Election held on 21 August 1943
Criteria for the inclusion of parties in this table are set out in the Glossary under 'listed party'
|Party Name||First preference vote n||First preference vote share %||Change from previous election %||Seats won by ticket n||Seats won by ticket %||Seats won by party n||Seats won by party %||Seats held by party n||Seats held by party %|
|Australian Labor Party||2,139,164||55.09||+17.57||19||100.00||19||100.00||22||61.11|
|United Australia Party - Country Party (joint ticket)||995,910||25.65||-18.05||0|
|Country - National Party (Qld)||184,181||4.74||*||0|
|Liberal & Country League (SA)||148,419||3.82||*||0|
|Nationalist Country Party (WA)||101,738||2.62||*||0|
|Christian New Order Party (NSW)||101,247||2.61||*||0|
|United Australia Party||-6.71||0||12||33.33|
|Votes for other than listed parties||175,161||4.51||+1.98|
* Party did not contest previous election or did not meet criteria for listing, or contested previous election under a different party name.
This election in 1943 was a regular election for half the members of the Senate held at the same time as a general election for the House of Representatives; see terms of senators. The 1943 House of Representatives results can be seen here.
At this Senate election in 1943, an additional senator had to be elected for Western Australia to fill a casual vacancy; note Narelle Miragliotta & Campbell Sharman, 'Managing Midterm Vacancies: Institutional Design and Partisan Strategy in the Australian Parliament 1901–2013', Australian Journal of Political Science, 52(3) 2017: 351-366.
Electoral system: A preferental voting system had been adopted for Senate elections since 1919 under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1919 (No.31 of 1919) with each state being a multimember district. From the 1934 Senate election, section 8 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1934 (No.9 of 1934) required voters to rank all candidates on the ballot paper for their votes to be valid (compulsory preferences).
Ballot design: Two important changes were made to Senate ballot papers in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1940 (No.19 of 1940). Section 7 of the 1940 Electoral Act enabled the candidates who ran in a party grouping on the ballot paper (although no party labels were attached to the groups) could agree on the order in which their names would be ranked in the group rather than an alphabetical listing . Those candidates who ran as Independents were listed in an unmarked group at the end of the ballot paper.
The second change dealt with the placing of the party groups on the Senate ballot paper. Under section 17(b) of the 1940 Act, the placing of the groups was decided by lot organized by the Commonwealth Electoral Officer in each state. Section 17(c) applied the same process to decide the order of any Independent candidates within their unmarked group. In addition, the groups of candidates were arranged horizontally on the ballot paper rather than vertically so that the ballot followed the model set out in Form E in the Act.
Parties: At the 1940 House of Representatives elections, the Menzies United Australia Party and Country Party coalition government had lost its majority but remained in office as a minority government with the support of two independent minded MHAs; Arthur Coles elected as an Independent from the electoral district of Henty, and Alexander Wilson elected as a member of the breakaway Victorian United Country Party from the electoral district of Wimmera.
Dissent within the coalition ministry prompted Menzies to resign as Prime Minister on 29 August 1941 and Fadden, the leader of the Country Party, was commissioned to lead a Country Party and United Australia Party coalition minority government with the continuing support of Coles and Wilson. On 7 October 1941, disagreements over the government's ability to mount an effective war effort prompted Coles and Wilson to vote against the government's budget proposals. The government's defeat on a matter of confidence led Fadden to resign as Prime Minister; Curtin was then commissioned as Prime Minister of an Australian Labor Party minority government supported by Coles and Wilson and led the government at this election in August 1943.
The results of the 1943 elections confirmed the popularity of the new Australian Labor Party government in mobilizing the country for wartime conditions, returning the government with a substantial majority in the House of Representatives. For the anti-Labor parties, both the United Australia Party and Country Party were breaking into a series of state-based regional and factional groupings. In the Senate, the Labor Party won 55 percent of the first preference votes and all the contested seats; when the new senators took their seats on 1 July 1944 (see terms of senators) the Labor Party held more than 60 percent of the votes in the Senate.For a study of government and politics in the tumultuous period from 1937 to 1943, see Geoffrey Sawer, Australian Federal Politics and Law 1929-1949, pp 96-120, 123-151, (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1963, ISBN 522837328), and Paul Hasluck, The Government and the People 1939-1941, paticularly pp 203-210, 264-279, 491-523, (Canberra: Australian War Memeorial, 1952) also online here [accessed 1 July 2020]. Note also Clem Lloyd, 'The Rise and Fall of the United Australia Party', in J R Nethercote (editor), Liberalism and the Australian Federation, pp 134-162, (Sydney: Federation Press, 2001, ISBN 1862874026).
References: J.R. Odgers, Australian Senate Practice, 5th edition (Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service, 1976); a more recent version is online here [accessed 20 May 2020]; and note Stanley Bach, Platypus and Parliament: The Australian Senate in Theory and Practice (Canberra: Department of the Senate, 2003), online here [accessed 21 May 2020].
Colin A Hughes and B D Graham, A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics 1890-1964, (Canberra; Australian National University Press, 1968 SBN 708112700); Commonwealth Parliament, Department of the Senate.