All 151 seats in the House of Representatives
76 seats are needed for a majority
40 (of the 76) seats in the Senate
The 2019 Australian federal election was held on Saturday 18 May 2019 to elect members of the 46th Parliament of Australia. The election had been called following the dissolution of the 45th Parliament as elected at the 2016 double dissolution federal election. All 151 seats in the House of Representatives (lower house) and 40 of the 76 seats in the Senate (upper house) were up for election.
The second-term incumbent minority Liberal/National Coalition Government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, won a third three-year term by defeating the opposition Australian Labor Party, led by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. The Coalition claimed a three-seat majority with 77 seats, Labor finished with 68, whilst the remaining six seats were won by the Australian Greens, Centre Alliance, Katter's Australian Party and three independents.
The electoral system of Australia enforces compulsory voting and uses full-preference instant-runoff voting in single-member seats for the House of Representatives and optional preferential single transferable voting in the Senate. The election was administered by the Australian Electoral Commission.
The result was considered an upset as polling had placed the Coalition consistently behind for almost three years. It was the first time since 2001 that a Federal government in Australia won a third consecutive term in office. The Coalition benefited from a stronger-than-expected showing in Queensland. The Liberal National Party of Queensland won 23 of the state's 30 seats with a statewide primary vote of 43%. Indeed, the net two-seat swing to the LNP in Queensland was enough to allow the Coalition to regain its majority.
On election night, Shorten declared his intention to stand down as leader of his party, but to remain in parliament.
|Party||Votes||%||Swing (pp)||Seats||Change (seats)|
|Liberal National (Qld)||1,236,401||8.67||+0.15||23||2|
|Country Liberal (NT)||38,837||0.27||+0.03||0|
|Source: AEC Tally Room|
Members in italics did not re-contest their House of Representatives seats at this election.
|Bass, TAS||Labor||Ross Hart||5.42||5.83||0.41||Bridget Archer||Liberal|
|Braddon, TAS||Labor||Justine Keay||1.73||4.82||3.09||Gavin Pearce||Liberal|
|Chisholm, VIC||Independent||Julia Banks||2.91||-2.34||0.57||Gladys Liu||Liberal|
|Corangamite, VIC||Liberal||Sarah Henderson||-0.03||1.04||1.07||Libby Coker||Labor|
|Dunkley, VIC||Liberal||Chris Crewther||-1.03||1.71||2.74||Peta Murphy||Labor|
|Gilmore, NSW||Liberal||Ann Sudmalis||0.73||3.34||2.61||Fiona Phillips||Labor|
|Herbert, QLD||Labor||Cathy O'Toole||0.02||8.38||8.36||Phillip Thompson||Liberal National|
|Lindsay, NSW||Labor||Emma Husar||1.11||6.15||5.04||Melissa McIntosh||Liberal|
|Indi, VIC||Independent||Cathy McGowan||5.10||-4.13||1.39||Helen Haines||Independent|
|Longman, QLD||Labor||Susan Lamb||0.79||4.07||3.28||Terry Young||Liberal National|
|Warringah, NSW||Liberal||Tony Abbott||11.09||N/A||7.24||Zali Steggall||Independent|
|Wentworth, NSW||Independent||Kerryn Phelps||1.22||N/A||1.31||Dave Sharma||Liberal|
1 Julia Banks was elected as the Liberal member for Chisholm in 2016, but resigned from the party in November 2018 and sat as an independent. She retired from Chisholm to contest the seat of Flinders.
Out of 40 Senate seats up for election, the Coalition won 19, while Labor won 13 seats. The Greens won 6 seats, while the only other minor party candidates elected were former senator Malcolm Roberts for One Nation in Queensland, and Jacqui Lambie (JLN) in Tasmania. The Senate crossbench became substantially smaller, with incumbent senators Derryn Hinch, Duncan Spender, Peter Georgiou, Brian Burston, and Fraser Anning, as well as former parliamentarians Clive Palmer and Skye Kakoschke-Moore, failing in their bids to win Senate seats.
|Liberal/National joint ticket||3,152,483||21.59||+1.57||6||6||12||2|
|Liberal National (Qld)||1,128,730||7.73||+0.79||3||3||6||1|
|Country Liberal (NT)||38,513||0.26||-0.00||1||0||1|
|Source: AEC Tally Room|
The outcome of the 2016 federal election could not be determined on election night, with too many seats in doubt. After a week of vote counting, neither the incumbent Turnbull Government led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of the Liberal/National Coalition nor the Shorten Opposition led by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten of the Australian Labor Party had won enough seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives to form a majority government.
