1917 Australian federal election

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1917 Australian federal election
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
  1914 5 May 1917 (1917-05-05) 1919  

All 75 seats in the House of Representatives
38 seats were needed for a majority in the House
18 (of the 36) seats in the Senate
 First partySecond party
  Billy Hughes 1916.jpg Franktudor.jpg
Leader Billy Hughes Frank Tudor
Party Nationalist Labor
Leader since17 February 191714 November 1916
Leader's seat West Sydney (NSW)
won Bendigo (Vic.)
Yarra (Vic.)
Last electionN/A42 seats
Seats won53 seats22 seats
Seat changeIncrease2.svg21Decrease2.svg20
Popular vote1,021,138827,541

Australia 1917 federal election.png
Popular vote by state with graphs indicating the number of seats won. As this is an FPTP election, seat totals are not determined by popular vote by state but instead via results in each electorate.

Prime Minister before election

Billy Hughes

Subsequent Prime Minister

Billy Hughes

The 1917 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 5 May 1917. All 75 seats in the House of Representatives and 18 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Nationalist Party, led by Prime Minister Billy Hughes, defeated the opposition Labor Party led by Frank Tudor in a landslide.


Hughes, at the time a member of the ALP, had become prime minister when Andrew Fisher retired in 1915. The Australian Labor Party split of 1916 over the conscription issue had led Hughes and 24 other pro-conscription Labor MPs to split off as the National Labor Party, which was able to form a minority government supported by the Commonwealth Liberal Party under Joseph Cook. Later that year, National Labor and the Liberals merged to form the Nationalist Party, with Hughes as leader and Cook as deputy leader. The election was fought in the aftermath of the 1916 plebiscite on conscription, which had been narrowly defeated. The Nationalists won a decisive victory, securing the largest majority government since Federation. The ALP suffered a large electoral swing against it, losing almost seven percent of its vote from 1914. The swing was magnified by the large number of former Labor MPs who followed Hughes out of the party.


House of Representatives

House of Reps 1917–1919 (FPTP) – Turnout 78.30% (Non-CV) – Informal 2.64%
Australia House of Representatives 1917.svg
  Nationalist 1,021,13854.22+7.0153+21
  Labor 827,54143.94–6.9622–20
  Independents 34,7551.850.050–1
 Total 1,883,434  75
  Nationalist WIN53+21
  Labor 2220
Popular Vote
Parliament Seats


Senate 1917–1919 (FPTP BV) – Turnout 77.69% (Non-CV) – Informal N/A
Australia Senate 1917.svg
PartyVotes%SwingSeats WonSeats HeldChange
  Nationalist 3,516,35455.37+7.601824+18
  Labor 2,776,64843.728.4201218
  Socialist Labor 32,6920.51+0.51000
  Independents 24,6760.39+0.39000
 Total 6,350,370  1836


Seats changing hands

Bass, Tas  Labor Jens Jensen Jens Jensen Nationalist 
Bendigo, Vic  Labor Alfred Hampson 0.912.57.4 Billy Hughes Nationalist 
Boothby, SA  Labor George Dankel 5.319.814.5 William Story Nationalist 
Corio, Vic  Labor Alfred Ozanne John Lister Nationalist 
Darwin, Tas  Labor King O'Malley Charles Howroyd Nationalist 
Denison, Tas  Labor William Laird Smith 5.912.26.3 William Laird Smith Nationalist 
Fawkner, Vic  Labor Joseph Hannan 9.310.7N/A George Maxwell Nationalist 
Fremantle, WA  Labor Reginald Burchell 6.325.218.9 Reginald Burchell Nationalist 
Gippsland, Vic  Independent George Wise 1.024.722.7 George Wise Nationalist 
Grey, SA  Labor Alexander Poynton Alexander Poynton Nationalist 
Gwydir, NSW  Labor William Webster 3.810.36.5 William Webster Nationalist 
Herbert, Qld  Labor Fred Bamford 14.415.71.3 Fred Bamford Nationalist 
Hindmarsh, SA  Labor William Archibald 24.430.25.8 William Archibald Nationalist 
Illawarra, NSW  Labor George Burns Hector Lamond Nationalist 
Indi, Vic  Labor Parker Moloney John Leckie Nationalist 
Kalgoorlie, WA  Labor Hugh Mahon Edward Heitmann Nationalist 
Oxley, Qld  Labor James Sharpe James Bayley Nationalist 
Werriwa, NSW  Labor John Lynch John Lynch Nationalist 

