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Australian federal election, 1951

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Title: Australian federal election, 1951  
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Subject: Ben Chifley, Menzies Government (1949–66), Robert Menzies, Liberal Party of Australia, Chifley Government
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Australian federal election, 1951

Australian federal election, 1951

28 April 1951

All 121 seats of the Australian House of Representatives
61 seats were needed for a majority in the House
All 60 seats of the Australian Senate
  First party Second party
Leader Robert Menzies Ben Chifley
Party Liberal/Country coalition Labor
Leader since 23 September 1943 13 July 1945
Leader's seat Kooyong Macquarie
Last election 74 seats 47 seats
Seats won 69 seats 52 seats
Seat change Decrease5 Increase5
Percentage 50.70% 49.30%
Swing Decrease0.30 Increase0.30

Prime Minister before election

Robert Menzies
Liberal/Country coalition

Elected Prime Minister

Robert Menzies
Liberal/Country coalition

Federal elections were held in Australia on 28 April 1951. All 121 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 60 seats in the Senate were up for election, due to a double dissolution called after the Senate rejected the Commonwealth Bank Bill.[1] The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies with coalition partner the Country Party led by Arthur Fadden defeated the Australian Labor Party led by Ben Chifley.

House of Reps (IRV) — 1951–54—Turnout 96.00% (CV) — Informal 1.90%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Australian Labor Party 2,174,840 47.63 +1.65 52 +5 (2 elected
  Liberal Party of Australia 1,854,799 40.62 +1.23 52 −3 (1 elected
  Country Party 443,713 9.72 −1.15 17 −2
  Independents 46,788 1.02 −1.13 0 0
  Other 45,759 1.00 0 0
  Total 4,565,899     121
  Liberal/Country coalition WIN 50.70 −0.30 69 −5
  Australian Labor Party 49.30 +0.30 52 +5

Senate (STV) — 1951–53—Turnout 95.99% (CV) — Informal 7.13%
  Party Votes % Swing Seats Won Seats Held Change
  Australian Labor Party 2,029,751 45.88 +0.99 28 28 −6
  Liberal/Country (Joint Ticket) 1,925,631 43.52 −1.12 * *
  Liberal Party of Australia 273,056 6.17 +0.41 26 26 +5
  Communist Party of Australia 93,561 2.11 +0.02 0 0 0
  Country Party * * * 6 6 +1
  Other 102,238 2.31 0 0 0
  Total 4,424,237     60 60


  • Seats changing hands 1
  • History 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5

Seats changing hands

Seat Pre-1951 Swing Post-1951
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Australian Capital Territory, ACT   Independent Lewis Nott 3.8 6.7 2.9 Jim Fraser Labor  
Ballaarat, Vic   Liberal Alan Pittard 0.4 1.6 1.2 Bob Joshua Labor  
Hume, NSW   Country Charles Anderson 1.0 1.3 0.3 Arthur Fuller Labor  
Kingston, SA   Liberal Jim Handby 1.6 3.4 1.8 Patrick Galvin Labor  
Leichhardt, Qld   Country Tom Gilmore 1.0 1.3 0.3 Harry Bruce Labor  
Wannon, Vic   Liberal Dan Mackinnon 0.8 1.9 1.1 Don McLeod Labor  


Although the Coalition had won a comfortable majority in the House in 1949, Labor still had a four-seat majority in the Senate. Chifley thus made it his business to obstruct Menzies' agenda at every opportunity. Realizing this, Menzies sought to call a double dissolution at the first opportunity in hopes of gaining control of both houses. He thought he had his chance in 1950, when he introduced a bill to ban the Australian Communist Party. However, after a redraft, Chifley let the bill pass.

A few months later, the Senate rejected the Commonwealth Banking Bill, finally giving Menzies an excuse to call a double dissolution. While the Coalition lost five House seats to Labor, it still had a solid mandate. More importantly, it picked up six Senate seats, giving it control over both chambers.

See also


  1. ^ "Parliament of Australia: Senate: Publications: Odgers' Guide to Australian Senate Practice – Twelfth Edition – Chapter 21 – Relations with the House of Representatives – Simultaneous dissolutions of 1951". Retrieved 26 August 2010. 


  • 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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