During the uncertain week following the election, Turnbull negotiated with the crossbench and secured confidence and supply support from Bob Katter and from independents Andrew Wilkie and Cathy McGowan in the event of a hung parliament and resulting minority government. During crossbench negotiations, Turnbull pledged additional staff and resources for crossbenchers, and stated "It is my commitment to work in every way possible to ensure that the crossbenchers have access to all of the information they need and all of the resources they need to be able to play the role they need in this parliament".
On 10 July, eight days after the election took place and following Turnbull's negotiations with the crossbench where he secured sufficient confidence and supply support, Shorten conceded defeat, acknowledging that the incumbent Coalition had enough seats to form either a minority or majority government. Turnbull claimed victory later that day. In the closest federal majority result since the 1961 election, the ABC declared on 11 July that the incumbent Coalition would be able to form a one-seat majority government.
It was the first election result since federation where the post-election opposition won more seats than the post-election government in both of Australia's two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria.
In the 150-seat House of Representatives, the one-term incumbent Liberal/National Coalition government suffered a 14-seat swing, reducing it to 76 seats--a bare one-seat majority. With a national three-point two-party swing against the government, the Labor opposition picked up a significant number of previously government-held seats to gain a total of 69 seats. On the crossbench, the Greens, the Nick Xenophon Team, Katter's Australian Party, and independents Wilkie and McGowan won a seat each. On 19 July, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) announced a re-count for the Coalition-held but provisionally Labor-won Division of Herbert. At the start of the Herbert re-count, Labor led by eight votes. The AEC announced on 31 July that Labor had won Herbert by 37 votes.
The final outcome in the 76-seat Senate took more than four weeks to determine, despite significant voting changes. Earlier in 2016, legislation changed the Senate voting system from a full-preference single transferable vote with group voting tickets to an optional-preferential single transferable vote. The final Senate result was announced on 4 August: Liberal/National Coalition 30 seats (-3), Labor 26 seats (+1), Greens 9 seats (-1), One Nation 4 seats (+4) and Nick Xenophon Team 3 seats (+2). Derryn Hinch won a seat, while Jacqui Lambie, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and Family First's Bob Day retained their seats. The number of crossbenchers increased by two to a record 20. The Liberal/National Coalition will require at least nine additional votes to reach a Senate majority, an increase of three. The Liberal and Labor parties agreed to support a motion in the parliament that the first six senators elected in each state would serve a six-year term, while the last six elected would serve a three-year term.
Since the 2016 election, a number of parliamentarians resigned from their seats, while some were disqualified by the High Court of Australia in the parliamentary eligibility crisis as a result of the dual citizenship of some MPs. However, in the cases of disqualified House of Representatives MPs, most of these were returned in resulting by-elections. Some MPs changed their party affiliation or their independent status.
Changes in parliamentary composition
Following the parliamentary eligibility crisis, the AEC's form for nomination was updated to ask detailed questions on whether candidates are disqualified under Section 44 of the Constitution of Australia. Three Victorian Liberal candidates had to withdraw based on section 44 issues.
Following the Liberal Party leadership spill on 24 August 2018, Malcolm Turnbull was replaced as Prime Minister by Scott Morrison. Turnbull resigned from parliament on 31 August, triggering a by-election in his former seat of Wentworth. The by-election was won by independent Kerryn Phelps. This, combined with National MP Kevin Hogan's move to the crossbench and the resignation of MP Julia Banks from the Liberal Party, reduced the government to 73 seats going into the election; a net three-seat deficit.
Further dissatisfaction within the Liberal Party saw a number of centrist and economically-liberal candidates announce that they would nominate as independents in wealthy electorates, with a specific focus on "addressing climate change".
The nomination of candidates closed on 23 April 2019.
There were 1,514 candidates in total (1,056 for the House of Representatives and 458 for the Senate).
|Coalition||LP||Liberal||Liberal conservativism||Scott Morrison||28.67%|
|LNP||Liberal National||Deb Frecklington[a]||8.52%|
|ALP||Labor||Social democracy||Bill Shorten||34.73%|
|AG||Greens||Green politics||Richard Di Natale||10.23%|
|CA||Centre Alliance||Social liberalism||No leader||1.85%|
|KAP||Katter's Australian||Social conservatism||Bob Katter||0.54%|
After effects of boundary redistributions for the next election, and the 2018 Wentworth by-election, the Mackerras pendulum had the Liberal/National Coalition government on 73 of 151 seats with the Labor opposition on 72 seats and a crossbench of six seats.
