943

← 1940 21 August 1943 1946 →

All 74 seats in the House of Representatives
38 seats were needed for a majority in the House
19 (of the 36) seats in the Senate
  First party Second party
  JohnCurtin.jpg FaddenPEO.jpg
Leader John Curtin Arthur Fadden
Party Labor Country/UAP coalition
Leader since 1 October 1935 (1935-10-01) 29 August 1941 (1941-08-29)
Leader's seat Fremantle (WA) Darling Downs (Qld.)
Last election 32 seats 36 seats
Seats won 49 seats 23 seats
Seat change Increase17 Decrease13
Percentage 58.20% 41.80%
Swing Increase7.90 Decrease7.90

Prime Minister before election

John Curtin
Labor

Subsequent Prime Minister

John Curtin
Labor

Federal elections were held in Australia on 21 August 1943. All 74 seats in the House of Representatives and 19 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Labor Party, led by Prime Minister John Curtin, defeated the opposition Country–UAP coalition under Arthur Fadden.

Fadden, the leader of the Country Party, was serving as Leader of the Opposition despite the Country Party holding fewer seats in parliament than the United Australia Party (UAP). In August 1941, he had been chosen by the coalition parties to lead the government after the forced resignation of Prime Minister Robert Menzies, the UAP leader. However, he stayed in office for only six weeks before the two independents who held the balance of power joined Labor in voting down his budget. Governor-General Lord 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 on 58 percent of the two-party vote. The Coalition saw its seat count cut in half, to 19 seats—including only seven for the Country Party. Notably, Labor won every seat in Western Australia and all but one in South Australia. Archie Cameron, the member for Barker, South Australia, was left as the only Coalition MP outside the eastern states.

This election was significant in the fact that it resulted in the election of the first female member of the House of Representatives, the UAP's Enid Lyons for Darwin, Tasmania; and the first female Senator, Labor's Dorothy Tangney in Western Australia. The election remains Labor's greatest federal victory in terms of proportion of seats and two-party votes in the lower house, and primary vote in the Senate.

The lack of effective opposition to the Labor party in the lead up and following the election became the catalyst for the creation of the Liberal Party of Australia from the ashes of the UAP, and for George Cole & Keith Murdoch among other big business magnates to form the conservative propaganda think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

This was the last major election that did not involve the current Liberal and Labor Party competition.

Results[edit]

  Labor: 49 seats
  United Australia: 12 seats
  Country: 12 seats
  Independent: 1 seat
House of Reps (IRV) — 1943–46 — Turnout 96.32% (CV) — Informal 2.89%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Change Notes
  Labor 2,058,578 49.94 +9.78 49 +17 (1 elected
unopposed)
  UAP–Country coalition 1,322,030 32.07 -11.86 23 -13
  United Australia 927,049 22.49 -7.73 14 -9
  Country 394,981 9.58 -4.13 9 -4
  One Parliament for Australia 87,112 2.11 +2.11 0 ±0
  Communist 81,816 1.98 +1.98 0 ±0
  Liberal Democrat 42,149 1.02 +1.02 0 ±0
  State Labor Party 29,752 0.72 -1.89 0 ±0
  Independents 501,054 12.15 +4.69 2 ±0
  Other 0 0 -5.84 0 -4
  Total 4,122,491     74
  Australian Labor Party WIN 58.20 +7.90 49 +17
  Country/UAP coalition 41.80 −7.90 23 -13

Independent: Arthur Coles (Henty, Vic)

Popular Vote
Labor
49.94%
United Australia
16.05%
Country
6.96%
Country National QLD
4.04%
LCP
3.53%
OPfA
2.11%
Country QLD
1.48%
State Labor
0.72%
Independent
12.15%
Other
3.01%
Two Party Preferred Vote
Labor
58.20%
Coalition
41.80%
Parliament Seats
Labor
66.22%
Coalition
25.68%
Country National QLD
4.05%
LCP
1.35%
Country QLD
1.35%
Independent
1.35%
Senate (PBV) — 1943–46 — Turnout 96.31% (CV) — Informal 9.73%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Won Seats Held Change
  Australian Labor Party 2,139,164 55.09 +17.57 19 22 +5
  Country/UAP (Joint Ticket) 1,047,225 26.97 −18.05 0
  Country-National Party (QLD) 184,181 4.74 * 0 0 0
  Liberal & Country League (SA) 148,419 3.82 * 0 0 0
  Nationalist Country Party (WA) 101,738 2.62 * 0 0 0
  Christian New Order (NSW) 101,247 2.61 * 0 0 0
  Country Party 37,350 0.96 * 0 2 −2
  United Australia Party * * −6.71 0 12 −3
  Other 123,846 3.19 0 0 0
  Total 3,883,170     19 36

Seats changing hands[edit]

Seat Pre-1943 Swing Post-1943
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Adelaide, SA   United Australia Fred Stacey 4.7 20.3 15.6 Cyril Chambers Labor  
Barker, SA   Country Archie Cameron* N/A 14.2 1.7 Archie Cameron United Australia  
Boothby, SA   United Australia Grenfell Price 6.6 16.1 0.9 Thomas Sheehy Labor  
Denison, Tas   United Australia Arthur Beck 1.1 10.1 9.0 John Gaha Labor  
Eden-Monaro, NSW   United Australia John Perkins 4.8 10.8 5.4 Allan Fraser Labor  
Grey, SA   Country Oliver Badman* 7.7 10.2 2.5 Edgar Russell Labor  
Hume, NSW   Country Thomas Collins 0.9 7.2 6.3 Arthur Fuller Labor  
Lilley, Qld   United Australia William Jolly 9.6 9.9 0.4 Jim Hadley Labor  
Maranoa, Qld   Labor Frank Baker 1.6 2.6 1.0 Charles Adermann Country  
Martin, NSW   United Australia William McCall 2.6 8.3 5.7 Fred Daly Labor  
Parkes, NSW   United Australia Charles Marr 7.4 10.3 2.9 Les Haylen Labor  
Perth, WA   United Australia Walter Nairn 14.5 20.5 6.0 Tom Burke Labor  
Robertson, NSW   United Australia Eric Spooner 0.3 9.2 8.9 Thomas Williams Labor  
Swan, WA   Country Thomas Marwick 7.5 10.5 3.0 Don Mountjoy Labor  
Wakefield, SA   United Australia Jack Duncan-Hughes 3.4 4.6 1.2 Albert Smith Labor  
  • *Oliver Badman and Archie Cameron ran as candidates for the UAP.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]