Final Two-Party Figures: Coalition Won 2013 Election With 3.61% Swing

Final figures published by the Australian Electoral Commission show that the Coalition won the 2013 federal election with a 3.61% swing.

The Liberal-Nationals coalition polled 53.49% of the national two-party-preferred vote. The ALP received 46.51%.

Every state and territory recorded a swing against the ALP. The largest swing was 9.39% in Tasmania. The smallest was 1.09% in the Northern Territory.

The Coalition did best in Western Australia, where it polled 58.28%, Queensland, where it polled 56.98% and New South Wales, where it polled 54.35%.

The Coalition had a net gain of 17 seats. It picked up 10 seats in NSW and 3 in Tasmania. It had a net gain of 2 in Victoria and 1 each in Queensland and South Australia. It lost one seat to the Palmer United Party’s Clive Palmer and one to Cathy McGowan, an independent.

The ALP received a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in just two states: Tasmania, where it polled 51.23% and Victoria, where it polled 50.20%. Its highest vote was 59.91% in the ACT. [Read more…]


A.L.P. Federal Election Results Since 1910

An updated version of the data on this page was published in 2016.

“The ALP is heading for its biggest defeat ever under Gillard,” I was told recently.

The confident assertion promptly fell to pieces when I asked for a definition of “biggest defeat ever”. A garbled account of seats, votes and swings followed. Such are casual political conversations. Few people know the figures.

But the question is a good one. How do you measure the extent of an election defeat? If the Gillard government is annihilated this year, what measures of comparison should we use?

Here’s a table showing ALP statistics for three different measures: the proportion of seats won in the House of Representatives, the two-party-preferred vote, and the primary vote. The ALP’s winning election years are shaded yellow.

The table includes every election since Federation, except for the first three: 1901, 1903 and 1906. These have been excluded since they took place before the formation of the two-party system as we know it. Since 1910, elections have been fought between the ALP and the non-Labor parties under a variety of names.

The ALP has won 14 of the 40 elections held since 1910. I have categorised the 26 elections it has lost into four groups:

  1. Seven major defeats where the ALP won no more than a third of the seats in the House: 1917, 1925, 1931, 1966, 1975, 1977 and 1996.
  2. Seven significant defeats where the ALP won between 33% and 40% of the seats: 1919, 1922, 1934, 1937, 1949, 1955 and 1958.
  3. Nine moderate defeats where the ALP won between 40% and 50% of the seats: 1928, 1951, 1954, 1963, 1969, 1980, 1998, 2001 and 2004.
  4. Three near misses where the ALP just fell short: 1913, 1940 and 1961.
A.L.P. Performance In Federal Elections
Election Leader Election Won or Lost Seats Won In House of Representatives Two-Party-Preferred Vote % Primary Vote %
1910
Fisher
WIN
42 / 75 = 56.00%
49.97
1913
Fisher
LOSS
37 /75 = 49.33%
48.47
1914
Fisher
WIN
42 / 75 = 56.00%
50.89
1917
Tudor
LOSS
22/ 75 = 29.33%
43.94
1919
Tudor
LOSS
26 / 75 = 34.66%
42.49
1922
Charlton
LOSS
29 / 45 = 38.66%
42.30
1925
Charlton
LOSS
23 / 75 = 30.66%
45.04
1928
Scullin
LOSS
31 / 75 = 41.33%
44.64
1929
Scullin
WIN
46 / 75 = 61.33%
48.84
1931
Scullin
LOSS
14+4=18 / 75 = 24.00%
27.10+10.57 = 37.67
1934
Scullin
LOSS
18+9 = 27 / 74 = 36.48%
26.81+14.37 = 41.18
1937
Curtin
LOSS
29 / 74 = 39.19%
40.40
43.17
1940
Curtin
LOSS
32+4=36 / 74 = 48.64%
50.30
40.16+5.23 = 45.39
1943
Curtin
WIN
49 / 74 = 66.21%
58.20
49.94
1946
Chifley
WIN
43 / 74 = 58.10%
54.10
49.71
1949
Chifley
LOSS
47 / 121 = 38.84%
49.00
45.98
1951
Chifley
LOSS
52 / 121 = 42.97%
49.30
47.63
1954
Evatt
LOSS
57 / 121 = 47.10%
50.70
50.03
1955
Evatt
LOSS
47 / 122 = 38.52%
45.80
44.63
1958
Evatt
LOSS
45 / 122 = 36.88%
45.90
42.81
1961
Calwell
LOSS
60 / 122 = 49.18%
50.50
47.90
1963
Calwell
LOSS
50 / 122 = 40.98%
47.40
45.47
1966
Calwell
LOSS
41 / 124 = 33.06%
43.10
39.98
1969
Whitlam
LOSS
59 / 125 = 47.20%
50.20
46.95
1972
Whitlam
WIN
67 / 125 = 53.6%
52.70
49.59
1974
Whitlam
WIN
66 / 127 = 51.96%
51.70
49.30
1975
Whitlam
LOSS
36 / 127 = 28.34%
44.30
42.84
1977
Whitlam
LOSS
38 / 124 = 30.64%
45.40
39.65
1980
Hayden
LOSS
51 / 125 = 40.80%
49.60
45.15
1983
Hawke
WIN
75 / 125 = 60.00%
53.23
49.48
1984
Hawke
WIN
82 / 148 = 55.40%
51.77
47.55
1987
Hawke
WIN
86 / 148 = 58.10%
50.83
45.76
1990
Hawke
WIN
78 / 148 = 52.70%
49.90
39.44
1993
Keating
WIN
80 / 147 = 54.42%
51.44
44.92
1996
Keating
LOSS
49 / 148 = 33.10%
46.37
38.75
1998
Beazley
LOSS
67 / 148 = 45.27%
50.98
40.10
2001
Beazley
LOSS
65 / 150 = 43.33%
49.05
37.84
2004
Latham
LOSS
60 / 150 = 40.00%
47.26
37.63
2007
Rudd
WIN
83 / 150 = 55.33%
52.70
43.48
2010
Gillard
WIN
72 / 150 = 48.00%
50.12
37.99