Assuming a theoretical nationwide uniform swing, the Labor opposition needed at least 50.7% of the two-party vote (at least a 1.1-point two-party swing) to win 76 seats and majority government. The incumbent Coalition government no longer held a majority, and required at least 51.1% of the two-party vote (at least a 0.7-point two-party swing) to regain it.
The key marginal seats were as follows:
a Although the seats of Corangamite and Dunkley were Liberal wins at the previous election, the redistribution in Victoria changed them to notionally marginal Labor seats. b Members with names in italics retired at the 2019 election. c Margin as of the previous by-election (which may apply to older boundaries).
Members of Parliament and Senators who chose not to renominate for the 2019 election are as follows:
The result of the 2019 election was in stark contrast to the aggregation of opinion polls conducted over the period of the 45th parliament and the 2019 election campaign. Apart from a few outliers, Labor had been ahead for the entire period, by as much as 56% on a two-party-preferred basis after Scott Morrison took over the leadership of the Liberal Party in August 2018--although during the campaign, Labor's two-party estimate was between 51 and 52%.
During the ABC's election coverage, election analyst Antony Green stated, "at the moment, on these figures, it's a bit of a spectacular failure of opinion polling", with the election results essentially a mirror image of the polls with the Coalition's two-party vote at around 51%.
The former director of Newspoll, Martin O'Shannessy, cited changes in demographics and telephone habits which have changed the nature of polling from calling random samples of landlines to calling random mobile numbers and automated "robocalls"--with the ensuing drop in response rates resulting in lower quality data due to smaller samples and bias in the sample due to who chooses to respond.
Several analysts and statisticians found the lack of variance of the two-party preferred estimates concerning--truly random poll sampling would see the results "bounce around" within each poll's margin of error, but the differences between figures in the final few weeks of the campaign were so consistently small as to be highly improbable to happen under random chance. Some analysts suspected the phenomenon of "herding" had occurred--as polling companies attempted to adjust for bias, they had "massaged" their results to be similar to other polls, resulting in an artificial closeness.
An election for the House of Representatives can be called at any time during the maximum three-year parliamentary term. The term of the House of Representatives starts on the first sitting day of the House following its election, which in the case of the 45th Parliament was 30 August 2016. The House therefore would expire on 29 August 2019, unless it were dissolved earlier. In this case, the Parliament was dissolved on 11 April and an election called for 18 May 2019. This occurred after Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited the Governor-General advising him to prorogue Parliament and dissolve the House of Representatives. The Governor-General accepted Morrison's recommendations, as is the custom in Australia's Westminster system of government.
The Constitution of Australia does not require simultaneous elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives, but it has long been preferred that elections for the two houses take place simultaneously. The most recent House-only election took place in 1972, and the most recent Senate-only election took place in 1970. However, the writs for a half-Senate election could not be issued earlier than 1 July 2018. Section 13 of the Constitution requires that the election of senators must take place within one year before the terms expire for half-Senate elections. Since the previous election was a double dissolution, half of the senators were allocated three-year terms that end on 30 June 2019, while the other half were allocated six-year terms that end on 30 June 2022. Senators from the territories serve terms timed with House elections. Since campaigns are for a minimum of 33 days, the earliest possible date for a simultaneous House/half-Senate election was 4 August 2018. The latest that a half-Senate election could be held must allow time for the votes to be counted and the writs to be returned before the newly elected senators take office on 1 July 2019. This took over a month in 2016, so practically the last possible date for a half-Senate election to take place before the three-year terms expire is 18 May 2019.
An election for the House of Representatives needed to be held on or before 2 November 2019. The latest date for the election is calculated from the Constitution and the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (CEA). Section 28 of the Constitution provides that a term of the House of Representatives expires three years from the first sitting of the House, unless dissolved earlier. The last federal election was held on 2 July 2016. The 45th Parliament opened on 30 August 2016 and its term would expire on 29 August 2019. Writs for election can be issued up to ten days after a dissolution or expiry of the House. Up to 27 days can be allowed for nominations, and the actual election can be set for a maximum of 31 days after close of nominations, resulting in the latest election date for the House of Representatives of Saturday, 2 November 2019.
A double dissolution cannot take place within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives. That meant that any double dissolution of the 45th Parliament had to have been granted by 28 February 2019. Allowing for the same stages indicated above, the last possible date for a double dissolution election would have been 4 May 2019. This could only have occurred if a bill that had passed the House of Representatives was rejected by the Senate twice, at least three months apart.
