1966 Australian federal election

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1966 Australian federal election
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
  1963 26 November 1966 1969  

All 124 seats of the Australian House of Representatives
63 seats were needed for a majority
 First partySecond party
  Harold Holt 1965 01.jpg Arthur Calwell 1966.jpg
Leader Harold Holt Arthur Calwell
Party Liberal/Country coalition Labor
Leader since 20 January 1966 7 March 1960
Leader's seat Higgins (Vic.) Melbourne (Vic.)
Last election72 seats50 seats
Seats won82 seats41 seats
Seat changeIncrease2.svg10Decrease2.svg9
Percentage56.90%43.10%
SwingIncrease2.svg4.30%Decrease2.svg4.30%

Australia 1966 federal election.png
Popular vote by state and territory with graphs indicating the number of seats won. As this is an IRV election, seat totals are not determined by popular vote by state or territory but instead via results in each electorate.

Prime Minister before election

Harold Holt
Liberal/Country coalition

Subsequent Prime Minister

Harold Holt
Liberal/Country coalition

The 1966 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 26 November 1966. All 124 seats in the House of Representatives were up for election. The incumbent Liberal–Country coalition government, led by Prime Minister Harold Holt, won an increased majority over the opposition Labor Party, led by Arthur Calwell.

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.

Harold Holt Australian politician, 17th Prime Minister of Australia

Harold Edward Holt,, was an Australian politician who served as the 17th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1966 until his presumed drowning death in 1967. He was the leader of the Liberal Party during that time.

Australian Labor Party Political party in Australia

The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.

Contents

This was the first federal election that future opposition leader Andrew Peacock contested as a member of parliament, having entered parliament at the 1966 Kooyong by-election.

Andrew Peacock Australian politician

Andrew Sharp Peacock AC GCL is a former Australian politician and diplomat. He served twice as leader of the Liberal Party, leading the party to defeat at the 1984 and 1990 elections. He had earlier been a long-serving cabinet minister.

A by-election was held for the Australian House of Representatives seat of Kooyong on 2 April 1966, following the resignation of Liberal Party MP and former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies on 16 February 1966.

Issues

Robert Menzies had retired from politics in January. His successor, former Treasurer Holt, was stylish, debonair and popular with the electorate. He cast a sharp contrast with the much rougher figure of Arthur Calwell, who had already lost two elections. Calwell held to the beliefs that had been central to the last Labor Government of 1941–1949, many of which were seen as being old-fashioned in 1966. For example, he still defended socialism, the White Australia Policy, and nationalization. He also came across poorly on television compared to Holt, and looked and sounded older than his 70 years.

Robert Menzies Australian politician, 12th Prime Minister of Australia

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies,, was an Australian politician who twice served as Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He played a central role in the creation of the Liberal Party of Australia, defining its policies and its broad outreach. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total.

Nationalization, or nationalisation, is the process of transforming private assets into public assets by bringing them under the public ownership of a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets or assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being transferred to the state. The opposites of nationalization are privatization and demutualization. When previously nationalized assets are privatized and subsequently returned to public ownership at a later stage, they are said to have undergone renationalization. Industries that are usually subject to nationalization include telephones, electric power, fossil fuels, railways, airlines, iron ore, media, postal services, banks, and water.

In addition, a strong economy and initial enthusiasm for Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War virtually guaranteed the Coalition another term. The Coalition campaigned with the slogan "Keep Australia secure and prosperous – play it safe". [1]

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was a conflict in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war, considered a Cold War-era proxy war by some, lasted 19 years, with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist in 1975.

The election was a landslide win for the Coalition, which won twice as many seats as Labor. The Liberals actually came up two seats short of a majority in their own right, the closest that the major non-Labor party had come to governing in its own right since adopting the Liberal banner. Holt's victory was greater than any of Menzies' eight victories, and resulted in the largest majority government in Australian history at the time. It was seen as the electoral high point of both Holt's Prime Ministership and the 23 years of continuous Coalition rule.

