|26 January 1966 – 19 December 1967|
|Prime Minister||Harold Holt|
|Parties|| Liberal |
|Origin||Holt wins 1966 Liberal leadership election|
|Demise||Holt disappears, presumed drowned|
|Predecessor||Menzies Government (II)|
The Holt Government was the federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister Harold Holt. It was made up of members of a Liberal-Country Party coalition in the Australian Parliament from 26 January 1966 – 19 December 1967.
The Liberal Party of Australia-Country Party of Australia coalition had governed in Australia since 1949 under Prime Minister Robert Menzies. Menzies retired in January 1966 and the Liberal Party elected Harold Holt as party leader and he became Prime Minister of Australia.
After being elected by the Parliamentary Liberal Party to serve as leader and Prime Minister, Harold Holt led the coalition to victory in the November 1966 Australian Federal Election against the Australian Labor Party opposition led by Arthur Calwell. The Coalition won a substantial majority – the Liberals winning 61 seats and the Country Party 21 – with the Labor Party winning 41 and 1 Independent in the Australian House of Representatives (representing the largest parliamentary majority in 65 years). Following the 1966 election, Gough Whitlam replaced Arthur Calwell as Leader of the Opposition.
During his time in office, Holt increased Australian commitment to the growing War in Vietnam. His government oversaw conversion to decimal currency. Holt faced Britain's withdrawal from Asia by visiting and hosting many Asian leaders and by expanding ties to the United States, hosting the first visit to Australia by an American president, his friend Lyndon Johnson. Holt's government introduced the Migration Act 1966, which effectively dismantled the White Australia Policy and increased access to non-European migrants, including refugees fleeing the Vietnam War. Holt also called the 1967 Referendum which removed the discriminatory clause in the Australian Constitution which excluded Aboriginal Australians from being counted in the census – the referendum was one of the few to be overwhelmingly endorsed by the Australian electorate (over 90% voted 'yes'). By the end of 1967, the Liberals initially popular support for the war in Vietnam was causing increasing public protest.
On 17 December 1967, Holt disappeared in heavy surf while swimming off Cheviot Beach, near Melbourne, becoming the third Australian Prime Minister to die in office.He was not formally declared missing until 19 December. Country Party leader John McEwen served as Prime Minister from 19 December 1967 to 10 January 1968, pending the election of a new leader of the Liberal Party of Australia. McEwen ruled out maintaining the Coalition if deputy liberal leader William McMahon became Prime Minister. John Gorton won the leadership election with a small majority and resigned from the Senate to stand for election to Higgins, the House of Represensatives seat formerly held by Harold Holt, which he achieved on 24 February 1968.
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.
The Liberal Party of Australia is a major centre-right political party in Australia, one of the two major parties in Australian politics, along with the centre-left Australian Labor Party (ALP). It was founded in 1944 as the successor to the United Australia Party (UAP).
The National Party of Australia, also known as The Nationals or simply The Nats, is an Australian political party. Traditionally representing graziers, farmers, and rural voters generally, it began as the Australian Country Party in 1920 at a federal level. It would later briefly adopt the name National Country Party in 1975, before adopting its current name in 1982.
Sir John Grey Gorton was the nineteenth Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1968 to 1971. He led the Liberal Party during that time, having previously been a long-serving government minister.
Sir William McMahon, was an Australian politician who served as the 20th Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1971 to 1972 as leader of the Liberal Party. He was a government minister for over 21 years, the longest continuous ministerial service in Australian history.
Sir John McEwen, was an Australian politician who served as the 18th Prime Minister of Australia, holding office from 19 December 1967 to 10 January 1968 in a caretaker capacity after the disappearance of Harold Holt. He was the leader of the Country Party from 1958 to 1971.
John Douglas Anthony, is a former Australian politician. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1957, Anthony served as a minister in successive Coalition Governments, and went on to serve as leader of the Country Party from 1971 to 1984, and Deputy Prime Minister under John Gorton, William McMahon and Malcolm Fraser. Anthony is the earliest elected Country MP still alive, and along with Ian Sinclair he is the last surviving minister who served in the Menzies Government and the First Holt Ministry.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia is the second-most senior officer in the Government of Australia. The office of Deputy Prime Minister was officially created as a ministerial portfolio in 1968, although the title had been used informally for many years previously. The Deputy Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. When Australia has a Labor Government, the deputy leader of the parliamentary party holds the position of Deputy Prime Minister. When Australia has a Coalition Government, the Coalition Agreement mandates that all Coalition members support the leader of the Liberal Party becoming Prime Minister and mandates that the leader of the National Party be selected as Deputy Prime Minister.
