Australian federal election, 1998 explained

Election Name:Australian federal election, 1998
Previous Election:Australian federal election, 1996
Previous Year:1996
Next Election:Australian federal election, 2001
Next Year:2001
Seats For Election:All 148 seats in the Australian House of Representatives
and 40 (of the 76) seats in the Australian Senate
Leader1:John Howard
Party1:Liberal/National coalition
Leaders Seat1:Bennelong
Last Election1:94 seats
Seat Change1:-14
Popular Vote1:5,413,431
Leader2:Kim Beazley
Party2:Australian Labor Party
Leaders Seat2:Brand
Last Election2:49 seats
Seat Change2:+18
Popular Vote2:5,630,409
Prime Minister
Before Election:John Howard
Before Party:Liberal/National coalition
After Election:John Howard
After Party:Liberal/National coalition

Federal elections were held in Australia on 3 October 1998. All 148 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 seats in the 76-member Senate were up for election. The incumbent Liberal Party of Australia led by Prime Minister of Australia John Howard and coalition partner the National Party of Australia led by Tim Fischer defeated the opposition Australian Labor Party led by Kim Beazley.


bgcolor=red Australian Labor Party4,454,30640.10+1.3467+18
bgcolor=blue Liberal Party of Australia3,800,72134.21-4.8364-11
bgcolor=yellow One Nation Party936,6218.4300
bgcolor=green National Party of Australia588,0885.29-2.9116-3
bgcolor=orange Australian Democrats569,9355.13-1.6300
 Australian Greens238,0352.14-0.7800
bgcolor=gray Independents212,5221.91-0.421-4
bgcolor=gray Other308,8352.78+0.7900
 Total11,109,063  148 
bgcolor=blue Liberal/National coalitionWIN49.02-4.6180-14
bgcolor=red Australian Labor Party 50.98+4.6167+18
Independents: Peter Andren
 PartyVotes%SwingSeats WonSeats Held
bgcolor=red Australian Labor Party4,182,96337.31+1.161729
 Liberal/National (Joint Ticket)2,452,40721.87-2.625 
bgcolor=blue Liberal Party of Australia1,528,73013.63-2.611131
bgcolor=yellow One Nation Party1,007,4398.9911
bgcolor=orange Australian Democrats947,9408.45-2.3749
 Australian Greens305,2282.72+0.3201
bgcolor=green National Party of Australia208,5361.86-1.0103
bgcolor=brown Country Liberal Party36,0630.32-0.0511
bgcolor=gray Harradine Group24,2540.22-0.0811
bgcolor=gray Other518,3434.62-1.2600
 Total11,211,903  4076

The election chose the Members of the Australian House of Representatives, 1998-2001 and half of the Members of the Australian Senate, 1999-2002.

Despite gaining almost 51 percent of the two party preferred vote, the Australian Labor Party fell short of forming government by 8 seats. The government was re-elected with 49.02% of the two-party-preferred vote, compared to 50.98% for the Australian Labor Party, the largest difference of five election results where the winner did not gain a two party preferred majority, since 2PP results were first estimated in 1949.

The election on 3 October 1998 was held six months earlier than required by the Constitution. Prime Minister John Howard made the announcement following the launch of the coalition's Goods and Services Tax (GST) policy launch and a 5-week advertising campaign. The ensuing election was almost entirely dominated by the proposed 10% GST and proposed income tax cuts.

In reaction to One Nation's policies, the other significant parties all agreed to preference against One Nation. One Nation won no lower house seats, with its founder and leader Pauline Hanson defeated on preferences by the Liberal candidate in the Queensland electorate of Blair. In Queensland, One Nation polled 14.83% of the Senate vote, sufficient to elect one senator without the need for preferences. seat initially went to Heather Hill, but she was subsequently disqualified under Section 44 of the Constitution, and replaced by Len Harris.

The ALP made the single biggest gain by an Opposition party following an election defeat; the Coalition's majority was cut from 40 to 12. The swing was sufficient in all states to deliver government to the ALP, but the uneven nature of the swing denied Kim Beazley the extra few seats necessary to command a majority in the House.

House of Representatives preference flows

Seats changing hands

SeatParty, pre-1998Member, pre-1998Margin, pre-1998 %Swing %Margin, post-1998 %Member, post-1998Party, post-1998
Bass, Tas Liberal Party of AustraliaHon Warwick Smith4.574.630.06Michelle O'ByrneAustralian Labor Party 
Bendigo, Vic Liberal Party of Australiavacant0.884.353.47Steve GibbonsAustralian Labor Party 
Bowman, Qld Liberal Party of AustraliaAndrea West0.894.183.29Hon Con SciaccaAustralian Labor Party 
Braddon, Tas Liberal Party of AustraliaHon Chris Miles5.6910.024.33Sid SidebottomAustralian Labor Party 
Canning, WA Liberal Party of AustraliaRicky Johnston1.645.163.52Jane GerickAustralian Labor Party 
Capricornia, Qld National Party of AustraliaPaul Marek3.468.755.29Kirsten LivermoreAustralian Labor Party 
Chisholm, Vic Liberal Party of Australiavacant2.604.672.07Anna BurkeAustralian Labor Party 
Cowan, WA Liberal Party of AustraliaRichard Evans4.067.623.56Graham EdwardsAustralian Labor Party 
Curtin, WA IndependentAllan Rocher7.28N/A**13.28Julie BishopLiberal Party of Australia 
Dickson, Qld Liberal Party of AustraliaTony Smith3.904.020.12Cheryl KernotAustralian Labor Party 
Griffith, Qld Liberal Party of AustraliaGraeme McDougall1.503.932.43Kevin RuddAustralian Labor Party 
Hume, NSW National Party of Australiavacant4.353.718.06Alby SchultzLiberal Party of Australia 
Kingston, SA Liberal Party of AustraliaSusan Jeanes2.012.480.47David CoxAustralian Labor Party 
Kalgoorlie, WA IndependentGraeme Campbell10.35N/A**2.10Barry HaaseLiberal Party of Australia 
Lilley, Qld Liberal Party of AustraliaElizabeth Grace0.803.933.13Wayne SwanAustralian Labor Party 
Lowe, NSW Liberal Party of AustraliaPaul Zammit2.467.094.63John MurphyAustralian Labor Party 
McMillan, Vic Liberal Party of AustraliaRussell Broadbent2.072.640.57Christian ZahraAustralian Labor Party 
Moore, WA IndependentPaul Filing13.28N/A**4.13Mal WasherLiberal Party of Australia 
Northern Territory, NT Country Liberal PartyNick Dondas0.370.940.57Warren SnowdonAustralian Labor Party 
Oxley, Qld One Nation PartyPauline Hanson0.357.858.20Bernie RipollAustralian Labor Party 
Paterson, NSW Liberal Party of AustraliaBob Baldwin0.431.651.22Bob HorneAustralian Labor Party 
Stirling, WA Liberal Party of AustraliaEoin Cameron3.224.261.04Jann McFarlaneAustralian Labor Party 
Swan, WA Liberal Party of AustraliaDon Randall3.636.332.70Kim WilkieAustralian Labor Party 


The 1998 election included the first publicised incident of online electoral conflict when the Liberal website was allegedly hacked by supporters of the Labor party.

See also