July 11, 1987
The 1987 Federal election was called 6 months early by Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, to capitalise on the disunity in the Opposition.
It was the first winter election in Australian Federal political history and resulted in an increased majority for the Labor government, an outcome that saw it become the first Labor government to win 3 successive terms.
The double dissolution election was called to capitalise on the disunity in the Federal Opposition, led by John Howard. Former Liberal leader, Andrew Peacock, was dismissed from the Shadow Ministry by Howard in March, following Peacock’s comments to Victorian Opposition Leader, Jeff Kennett, in an infamous car phone conversation.
John Howard, new to the position since succeeding Andrew Peacock in 1985 following a botched attempt by Peacock to remove Howard as his deputy, was fighting a war on two fronts. It was the origin of Howard’s oft-repeated remark that in politics “disunity is death”.
The National Party was in disarray caused by the Queensland Premier, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who had announced his intention to campaign for the Prime Ministership. The “Joh for PM” campaign split the Opposition and resulted in the loss of 4 seats in Queensland. The election campaign was marked by an embarrassing error in the Opposition’s tax policy.
The ostensible reason for the election, the rejection by the Senate of the government’s Australia Card legislation, barely featured in the campaign. Following the election, public hostility to the identity card proposal and technical difficulties with the legislation led to the government dropping it.
State of the Parties
The ALP increased its majority in the election, with a net gain of 4 seats. It lost one seat in Victoria (Chisholm) and one in NSW (Reid) but gained 4 seats in Queensland (Fisher, Forde, Hinkler and Petrie) and one each in Tasmania (Denison) and the Northern Territory.
|House of Representatives Elections 1987|
- Federal Election Results 1901-2014 – a Parliamentary Library research paper with detailed statistics on elections since 1901.
- November 14, 1986: Mick Young Taunts The Opposition Over The Election Date
- May 27, 1987: Bob Hawke Announces The 1987 Double Dissolution Election
- June 22, 1987: 1987 Federal Election: National Party Policy Speech
- June 23, 1987: 1987 Federal Election: Bob Hawke’s ALP Policy Speech
- June 25, 1987: 1987 Federal Election: John Howard’s Liberal Party Policy Speech
- July 1, 1987: Achievements: ALP 1987 Federal Election Video For Party Members
- July 1, 1987: Let’s Stick Together – ALP Campaign Jingle 1987
- July 8, 1987: Business Tax And Divided Rabble: ALP Radio Ads
- July 10, 1987: 1987 Federal Election: Australian Democrats TV Advertisement
- July 10, 1987: 1987 Federal Election: Liberal Party TV Advertisements
- July 10, 1987: 1987 Federal Election: ALP TV Advertisements
- July 11, 1987: John Howard Concedes Defeat In 1987 Federal Election
- July 11, 1987: Bob Hawke Claims Victory In 1987 Federal Election
- July 11, 1987: Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen Comments On The 1987 Federal Election Result
- July 12, 1987: Hawke Labor Government Wins Third Term
- June 1, 1988: Categories Of Informal Voting – 1987
- December 2, 1998: Enrolment Statistics State-By-State 1984-98
- December 5, 2001: The Opposition Leader As A Factor Influencing Voting Behaviour
- January 1, 2014: 1986-87 Hawke Government Cabinet Papers Released
- July 17, 2014: Federal Election Results 1901-2014
- April 1, 2017: Who’s Left – The Surviving Members Of Every House Of Representatives Since 1949