By any measure, the ALP’s most successful election was John Curtin’s victory in 1943. Curtin won 66.21% of seats in the House. James Scullin won 61.33% in 1929 and Bob Hawke won 60% in 1983.

Curtin’s victory is also the only election in which the ALP polled in excess of 55% of the national two-party-preferred vote. [Note: Early figures for the two-party vote are not shown either because there are no precise figures available or because the election took place before preferential voting was introduced in 1918. Up until 1955, two-party figures contain a small element of estimation because some seats returned a member unopposed.] [Read more…]


1998 Federal Election: Two-Party-Preferred Statistics By State And Seat

This page provides detailed two-party-preferred results for the 1998 Federal Election.

The statistics are organised by state and territory. Each electorate in the House of Representatives is shown.

New South Wales

New South Wales is the largest State in the Commonwealth with the largest number of House of Representatives electorates. It is very difficult for any party to win office without winning a majority of seats in NSW. [Read more…]


1998 Federal Election: Two-Party-Preferred Statistics

The 1998 Federal Election is the second election this decade where the party or parties that won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote failed to win the election.

This also occurred in 1998, as well as in 1969, 1961 and 1954.

The Howard coalition government was elected with 49.02% of the two-party-preferred vote. It secured 80 of the 148 seats (54%) in the House of Representatives. Thus, its exaggerated majority is 5.03%.

The ALP secured a majority of the two-party vote in three States (NSW, Victoria & Tasmania) and both Territories. There was an overall swing to the ALP of 4.61%, the party regaining much of the 5.06% it lost in 1996.

The swing ranged from 0.94% in the Northern Territory to 7.17% in Queensland.

A measure of the electoral wipe-out the ALP suffered in 1996 can be seen by the fact that even though it secured swings of between 4 and 7 per cent in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland, it remains the minority grouping in those States.

Two-Party-Preferred Statistics 1998
House of Representatives – Summary
State ALP Votes ALP % L/NP Votes L/NP % % Swing To ALP
New South Wales 1,879,281
51.54
1,766,640
48.46
4.11
Victoria 1,521,560
53.53
1,321,121
46.47
3.22
Queensland 935,867
46.95
1,057,508
53.05
7.17
Western Australia 515,733
49.46
527,042
50.54
5.46
South Australia 434,189
46.89
491,802
53.11
4.15
Tasmania 176,241
57.32
131,236
42.68
5.74
Australian Capital Territory 121,552
62.44
73,131
37.56
6.98
Northern Territory 45,986
50.57
44,951
49.43
0.94
Total 5,630,409
50.98
5,413,431
49.02
4.61

 

Source: Australian Electoral Commission publications

 


1996 Federal Election: Two-Party-Preferred Statistics

The 1996 election produced the third largest majority ever for a government in the House of Representatives.

The new coalition government led by John Howard won 94 seats in the 148-seat lower house. The ALP won 49 seats, a loss of 31. There were 5 independents elected: 3 ex-Liberal members, 1 ex-Labor member and Pauline Hanson. Hanson won Oxley as a disendorsed Liberal candidate.

The overall swing against the ALP was 5.06%, with every part of the country swinging to the coalition. The largest swing was 8.65% in Queensland. The smallest swing was 1.50% in Victoria.

There were swings against the ALP in 140 electorates. The biggest swing was 12.68% in the Queensland electorate of Fadden. The smallest swing to the coalition was 0.10% in the Victorian electorate of La Trobe.

The ALP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote only in Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

The election reduced the ALP to a “south-east triangle” of seats in Victoria, and New South Wales, the party winning 36 of its 49 seats in those two States, and most of those in Sydney and Melbourne.

