1977 Australian federal election

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1977 Australian federal election
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
  1975 10 December 1977 1980  

All 124 seats of the House of Representatives
63 seats were needed for a majority in the House
34 (of the 64) seats of the Senate
 First partySecond party
  Malcolm Fraser 1977 - crop.jpg Gough Whitlam - ACF - crop.jpg
Leader Malcolm Fraser Gough Whitlam
Party Liberal/NCP coalition Labor
Leader since 21 March 1975 8 February 1967
Leader's seat Wannon (Vic.) Werriwa (NSW)
Last election91 seats36 seats
Seats won86 seats38 seats
Seat changeDecrease2.svg5Increase2.svg2
Percentage54.60%45.40%
SwingDecrease2.svg1.10%Increase2.svg1.10%

Australia 1977 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

Malcolm Fraser
Liberal/NCP coalition

Subsequent Prime Minister

Malcolm Fraser
Liberal/NCP coalition

The 1977 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 10 December 1977. All 124 seats in the House of Representatives and 34 of the 64 seats in the Senate were up for election.

Contents

The incumbent Liberal-National Country Coalition led by Malcolm Fraser, in government since 1975, was elected to a second term over the opposition Labor Party led by Gough Whitlam. While the Coalition suffered a five-seat swing, it still had a substantial 35-seat majority in the House. The Liberals retained an outright majority, with 67 seats. Although Fraser thus had no need for the support of the National Country Party, the Coalition was retained.

Whitlam became the first and only person to contest four federal elections as Leader of the Opposition. He was unable to recover much of the ground Labor had lost in its severe defeat two years prior, and resigned as leader shortly after the election.

Background and issues

The Gallagher Index result: 15.16 1977 Election Australia Gallagher Index.png
The Gallagher Index result: 15.16

The government offering tax cuts to voters and ran advertisements with the slogan "fistful of dollars".[ citation needed ] The tax cuts were never delivered; instead a "temporary surcharge" was imposed in 1978.[ citation needed ] The election coincided with the retirement of the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr.[ citation needed ] Kerr had appeared drunk at the Melbourne Cup in November and the public outcry resulted in the cancellation of his appointment as Ambassador to UNESCO.[ citation needed ]

The 1977 election was held a year earlier than required, partly to bring elections for the House and Senate back into line. A half-Senate election had to be held by the middle of 1978, since the double dissolution election of 1975 had resulted in the terms of senators being backdated to July 1975.[ citation needed ]

Results

House of Representatives results

Government (86)
Coalition
Liberal (67)
NCP (18)
CLP (1)

Opposition (38)
Labor (38) Australian House of Representatives elected members, 1977.svg
Government (86)
Coalition
     Liberal (67)
     NCP (18)
     CLP (1)

Opposition (38)
     Labor (38)
    House of Reps (IRV) — 1977–80—Turnout 95.08% (CV) — Informal 2.52%
    PartyVotes%SwingSeatsChange
      Liberal–NCP coalition 3,811,34048.11–4.9586–5
      Liberal 3,017,89638.09−3.7167−1
      National Country  776,9829.81−1.4418−4
      Country Liberal  16,4620.21+0.0010
      Labor 3,141,05139.65−3.2038+2
      Democrats 743,3659.38+9.3800
      Democratic Labor 113,2711.43+0.1100
      Progress 47,5670.60–0.1800
      Communist 14,0980.18+0.0600
      Socialist 1,8950.02+0.0200
      Independents 50,2670.63–0.1900
     Total7,922,854  124−3
    Two-party-preferred (estimated)
      Liberal–NCP coalition WIN54.60−1.1086–5
      Labor  45.40+1.1038+2
    Popular Vote
    Labor
    39.65%
    Liberal
    38.09%
    National
    10.01%
    Democrats
    9.38%
    Other
    2.87%
    Two Party Preferred Vote
    Coalition
    54.60%
    Labor
    45.40%
    Parliament Seats
    Coalition
    69.35%
    Labor
    30.65%

    Senate results

    Government (34)
Coalition
Liberal (27)
National (6)
CLP (1)

Opposition (27)
Labor (27)

Crossbench (3)
Democrats (2)
Independent (1) Australian Senate elected members, 1977.svg
    Government (34)
    Coalition
         Liberal (27)
         National (6)
         CLP (1)

    Opposition (27)
         Labor (27)

    Crossbench (3)
         Democrats (2)
         Independent (1)
      Senate (STV) — 1977–80—Turnout 95.08% (CV) — Informal 9.00%
      PartyVotes%SwingSeats WonSeats HeldChange
        Liberal–NCP coalition (total)3,369,84345.56–5.181834–1
       Liberal–NCP joint ticket2,533,88234.26−5.607**
        Liberal 783,87810.60−0.481027+1
        National Country  36,6190.50−0.0406–2
        Country Liberal 15,4630.21−0.01110
        Labor 2,718,87636.76−4.1514270
        Democrats 823,55011.13+11.1322+2
        Democratic Labor 123,1921.67–1.00000
        Progress 88,2031.19+0.32000
        Call to Australia 49,3951.12+1.12000
        Marijuana 44,2760.60+0.60000
        Socialist 42,7400.58+0.57000
        Australia 8,2830.11–0.37000
        Independents 127,8501.73+0.13010
       Total7,396,207  3464

      Seats changing hands

      SeatPre-1977SwingPost-1977
      PartyMemberMarginMarginMemberParty
      Capricornia, Qld  National Country Colin Carige 0.12.71.2 Doug Everingham Labor 
      Griffith, Qld  Liberal Don Cameron 8.05.03.5 Ben Humphreys Labor 
      Indi, Vic  National Country Mac Holten N/A22.35.1 Ewen Cameron Liberal 

      Significance

      Liberal Don Chipp had been dropped from the ministry after the 1975 election. He had formed a new political party, the Australian Democrats, and had announced his intention to run for the Senate. Liberal Movement senator Steele Hall resigned and was replaced by Janine Haines, but she lost her seat; however, the party gained Chipp in Victoria and Colin Mason in New South Wales, with Haines being re-elected at the next election as the new party's popularity grew.

      The ALP made limited gains in the election.[ clarification needed ] The second Fraser Government had the second-largest parliamentary majority in Australian history after the majority it won in the 1975 election. Gough Whitlam resigned as the leader of the ALP in 1978, and was replaced by Bill Hayden.

      This was the last Australian federal election for the House of Representatives at which no women were elected, although there were a number of women candidates. Women have been elected at every federal election from 1980 onwards.

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      References