1993 Federal Election: Two-Party-Preferred Statistics

The 1993 Federal Election is often described as the election that should have been “unlosable” for the coalition.

The Hawke Government had been re-elected in 1990 with a minority of the two-party-preferred vote and 78 seats, a majority of 7 on the floor of the House of Representatives, after the provision of a Speaker.

Going into the 1993 elections, Australia had been beset with an economic recession. Paul Keating had replaced Bob Hawke as Labor leader in December 1991. Very few people believed that the ALP could win a 5th term.

The “victory for the true believers”, as Keating put it on election night, saw the ALP secure a two-party swing of 1.54% and increase its seat tally to 80, a majority of 11 on the floor of the House.

The result was not evenly spread across the country. Swings to the ALP in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales delivered an additional 9 seats. Swings to the coalition in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia cost the ALP 7 seats.

This was the first election since 1966 in which an incumbent government increased its share of the vote and its majority in the House of Representatives. In 1987, Hawke had increased his government’s majority, whilst losing overall support.

Victoria emerged as one of the ALP’s strongest States, only 5 months after the State Labor Government led by Joan Kirner was decimated. Tasmania delivered 4 of its 5 seats to the ALP, the party’s best result since 1974.

Two-Party-Preferred Statistics 1993
House of Representatives – Summary
State ALP Votes ALP % L/NP Votes L/NP % Total Votes Exhausted Votes % Swing to ALP
New South Wales 1,928,635
3,546,347 2,131 2.25
Victoria 1,419,835
2,740,733 2,082 4.34
Queensland 884,426
1,826,135 1,189 -1.76
Western Australia 445,462
968,042 551 -1.11
South Australia 436,650
922,542 1,133 -2.17
Tasmania 167,780
307,019 121 6.75
Australian Capital Territory 110,055
179,851 118 2.65
Northern Territory 43,578
78,785 0 0.29
Australia 5,436,421
10,569,454 7,325 1.54


Source: Australian Electoral Commission publications


1993 Election Night Counting: Call Of The Board

This video shows the call of the board broadcast on ABC television on election night 1993.

The late Andrew Olle hosted the ABC’s election coverage. Antony Green conducted the call of the board.

The call followed Prime Minister Paul Keating’s “victory for the true believers” speech and a sombre concession speech by Opposition Leader John Hewson.

The election brought a number of new members into the House. They included the future Treasurer in the Rudd and Gillard governments, Wayne Swan, and the future Foreign and Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

The election also saw Bob Katter’s election to the Queensland seat of Kennedy. He served as a National Party member before turning independent in 2001.

Peter Slipper returned to the Queensland electorate of Fisher as a Liberal member. He had earlier held the seat as a National from 1984-87. Two decades later he would leave the Liberal Party and serve briefly as Speaker of the House of Representatives during the Gillard government.

Phil Cleary won election to the Melbourne seat of Wills, formerly held by Prime Minister Bob Hawke. Cleary won the seat from Labor in 1992 but his election was declared void by the Court of Disputed Returns after he was found to have still held an “office of profit under the Crown” through his employment as a school teacher.

John Hewson’s Election Night Concession Speech

This is the concession speech delivered on election night by the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. John Hewson.

Hewson spoke after Prime Minister Paul Keating had claimed victory in his now-famous “victory for the true believers” speech.

Just days earlier, Hewson had seemed confident of victory. In the end, his campaign foundered on his policy to introduce a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST). Other contentious policies in his Fightback! manifesto and Paul Keating’s ferocious counter-attack led to a nationwide swing of 1.54% against the Liberal-National coalition.

Listen to Hewson (6m)

Watch Hewson (8m)

Watch Hewson (version 2 – 8m)

Keating Wins 1993 Federal Election: ‘This Is The Sweetest Victory Of All’

“This is the sweetest victory of all,” Prime Minister Paul Keating told ALP supporters on election night, March 13, 1993. “This is a victory for the true believers.”

Keating’s come-from-behind victory was a triumph for the ALP. Labor increased its majority in the House of Representatives with a net gain of 2 seats, defeating the Coalition by 80 seats to 67, with 2 independents.

The ALP’s primary vote increased 5.49% to 44.92%. Its two-party-preferred vote increased 1.54% to 51.44%.

Keating delivered his victory speech at the Bankstown Sports Club.

  • Listen to Keating’s speech (11m)
  • Watch Keating (12m)
  • “The Sweetest Victory of All” (13m)

Transcript of Prime Minister Paul Keating’s election victory speech on March 13, 1993.

Well, this is the sweetest victory of all – this is the sweetest. This is a victory for the true believers, the people who in difficult times have kept the faith and to the Australian people going through hard times – it makes their act of faith all that much greater.

It will be a long time before an Opposition party tries to divide this country again. It will be a long time before somebody tries to put one group of Australians over here and another over there. [Read more…]