Calwell retired to the backbench a month after the election and was succeeded by Deputy Labor leader Gough Whitlam.

Gough Whitlam Australian politician, 21st Prime Minister of Australia

Edward Gough Whitlam was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1972 to 1975. The Leader of the Labor Party from 1967 to 1977, Whitlam led his party to power for the first time in 23 years at the 1972 election. He won the 1974 election before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. Whitlam remains the only Australian prime minister to have his commission terminated in that manner.

Results

House of Reps (IRV) — 1966–69—Turnout 95.13% (CV) — Informal 3.10%
PartyVotes%SwingSeatsChange
  Liberal–Country coalition 2,853,89049.98+3.9482+10
  Liberal  2,291,96440.14+3.0561+9
  Country 561,9269.84+0.9021+1
  Labor 2,282,83439.98–5.4941–9
  Democratic Labor 417,4117.31–0.1300
  Liberal Reform 49,6100.87+0.8700
  Communist 23,0560.40–0.1900
  Independents 82,9481.45+0.981+1
 Total5,709,749  124+2
Two-party-preferred (estimated)
  Liberal–Country coalition WIN56.90+4.3082+10
  Labor 43.104.30419

Independents: Sam Benson

Popular Vote
Liberal
40.14%
Labor
39.98%
Country
9.84%
DLP
7.31%
Independents
1.45%
Other
1.27%
Two Party Preferred Vote
Coalition
56.90%
Labor
43.10%
Parliament Seats
Coalition
66.13%
Labor
33.06%
Independents
0.81%

Seats changing hands

SeatPre-1966SwingPost-1966
PartyMemberMarginMarginMemberParty
Adelaide, SA  Labor Joe Sexton 7.210.02.8 Andrew Jones Liberal 
Barton, NSW  Labor Len Reynolds 0.72.92.2 Bill Arthur Liberal 
Batman, Vic  Labor Sam Benson N/A8.77.8 Sam Benson Independent 
Eden-Monaro, NSW  Labor Allan Fraser 2.73.40.7 Dugald Munro Liberal 
Grey, SA  Labor Jack Mortimer 4.87.83.0 Don Jessop Liberal 
Griffith, Qld  Labor Wilfred Coutts 5.86.91.1 Don Cameron Liberal 
Herbert, Qld  Labor Ted Harding 3.24.31.1 Robert Bonnett Liberal 
Hughes, NSW  Labor Les Johnson 2.74.72.0 Don Dobie Liberal 
Kennedy, Qld  Labor Bill Riordan 13.515.01.5 Bob Katter Country 
Kingston, SA  Labor Pat Galvin 4.512.78.2 Kay Brownbill Liberal 
Lalor, Vic  Labor Reg Pollard 7.07.70.7 Mervyn Lee Liberal 
Northern Territory, NT  Labor Jock Nelson 100.051.71.7 Sam Calder Country 

See also

Elections were held on 5 December 1964 to elect members to half of the 60 seats in the Australian Senate. There was no accompanying election to the House of Representatives, as Robert Menzies had called an early House-only election the previous year. As with the previous Senate election, the Coalition held exactly half of the seats in the chamber; the Democratic Labor Party and independent senator Reg Turnbull held the balance of power.

Elections were held on 25 November 1967 to elect half of the 60 seats in the Australian Senate. There was no accompanying election to the House of Representatives as the two election cycles had been out of synchronisation since 1963. The results were a setback for the government of Harold Holt. Having won a landslide victory at the House-only election the previous year, the Coalition instead lost two seats in the Senate. The Labor Party failed to make any gains in Gough Whitlam's first election as leader; the Democratic Labor Party gained two seats and would hold the balance of power until 1974.

This is a list of members of the Australian House of Representatives from 1966 to 1969, as elected at the 1966 federal election.

Notes

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References