1984 Australian federal election

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1984 Australian federal election

← 1983 1 December 1984 (1984-12-01) 1987 →

All 148 seats in the House of Representatives
75 seats were needed for a majority in the House
46 (of the 76) seats in the Senate
Registered9,869,217 Increase 5.30%
Turnout9,295,421 (94.19%)
(Decrease0.45 pp)
  First party Second party
 
Leader Bob Hawke Andrew Peacock
Party Labor Liberal/National coalition
Leader since 8 February 1983 (1983-02-08) 11 March 1983 (1983-03-11)
Leader's seat Wills (Vic.) Kooyong (Vic.)
Last election 75 seats 50 seats
Seats won 82 seats 66 seats
Seat change Increase 7 Increase 16
First preference vote 4,120,130 3,900,042
Percentage 47.55% 45.01%
Swing Decrease 1.93% Increase 1.40%
TPP 51.44% 48.56%
TPP swing Decrease 1.46% Increase 1.46%

Results by division for the House of Representatives, shaded by winning party's margin of victory.

Prime Minister before election

Bob Hawke
Labor

Subsequent Prime Minister

Bob Hawke
Labor

The 1984 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 1 December 1984. All 148 seats in the House of Representatives (24 of them newly created) and 46 of 76 seats in the Senate (12 of them newly created) were up for election. The incumbent Labor Party led by Prime Minister Bob Hawke defeated the opposition Liberal–National coalition, led by Andrew Peacock.

The election was held in conjunction with two referendum questions, neither of which was carried.

Background and issues[edit]

The election had a long campaign and a high rate of informal voting for the House of Representatives, but decreased rate in the Senate (due to the introduction of the Group voting ticket). Although a House election was not due until 1986, Hawke opted to call an election 18 months early in part to bring the elections for the House and Senate back into line following the double dissolution election of 1983.

The legislated increase in the size of the House by 24 seats and the Senate by 12 seats came into effect at the 1984 election. Prior to 1984 the electoral commission did not undertake a full distribution of preferences for statistical purposes. The stored ballot papers for the previous 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.

Results[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

Government (82)
  Labor (82)

Opposition (66)
Coalition
  Liberal (44)
  National (21)
  CLP (1)
House of Reps (IRV) — 1984–87 – Turnout 94.19% (CV) — Informal 6.78%
Party Votes % Swing Seats Change
  Labor 4,120,130 47.55 −1.93 82 Increase 7
    Liberal 2,951,556 34.06 −0.06 44 Increase 11
  National 921,151 10.63 +1.42 21 Increase 4
  Country Liberal 27,335 0.32 +0.08 1 Increase 1
Liberal/National Coalition 3,900,042 45.01 –1.40 66 Increase 16
  Democrats 472,204 5.45 +0.42
  Others 172,576 1.99
Total 8,664,952     148 Increase 23
Two-party-preferred
  Labor 4,484,622 51.77 −1.46 82 Increase 7
  Liberal–National coalition 4,178,572 48.23 +1.46 66 Increase 16
Invalid/blank votes 630,469 6.8 +4.7
Turnout 9,295,421 94.2
Registered voters 9,869,217
Source: Federal Election Results 1949-1993
Popular vote
Labor
47.55%
Liberal
34.06%
National
10.63%
Democrats
5.45%
CLP
0.32%
Other
1.99%
Two-party-preferred vote
Labor
51.77%
Coalition
48.23%
Parliament seats
Labor
55.41%
Coalition
44.59%

Senate[edit]

Government (34)
  Labor (34)

Opposition (33)
Coalition
  Liberal (27)
  National (5)
  CLP (1)

