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How The Count Unfolded: 2001 Election Night Reports

Howard Returned; Swing Against ALP; One Nation Down

7.30pm – It is now clear from early counting in the election that the Howard government will be returned to office, probably with an increased majority.

There appears to be a swing against the ALP of around 3%. The ALP may win the Victorian seat of Ballarat, but appears to be losing McMillan, Deakin, La Trobe, and McEwen.

In NSW, the ALP is having difficulty in Dobell. The notionally Labor seat of Macarthur is trending Liberal, as is Parramatta and Lindsay.

In Tasmania, the ALP appears to be holding onto all 5 seats, although Bass and Braddon should be watched over the next hour or so.


Night Of The Incumbents; Howard Wins Third Term; One Nation Vote Swings To Coalition; Few Seats Change Hands

8.25pm – The Howard government has been returned to office for a third term in an election where few seats are changing hands. The ALP is likely to hold fewer seats in the next Parliament.

The only clear gain for the ALP is Ballarat. McMillan is now safe for the ALP. The Liberals have increased their vote in Deakin, Aston and La Trobe. The ALP is hanging on in McEwen and have a chance to retake the seat from Fran Bailey, although Bailey is marginally ahead.

In NSW, the National Party has lost New England to the independent Tony Windsor. The Liberals have taken Tim Fischer’s seat of Fischer. The Liberals are holding on in Parramatta (Ross Cameron), Lindsay (Jackie Kelly) and Warringah (Tony Abbott).

In Queensland, Cheryl Kernot is losing in Dickson, the ALP’s Leonie Short will be defeated in Ryan, Bob Katter has won Kennedy as an independent and most other seats are being held by the incumbents.

In South Australia, there appear to be no Labor gains.

Labor is holding all 5 seats in Tasmania, although Bass is close, as usual.

Polling has not yet closed in Western Australia.


Western Australia Also Swings To Coalition; Howard Government Re-Elected; Greens Vote Up; Labor Holds 1998 Gains

10.20pm – Early counting from Western Australia is following the same pattern as in the other States with a swing to the Coalition of between 1-3%. It is unlikely that any seats will change hands, although the ALP could lose Canning.

The situation is similar in South Australia where the ALP stands a chance of winning Adelaide, but no other seats will change hands.

In Victoria, it is now clear that there will be no change other than the ALP picking up Ballarat.

In Tasmania, the ALP has held all 5 seats.

In the Northern Territory, the ALP and the Country-Liberal Party have won one seat each, in line with the notional result following the redistribution.

In Queensland, the ALP has lost Ryan (won in a by-election last March) and Dickson (Cheryl Kernot). Bob Katter has held Kennedy as an independent after resigning from the National Party several months ago. The ALP is within striking distance of Paul Neville in Hinkler. All other sitting members have been returned.

In New South Wales, the ALP has also suffered a swing against it, rising to as much as 9% in some of its safe seats. It has failed to win Parramatta and Macarthur and is struggling to retain Michael Lee’s electorate of Dobell. Richmond appeared to be a possibility for the ALP, but has now been claimed by the National Party’s Larry Anthony.

Tony Windsor, the former independent State member for Tamworth, has won New England from the National Party’s Stuart St. Clair. In Farrer, the Liberal candidate is likely to beat the National Party candidate who was aiming to replace the party’s former leader, Tim Fischer.

The ALP has comfortably retained both seats in the Australian Capital Territory.

The major feature of the voting patterns is the collapse in One Nation’s vote. It’s vote has more than halved to 3.87%. Experienced election observers have known since the 1998 election that the key to 2001 would be what would happen to the 936,621 voters who supported One Nation. It appears that most of these have gone straight back to the coalition parties.

On these figures it is highly unlikely that Pauline Hanson will be able to win a Senate seat in Queensland.

The ALP’s primary vote has fallen 2.85% to 38.84%, roughly equal with its 1996 vote. In the western suburbs of Sydney the fall has been particularly dramatic.

The national vote for the Australian Greens is 4.57%, up 2.43%. It is likely that part of the ALP’s constituency disenchanted with some of the party’s policies, particularly on asylum-seekers, has swung to the Greens.

In electorates such as the inner-suburban Melbourne, the Greens have polled particularly strongly.

The Australian Democrats vote is 5.35%, an increase of 0.23%, calling into question the political judgement of the party’s election of Natasha Stott Despoja as leader.


Howard Claims Third Term; Beazley Quits Leadership; Coalition Triumphs In Federal Election

Howard Claims Victory11.45pm – The Prime Minister, John Winston Howard, has won a third term for his coalition Liberal and National Party government.

Claiming victory tonight, Howard committed himself to serving the interests of the Australian people in the future, pointedly giving no sign of an early retirement mid-term.

The Federal Opposition Leader, Kim Christian Beazley, earlier conceded defeat in Perth and announced his intention to vacate the Labor leadership and return to the backbench. Beazley called for a healing of the nation in the aftermath of the election campaign and claimed that the ALP had staged a remarkable comeback from the possibility of a devastating defeat several weeks ago.

  • Listen to Kim Beazley’s concession speech:
  • Listen to John Howard’s victory speech:
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Malcolm Farnsworth
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