Australian federal election, 2007/Candidates and Seats

Australian federal election, 2007/Candidates and Seats

The 2007 election for the federal Parliament of Australia, in which 13.6 million Australians were enrolled to vote, took place on Saturday 24 November, after a 6-week campaign. [cite press release
title =Over 13.6 million Australians enrolled to vote at the 2007 federal election
publisher =Australian Electoral Commission
date =25 October 2007
url =
accessdate =2007-11-25

The opposition centre-left Australian Labor Party, led by Kevin Rudd and deputy leader Julia Gillard, won the election against the incumbent centre-right coalition government, led by Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister John Howard and Nationals leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile, which had been in power since the 1996 election. cite news
title=State of the parties
work=Australia Votes 2007

Parties contesting the election

Below is a comprehensive list of registered parties contesting the elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate. Beside each party is the number of seats contested by that party in the House of Representatives for each state, as well as an indication of whether the party contested the Senate election in the respective state.

¹Includes 5 New South Wales seats contested as "Country Labor"²Contested as "One Nation WA" in Queensland and Western Australia³Shooters Party and AFLP contested a joint ticket in New South Wales

Electoral prospects: House of Representatives

Though the government held 87 seats in the 150-seat Australian House of Representatives prior to the election, 23 of its MPs were defending two-party-preferred (2PP) margins of 6 per cent or less in 2007. Labor required a gain of 16 seats to form a majority government in the lower house, which corresponded to a uniform swing of 4.8 per cent.

High-profile candidates

* Maxine McKew, former ABC journalist, contested Bennelong for Labor against Prime Minister John Howard.cite news |publisher = The Sydney Morning Herald |title = McKew makes presence felt in Bennelong |url = |date = 2007-05-01 |accessdate = 2007-05-05] With preferences taken into account, she won the seat. Despite many projections projecting her victory as well as Howard's tacit concession during his concession speech, she took seven days to declare her victory.cite news |publisher = ABC |title = McKew declares victory in Bennelong |url = |date = 2007-12-01 |accessdate = 2007-12-01]

* Bill Shorten, former union leader and prominent figure during the Beaconsfield mine collapse incident, won the safe Labor seat of Maribyrnong for Labor.

* Bob Debus, former New South Wales Attorney-General, won the marginal seat of Macquarie for Labor.

* Greg Combet, former ACTU Secretary, won the safe Labor seat of Charlton for Labor after winning preselection ahead of incumbent Kelly Hoare.cite news |publisher = The Advertiser |last = Anderson |first = Laura |title = Anger as Combet chases safe seat |url =,22606,21673600-910,00.html |date = May 5 2007 |accessdate = 2007-05-05]

* Richard Marles, former ACTU Assistant Secretary, won Corio for Labor after winning preselection ahead of incumbent Gavan O'Connor (who ran as an independent candidate instead).

* Nicole Cornes, a "Sunday Mail" journalist and wife of media personality and ex-footballer Graham Cornes, unsuccessfully contested Boothby for Labor against incumbent Liberal MP Andrew Southcott.

* Mia Handshin, a Young South Australian of the Year, journalist for "The Advertiser" and a small business operator, unsuccessfully contested Sturt for Labor against Liberal MP Minister Christopher Pyne.cite news |publisher = The Advertiser |title = Union heavies join Labor's star recruits |url =,22606,21673601-910,00.html |date = May 5 2007 |accessdate = 2007-05-05]

* Mike Kelly, former Australian soldier and lawyer, won the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro for Labor against Liberal MP Gary Nairn.

* Peter Tinley, former SAS commander and outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, unsuccessfully contested the marginal seat of Stirling for Labor against Liberal MP Michael Keenan.

* Mike Bailey, former ABC weather reporter, unsuccessfully contested North Sydney for Labor against Liberal MP Workplace Minister Joe Hockey. [cite news|url= |title=Weatherman Bailey quits ABC for politics|last=Coorey|first=Philip|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=22 May 2007|accessdate=2007-10-22]

* Bruce Haigh, former diplomat, unsuccessfully contested Parkes as an independent. Haigh encountered controversy when he used his diplomatic immunity to help black activists flee repression in South Africa. [ cite web
title=Bruce Haigh
publisher=Bruce Haigh
url= Bruce Haigh campaign site

* Dr Patricia Petersen, former journalist, academic and media personality, unsuccessfully contested the seat of Warringah as an independent against Liberal MP Health Minister Tony Abbott. cite news | url= | title=Abbott absentee | author=Jane Igoe | work=The Mosman Daily | publisher=News Ltd | date=2007-11-07 ]

* Stephen Mayne, shareholder activist and founder, unsuccessfully contested Higgins as an independent. [cite news|url=,25197,22685004-5013945,00.html|title=Crikey founder takes on Costello|last=|first=|publisher=The Australian|date=1 November 2007|accessdate=2007-11-03]

* Dr Philip Nitschke, a medical doctor, Humanist and founder of the pro-euthanasia group "Exit" ran, unsuccessfully, against the former Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews in the Victorian seat of Menzies. [cite web | title = Election results for the seat of Menzies (Australian Electoral Commission)| url = | date = 2007-11-26]


An electoral redistribution completed in September 2006 by the Australian Electoral Commission increased the size of the Queensland delegation by one, at the expense of New South Wales. The western New South Wales seat of Gwydir was abolished and a new seat of Flynn, based around Gladstone, created in its place. Both the old seat and the new were considered safe for the National Party, although in fact Labor won Flynn on an 8.9 per cent swing.