Post-election pendulum

Nationalist Party
Moreton (Qld) Hugh Sinclair NAT00.1
Angas (SA) Paddy Glynn NAT00.8
Kalgoorlie (WA) Edward Heitmann NAT01.3
Herbert (Qld) Fred Bamford NAT01.3
Fawkner (Vic) George Maxwell NAT01.4
Calare (NSW) Henry Pigott NAT01.8
Hume (NSW) Franc Falkiner NAT01.9
Werriwa (NSW) John Lynch NAT02.8
Oxley (Qld) James Bayley NAT02.8
Wide Bay (Qld) Edward Corser NAT02.9
Illawarra (NSW) Hector Lamond NAT04.3
Wannon (Vic) Arthur Rodgers NAT04.8
Hindmarsh (SA) William Archibald NAT05.8
Fairly safe
Darling Downs (Qld) Littleton Groom NAT06.1
Robertson (NSW) William Fleming NAT06.2
Wakefield (SA) Richard Foster NAT06.2
Indi (Vic) John Leckie NAT06.2
Denison (Tas) William Laird Smith NAT06.3
Gwydir (NSW) William Webster NAT06.5
Grampians (Vic) Carty Salmon NAT07.0
Eden-Monaro (NSW) Austin Chapman NAT07.2
Corio (Vic) John Lister NAT07.3
Bendigo (Vic) Billy Hughes NAT07.4
Grey (SA) Alexander Poynton NAT07.7
Darwin (Tas) Charles Howroyd NAT08.8
Riverina (NSW) John Chanter NAT09.2 vs IND
Bass (Tas) Alexander Poynton NAT09.9
Corangamite (Vic) Chester Manifold NAT10.4
Lang (NSW) Elliot Johnson NAT10.4
Nepean (NSW) Richard Orchard NAT10.5
Echuca (Vic) Albert Palmer NAT10.7
Flinders (Vic) William Irvine NAT11.2
Lilley (Qld) George Mackay NAT12.7
Barker (SA) John Livingston NAT13.9
Wilmot (Tas) Llewellyn Atkinson NAT14.2
Boothby (SA) William Story NAT14.5
Parkes (NSW) Bruce Smith NAT15.4
Balaclava (Vic) William Watt NAT16.6
Wentworth (NSW) Willie Kelly NAT18.5
Fremantle (WA) Reginald Burchell NAT18.9
Perth (WA) James Fowler NAT19.5
Very safe
Henty (Vic) James Boyd NAT20.6
Dampier (WA) Henry Gregory NAT21.4
Gippsland (Vic) George Wise NAT22.7
Parramatta (NSW) Joseph Cook NAT23.8 vs IND
Richmond (NSW) Walter Massy-Greene NAT25.2
Cowper (NSW) John Thomson NATunopposed
Franklin (Tas) William McWilliams NATunopposed
Kooyong (Vic) Robert Best NATunopposed
New England (NSW) Percy Abbott NATunopposed
North Sydney (NSW) Granville Ryrie NATunopposed
Swan (WA) John Forrest NATunopposed
Wimmera (Vic) Sydney Sampson NATunopposed
Australian Labor Party
Macquarie (NSW) Samuel Nicholls ALP00.0
Brisbane (Qld) William Finlayson ALP00.0
Maribyrnong (Vic) James Fenton ALP02.2
Capricornia (Qld) William Higgs ALP02.3
Barrier (NSW) Michael Considine ALP02.5 vs IND
Darling (NSW) Arthur Blakeley ALP03.3
Hunter (NSW) Matthew Charlton ALP03.4
Dalley (NSW) William Mahony ALP04.0
Bourke (Vic) Frank Anstey ALP04.5
Maranoa (Qld) Jim Page ALP04.8
Fairly safe
Newcastle (NSW) David Watkins ALP08.0
Melbourne (Vic) William Maloney ALP10.3
Batman (Vic) Frank Brennan ALP10.9
Kennedy (Qld) Charles McDonald ALP12.8
South Sydney (NSW) Edward Riley ALP13.3
Cook (NSW) James Catts ALP14.4
Melbourne Ports (Vic) James Mathews ALP16.3
West Sydney (NSW) Con Wallace ALP16.5
Very safe
Yarra (Vic) Frank Tudor ALP21.3
Adelaide (SA) George Edwin Yates ALPunopposed
Ballaarat (Vic) Charles McGrath ALPunopposed
East Sydney (NSW) John West ALPunopposed

See also


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