The constitutional and legal provisions which impact on the choice of election dates include:
On 11 April 2019, the office of the Governor-General released documents relating to the calling of the election. The documents set out a timeline of key dates for the election.
The election period included three national public holidays: Good Friday (19 April), Easter Monday (22 April) and Anzac Day (25 April), as well as May Day and Labour Day in Northern Territory and Queensland, respectively, both falling on 6 May.
Since the previous election in 2016, there was a reapportionment of seats of the House of Representatives, as well as three scheduled redistributions of electoral boundaries. On 31 August 2017, the Australian Electoral Commission announced a reapportionment of seats based on calculation of each state and territory's entitlement determination: Victoria gained one seat to 38, the Australian Capital Territory gained a seat to 3, and South Australia lost one seat to 10. The total number of members of the House of Representatives increased from 150 to 151.
Following the reapportionment, which applied to the 2019 election, the allocation of seats was:
|New South Wales||47|
|Australian Capital Territory||3||1|
On 7 December 2016, the Electoral Commission for the Northern Territory announced the results of its deliberations into the boundaries of Lingiari and Solomon, the two federal electoral divisions in the Northern Territory. New boundaries gazetted from 7 February 2017 saw the remainder of the Litchfield Municipality and parts of Palmerston (the suburbs of Farrar, Johnston, Mitchell, Zuccoli and part of Yarrawonga) transferred from Solomon to Lingiari.
A scheduled redistribution began in Tasmania on 1 September 2016, with the determinations announced on 27 September 2017. In addition to boundary changes, the Division of Denison was renamed the Division of Clark after Andrew Inglis Clark.
A scheduled redistribution began in Queensland on 6 January 2017, and was finalised on 27 March 2018. Changes were made to the boundaries of 18 of Queensland's 30 electoral divisions, and no division names were changed.
A redistribution of federal electoral divisions in the Australian Capital Territory commenced on 4 September 2017, due to changes in the territory's representation entitlement. The AEC released a proposed redistribution on 6 April 2018, and the final determination on 3 July 2018. The redistribution resulted in the creation of a third ACT electoral division named Bean (notionally fairly safe Labor), after historian Charles Bean.
A redistribution of federal electoral divisions in Victoria commenced on 4 September 2017, due to changes in the state's representation entitlement. The determinations were announced on 20 June 2018, and created a 38th electoral division named Fraser (notionally safe Labor), named after prime minister Malcolm Fraser.
The commission also renamed several divisions: Batman to Cooper (after William Cooper), McMillan to Monash (after Sir John Monash), Melbourne Ports to Macnamara (after Dame Jean Macnamara) and Murray to Nicholls (after Sir Douglas and Lady Nicholls). A proposal to rename Corangamite to Cox (after swimming instructor May Cox) did not proceed.
A South Australian seat was abolished due to population changes having occurred since the state's last redistribution in 2011. Although South Australia's population was still increasing, faster increases in other states saw a reduction in South Australia's representation from 11 to 10 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives. This was the third time South Australia had lost a seat since the 1984 enlargement of the parliament, with Hawker abolished in 1993 and Bonython in 2004. South Australia is the least-populated state where the current number of seats can decrease, as Tasmania's current representation is the minimum guaranteed by the Constitution.
A redistribution of federal electoral divisions in South Australia commenced on 4 September 2017, due to changes in the state's representation entitlement. The proposed redistribution report was released on 13 April 2018, and the final determination on 26 June 2018. The commission abolished the division of Port Adelaide. The hybrid urban-rural seat of Wakefield became the entirely urban seat of Spence, after Catherine Helen Spence. The more rural portions of Wakefield transferred to Grey and Barker.
The Sunday and daily editions of Australian newspapers traditionally provide editorial endorsement for parties contending both federal and state elections. Alternative newspapers have in recent times also provided backing for minor parties.
|The Sunday Age||No endorsement|
|Sunday Herald Sun||Coalition|
|Sunday Mail (Adelaide)||Coalition|
|The Sunday Mail (Brisbane)||Coalition|
|The Sunday Telegraph||Coalition|
|The Sunday Times||No endorsement|
|The Sun-Herald||No endorsement|
All four newspapers published by News Corp Australia (Melbourne's Sunday Herald Sun, Adelaide's Sunday Mail, Brisbane's The Sunday Mail and Sydney's The Sunday Telegraph) endorsed the Coalition.The Sunday Telegraph compared the major parties as a choice between Labor, which "seeks to present an agenda for social change, a generational correction for people doing it tough: pensioners, the unemployed, the working poor" and a Coalition "government that presents itself as being responsible in its spending, determined to return the budget to the black, eliminate waste and take a forward but steady approach to the broader social issues, such as climate change", ultimately describing Morrison a "safer pair of hands".
