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Elections

Robert Menzies won the seat of Kooyong, covering the affluent inner-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, in 1934. He held the seat for 32 years, contesting another 11 federal elections, until his retirement from parliament on 26 January 1966.

These 'forty-niners' included future PMs Gorton and McMahon

One of the selling points of the Liberal-Country Party election campaign in 1949 was the high proportion of ex-servicemen candidates. These 'forty-niners' included future Prime Ministers John Gorton and William McMahon.

NAA: A11466, 3/6, p. 3

15 September 1934

Menzies won the seat of Kooyong in this election, one of the 28 seats won by the United Australia Party. The Lyons government remained in office, forming a coalition with the Country Party which won 14 seats. Labor won 18 seats, Lang Labor 9, and South Australia’s Liberal Country League 5 seats in the House of Representatives.

In the Senate, the United Australia Party won 16 seats and the Country Party 2 seats.

23 October 1937

Menzies retained the seat of Kooyong and the Lyons government was returned with 28 United Australia Party seats in the House of Representatives, one held by an ‘Independent United Australia Party’ candidate, and 16 Country Party seats. The Labor Party, led by John Curtin after James Scullin’s retirement, won 29 seats.

Labor made gains in the Senate, winning 16 seats, while the United Australia Party won 3.

21 September 1940

The United Australia Party, led by Robert Menzies after the death of Joseph Lyons in April 1939, narrowly retained government with the help of the Country Party. The United Australia Party won only 23 seats (and lost one when Arthur Coles declared himself an Independent) to Labor’s 32. The Country Party won 14 seats, Lang Labor 4 seats and there was 1 Independent.

The United Australia Party and Country Party won 16 Senate seats, and Labor won 3.

On 28 August 1941 Menzies was replaced as United Australia Party leader and Country Party leader Arthur Fadden became Prime Minister. Fadden was unable to retain majority support in the House of Representatives and, on 7 October 1941, John Curtin became Prime Minister.

21 August 1943

Menzies retained Kooyong, though the United Australia Party, led by WM Hughes, lost heavily. The Curtin Labor government increased its majority, winning 49 seats to 12 United Australia Party seats, 7 Country Party, 3 Country National Party, 1 Liberal Country Party, 1 Queensland Country Party, and 1 Independent seats in the House of Representatives. Labor won all 19 Senate seats contested.

After this election, the United Australia Party elected Robert Menzies as leader for the second time.

28 September 1946

The Labor government, led by Ben Chifley after the death of John Curtin, won 43 House of Representatives seats. Robert Menzies’ new Liberal Party won 15 seats and the Country Party won 11.

In the Senate, the Liberal and Country Party alliance won 3 seats to Labor’s 16.

10 December 1949

The Liberal Party led by Robert Menzies won government with 55 seats in the House of Representatives, to the Country Party’s 19 and Labor’s 47. In 1949 the size of the House of Representatives was increased from 75 to 121 seats, and the Senate increased from 36 to 60 seats.

At this election 42 Senate seats were contested. The Coalition won 23 and Labor 19.

28 April 1951

After the Labor-dominated Senate refused to pass the government’s banking legislation, Robert Menzies obtained a double dissolution of parliament, the first since 1914. Menzies’ coalition government was returned with a reduced majority in the House of Representatives, but with control of the Senate. In the House, the Liberal Party won 52 and the Labor Party won 54 seats, and the Country Party won 17 seats.

Of the 60 Senate seats, the Coalition won 26, Labor 28, and the Country Party 6.

29 May 1954

In the aftermath of the defection of Soviet embassy officials Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov the month before, this House of Representatives election returned Robert Menzies’ Coalition government. The Liberal Party won 47 seats, the Country Party 17 seats and Labor 57 seats in the House.

10 December 1955

After the formation of an anti-Communist grouping split the Labor Party early in 1955, Prime Minister Robert Menzies obtained an early dissolution of parliament, on the grounds of bringing together the elections for both Houses. The Coalition was returned with an increased majority, with 57 Liberal, 18 Country Party and 47 Labor seats in the House of Representatives.

In the half-Senate election, of the 30 seats contested, the Coalition won 16, Labor 12, Anti-Communist Labor 1 and Country-Western Australia 1.

22 November 1958

The Menzies–McEwen Coalition was returned with a substantial majority (John McEwen replaced Arthur Fadden as leader of the Country Party and deputy Prime Minister in March 1958). In the House of Representatives the Liberal Party won 58 seats, the Country Party 19, and Labor 45.

Of the 32 Senate seats contested, the Coalition and Labor each won 15. The other 2 seats were won by the Democratic Labor Party and Country-Western Australia. The 1958 election campaign was the first where television was widely used by the parties.

9 December 1961

At this election the Menzies–McEwen Coalition narrowly retained government, with 45 Liberal and 17 Country Party seats to Labor’s 60. The Coalition thus governed by a majority of one seat after a Speaker was elected in the House of Representatives.

Of the 31 Senate seats contested at this election, the Coalition won 15 and Labor 14, with 1 Country-Western Australia and 1 ‘other’.

30 November 1963

Robert Menzies called this House of Representatives election early, and obtained an improved majority with 52 House of Representatives seats won by the Liberal Party, 20 by the Country Party, and 50 by Labor. This was Menzies’ twelfth and last federal election. He resigned from parliament on 26 January 1966.

Sources

These brief election results relate only to this Prime Minister. They are drawn from the online sources below, where further information can be found.

Australian Electoral Commission:
Election results

University of Western Australia:
Australian Government and Politics Database

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