Australian federal election, 1975

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Australian federal election, 1975

← 1974 13 December 1975 1977 →

All 127 seats of the House of Representatives
64 seats were needed for a majority in the House
All 64 seats of the Senate

  First party Second party
  Malcolm Fraser 1977 - crop.jpg Gough Whitlam - ACF - crop.jpg
Leader Malcolm Fraser Gough Whitlam
Party Liberal/NCP coalition Labor
Leader since 21 March 1975 8 February 1967
Leader's seat Wannon (Vic.) Werriwa (NSW)
Last election 61 seats 66 seats
Seats won 91 seats 36 seats
Seat change Increase30 Decrease30
Popular vote 4,102,078 3,313,004
Percentage 55.70% 44.30%
Swing Increase7.40 Decrease7.40

Prime Minister before election

Malcolm Fraser
Liberal/NCP coalition

Subsequent Prime Minister

Malcolm Fraser
Liberal/NCP coalition

Federal elections were held in Australia on 13 December 1975. All 127 seats in the House of Representatives and all 64 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution.

Malcolm Fraser had been commissioned as caretaker prime minister following the dismissal of Gough Whitlam's three-year-old Labor government by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, on 11 November 1975. The same day, Fraser advised an immediate double dissolution, in accordance with Kerr's stipulated conditions (see 1975 Australian constitutional crisis).

The Coalition of Fraser's Liberal Party of Australia and Doug Anthony's National Country Party secured government in its own right, winning the largest majority government to date in Australian history. The Liberals actually won a majority in their own right, with 68 seats–the first time that the main non-Labor party had done so since adopting the Liberal banner in 1944. Although Fraser had no need for the support of the National Country Party, the Coalition was retained.

Labor suffered a 30-seat swing and saw its lower house caucus cut almost in half, to 36 seats—fewer than it had when Whitlam became leader in the aftermath of the Coalition landslide nearly 10 years earlier, in the 1966 election.

Results[edit]

House of Representatives results[edit]

Government (91)
Coalition
     Liberal (68)
     NCP (22)
     CLP (1)

Opposition (36)
     Labor (36)
House of Reps (IRV) – 1975–77—Turnout 95.39% (CV) – Informal 1.89%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Liberal–NCP coalition 4,102,078 53.05 +7.32 91 +30
  Liberal 3,232,159 41.80 +6.85 68 +28
  National Country  853,943 11.04 +0.28 22 +1
  Country Liberal 15,976 0.21 +0.21 1 +1
  Labor 3,313,004 42.84 −6.46 36 −30
  Democratic Labor 101,750 1.32 −0.10 0 0
  Workers 60,130 0.78 +0.78 0 0
  Liberal Movement 49,484 0.64 –0.14 0 0
  Australia 33,630 0.43 −1.89 0 0
  Communist 9,393 0.12 +0.11 0 0
  Independent 63,109 0.82 +0.42 0 0
  Total 7,732,578     127  
Two-party-preferred (estimated)
  Liberal–NCP coalition WIN 55.70 +7.40 91 +30
  Labor   44.30 −7.40 36 −30
Popular Vote
Labor
42.84%
Liberal
41.80%
National
11.25%
DLP
1.32%
Other
2.79%
Two Party Preferred Vote
Coalition
55.70%
Labor
44.30%
Parliament Seats
Coalition
71.65%
Labor
28.35%

Senate results[edit]

Government (35)
Coalition
     Liberal (26)
     NCP (8)
     CLP (1)

Opposition (27)
     Labor (27)

Crossbench (2)
     Liberal Movement (1)
     Independent (1)
Senate (STV) – 1975–77—Turnout 95.39% (CV) – Informal 9.10%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Won Seats Held Change
  Liberal–NCP coalition (total) 3,706,989 51.74 +7.85 35 35 +6
  Liberal–NCP joint ticket 2,855,721 39.86 +5.09 17 * *
  Liberal 793,772 11.08 +3.26 16 26 +3
  National Country 41,977 0.59 −0.71 1 8 +2
  Country Liberal 15,519 0.22 +0.22 1 1 +1
  Labor 2,931,310 40.91 −6.38 27 27 −2
  Democratic Labor 191,049 2.67 −0.89 0 0 0
  Liberal Movement 76,426 1.07 +0.11 1 1 0
  Workers 62,385 0.87 +0.87 0 0 0
  Family Movement 45,658 0.64 +0.64 0 0 0
  Australia 34,632 0.48 –0.91 0 0 0
  United Tasmania 1,227 0.02 –0.01 0 0 0
  Socialist 727 0.01 +0.01 0 0 0
  Independents 114,310 1.60 –0.52 1 1 0
  Total 7,164,713     64 64 +4
Notes

