1940 Australian federal election

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1940 Australian federal election
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
  1937 21 September 1940 1943  

All 74 seats of the House of Representatives
38 seats were needed for a majority in the House
19 (of the 36) seats of the Senate
 First partySecond party
  Robert Menzies in 1939.jpg JohnCurtin1938.png
Leader Robert Menzies John Curtin
Party UAP/Country coalition Labor
Leader since 26 April 1939 1 October 1935
Leader's seat Kooyong (Vic.) Fremantle (WA)
Last election44 seats29 seats
Seats won36 seats32 seats
Seat changeDecrease2.svg8Increase2.svg3
Percentage49.70%50.30%
SwingDecrease2.svg0.90%Increase2.svg0.90%

Australia 1940 federal election.png
Popular vote by state with graphs indicating the number of seats won. As this is an IRV election, seat totals are not determined by popular vote by state but instead via results in each electorate.

Prime Minister before election

Robert Menzies
UAP/Country coalition

Subsequent Prime Minister

Robert Menzies
UAP/Country coalition

The 1940 Australian Federal election was held in Australia on 21 September 1940. All 74 seats in the House of Representatives and 19 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Coalition, consisting of the United Australia Party led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies and the Country Party led by Archie Cameron, defeated the opposition Labor Party under John Curtin.

Australian Senate upper house of the Australian Parliament

The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the Australian House of Representatives. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Chapter I of the Constitution of Australia. There are a total of 76 Senators: 12 are elected from each of the six Australian states regardless of population and 2 from each of the two autonomous internal Australian territories. Senators are popularly elected under the single transferable vote system of proportional representation.

Coalition (Australia) group of centre-right parties in Australia

The Liberal–National Coalition is an alliance of centre-right political parties that forms one of the two major groupings in Australian federal politics. Its main opponent is the Australian Labor Party (ALP), and the two forces are often regarded as operating in a two-party system. The Coalition has been in government since the 2013 federal election, most recently being re-elected in the 2019 Australian federal election. The group is led by Scott Morrison as Prime Minister of Australia since August 2018.

United Australia Party former Australian political party (1931-1945)

The United Australia Party (UAP) was an Australian political party that was founded in 1931 and dissolved in 1945. The party won four federal elections in that time, usually governing in coalition with the Country Party. It provided two Prime Ministers of Australia – Joseph Lyons (1932–1939) and Robert Menzies (1939–1941).

Contents

The Coalition had won 36 seats, two short of a majority, but formed a government on 28 October 1940 with the support of both independent crossbenchers, Alexander Wilson and Arthur Coles. The four MPs elected to Lang Labor's successor, the Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist), officially re-joined the ALP just months after the election in February 1941, bringing the ALP seat tally up to 36. The UAP–Country minority government lasted only until October 1941, when the two independents crossed the floor and allowed the ALP to form a minority government with Curtin as prime minister. It remains the only time since the 1910 introduction of an elected two-party system where the government changed as the result of a parliamentary confidence vote.

Alexander Wilson was an Australian wheat farmer and federal politician who played a key role in the downfall of the Fadden Government in 1941.

Arthur Coles Australian politician

Sir Arthur William "A.W." Coles was a prominent Australian businessman and philanthropist, a son of St James, Victoria shopkeeper George W. Coles.

Lang Labor

Lang Labor was a faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) consisting of the supporters of Jack Lang, who served two terms as Premier of New South Wales and was the party's state leader from 1923 to 1939. On several occasions, its members broke away from the ALP and formed separate political parties, with representation in both state and federal parliaments.

Future opposition leaders H.V. Evatt and Arthur Calwell both entered parliament at this election.

Arthur Calwell Australian politician

Arthur Augustus Calwell KCSG was an Australian politician who served as the leader of the Labor Party from 1960 to 1967. He led the party to three federal elections without success.

Background

Until the 1940 Canberra air disaster on 13 August, Menzies was not planning an election so early, as it was not due until December 1940 or even as late as January 1941.[ citation needed ] However, the loss of three Cabinet ministers meant that three by-elections would have been required, followed within a few short months by a general election. Bringing the general election on earlier than planned was the preferred solution.

1940 Canberra air disaster Air crash in Australia

The 1940 Canberra air disaster was an aircraft crash that occurred near Canberra, the capital of Australia, on 13 August 1940, during World War II. All ten people on board were killed: six passengers, including three members of the Australian Cabinet and the Chief of the General Staff; and four crew. The aircraft is believed to have stalled on its landing approach, when it was too low to recover.

Both the Coalition and Labor supported Australia's ongoing participation in World War II. The Coalition's advertisements asked Australians to "Cast Your Vote for Unity and an All-in War Effort / Back the Government that's Backing Churchill", with a large picture of the British Prime Minister. Labor promised "A New Deal / for the Soldier / for the Soldier's wife / Widows, the Aged and Infirm / the Taxpayer / the Working Man / the Primary Producer". [1]

Military history of Australia during World War II

Australia entered World War II on 3 September 1939, following the government's acceptance of the United Kingdom's declaration of war on Nazi Germany. Following attacks on Allied countries, the Australian government later declared war on other members of the Axis powers, including the Kingdom of Italy and the Empire of Japan. By the end of the war, almost a million Australians had served in the armed forces, whose military units fought primarily in the European theatre, North African campaign, and the South West Pacific theatre. In addition, Australia came under direct attack for the first time in its post-colonial history. Its casualties from enemy action during the war were 27,073 killed and 23,477 wounded.

Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during most of World War II

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as a Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, for most of his career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but from 1904 to 1924 was instead a member of the Liberal Party.

Results

House of Representatives

Australian Federal Election, 1940 Australian Federal Election, 1940.svg
Australian Federal Election, 1940
House of Reps (IRV) — 1940–43—Turnout 94.82% (CV) — Informal 2.56%
PartyVotes%SwingSeatsChange
  UAP–Country coalition 1,703,18543.93–4.6536–8
  United Australia  1,171,78830.22–3.4923–5
  Country  531,39713.71–1.8413–3
  Labor 1,556,94140.163.0132+3
  Lang Labor 202,7215.23+5.234+4
  State Labor 101,1912.61+2.6100
  Defence Movement 15,3130.40+0.4000
  Protestant Labor 8,3000.21+0.2100
  Independents 289,3357.46+1.9020
 Total3,876,986  74
Two-party-preferred (estimated)
  UAP–Country coalition 49.70−0.90368
  Labor 50.30+0.9032+3

Notes

The Division of Henty was an Australian Electoral Division in Victoria. The division was created in 1913 and abolished in 1990. It was named for the Henty family of Portland, the first European settlers in Victoria. It was located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, including at various times Brighton, Caulfield, Malvern and Oakleigh. For most of its history it was a safe seat for the Liberal Party and its predecessors. A 1969 redistribution cut the seat back to the Oakleigh area, and from then on it was somewhat more marginal. In 1974 it elected Joan Child, the first female Labor member of the House of Representatives and the first female Speaker.

The Division of Wimmera was an Australian electoral division in the state of Victoria. It was named after the Wimmera region in which it was located. It originally encompassed the towns of Mildura, Swan Hill and Warracknabeal, but by the time it was abolished in 1977, it had drifted south and grown smaller to only include Ararat, Horsham and Maryborough. The division was proclaimed in 1900, and was one of the original 65 divisions to be contested at the first federal election. It was abolished at the redistribution of 31 October 1977.

National Party of Australia – Victoria state division of the National Party of Australia

The National Party of Australia – Victoria is a political party in Victoria, which forms the state branch of the federal Nationals. Traditionally representing graziers, farmers and rural voters generally. The Victorian Farmer's Union formed in 1914 was the precursor to the Victorian Country Party, later the Nationals.

Popular Vote
Labor
40.16%
United Australia
30.22%
Country
13.71%
Lang Labor
5.23%
State Labor
2.61%
Independent/Other
8.07%
Two Party Preferred Vote
Labor
50.30%
Coalition
49.70%
Parliament Seats
Coalition
48.64%
Labor
43.24%
Lang Labor
5.41%
Independent
2.70%

Senate

Senate (P BV) — 1940–43—Turnout 94.75% (CV) — Informal 9.56%
PartyVotes%SwingSeats WonSeats HeldChange
  UAP–Country coalition 1,831,13850.41+3.701619–1
 UAP–Country joint ticket1,649,24145.40+16.7210N/AN/A
  United Australia  181,8975.01–11.12615–1
  Country N/AN/AN/A040
  Labor 1,363,07237.52–10.96317+1
  Non-Communist Labor 274,8617.57+7.57000
  State Labor 70,0911.93+1.93000
  Defence Movement 9,5360.26+0.26000
  Independents 84,1192.32–1.07000
 Total3,632,817  1936

Notes

Seats changing hands

SeatPre-1940SwingPost-1940
PartyMemberMarginMarginMemberParty
Barton, NSW  United Australia Albert Lane 1.813.912.1 H. V. Evatt Labor 
Calare, NSW  Country Harold Thorby 2.25.63.4 John Breen Labor 
Cook, NSW  Labor Tom Sheehan N/A33.913.6 Tom Sheehan Labor (N-C) 
Dalley, NSW  Labor Sol Rosevear N/A14.97.2 Sol Rosevear Labor (N-C) 
Denison, Tas  Labor Gerald Mahoney 3.95.01.1 Arthur Beck United Australia 
Henty, Vic  United Australia Henry Gullett N/A3.213.5 Arthur Coles Independent 
Lang, NSW  Labor Dan Mulcahy N/A13.416.0 Dan Mulcahy Labor (N-C) 
Macquarie, NSW  United Australia John Lawson 2.110.28.1 Ben Chifley Labor 
Maranoa, Qld  Country James Hunter 4.35.91.6 Frank Baker Labor 
Riverina, NSW  Country Horace Nock 7.28.81.6 Joe Langtry Labor 
Wakefield, SA  Labor Sydney McHugh 6.710.03.4 Jack Duncan-Hughes United Australia 
Wannon, Vic  United Australia Thomas Scholfield 1.35.03.7 Don McLeod Labor 
Warringah, NSW  Independent Percy Spender 1.923.625.5 Percy Spender United Australia 
Watson, NSW  United Australia John Jennings 3.85.82.0 Max Falstein Labor 
West Sydney, NSW  Labor Jack Beasley 100.064.314.3 Jack Beasley Labor (N-C) 
Wilmot, Tas  Labor Lancelot Spurr 0.25.25.0 Allan Guy United Australia 

See also

Notes

  1. Hasluck, Paul (1965). Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 4 – Civil - Volume 1, The Government and the People, 1939–1941. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. pp. 256–263.

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References