Higgins by-election, 1968

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A by-election was held for the Australian House of Representatives seat of Higgins on 24 February 1968. It was triggered by the presumed death of then-current Prime Minister and Liberal Party MP Harold Holt.

On 15 January 1968, the speaker stated that there was conclusive evidence that Holt had died, and that a writ would be issued for the by-election. Senator John Gorton, who had been elected party leader and Prime Minister by his party colleagues on 9 January, was preselected unopposed to run for the Liberal Party on 31 January. The Australian Labor Party nominated David Bennett, a research officer with the Australian Council for Educational Research, whilst the Democratic Labor Party, who had received 11.56% of the vote at the November 1966 election in the seat, opted not to contest the election. The other two candidates were Dr Leonard Webber for the Australia Reform Movement, and a Sydney journalist, Frank Courtis.[1]

Gorton won the by-election for the Liberals with an increased primary vote.


Higgins by-election, 1968[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal John Gorton 24,067 69.40 +6.12
Labor David Bennett 9,601 27.69 +2.53
Reform Movement Leonard Weber 662 1.91 +1.91
Independent Frank Courtis 347 1.00 +1.00
Total formal votes 34,677 98.63 +1.39
Informal votes 481 1.37 –1.39
Turnout 35,158 84.87 –9.45
Liberal hold Swing +6.12

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hughes, Colin (August 1968). "Australian Political Chronicle: January–April 1968". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 14 (2): 235–236. ISSN 0004-9522. 
  2. ^ "By-elections 1966-1969". Psephos.