1996 Australian federal election

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1996 Australian federal election
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
  1993 2 March 1996 (1996-03-02) 1998  

All 148 seats in the House of Representatives
75 seats were needed for a majority in the House
40 (of the 76) seats in the Senate
 First partySecond party
  John howard.jpg Second Keating Cabinet 1994 (cropped Keating).jpg
Leader John Howard Paul Keating
Party Liberal/National coalition Labor
Leader since 30 January 1995 (1995-01-30) 19 December 1991 (1991-12-19)
Leader's seat Bennelong (NSW) Blaxland (NSW)
Last election65 seats80 seats
Seats won94 seats49 seats
Seat changeIncrease2.svg29Decrease2.svg31
Popular vote5,810,5465,024,327
Percentage53.63%46.37%
SwingIncrease2.svg5.07Decrease2.svg5.07

Australia 1996 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

Paul Keating
Labor

Subsequent Prime Minister

John Howard
Liberal/National coalition

The 1996 Australian federal election was held to determine the members of the 38th Parliament of Australia. It was held on 2 March 1996. All 148 seats of the House of Representatives and 40 seats of the 76-seat Senate were up for election. The centre-right Liberal/National Coalition led by Opposition Leader John Howard of the Liberal Party and coalition partner Tim Fischer of the National Party defeated in a landslide the incumbent centre-left Australian Labor Party government led by Prime Minister Paul Keating.

Contents

The election marked the end of the 5-term, 13-year Hawke-Keating Government that began in 1983. John Howard was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Australia on 11 March 1996, along with the First Howard Ministry. This election was the start of the 11-year Howard Government. The Labor party would spend the next 11 years in opposition and would not return to government until the 2007 election.

This was the first federal election that future Prime Minister Tony Abbott contested as a member of parliament, having entered parliament at the 1994 Warringah by-election. Future opposition leaders Brendan Nelson and Anthony Albanese entered parliament at this election.

Background

John Howard, who had previously led the Liberal Party from 1985 to 1989, had returned to the leadership in January 1995 following a disastrous 8 months under the leadership of Alexander Downer. Downer and Peter Costello had succeeded Dr. John Hewson and Michael Wooldridge early in 1994 and were touted as the leaders of the new-generation Liberals. In the end, the party opted for the seasoned Howard, perhaps an acknowledgment that he was the only one left standing after a decade of party infighting.

Howard approached the campaign with a determination to present as small a target as possible. Throughout 1995, he refused to detail specific policy proposals, focusing the Coalition's attacks mainly on the longevity and governing record of the Labor government. By 1996, however, it was clear that the electorate had tired of Labor and Paul Keating in particular. "The recession we had to have" line resonated with deadly force throughout the electorate. Although Keating's big picture approach to republicanism, reconciliation and engagement with Asia galvanised support within Labor's urban constituencies, Howard was able to attract support amongst disaffected mainstream Australians – including traditionally Labor-voting blue-collar workers and middle-class suburban residents. He also promised to retain Medicare and hold a constitutional convention to decide whether Australia would become a republic.

The election-eve Newspoll reported the Liberal/National Coalition held an estimated 53.5 percent two-party-preferred vote. [1]

Result

House of Representatives results

Government (94)
Coalition
Liberal (75)
National (18)
CLP (1)

Opposition (49)
Labor (49)

Crossbench (5)
Independent (5) Australian House of Representatives elected members, 1996.svg
Government (94)
Coalition
     Liberal (75)
     National (18)
     CLP (1)

Opposition (49)
     Labor (49)

Crossbench (5)
     Independent (5)
    House of Reps (IRV) – 1998–2001 – Turnout 94.99% (CV) — Informal 3.78%
    PartyVotes%SwingSeatsChange
      Liberal–National coalition 5,142,16147.25+2.9894+29
      Liberal  4,210,68938.69+1.9275+26
      National  893,1708.21+1.0418+2
      Country Liberal  38,3020.35+0.021+1
      Labor 4,217,76538.75−6.1749−31
      Democrats 735,8486.76+3.0100
      Greens*317,6542.92+1.0900
      Against Further Immigration 73,0230.67+0.6400
      Call to Australia 43,1830.40−0.0800
      Natural Law 41,5730.38−0.3600
      No Aircraft Noise 18,6260.17+0.1700
      Indigenous Peoples 12,5070.11+0.0800
      Reclaim Australia 6,4570.06+0.0600
      Women's 6,1730.06+0.0600
      One Australia 3,1590.03+0.0300
      Grey Power 2,8150.03+0.0100
      Pensioner & CIR Alliance 3320.00+0.0000
      Republican 1560.00+0.0000
      Independents 262,4202.41−0.735+3
     Total10,883,852  148+1
    Two-party-preferred vote
      Liberal–National coalition WIN53.63+5.0794+29
      Labor  46.37−5.0749−31
    Popular Vote
    Labor
    38.75%
    Liberal
    38.69%
    National
    8.21%
    Democrats
    6.76%
    Greens
    1.74%
    CLP
    0.35%
    Independents
    2.27%
    Other
    3.23%
    Two Party Preferred Vote
    Coalition
    53.63%
    Labor
    46.37%
    Parliament Seats
    Coalition
    63.51%
    Labor
    33.11%
    Independents
    3.38%

