October 3, 1998
The Federal election of 1998 was held six months earlier than required by the Constitution. Prime Minister John Howard made the announcement following the launch of the coalition’s GST policy launch and a 5-week advertising campaign. The ensuing election was almost entirely dominated by the proposed 10% Goods and Services Tax and proposed income tax cuts.
The Howard government entered the campaign with a 40-seat majority. The government suffered a nationwide swing of approximately 5% against it and the loss of 19 seats in the House of Representatives. It was returned with a 12 seat majority.
The government was re-elected with 49.02% of the two-party-preferred vote, compared to 50.98% for the Australian Labor Party.
One Minister, Warwick Smith, the Family Services minister, lost his seat. The Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, fought off a strong challenge from the Australian Democrats in his South Australian seat of Mayo.
Whilst polling around 8% of the national vote, the One Nation party lost its leader, Pauline Hanson, who was defeated on preferences by the Liberal candidate in the Queensland electorate of Blair. One Nation won no seats in the lower house, but Heather Hill gained a Senate seat in Queensland at the expense of the National Party’s Bill O’Chee. She was subsequently disqualified under Section 44 of the Constitution.
As a result of the election, the balance of power in the Senate reverted to the Australian Democrats after July 1, 1999.
The Democrats increased their numbers from 7 to 9, including the election of the second Aboriginal member of parliament, Senator Aden Ridgeway, in New South Wales.
The ALP made the single biggest gain by an Opposition party following an election defeat. The swing was sufficient in all states to deliver government to the party, but the uneven nature of the swing denied Kim Beazley the extra few seats necessary to command a majority in the House.
Following the election, the Howard government held 10 seats by a margin of less than 1% and looked to be highly vulnerable to even the smallest swing against it at the next election.
Election Result – State of the Parties
|House of Representatives Elections 1998|
- Election Timetable
- Primary Votes in House of Representatives 1993-98
- Primary Vote leads overturned after preferences
- Two-Party-Preferred Statistics: National Summary
- Two-Party-Preferred Statistics: State-by-state and Seat-by-seat
- Howard announces election date – 30 August
- Beazley & Howard at North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast
- ‘Monica Lewinsky’
- ALP advertisements
- Liberal Party advertisements
- National Party advertisement
- Australian Democrats advertisements
- Eric Bullmore, Independent Senate candidate, Victora
- Australian Electoral Commission – How-to-vote advertisements
Campaign News Coverage
VCEpolitics.com maintained a daily news update during the 1998 election campaign. These reports have been archived below. Some links within may no longer work.
- Week 1 – Aug 30-Sept 5
- Week 2 – Sept 6-Sept 12
- Week 3 – Sept 13-Sept 19
- Week 4 – Sept 20-Sept 26
- Week 5 – Sept 27-Oct 3
- Aftermath – Oct 4-Oct 12
- VCEpolitics.com Editorial
Party Policies & Debates
- Leaders’ Debate – 13 Sept
- – Debate Transcript
- ALP Policy Speech – 23 Sept
- A.L.P. Policy Documents
- Liberal Policy Speech – 20 Sept
- Liberal Party Policy Documents
- Transcript of Howard’s interview with Verity James – 17 Sept
- Howard at the National Press Club – 1 Oct
- Beazley at the National Press Club – 30 Sept
- Beazley’s Election Night Speech
Women’s Electoral Lobby Form Guide
- 1998 Election Form Guide
- Notes on Form Guide Part One
- Notes on Form Guide Part Two
- The Leaders
- The Senate
- Who scores with women? – WEL Media Release 18/09/98
- Family Law / Child Support
- Social Security
- Retirement Income
- Legal Aid
- Communications, ABC & Telstra
- Some women don’t deserve to be elected! – WEL Media Release 17/9/98
- Industrial Relations
- Gun Laws
- Higher Education
- School Education
- Child Care
- Taxation Reform
- Dec 02, 1998: Enrolment Statistics State-By-State 1984-98
- Dec 01, 1998: 1998 Federal Election: Two-Party-Preferred Statistics By State And Seat
- Dec 01, 1998: 1998 Federal Election: Two-Party-Preferred Statistics
- Nov 20, 1998: 1998 Primary Vote Winners, Preference Vote Losers
- Nov 11, 1998: Julia Gillard’s Maiden Speech to the House of Representatives
- Oct 23, 1998: Lynton Crosby: 1998 Election Analysis
- Oct 13, 1998: Howard To Announce Ministerial Reshuffle on Sunday; ALP Caucus To Meet Next Week
- Oct 01, 1998: 1998 Federal Election: Australian Electoral Commission Advertisements
- Oct 01, 1998: 1998 Federal Election: Eric Bullmore Advertisement
- Oct 01, 1998: 1998 Federal Election: Australian Democrats Advertisements
- Oct 01, 1998: 1998 Federal Election: National Party Advertisement
- Oct 01, 1998: 1998 Federal Election: Liberal Party Advertisements
- Oct 01, 1998: 1998 Federal Election: ALP Advertisements
- Aug 31, 1998: 1998 Election Reports: Week 1 (Aug 31 – Sep 5)
- Aug 30, 1998: 1998 Federal Election Timetable