The Coalition of the Liberal Party, led by Sir Robert Menzies, and the Country Party, had been in power since 1949. In spite of a major global downturn in early 1958, the Coalition was returned to power and there was a swing against the Australian Labor Party (ALP). This was due largely to support for the breakaway Democratic Labor Party. The ALP remained out of office at the national level until 1972.
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.