Both the Nine Publishing newspapers (Melbourne's The Sunday Age and Sydney's The Sun-Herald) stopped short of endorsing a party, with The Sunday Age calling for bipartisan action on climate change.The Sun-Herald praised Morrison as "the former advertising executive has come into his own, appearing more sure-footed and on message than in the early days of his as leader" but warned that "his single-focus strategy needs some enhancement if he has a chance of pulling off victory", while contrasting it with Labor which has "overwhelmed us with its vision and plans. The party presents itself as a viable alternative government, with bold policy announcements across a variety of sectors, but they carry some risk for the disadvantage they may cause to some sections of the electorate. It runs the risk of hubris should reality not conform with voter expectations".
|The Australian Financial Review||Coalition|
|The Canberra Times||No endorsement|
|The Daily Telegraph||Coalition|
|The Guardian Australia||Labor|
|The Mercury||No endorsement|
|The Sydney Morning Herald||Labor|
|The West Australian||Coalition|
The majority of News Corp Australia's daily mastheads - The Australian, Sydney's The Daily Telegraph, Melbourne's Herald Sun, Brisbane's The Courier-Mail, Adelaide's The Advertiser and the Geelong Advertiser - endorsed the Coalition.The Australian wrote that "Mr Morrison's plan errs on the side of being safe but deliverable; his policies, consistent with traditional values, do not unduly raise expectations as Mr Shorten has done". Hobart's The Mercury stopped short of endorsing a party, remarking that with "polls indicating that a hung Parliament remains a possible scenario ... having [Independent candidate for Clark, Andrew] Wilkie advocating for Tasmania in Canberra would not be a terrible outcome". In Darwin, the NT News endorsed Labor, arguing the Morrison Government had "shown little to no interest" in Aboriginal affairs, an issue "which seriously threatens the future prosperity of the Northern Territory and Australia".
Two of Nine Publishing's mastheads - The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne's The Age endorsed Labor.The Sydney Morning Herald called for voters to bring an end to the "cycle of instability". It emphasised Shorten's "united team that looks like it will stick together", and contrasted this with the "blood feuds" within the Coalition cabinet, stating that "the ALP has used its time in the wilderness of opposition to sort out its factional differences and produce an unusually detailed agreed program". It expressed doubts with some aspects of Labor's economic policy, warning that "with the economy facing headwinds, people want solid, sensible government - not a revolution." It concluded that if Labor could overcome economic challenges and deliver "three years of normal government... it will be better than a continuation of instability under the Coalition". While critical of its stance on climate change and energy policy, its broadsheet The Australian Financial Review endorsed the Coalition, arguing the party "does at least grasp that Australia needs a growth policy in order to lift incomes and sustainably pay for the services government provides".
The Guardian Australia also endorsed Labor, arguing that "the climate emergency is the most pressing issue of our time" and that "the Coalition appears deaf to the rising clamour from the electorate...[while] it clings to an obviously deficient emissions reduction target". Concluding that "the Coalition has neither credible policies nor a competent team", it finds that "Labor is the only party with a credible climate policy and a chance of forming government", but also giving qualified support to The Greens as its "climate policy is more ambitious than Labor's and its tax and spending policies more redistributive". It also wrote positively of "credible independent candidates who could make positive contributions in the parliament".
In Perth, the Seven West Media-owned The West Australian endorsed the Coalition as having "proved they will listen to Western Australia with their historic shakeup of the GST", and commending the Western Australian Liberal Party for "a proven track record of being powerful advocates for [the] state".The Canberra Times provided no endorsement, but concluded that the choice between the two major parties was "for changes that may benefit [Canberrans] personally" or "for change that has the potential to benefit those less fortunate than they are".
Morrison stated that "the quiet Australians ... have won a great victory tonight". Although he described the outcome as a miracle, colleagues said that Morrison had been certain that he would win the election, unlike many other politicians.
Following the results Shorten announced his resignation as leader of the Labor Party, triggering the 2019 Australian Labor Party leadership election. Former Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who ran in the October 2013 spill, announced his candidacy, and was elected unopposed to the role later that month. Albanese's path to the leadership was cleared after Chris Bowen, Shadow Treasurer in the Shorten Ministry and a member of the more fiscally-conservative Labor Right, withdrew his candidacy shortly after nominating.