Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today becomes the nation’s 22nd longest-serving prime minister.
Turnbull has now served in the position for 1 year, 2 months and 25 days, overtaking Joseph Cook, who took the original Liberal Party to its first-ever election victory in 1913. Like Turnbull in 2016, Cook only secured a one-seat majority. Cook was gone within 15 months.
Turnbull has now broken free of the pack of prime ministers who governed briefly, in three cases as stop-gaps following the death of the incumbent. On June 10, 2017, he will move into 21st position when he overtakes William McMahon, the Liberal PM who lost to Gough Whitlam in 1972 and took the coalition out of government for the first time in 23 years.
December 10 Elections
Today is also the anniversary of three federal elections, in 1949, 1955 and 1977. The first of these saw Robert Menzies begin his record-breaking 16-year term as prime minister. In 1955, he won the fourth of seven consecutive victories, in the aftermath of the disastrous split in the ALP. In 1977, Malcolm Fraser secured his second massive victory against the ALP, in an election that ended Gough Whitlam’s political career.
With three outings, December 10 is the single most popular day for federal elections in Australian political history. Two elections have been held on each of August 21, December 13 and December 16. With a total of 12 elections (26.7%), December is the single most popular month for elections.
The last December election was in 1984, when Bob Hawke won the second of his four victories for the ALP. Hawke turned 87 yesterday.