1943 Australian federal election

The 1943 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 21 August 1943. All 74 seats in the House of Representatives and 19 of the 36 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Labor Party, led by Prime Minister John Curtin, defeated the opposition Country–UAP coalition in a landslide led by Arthur Fadden.

1943 Australian federal election

21 August 1943

All 74 seats in the House of Representatives
38 seats were needed for a majority in the House
19 (of the 36) seats in the Senate
  First party Second party
 
Leader John Curtin Arthur Fadden
Party Labor Country/UAP coalition
Leader since 1 October 1935 (1935-10-01) 29 August 1941 (1941-08-29)
Leader's seat Fremantle (WA) Darling Downs (Qld.)
Last election 32 seats 36 seats
Seats won 49 seats 23 seats
Seat change 17 13
Percentage 58.20% 41.80%
Swing 7.90% 7.90%

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

John Curtin
Labor

Subsequent Prime Minister

John Curtin
Labor

Fadden, the leader of the Country Party, was serving as Leader of the Opposition despite the Country Party holding fewer seats in parliament than the United Australia Party (UAP). He was previously the Prime Minister in August 1941, after he was chosen by the coalition parties to lead the government after the forced resignation of Prime Minister Robert Menzies, the UAP leader. However, he stayed in office for only six weeks before the two independents who held the balance of power joined Labor in voting down his budget. Governor-General Lord Gowrie was reluctant to call an election for a parliament barely a year old, especially considering the international situation. At his urging, the independents threw their support to Labor for the remainder of the parliamentary term.

Over the next two years, Curtin proved to be a very popular and effective leader, and the Coalition was unable to get the better of him. A number of groups split away from the UAP prior to the election, the most prominent of which, is the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Labor thus went into the election in a strong position, and scored an 18-seat swing on 58 percent of the two-party vote. The Coalition saw its seat count cut by around a third since the last election, to 23 seats—including only nine for the Country Party. Notably, Labor won every seat in Western Australia and all but one in South Australia. Archie Cameron, the member for Barker in South Australia, was left as the only Coalition MP outside the eastern states. The LDP did not win any seats.

This election was significant in the fact that it resulted in the election of the first female member of the House of Representatives, the UAP's Enid Lyons for Darwin, Tasmania; and the first female Senator, Labor's Dorothy Tangney in Western Australia. The election remains Labor's greatest federal victory in terms of proportion of seats and two-party votes in the lower house, and primary vote in the Senate.

The lack of effective opposition to the Labor party in the lead up and following the election became the catalyst for the creation of the Liberal Party of Australia from the ashes of the UAP, and for George Cole & Keith Murdoch among other big business magnates to form the conservative propaganda think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

This was the last major election that did not involve the current Liberal and Labor Party competition.

Results

House of Representatives

Australian federal election, 21 August 1943[1]
House of Representatives
<< 19401946 >>

Enrolled voters 4,466,749
Votes cast 4,249,369 Turnout 95.13 +1.27
Informal votes 148,785 Informal 3.50 +0.95
Summary of votes by party
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 2,058,582 50.20% +10.04% 49 + 17
  United Australia 898,128 21.90% –8.34% 14 – 9
  Country 350,378 8.54% –4.97% 9 – 4
  One Parliament 87,112 2.11% +2.11% 0 ± 0
  Communist 81,816 1.98% +1.98% 0 ± 0
  Liberal Democratic 42,149 1.02% +1.02% 0 ± 0
  State Labor 29,752 0.72% –1.89% 0 ± 0
  Independent 501,054 12.15% +4.69% 2 ± 0
Total 4,100,584     74  

Popular Vote
Labor
49.94%
United Australia
21.90%
Independent
12.15%
Country
8.54%
One Parliament
2.11%
Communist
1.98%
Liberal Democratic
1.48%
State Labor
0.72%
Two Party Preferred Vote (Estimated)
Labor
58.20%
Coalition
41.80%
Parliament Seats
Labor
66.22%
United Australia
18.92%
Country
12.16%
Independent
2.70%

Senate

Senate (PBV) — 1943–46 — Turnout 96.31% (CV) — Informal 9.73%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Won Seats Held Change
  Australian Labor Party 2,139,164 55.09 +17.57 19 22 +5
  Country/UAP (Joint Ticket) 1,047,225 26.97 18.05 0
  Country-National Party (QLD) 184,181 4.74 * 0 0 0
  Liberal & Country League (SA) 148,419 3.82 * 0 0 0
  Nationalist Country Party (WA) 101,738 2.62 * 0 0 0
  Christian New Order (NSW) 101,247 2.61 * 0 0 0
  Country Party 37,350 0.96 * 0 2 2
  United Australia Party * * 6.71 0 12 3
  Other 123,846 3.19 0 0 0
  Total 3,883,170     19 36

Seats changing hands

Seat Pre-1943 Swing Post-1943
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Adelaide, SA   United Australia Fred Stacey 4.7 20.3 15.6 Cyril Chambers Labor  
Barker, SA   Country Archie Cameron* N/A 14.2 1.7 Archie Cameron United Australia  
Boothby, SA   United Australia Grenfell Price 6.6 16.1 0.9 Thomas Sheehy Labor  
Denison, Tas   United Australia Arthur Beck 1.1 10.1 9.0 Frank Gaha Labor  
Eden-Monaro, NSW   United Australia John Perkins 4.8 10.8 5.4 Allan Fraser Labor  
Grey, SA   Country Oliver Badman* 7.7 10.2 2.5 Edgar Russell Labor  
Hume, NSW   Country Thomas Collins 0.9 7.2 6.3 Arthur Fuller Labor  
Lilley, Qld   United Australia William Jolly 9.6 9.9 0.4 Jim Hadley Labor  
Maranoa, Qld   Labor Frank Baker 1.6 2.6 1.0 Charles Adermann Country  
Martin, NSW   United Australia William McCall 2.6 8.3 5.7 Fred Daly Labor  
Parkes, NSW   United Australia Charles Marr 7.4 10.3 2.9 Les Haylen Labor  
Perth, WA   United Australia Walter Nairn 14.5 20.5 6.0 Tom Burke Labor  
Robertson, NSW   United Australia Eric Spooner 0.3 9.2 8.9 Thomas Williams Labor  
Swan, WA   Country Thomas Marwick 7.5 10.5 3.0 Don Mountjoy Labor  
Wakefield, SA   United Australia Jack Duncan-Hughes 3.4 4.6 1.2 Albert Smith Labor  
  • *Oliver Badman and Archie Cameron ran as candidates for the UAP.

See also

Notes

References

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