Australian federal election, 1961

Australian federal election, 1961

Independent: Reginald Turnbull


Due to a credit squeeze, the economy had gone into a brief recession in 1961. This combined with initial enthusiasm for the new Opposition Leader, Arthur Calwell, was enough to see a swing against the Menzies Government.


The 1961 election remains the closest Federal election in Australian history, with the Government holding a majority of only a single seat. The election was decided in the seat of Moreton, which was won for the Liberals by Jim Killen by only 130 votes.

One fact which is rarely noted about the 1961 result is that even with Killen’s win in Moreton, Labor actually won the same number of House of Representatives seats as the Coalition. Both Labor and the Coalition won 62 seats, but 2 of Labor’s seats were for the Northern Territory and the ACT, whose representatives at that time only had limited voting rights. Their votes could not be counted on matters such as confidence votes which determine who would be in government. [cite web
url =
title = Sir James Killen: Moreton, Menzies and Mythology
accessdate = 2007-05-15
last = Bartlett
first = Andrew
authorlink = Andrew Bartlett
date = 2007-01-17
publisher = The Bartlett Diaries


* [ 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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