    Senate results

    Government (37)
Coalition
Liberal (31)
National (5)
CLP (1)

Opposition (29)
Labor (29)

Crossbench (10)
Democrats (7)
Greens (2)
Independent (1) Australian Senate elected members, 1996.svg
    Government (37)
    Coalition
         Liberal (31)
         National (5)
         CLP (1)

    Opposition (29)
         Labor (29)

    Crossbench (10)
         Democrats (7)
         Greens (2)
         Independent (1)
      Senate (STV GV) — 1996–99 – Turnout 95.20% (CV) — Informal 3.89%
      PartyVotes%SwingSeats WonSeats Held
        Liberal–National coalition 4,792,68243.97+0.922037
       Liberal–National joint ticket2,669,37724.49+0.096N/A
        Liberal 1,770,48616.24+0.651231
        National 312,7692.87+0.1515
        Country Liberal 40,0500.37+0.0411
        Labor 3,940,15036.15−7.351429
        Democrats 1,179,35710.82+5.5157
        Greens [lower-alpha 1] 345,5133.17+0.6712
        Against Further Immigration 137,6041.26+0.8200
        Call to Australia 117,2741.08+0.2500
        Shooters 114,7241.05+0.4500
        Women's 49,1310.45+0.4500
        Reclaim Australia 44,5450.41+0.4100
        Democratic Labor 36,1560.33−0.0300
        Better Future 18,9600.17+0.1700
        Natural Law 17,0820.16−0.2000
        No Aircraft Noise 17,0430.16−0.2000
        Grey Power 13,4010.12−0.0400
        Pensioner & CIR Alliance 9,0400.08−0.1300
        Seniors 8,2680.08+0.0800
        Republican 7,7780.07−0.0600
        One Australia 3,6380.03+0.0300
        Indigenous Peoples 2,7720.03−0.0300
        Independent EFF 2,4300.02+0.0200
        Independents 41,4890.38−1.9901
       Total10,899,037  4076

      Notes
      1. Includes votes for the federal Australian Greens (261,677) as well as Greens Western Australia (57,006) and the Tasmanian Greens (26,830), which had not yet aligned with the federal party

      Analysis

      Overall the coalition won 29 seats from Labor while the ALP won 4 seats from the Liberals. These 4 seats were Canberra and Namadgi in the ACT and Isaacs in Victoria and the Division of Bruce in Victoria. The ACT seats, which had been won by the Liberals in a by-election, fell to Labor due to a strong return to the ALP in a traditional Labor town by public servants fearing conservative cuts. The division of Brendan Smyth's seat of Canberra into the two new (of the three) ACT seats limited his campaign to the southernmost Tuggeranong seat of Namadgi where the ACT Labor right wing stood former MLA Annette Ellis who ran a tight grassroots campaign. Isaacs and Bruce fell to Labor due to demographic changes due to a redistribution of electoral boundaries.

      The Gallagher Index result: 11.14 1996 Election Australia Gallagher Index.png
      The Gallagher Index result: 11.14

      Labor lost five percent of its two-party vote from 1993, and tallied its lowest primary vote since 1934 (an additional eight percent coming from preferences). The swing against Labor was not in and of itself enough to cause a change of government. However, Labor lost 13 of its 33 seats in New South Wales, and all but two of its 13 seats in Queensland. The 29-seat swing was the second-largest defeat, in terms of seats lost, by a sitting government in Australia. Three members of Keating's government—including Attorney-General Michael Lavarch —lost their seats. Keating resigned as Labor leader on the night of the election, and was succeeded by former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kim Beazley.

      Due in part to this large swing, Howard entered office with a 45-seat majority, the second-largest in Australian history (behind only the 55-seat majority won by Malcolm Fraser in 1975). The Liberals actually won a majority in their own right at this election with 75 seats, the most the party had ever won. Although Howard had no need for the support of the Nationals, the Coalition was retained.

