|Federal election major party leaders|
|Australian elections 1983 1984 1987 Australian elections|
Parliament: 4 years
Leader since: 1983
Parliament: 18 years
Leader since: 1983
|Australian Labor Party||4,120,130||47.55||-1.93||82||+7|
|Liberal Party of Australia||2,951,556||34.06||-0.06||45||+12|
|National Party of Australia||921,151||10.63||+1.42||21||+4|
|Country Liberal Party||27,335||0.32||+0.08||0||0|
|Australian Labor Party||WIN||51.77||-1.46||82||+7|
|Party||Votes||%||Swing||Seats Won||Seats Held|
|Australian Labor Party||3,750,789||42.17||-3.32||20||34|
|Liberal Party of Australia||1,831,006||20.59||+8.58||14||27|
|Liberal/National (Joint Ticket)||1,130,601||12.71||-11.49||3|
|Nuclear Disarmament Party||643,061||7.23||*||1||1|
|National Party of Australia||527,278||5.93||+0.87||2||5|
|Call to Australia Party||162,272||1.82||-0.04||0||0|
|Country Liberal Party||27,972||0.31||+0.04||1||1|
The election was notable for the long ten week campaign, and for the high rate of informal voting for the House of Representatives, but decreased rate in the Senate (due to the introduction of the Group voting ticket). The 1984 election was held 18 months ahead of time, partly in order to bring the elections for the House of Representatives and Senate back into line. They had been thrown out of kilter by the double dissolution election of 1983.
The legislated increase in the size of the House of Representatives by 24 seats and the Senate by 12 seats came into effect at the 1984 election. Prior to 1984 the electoral commission did not undertake a full distribution of preferences for statistical purposes. The stored ballot papers for the previous 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.
The results of the election surprised most analysts; the expectation had been that Bob Hawke - who had been polling a record ACNielsen approval rating of 75 percent earlier in the year - would win by a landslide. Labor instead suffered a 2% swing against it and had its majority cut from 25 to 16. Hawke blamed the changes on the Senate vote cards for the result, which he believed confused people regarding their House of Representatives votes and contributed to the relatively high informal vote, the majority of which apparently was Labor votes. Andrew Peacock, however, probably benefited more from the long campaign than Hawke did, as it cast him as the alternative Prime Minister for longer than normal. He also did well from a good performance in the one leaders' debate, held on 26 November 1984.