1951 Australian federal election

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1951 Australian federal election
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
  1949 28 April 1951 1954  

All 121 seats of the House of Representatives
61 seats were needed for a majority in the House
All 60 seats of the Senate
 First partySecond party
  Portrait Menzies 1950s.jpg Benchifley.jpg
Leader Robert Menzies Ben Chifley
Party Liberal/Country coalition Labor
Leader since 23 September 1943 13 July 1945
Leader's seat Kooyong (Vic.) Macquarie (NSW)
Last election74 seats47 seats
Seats won69 seats52 seats
Seat changeDecrease2.svg5Increase2.svg5
Percentage50.70%49.30%
SwingDecrease2.svg0.30Increase2.svg0.30

Australia 1951 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
Liberal/Country coalition

Subsequent Prime Minister

Robert Menzies
Liberal/Country coalition

The 1951 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 28 April 1951. All 121 seats in the House of Representatives and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution called after the Senate rejected the Commonwealth Bank Bill. [1] The incumbent Liberal–Country coalition led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies defeated the opposition Labor Party led by Ben Chifley with a modestly reduced majority, and secured a majority in the Senate. This was the last time the Labor party ever held a Senate majority. Chifley died just over a month after the election.

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 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.

Double dissolution procedure of dissolving both houses of the Australian Parliament

A double dissolution is a procedure permitted under the Australian Constitution to resolve deadlocks in the bicameral Parliament of Australia between the House of Representatives and the Senate. A double dissolution is the only circumstance in which the entire Senate can be dissolved.

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.

Contents

Issues

Although the Coalition had won a comfortable majority in the House in 1949, Labor still had a four-seat majority in the Senate. Chifley thus made it his business to obstruct Menzies' agenda at every opportunity. Realizing this, Menzies sought to call a double dissolution at the first opportunity in hopes of gaining control of both houses. He thought he had his chance in 1950, when he introduced a bill to ban the Australian Communist Party. However, after a redraft, Chifley let the bill pass.

A few months later, the Senate rejected the Commonwealth Banking Bill, finally giving Menzies an excuse to call a double dissolution. While the Coalition lost five House seats to Labor, it still had a solid mandate. More importantly, it picked up six Senate seats, giving it control over both chambers.

Results

House of Representatives

Labor: 52 seats
Liberal: 52 seats
Country: 17 seats Australian Federal Election, 1951.svg
  Labor: 52 seats
  Liberal: 52 seats
  Country: 17 seats
House of Reps (IRV) — 1951–54—Turnout 96.00% (CV) — Informal 1.90%
PartyVotes%SwingSeatsChange
  Liberal–Country coalition 2,298,51250.34+0.0869–5
  Liberal  1,854,79940.62+1.2352–3
  Country  443,7139.72–1.1517–2
  Labor 2,174,84047.63+1.6552+5
  Communist 44,7820.98+0.0900
  Independents 47,7651.05–1.1100
 Total4,565,899  121
Two-party-preferred (estimated)
  Liberal–Country coalition WIN50.700.30695
  Labor 49.30+0.3052+5

Notes
Popular Vote
Labor
47.63%
Liberal
40.62%
Country
9.72%
Independent
1.05%
Communist
0.98%
Two Party Preferred Vote
Coalition
50.70%
Labor
49.30%
Parliament Seats
Coalition
57.02%
Labor
42.98%

Senate

Senate (STV) — 1951–53—Turnout 95.99% (CV) — Informal 7.13%
PartyVotes%SwingSeats WonSeats HeldChange
  Liberal–Country coalition 2,198,68749.70–0.713232+6
 Liberal–Country joint ticket1,925,63143.52–1.1222N/AN/A
  Liberal 273,0566.17+0.411026+5
  Country N/AN/AN/AN/A6+1
  Labor 2,029,75145.88+0.9928286
  Communist 93,5612.11+0.02000
  Lang Labor 60,5491.37+1.37000
  Protestant People's 13,0900.30–0.59000
  Henry George Justice 6,0150.14+0.14000
  Independents 22,5840.51–1.20000
 Total4,424,237  6060

Seats changing hands

SeatPre-1951SwingPost-1951
PartyMemberMarginMarginMemberParty
Australian Capital Territory, ACT  Independent Lewis Nott 3.86.72.9 Jim Fraser Labor 
Ballaarat, Vic  Liberal Alan Pittard 0.41.61.2 Bob Joshua Labor 
Hume, NSW  Country Charles Anderson 1.01.30.3 Arthur Fuller Labor 
Kingston, SA  Liberal Jim Handby 1.63.41.8 Pat Galvin Labor 
Leichhardt, Qld  Country Tom Gilmore 1.01.30.3 Harry Bruce Labor 
Wannon, Vic  Liberal Dan Mackinnon 0.81.91.1 Don McLeod Labor 

See also

This is a list of members of the Australian Senate from 1951 to 1953. The 28 April 1951 election was a double dissolution called by Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies in an attempt to gain control of the Senate and to pass a bill to ban the Communist Party of Australia, if necessary at a joint sitting of both houses. All 121 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Menzies with coalition partner the Country Party led by Arthur Fadden defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Ben Chifley and gained control of the Senate with 32 seats to Labor's 28.

Notes

  1. "Parliament of Australia: Senate: Publications: Odgers' Guide to Australian Senate Practice – Twelfth Edition – Chapter 21 – Relations with the House of Representatives – Simultaneous dissolutions of 1951". Aph.gov.au. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2010.

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References