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Australian federal election, 1977: Wikis


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Federal election major party leaders
< 1975 1977 1980 >

Malcolm Fraser
Prime Minister
Parliament: 22 years
Leader since: 1974
Division: Wannon



Gough Whitlam
Opposition leader
Parliament: 25 years
Leader since: 1967
Division: Werriwa

Federal elections were held in Australia on 10 December 1977. All 124 seats in the House of Representatives, and 34 of the 64 seats in the Senate, were up for election.

The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Malcolm Fraser with coalition partner the National Country Party led by Doug Anthony in government since 1975 defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Gough Whitlam.



House of Reps (IRV) — 1977-80 — Turnout 95.08% (CV) — Informal 2.52%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Australian Labor Party 3,141,051 39.65 -3.20 38 +2
  Liberal Party of Australia 3,017,896 38.09 -3.71 67 -1
  National Country Party 793,444 10.01 -1.24 19 -4
  Australian Democrats 743,365 9.38 * 0 0
  Other 227,098 2.87 0 0
  Total 7,922,854     124 -3
  Liberal/National coalition WIN 54.60 -1.10 86 -5
  Australian Labor Party   45.40 +1.10 38 +2
Senate (STV) — 1977-80 — Turnout 95.08% (CV) — Informal 9.00%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Won Seats Held
  Australian Labor Party 2,718,876 36.76 -4.15 14 27
  Liberal/National (Joint Ticket) 2,533,882 34.26 -5.60 7
  Australian Democrats 823,550 11.13 * 2 2
  Liberal Party of Australia 783,878 10.60 -0.48 10 27
  National Country Party 36,619 0.50 -0.04 0 6
  Country Liberal Party 15,463 0.21 -0.01 1 1
  Independents 127,850 1.73 +0.13 0 1
  Other 356,089 4.81 +2.75 0 0
  Total 7,396,207     34 64

Independent: Brian Harradine

Background and issues

The government offering tax cuts to voters and ran advertisements with the slogan "fistful of dollars". The tax cuts were never delivered; instead a "temporary surcharge" was imposed in 1978. The election coincided with the retirement of the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr. Kerr had appeared drunk at the Melbourne Cup in November and the public outcry resulted in the cancellation of his appointment as Ambassador to UNESCO.

The 1977 election was held a year earlier than required, partly to bring elections for the House and Senate back into line. A half-Senate election had to be held by the middle of 1978, since the double dissolution election of 1975 had resulted in the terms of senators being backdated to July 1975.


Liberal Don Chipp had been dropped from the ministry after the 1975 election. He had formed a new political party, the Australian Democrats, and had announced his intention to run for the Senate. Liberal Movement senator Steele Hall resigned and was replaced by Janine Haines but lost her seat, however the party gained Chipp in Victoria and Colin Mason in New South Wales, with Haines being re-elected at the next election as popularity grew.

The ALP made limited gains in the election. The Second Fraser Government retained the second-largest parliamentary majority in Australian history after the majority it won in the 1975 election. Gough Whitlam resigned as the leader of the ALP in 1978.

Although there were a number of women candidates for the House of Representatives, no women were elected. Women have been elected at every general election from 1980 onwards.

See also


  • election details
  • University of WA election results in Australia since 1890
  • AEC 2PP vote
  • Prior to 1984 the AEC did not undertake a full distribution of preferences for statistical purposes. The stored ballot papers for the 1983 election were put through this process prior to their destruction. Therefore the figures from 1983 onwards show the actual result based on full distribution of preferences.


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