      Exit polling showed the Coalition winning 47 percent of the blue-collar vote, compared with Labor's 39 percent; there was a 16-point drop in Labor's vote among members of trade unions. The Coalition won 48 percent of the Catholic vote and Labor 37 percent, a reversal of the usual figures. [2]

      House of Reps preference flows

      Seats changing hands

      SeatPre-1996SwingPost-1996
      PartyMemberMarginMarginMemberParty
      Bass, Tas  Labor Silvia Smith 0.034.604.57 Warwick Smith Liberal 
      Bowman, Qld  LaborHon Con Sciacca 8.149.030.89 Andrea West Liberal 
      Calare, NSW  Labor David Simmons N/AN/A13.32 Peter Andren Independent 
      Canberra, ACT  Liberal Brendan Smyth 6.5814.17.52 Bob McMullan Labor 
      Canning, WA  LaborHon George Gear 0.190.880.69 Ricky Johnston Liberal 
      Capricornia, Qld  Labor Marjorie Henzell 2.786.403.62 Paul Marek National 
      Curtin, WA  Liberal Allan Rocher N/AN/A7.28 Allan Rocher Independent 
      Dickson, Qld  LaborHon Michael Lavarch 2.555.723.17 Tony Smith Liberal 
      Eden-Monaro, NSW  Labor Jim Snow 4.279.034.76 Gary Nairn Liberal 
      Gilmore, NSW  Labor Peter Knott 0.456.696.24 Joanna Gash Liberal 
      Griffith, Qld  Labor Ben Humphreys 5.907.371.47 Graeme McDougall Liberal 
      Herbert, Qld  LaborHon Ted Lindsay 3.319.906.59 Peter Lindsay Liberal 
      Hughes, NSW  LaborHon Robert Tickner 6.4211.314.89 Danna Vale Liberal 
      Kalgoorlie, WA  Labor Graeme Campbell N/AN/A10.35 Graeme Campbell Independent 
      Kingston, SA  Labor Gordon Bilney 1.453.462.01 Susan Jeanes Liberal 
      Leichhardt, Qld  Labor Peter Dodd 1.335.514.18 Warren Entsch Liberal 
      Lilley, Qld  Labor Wayne Swan 6.186.910.73 Elizabeth Grace Liberal 
      Lindsay, NSW  Labor Ross Free 10.2211.801.58 Jackie Kelly [3] Liberal 
      Lowe, NSW  Labor Mary Easson 5.017.482.47 Paul Zammit Liberal 
      Macarthur, NSW  Labor Chris Haviland 1.2811.9710.69 John Fahey Liberal 
      Macquarie, NSW  Labor Maggie Deahm 0.126.486.36 Kerry Bartlett Liberal 
      Makin, SA  Labor Peter Duncan 3.714.791.08 Trish Draper Liberal 
      McEwen, Vic  Labor Peter Cleeland 0.691.502.19 Fran Bailey Liberal 
      McMillan, Vic  Labor Barry Cunningham 0.532.602.07 Russell Broadbent Liberal 
      Moore, WA  Liberal Paul Filing N/AN/A15.48 Paul Filing Independent 
      Moreton, Qld  Labor Garrie Gibson 0.215.305.09 Gary Hardgrave Liberal 
      Murray, Vic  National Bruce Lloyd N/AN/A3.70* Sharman Stone Liberal 
      North Sydney, NSW  Independent Ted Mack 1.817.415.6 Joe Hockey Liberal 
      Northern Territory, NT  Labor Warren Snowdon 5.315.680.37 Nick Dondas Country Liberal 
      Oxley, Qld  Labor Les Scott 14.6519.31**4.66 Pauline Hanson Independent 
      Page, NSW  Labor Harry Woods 0.134.444.31 Ian Causley National 
      Parramatta, NSW  Labor Paul Elliott 3.247.113.87 Ross Cameron Liberal 
      Paterson, NSW  Labor Bob Horne 3.303.730.43 Bob Baldwin Liberal 
      Petrie, Qld  Labor Gary Johns 2.159.857.70 Teresa Gambaro Liberal 
      Richmond, NSW  Labor Neville Newell 1.788.536.75 Larry Anthony National 
      Robertson, NSW  Labor Frank Walker 5.569.123.56 Jim Lloyd Liberal 
      Swan, WA  Labor Kim Beazley 0.223.933.71 Don Randall Liberal 
      Wills, Vic  Independent Phil Cleary n/a4.37n/a Kelvin Thomson Labor 

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      References

      1. "Newspoll archive since 1987". Polling.newspoll.com.au.tmp.anchor.net.au. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
      2. John Stone (15 March 1996). "Remember, it was Paul Keating". The Australian Financial Review .
      3. Kelly conceded that she was incapable of being chosen as a member of the House of Representatives while serving as an officer of the RAAF and won the subsequent by-election with an increased margin: Holland, I (2004). "Section 44 of the Constitution". Parliamentary Library of Australia.