On election night, March 5, 1983, it soon became clear that Bob Hawke’s ALP had defeated Malcolm Fraser’s Liberal-National Coalition.
However, some Liberals, including Andrew Peacock and Ian MacPhee, were reluctant to give up hope that the government might hang on.
This video shows some scenes from the election counting. The media panel includes David Butler, Jim Waley, Max Walsh and George Negus. It features Andrew Peacock, Ian MacPhee and the incoming Treasurer, Paul Keating.
The Franklin Dam issue played a significant role in the election campaign. Whilst every other state and territory swung towards the ALP and delivered it 24 extra seats and a House majority of 24, Tasmania swung the other way and the Liberals retained all 5 seats in the island state.
On election night, the prominent Franklin Dams campaigner and head of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, Dr. Bob Brown, commented on the election result:
There was much interest in how Malcolm Fraser would react to his election defeat. During the election campaign, Fraser became the nation’s second longest-serving prime minister. Appointed Prime Minister on November 11, 1975, following Sir John Kerr’s dismissal of Gough Whitlam, he had won two more elections in 1977 and 1980.
This video shows Channel 9’s Peter Harvey waiting on Malcolm Fraser’s appearance: