Australian federal election, 1954

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Australian federal election, 1954

← 1951 29 May 1954 1955 →

All 121 seats of the House of Representatives
61 seats were needed for a majority

  First party Second party
  Portrait Menzies 1950s.jpg Herbert V. Evatt.jpg
Leader Robert Menzies H. V. Evatt
Party Liberal/Country coalition Labor
Leader since 23 September 1943 13 June 1951
Leader's seat Kooyong (Vic.) Barton (NSW)
Last election 69 seats 52 seats
Seats won 64 seats 57 seats
Seat change Decrease5 Increase5
Percentage 49.30% 50.70%
Swing Decrease1.40 Increase1.40

Prime Minister before election

Robert Menzies
Liberal/Country coalition

Subsequent Prime Minister

Robert Menzies
Liberal/Country coalition

Federal elections were held in Australia on 29 May 1954. All 121 seats in the House of Representatives were up for election, but no Senate election took place. The incumbent Liberal–Country coalition led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies defeated the opposition Labor Party led by H. V. Evatt.

This was the first federal election that future Prime Minister Gough Whitlam contested as a member of parliament, having entered parliament at the 1952 Werriwa by-election.

Issues[edit]

The election was complicated by the Petrov Affair, in which Vladimir Petrov, an attache to the Soviet embassy in Canberra, defected amidst a storm of publicity, claiming that there were Soviet spy rings within Australia. Given that the 1951 election had been fought over the issue of banning the Communist Party of Australia altogether, it is unsurprising that such a claim would gain credibility.[citation needed]

Results[edit]

  Labor: 57 seats
  Liberal: 47 seats
  Country: 17 seats
House of Reps (IRV) — 1954–55—Turnout 96.09% (CV) — Informal 1.35%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 2,266,979 50.07 +2.44 57 +5
  Liberal–Country coalition 2,153,970 47.57 –2.77 64 –5
  Liberal  1,765,799 39.00 –1.62 47 –5
  Country  388,171 8.57 –1.15 17 0
  Communist 56,675 1.25 +0.27 0 0
  Independents 50,027 1.11 +0.06 0 0
  Total 4,527,651     121
Two-party-preferred (estimated)
  Liberal–Country coalition WIN 49.30 −1.40 64 −5
  Labor 50.70 +1.40 57 +5

Notes
Popular Vote
Labor
50.07%
Liberal
39.00%
Country
8.52%
Communist
1.25%
Independent
1.10%
Two Party Preferred Vote
Labor
50.70%
Coalition
49.30%
Parliament Seats
Coalition
52.89%
Labor
47.11%

Seats changing hands[edit]

Seat Pre-1954 Swing Post-1954
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Bass, Tas   Liberal Bruce Kekwick 3.4 4.4 1.0 Lance Barnard Labor  
Flinders, Vic   Labor Keith Ewert 5.1 4.3 1.6 Robert Lindsay Liberal  
Griffith, Qld   Liberal Doug Berry 3.7 4.1 0.4 Wilfred Coutts Labor  
St George, NSW   Liberal Bill Graham 1.6 4.3 2.7 Nelson Lemmon Labor  
Sturt, SA   Liberal Keith Wilson 2.4 5.4 3.0 Norman Makin Labor  
Swan, WA   Liberal Bill Grayden 3.3 4.9 1.6 Harry Webb Labor  

Aftermath[edit]

The 20th session of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia. This was the first time a reigning monarch had opened a session of parliament in Australia. The Queen wore her Coronation Dress to open the 20th session of parliament. The success of the 1954 Royal Tour of Australia (the first by a reigning sovereign), the recovery of the economy from a brief recession in 1951-52 and the Petrov Affair were all credited with assisting in the return of the government.

See also[edit]

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.