1951 Australian federal election

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Australian federal election, 1951

← 1949 28 April 1951 1954 →

All 121 seats of the House of Representatives
61 seats were needed for a majority in the House
All 60 seats of the Senate
  First party Second party
  Portrait Menzies 1950s.jpg Benchifley.jpg
Leader Robert Menzies Ben Chifley
Party Liberal/Country coalition Labor
Leader since 23 September 1943 13 July 1945
Leader's seat Kooyong (Vic.) Macquarie (NSW)
Last election 74 seats 47 seats
Seats won 69 seats 52 seats
Seat change Decrease5 Increase5
Percentage 50.70% 49.30%
Swing Decrease0.30 Increase0.30

Prime Minister before election

Robert Menzies
Liberal/Country coalition

Subsequent Prime Minister

Robert Menzies
Liberal/Country coalition

Federal elections were held in Australia on 28 April 1951. All 121 seats in the House of Representatives and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution called after the Senate rejected the Commonwealth Bank Bill.[1] The incumbent Liberal–Country coalition led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies defeated the opposition Labor Party led by Ben Chifley, and secured a majority in the Senate. Chifley died just over a month after the election.

Issues[edit]

Although the Coalition had won a comfortable majority in the House in 1949, Labor still had a four-seat majority in the Senate. Chifley thus made it his business to obstruct Menzies' agenda at every opportunity. Realizing this, Menzies sought to call a double dissolution at the first opportunity in hopes of gaining control of both houses. He thought he had his chance in 1950, when he introduced a bill to ban the Australian Communist Party. However, after a redraft, Chifley let the bill pass.

A few months later, the Senate rejected the Commonwealth Banking Bill, finally giving Menzies an excuse to call a double dissolution. While the Coalition lost five House seats to Labor, it still had a solid mandate. More importantly, it picked up six Senate seats, giving it control over both chambers.

Results[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

  Labor: 52 seats
  Liberal: 52 seats
  Country: 17 seats
House of Reps (IRV) — 1951–54—Turnout 96.00% (CV) — Informal 1.90%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal–Country coalition 2,298,512 50.34 +0.08 69 –5
  Liberal  1,854,799 40.62 +1.23 52 –3
  Country  443,713 9.72 –1.15 17 –2
  Labor 2,174,840 47.63 +1.65 52 +5
  Communist 44,782 0.98 +0.09 0 0
  Independents 47,765 1.05 –1.11 0 0
  Total 4,565,899     121
Two-party-preferred (estimated)
  Liberal–Country coalition WIN 50.70 −0.30 69 −5
  Labor 49.30 +0.30 52 +5

Notes
  • Three members were elected unopposed – two Labor and one Liberal.
Popular Vote
Labor
47.63%
Liberal
40.62%
Country
9.72%
Independent
1.05%
Communist
0.98%
Two Party Preferred Vote
Coalition
50.70%
Labor
49.30%
Parliament Seats
Coalition
57.02%
Labor
42.98%

Senate[edit]

Senate (STV) — 1951–53—Turnout 95.99% (CV) — Informal 7.13%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Won Seats Held Change
  Liberal–Country coalition 2,198,687 49.70 –0.71 32 32 +6
  Liberal–Country joint ticket 1,925,631 43.52 –1.12 22 N/A N/A
  Liberal 273,056 6.17 +0.41 10 26 +5
  Country N/A N/A N/A N/A 6 +1
  Labor 2,029,751 45.88 +0.99 28 28 −6
  Communist 93,561 2.11 +0.02 0 0 0
  Lang Labor 60,549 1.37 +1.37 0 0 0
  Protestant People's 13,090 0.30 –0.59 0 0 0
  Henry George Justice 6,015 0.14 +0.14 0 0 0
  Independents 22,584 0.51 –1.20 0 0 0
  Total 4,424,237     60 60

Seats changing hands[edit]

Seat Pre-1951 Swing Post-1951
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Australian Capital Territory, ACT   Independent Lewis Nott 3.8 6.7 2.9 Jim Fraser Labor  
Ballaarat, Vic   Liberal Alan Pittard 0.4 1.6 1.2 Bob Joshua Labor  
Hume, NSW   Country Charles Anderson 1.0 1.3 0.3 Arthur Fuller Labor  
Kingston, SA   Liberal Jim Handby 1.6 3.4 1.8 Patrick Galvin Labor  
Leichhardt, Qld   Country Tom Gilmore 1.0 1.3 0.3 Harry Bruce Labor  
Wannon, Vic   Liberal Dan Mackinnon 0.8 1.9 1.1 Don McLeod Labor  

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Parliament of Australia: Senate: Publications: Odgers' Guide to Australian Senate Practice – Twelfth Edition – Chapter 21 – Relations with the House of Representatives – Simultaneous dissolutions of 1951". Aph.gov.au. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2010.

References[edit]

  • University of WA election results in Australia since 1890
  • AEC 2PP vote
  • Prior to 1984 the AEC did not undertake a full distribution of preferences for statistical purposes. The stored ballot papers for the 1983 election were put through this process prior to their destruction. Therefore, the figures from 1983 onwards show the actual result based on full distribution of preferences.