The ALP won only 2 seats in Queensland and South Australia, 3 in Western Australia, 3 in Tasmania (the only State where it won a majority of seats) and all 3 seats in the ACT.

Two-Party-Preferred Statistics 1996
House of Representatives – Summary
State ALP Votes ALP % L/NP Votes L/NP % % Swing To ALP
New South Wales 1,734,777
47.44
1,922,165
52.56
-6.95
Victoria 1,388,142
50.30
1,371,480
49.70
-1.50
Queensland 765,019
39.78
1,158,122
60.22
-8.65
Western Australia 437,694
44.00
557,055
56.00
-2.02
South Australia 391,516
42.74
524,445
57.26
-4.59
Tasmania 159,853
51.58
150,057
48.42
-3.07
Australian Capital Territory 105,323
55.46
84,592
44.54
-5.73
Northern Territory 42,003
49.63
42,630
50.37
-5.68
Total 5,024,327
46.37
5,810,546
53.63
-5.06

 

Source: Australian Electoral Commission publications

 


1993 Federal Election: Two-Party-Preferred Statistics

The 1993 Federal Election is often described as the election that should have been “unlosable” for the coalition.

The Hawke Government had been re-elected in 1990 with a minority of the two-party-preferred vote and 78 seats, a majority of 7 on the floor of the House of Representatives, after the provision of a Speaker.

Going into the 1993 elections, Australia had been beset with an economic recession. Paul Keating had replaced Bob Hawke as Labor leader in December 1991. Very few people believed that the ALP could win a 5th term.

The “victory for the true believers”, as Keating put it on election night, saw the ALP secure a two-party swing of 1.54% and increase its seat tally to 80, a majority of 11 on the floor of the House.

The result was not evenly spread across the country. Swings to the ALP in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales delivered an additional 9 seats. Swings to the coalition in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia cost the ALP 7 seats.

This was the first election since 1966 in which an incumbent government increased its share of the vote and its majority in the House of Representatives. In 1987, Hawke had increased his government’s majority, whilst losing overall support.

Victoria emerged as one of the ALP’s strongest States, only 5 months after the State Labor Government led by Joan Kirner was decimated. Tasmania delivered 4 of its 5 seats to the ALP, the party’s best result since 1974.

Two-Party-Preferred Statistics 1993
House of Representatives – Summary
State ALP Votes ALP % L/NP Votes L/NP % Total Votes Exhausted Votes % Swing to ALP
New South Wales 1,928,635
54.38
1,617,712
45.62
3,546,347 2,131 2.25
Victoria 1,419,835
51.80
1,320,898
48.20
2,740,733 2,082 4.34
Queensland 884,426
48.43
941,709
51.57
1,826,135 1,189 -1.76
Western Australia 445,462
46.02
522,580
53.98
968,042 551 -1.11
South Australia 436,650
47.33
485,892
52.67
922,542 1,133 -2.17
Tasmania 167,780
54.65
139,239
45.35
307,019 121 6.75
Australian Capital Territory 110,055
61.19
69,796
38.81
179,851 118 2.65
Northern Territory 43,578
55.31
35,207
44.69
78,785 0 0.29
Australia 5,436,421
51.44
5,133,033
48.56
10,569,454 7,325 1.54

 

Source: Australian Electoral Commission publications

 


1990 Federal Election: Two-Party-Preferred Statistics

The 1990 Federal Election joins a select list of federal elections where the party or parties that won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote failed to win the election.

The other elections were 1998, 1969, 1961 and 1954.

The Hawke Labor government was elected with 49.90% of the two-party-preferred vote. It secured 78 of the 148 seats (52.70%) in the House of Representatives. Thus, its exaggerated majority is 2.8%.

The ALP secured a majority of the two-party vote in two States (NSW & Queensland) and both Territories. There was an overall swing against the ALP of 0.9%.

Two-Party-Preferred Statistics 1990
House of Representatives – Summary
State ALP Votes ALP % L/NP Votes L/NP % Total Votes Exhausted Votes
New South Wales 1,744,666
52.13
1,601,846
47.87
3,346,512 8,159
Victoria 1,216,633
47.46
1,347,048
52.54
2,563,681 3,449
Queensland 837,508
50.19
831,015
49.81
1,668,523 3,074
Western Australia 420,816
47.13
472,092
52.87
892,908 1,791
South Australia 441,659
49.50
450,503
50.50
892,162 1,592
Tasmania 138,556
47.90
150,709
52.10
289,265 239
Australian Capital Territory 93,498
58.54
66,206
41.46
159,704 358
Northern Territory 37,498
55.02
30,650
44.98
68,148 109
Australia 4,930,834
49.90
4,950,069
50.10
9,880,903 18,771

 

Source: Australian Electoral Commission publications