The McEwen Ministry was the 43rd ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 18th Prime Minister, John McEwen. The McEwen Ministry succeeded the Second Holt Ministry, which dissolved on 19 December 1967 following the disappearance of former Prime Minister Harold Holt - the third and most recent occasion where a sitting Prime Minister died in office. Since McEwen was the head of the Country Party, it was a caretaker ministry until the senior partner in the Coalition, the Liberal Party, could elect a new leader. John Gorton was ultimately elected on 9 January 1968, and he was sworn in as Prime Minister along with his ministry the following day.
The First Gorton Ministry was the 44th ministry of the Government of Australia. It was led by the country's 19th Prime Minister, John Gorton. The First Gorton Ministry succeeded the McEwen Ministry, which dissolved on 10 January 1968 following the election of Gorton as Liberal leader after the disappearance of former Prime Minister Harold Holt. The ministry was replaced by the Second Gorton Ministry on 12 November 1969 following the 1969 federal election.
Dame Zara Kate Bate was an Australian fashion designer and socialite who was best known as the wife of Harold Holt, the 17th Prime Minister of Australia. She grew up in Melbourne, attending Ruyton Girls' School and Toorak College. Going into the dressmaking business, she opened a shop in 1930 and eventually expanded into a chain of boutiques. Zara's first marriage to James Fell was short-lived, although they had three children together. She remarried to Harold Holt – a Liberal Party politician – in 1946, although they had known each other for many years previously. She became the prime minister's wife in 1966, and was known for her energy and flamboyance. She was widowed in December 1967, when her husband disappeared while swimming at Cheviot Beach, Victoria. Zara published her autobiography in 1968, and the following year remarried to Jeff Bate, another politician. She was widowed for a second time in 1984, and subsequently retired to the Gold Coast.
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.
Leslie Harry Ernest Bury CMG was an Australian politician who served in the House of Representatives between 1956 and 1974, representing the Liberal Party. He served in cabinet under Robert Menzies, Harold Holt, John McEwen, and John Gorton, most notably as Treasurer from 1969 to 1971 and Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1971.
The Gorton Government was the federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister John Gorton. It was made up of members of a Liberal-Country Party coalition in the Australian Parliament from January 1968 to March 1971.
The Menzies Government (1949–1966) refers to the second period of federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies. It was made up of members of a Liberal-Country Party coalition in the Australian Parliament from 1949–1966. Menzies led the Liberal-Country Coalition to election victories in 1949, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1961 and 1963. Robert Menzies was Australia's longest serving Prime Minister. He had served a previous term as Prime Minister as leader of the United Australia Party from 1939–1941.
The McMahon Government was the period of federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister William McMahon of the Liberal Party. It was made up of members of a coalition between the Liberal Party and the Country Party, led by Doug Anthony as Deputy Prime Minister. The McMahon Government lasted from March 1971 to December 1972, being defeated at the 1972 federal election. Writing for the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Julian Leeser describes McMahon's prime ministership as "a blend of cautious innovation and fundamental orthodoxy".
On 17 December 1967, Harold Holt, the Prime Minister of Australia, disappeared while swimming in the sea near Portsea, Victoria. An enormous search operation was mounted in and around Cheviot Beach, but his body was never recovered. Holt was eventually declared dead in absentia, and his memorial service five days later was attended by many world leaders. It is generally agreed that his disappearance was a simple case of an accidental drowning, but a number of conspiracy theories still surfaced, most famously the suggestion that he had been collected by a Chinese submarine. Holt was the third Australian prime minister to die in office, after Joseph Lyons in 1939 and John Curtin in 1945. He was initially replaced in a caretaker capacity by John McEwen, and then by John Gorton following a Liberal Party leadership election. Holt's death has entered Australian folklore, and was commemorated by, among other things, the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre.
A leadership election in the Liberal Party of Australia, the party of government in the Parliament of Australia, was held on 9 January 1968. It followed the disappearance and presumed drowning of previous leader Harold Holt, who had been declared dead on 19 December 1967. The contest was won by Senator John Gorton in a party room ballot; he was sworn in as prime minister the following day, replacing caretaker John McEwen.
The Liberal Party of Australia held a leadership ballot on 20 January 1966, following the resignation of Robert Menzies. Harold Holt was elected unopposed as his successor, and was sworn in as prime minister on 26 January.