1958 Australian federal election

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1958 Australian federal election
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
  1955 22 November 1958 1961  

All 122 seats of the House of Representatives
62 seats were needed for a majority in the House
32 (of the 60) seats of the Senate
 First partySecond party
  Portrait Menzies 1950s.jpg Herbert V. Evatt.jpg
Leader Robert Menzies H. V. Evatt
Party Liberal/Country coalition Labor
Leader since 23 September 1943 13 June 1951
Leader's seat Kooyong (Vic.) Barton (NSW)
Last election75 seats47 seats
Seats won77 seats45 seats
Seat changeIncrease2.svg2Decrease2.svg2
Percentage54.10%45.90%
SwingDecrease2.svg0.10%Increase2.svg0.10%

Australia 1958 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

Federal elections were held in Australia on 22 November 1958. All 122 seats in the House of Representatives and 32 of the 60 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Liberal–Country coalition led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies defeated the opposition Labor Party, led by H. V. Evatt.

Elections in Australia discussion of elections conducted in Australia

Elections in Australia take place periodically to elect the legislature of the Commonwealth of Australia, as well as for each Australian state and territory. Elections in all jurisdictions follow similar principles, though there are minor variations between them. The elections for the Australian Parliament are held under the federal electoral system, which is uniform throughout the country, and the elections for state and territory Parliaments are held under the electoral system of each state and territory.

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.

Contents

Issues

In spite of a major global downturn in early 1958, the Coalition was returned to power and there was an even swing against the Labor Party. This was due largely to support for the breakaway Democratic Labor Party. This was the first Australian election campaign to be fought using television as a medium for communicating with voters. Menzies was interviewed on television, while opposition figures H. V. Evatt and Arthur Calwell took part in debates with ministers Harold Holt and William McMahon. Somewhat surprisingly Menzies emerged as a confident and effective television performer.[ citation needed ] This may have contributed to the better than expected result for the government.[ citation needed ]

The Recession of 1958, also known as the Eisenhower Recession, was a sharp worldwide economic downturn in 1958. The effect of the recession spread beyond United States borders to Europe and Canada, causing many businesses to shut down. It was the most significant recession during the post-World War II boom between 1945 and 1970 and had a sharp economic decline that only lasted eight months. By the time recovery began in May 1958, most lost ground had been regained. As 1958 ended, the economy was heading towards new high levels of employment and production. Overall, the recession was regarded as a moderate one based on the duration and extent of declines in employment, production, and income.

Democratic Labor Party (historical) former political party in Australia

The Democratic Labor Party (DLP) was an Australian political party. The party came into existence following the 1955 Labor split as the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist), was renamed the Democratic Labor Party in 1957 and continued to exist until 1978.

H. V. Evatt Australian judge and politician

Herbert Vere Evatt,, usually known as H. V. Evatt or Bert Evatt, and often as "Doc" Evatt on account of his Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree, was an Australian judge, lawyer, parliamentarian and writer.

Results

House of Representatives

House of Reps (IRV) — 1958–61—Turnout 95.48% (CV) — Informal 2.87%
PartyVotes%SwingSeatsChange
  Liberal–Country coalition 2,298,51246.55–1.1277+2
  Liberal  1,859,18037.23−2.5258+1
  Country  465,3209.32+1.4119+1
  Labor 2,137,89042.81−1.8445−2
  Democratic Labor 389,6887.80+2.6300
  Queensland Labor 80,0351.60+1.6000
  Communist 26,3370.53–0.6300
  Nationalist 3,5770.07+0.0700
  Independent 31,4660.63–0.7400
 Total4,993,493  122
Two-party-preferred (estimated)
  Liberal–Country coalition WIN54.10−0.1077+2
  Labor 45.90+0.1045−2
Popular Vote
Labor
42.81%
Liberal
37.23%
DLP/QLP
9.41%
Country
9.32%
Other
1.23%
Two Party Preferred Vote
Coalition
54.10%
Labor
45.90%
Parliament Seats
Coalition
63.11%
Labor
36.89%

Senate

Senate (STV) — 1958–61—Turnout 95.48% (CV) — Informal 10.29%
PartyVotes%SwingSeats WonSeats HeldChange
  Liberal–Country coalition 2,084,19345.19–3.491632+2
 Liberal–Country joint ticket1,077,58623.36–16.029N/AN/A
  Liberal 953,85620.68+12.02625+1
  Country 52,7511.14+0.5117+1
  Labor 1,973,02742.78+2.171526–2
  Democratic Labor 314,7556.82+0.72120
  Communist 134,2632.91−0.73000
  Queensland Labor 73,0371.66+1.66000
 Other12,5110.27+0.27000
  Independents 20,2730.44–0.46000
 Total4,612,059  3260
Notes

Seats changing hands

SeatPre-1958SwingPost-1958
PartyMemberMarginMarginMemberParty
Braddon, Tas  Liberal Aubrey Luck 8.99.30.4 Ron Davies Labor 
Griffith, Qld  Labor Wilfred Coutts 1.31.40.1 Arthur Chresby Liberal 
Herbert, Qld  Labor Bill Edmonds 6.68.11.5 John Murray Liberal 
Indi, Vic  Liberal William Bostock N/A28.66.5 Mac Holten Country 
Kalgoorlie, WA  Labor Herbert Johnson N/A11.40.3 Peter Browne Liberal 
Moore, WA  Country Hugh Leslie 100.052.92.9 Hugh Halbert Liberal 
St George, NSW  Liberal Bill Graham 2.42.50.1 Lionel Clay Labor 
Stirling, WA  Labor Harry Webb 2.83.00.2 Doug Cash Liberal 
Wimmera, Vic  Liberal William Lawrence N/A22.75.9 Robert King Country 

See also

This is a list of members of the Australian House of Representatives from 1958 to 1961, as elected at the 1958 federal election.

This is a list of members of the Australian Senate from 1959 to 1962. Half of its members were elected at the 10 December 1955 election and had terms starting on 1 July 1956 and finishing on 30 June 1962; the other half were elected at the 22 November 1958 election and had terms starting on 1 July 1959 and finishing on 30 June 1965. The process for filling casual vacancies was complex. While senators were elected for a six year term, people appointed to a casual vacancy only held office until the earlier of the next election for the House of Representatives or the Senate.

Notes

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    References