Seats changing hands[edit]

Seat Pre-1975 Swing Post-1975
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Barton, NSW   Labor Len Reynolds 5.1 10.0 4.9 Jim Bradfield Liberal  
Bowman, Qld   Labor Len Keogh 1.3 8.4 7.1 David Jull Liberal  
Braddon, Tas   Labor Ron Davies 4.8 8.6 3.8 Ray Groom Liberal  
Brisbane, Qld   Labor Manfred Cross 1.1 5.0 3.9 Peter Johnson Liberal  
Canberra, ACT   Labor Kep Enderby 7.1 10.4 3.3 John Haslem Liberal  
Capricornia, Qld   Labor Doug Everingham 4.9 5.0 0.1 Colin Carige National Country  
Casey, Vic   Labor Race Mathews 1.5 9.0 7.5 Peter Falconer Liberal  
Cook, NSW   Labor Ray Thorburn 0.5 8.3 7.8 Don Dobie Liberal  
Dawson, Qld   Labor Rex Patterson 0.6 4.2 3.6 Ray Braithwaite National Country  
Denison, Tas   Labor John Coates 2.8 7.7 4.9 Michael Hodgman Liberal  
Diamond Valley, Vic   Labor David McKenzie 0.7 9.8 9.1 Neil Brown Liberal  
Eden-Monaro, NSW   Labor Bob Whan 0.1 5.6 5.5 Murray Sainsbury Liberal  
Evans, NSW   Labor Allan Mulder 4.9 6.9 2.0 John Abel Liberal  
Franklin, Tas   Labor Ray Sherry 12.9 14.7 1.8 Bruce Goodluck Liberal  
Henty, Vic   Labor Joan Child 1.5 6.7 5.2 Ken Aldred Liberal  
Holt, Vic   Labor Max Oldmeadow 6.9 8.5 1.6 William Yates Liberal  
Isaacs, Vic   Labor Gareth Clayton 0.6 7.5 6.9 David Hamer Liberal  
Kalgoorlie, WA   Labor Fred Collard 2.1 6.3 4.3 Mick Cotter Liberal  
Kingston, SA   Labor Richard Gun 6.1 12.7 6.6 Grant Chapman Liberal  
La Trobe, Vic   Labor Tony Lamb 4.6 8.9 4.3 Marshall Baillieu Liberal  
Leichhardt, Qld   Labor Bill Fulton 3.3 5.7 2.4 David Thomson National Country  
Macarthur, NSW   Labor John Kerin 4.4 8.5 4.1 Michael Baume Liberal  
Macquarie, NSW   Labor Tony Luchetti 8.7 10.3 1.6 Reg Gillard Liberal  
McMillan, Vic   National Country Arthur Hewson N/A 2.1 6.7 Barry Simon Liberal  
Perth, WA   Labor Joe Berinson 8.2 9.0 0.8 Ross McLean Liberal  
Phillip, NSW   Labor Joe Riordan 4.5 7.1 2.6 Jack Birney Liberal  
St George, NSW   Labor Bill Morrison 5.8 5.8 0.0 Maurice Neil Liberal  
Swan, WA   Labor Adrian Bennett 5.6 7.7 2.1 John Martyr Liberal  
Tangney, WA   Labor John Dawkins 3.1 9.7 6.6 Peter Richardson Liberal  
  • Members in italics did not contest their seat at this election.

Issues and significance[edit]

The Gallagher Index result: 14.19

The election followed the controversial dismissal of the Whitlam government by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in the 1975 constitutional crisis. Labor campaigners hoped that the electorate would "maintain [its] rage" and punish the Coalition for its part in bringing down the government, proclaiming "Shame Fraser, Shame". However, the Coalition focused on economic issues following the 1973 oil crisis and 1973–75 recession, the so-called Loans Affair, alleged Labor mismanagement of inflation, and campaigned under the slogan "Turn on the lights, Australia" (drawing on a contemporary cynicism: "Would the last businessman leaving Australia please turn out the lights?").

The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory received an entitlement to elect two senators each as a consequence of the 1974 Joint Sitting of the Australian Parliament.

See also[edit]

References[edit]