Crossbench (9)
  Democrats (7)
  NDP (1)
  Independent (1)
Senate (STV GV) — 1984–87 – Turnout 94.55% (CV) — Informal 4.68%
Party Votes % Swing Seats won Total seats Change
  Australian Labor Party 3,750,789 42.17 −3.32 20 34 Increase 4
    Liberal/National joint ticket 1,130,601 12.71 −11.49 3 * *
  Liberal Party of Australia 1,831,006 20.59 +8.58 14 27 Increase 4
  National Party of Australia 527,278 5.93 +0.87 2 5 Increase 1
  Country Liberal Party 27,972 0.31 +0.04 1 1 Steady
Liberal/National Coalition 3,516,857 39.54 –0.41 20 33 Increase 5
  Australian Democrats 677,970 7.62 −2.32 5 7 Increase 2
  Nuclear Disarmament Party 643,061 7.23 * 1 1 Increase 1
  Harradine Group 22,992 0.26 −0.32 1 Steady
  Others 282,431 3.18 +0.73
Total 8,894,100 46 76 Increase 12
Invalid/blank votes 437,065 4.7 –5.2
Turnout 9,331,165 94.5
Registered voters 9,869,217
Source: Federal Election Results 1949-1993

Seats changing hands[edit]

Seat Pre-1984 Swing Post-1984
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Farrer, NSW   Liberal Wal Fife 7.4 N/A 13.0 Tim Fischer National  
Flinders, Vic   Labor Bob Chynoweth 0.3 1.5 1.2 Peter Reith Liberal  
Forde, Qld   Labor notional – new seat 2.7 2.7 0.0 David Watson Liberal  
Gilmore, NSW   Labor notional – new seat 0.5 1.7 1.2 John Sharp National  
Hinkler, Qld   Labor notional – new seat 0.6 0.8 0.2 Bryan Conquest National  
Hume, NSW   National Stephen Lusher N/A N/A 7.7 Wal Fife Liberal  
Macquarie, NSW   Labor Ross Free 0.5 1.9 1.4 Alasdair Webster Liberal  
Northern Territory, NT   Labor John Reeves 1.9 3.3 1.4 Paul Everingham Country Liberal  
Petrie, Qld   Labor Dean Wells 1.5 2.1 0.6 John Hodges Liberal  
Riverina-Darling, NSW   Labor notional – new seat 1.3 5.9 4.6 Noel Hicks National  
  • Members listed in italics did not contest their seat at this election.

Analysis[edit]

The Gallagher Index result: 7.79

The results of the election surprised most analysts;[citation needed] the expectation had been that Bob Hawke – who had been polling a record ACNielsen approval rating of 75 percent[1] on the eve of the election – would win by a significantly larger margin. Labor instead suffered a 2-point swing against it and had its majority cut from 25 to 16. Hawke blamed the result on the changes to Senate vote cards, which he believed confused people regarding their House of Representatives votes and contributed to the relatively high informal vote, the majority of which apparently was Labor votes.[2] However, analysis by the Australian Electoral Commission found that informal voting only slightly reduced Labor's primary vote and did not change the result in any division.[3]

Andrew Peacock did well from a good performance in the one leaders' debate, held on 26 November 1984,[4] which was the first televised leaders' debate in Australia.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Coorey, Phil (20 May 2008). "The biggest hammering in history". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 May 2008.
  2. ^ Hawke, RJL (1996). The Hawke Memoirs. Port Melbourne: Mandarin. pp. 275–276. "Attracted to the simplicity of the Senate ballot, a number of voters thought they could mark their Lower House ballot in exactly the same way. Unfortunately for both them and us the informal vote for the House of Representatives swelled from 2 per cent to nearly 7 per cent. On the best surmise the bulk of the informals were Labor votes."
  3. ^ Green, Antony (11 January 2013). "Past Research on the Intended Party Vote of Informal Ballot Papers". ABC News. Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  4. ^ Fraser, Bryce (1998). The Macquarie Reference Series: Government in Australia. Sydney: The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. p. 44. ISBN 1-876429-02-X.
  5. ^ "1984 Federal Election". AustralianPolitics.com. Retrieved 30 July 2016.