The other major change saw boundaries shift for Liberal-held Macquarie and Labor-held Parramatta: both came to be notionally held by the opposing party. A number of other seats were also substantially changed, including Parkes, Farrer, Calare, Greenway and Hughes.

Marginal seats

Labor and the Coalition each held 23 marginal seats: seats with 2PP margins of 6 per cent or less. The marginal seats of Makin (South Australia) and Cowan (Western Australia), held on 2PP margins of less than 1 per cent by the Liberals and Labor respectively, were especially closely-watched, with sitting MPs Trish Draper and Graham Edwards retiring at the election. In the south-eastern New South Wales seat of Eden-Monaro, Liberal Gary Nairn was defending the so-called bellwether electorate for the government with a 2PP margin of 3.3 per cent. The Liberal electorate of Lindsay, with a 2PP margin of 2.9 per cent was another seat which was hotly contested due to popular member Jackie Kelly's announcement that she would not be recontesting the seat.

Polling prior ro the election indicated that the two Tasmanian marginal seats of Bass and Braddon, both in the state's north, were likely to return to the ALP at this election. Both seats were lost by the ALP to the government at the last election, with commentators associating this with Mark Latham's forestry policy and its lack of popularity in these seats.

In the table below, based on the Mackerras electoral pendulum, marginal seats are shown in the order they would have fallen, assuming a uniform swing. A uniform swing to Labor would have delivered the party seats on the left-hand side. A uniform swing to the Coalition would have deliver seats to the Liberals and Nationals on the right-hand side.

Electoral prospects: Senate

:"For Senate ballot papers and preferences [ see here] .The coalition went to the election with 39 of 76 seats, a one seat majority. Labor had 28 seats, Greens four, Democrats four, and Family First one. A total of 36 senators were not up for re-election: 19 from the Coalition, 14 from Labor, two Greens and one Family First. The Coalition needed to win 20 of the 40 contested Senate seats to maintain its Senate majority, while Labor would needed to win 25 seats to have a Senate majority in its own right. A Labor majority would have required a preferred vote of over 57 per cent in five of the six states; this would be a record for Labor, surpassing the 55.09 per cent it recorded in the 1943 election. On polling immediately prior to the election, it appeared likely that the balance of power would revert to the minor parties. [cite news|url=|title=Govt warns against Greens after poll|date=26 June 2007|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|accessdate=2007-10-22]

The minor parties and independents considered to have the best chance of winning Senate seats were the Australian Greens, Family First, the Pauline Hanson group and independent Nick Xenophon in South Australia. [cite news|url=|title=Last chance for Democrats to assert their relevance|last=Dubecki|first=Larissa|work=The Age|date=18 October 2007] The Australian Democrats, who had the greatest number of senators among the minor parties, from 1978 to 2005, were widely predicted to lose all their seats. All four Democrat seats were up for re-election, with two incumbents, Andrew Murray and Natasha Stott Despoja, deciding to retire upon the expiry of their term. The Democrats recontesting were leader Lyn Allison in Victoria and Andrew Bartlett in Queensland. [cite web
title=Finding No. 4227 - Latest Morgan Senate Poll
publisher=Roy Morgan Research
date=October 18 2007
] cite news
title=No Pokies MP odds-on for Senate seat
date=12 October 2007
publisher=ABC News
] [ cite news
title=Recognise these men? They may hold balance of power
publisher=The Age
date=18 October 2007
] Other established minor parties include the Christian Democratic Party, Democratic Labor Party, Liberty & Democracy Party, and Socialist Alliance.

Minor parties contested for the sixth and final Senate spot in each state, with each group's success dependent on securing favourable preference flows from the eliminated parties and assorted micro-parties. Various parties must achieve a quota of approximately 14.3 per cent to get elected and rely on 'preferences' from other parties to do so until all vacancies have been filled. 'Preference deals' in the senate are thus often controversial. The Coalition concluded a preference deal with Family First, though in New South Wales, John Howard reached an agreement with Fred Nile to direct Liberal preferences towards the Christian Democratic Party followed by Family First.cite news |title=Christians cast first stone |url= |publisher="The Sydney Morning Herald" |date=2007-11-06 |accessdate=2007-11-17 ] Labor chose instead to make a preference arrangement with the Greens. [ cite news
title=Labor chooses Greens deal over Family First
date=27 October 2007
] One Nation preferences favoured the Liberals over Labor in all states except Victoria, whilst Pauline Hanson's party has preferenced the crucial 3rd Labor seat before the 3rd Liberal/National seat in both Queensland and New South Wales. [ cite news
title=Hanson preference deal favours Labor
date=5 November 2007
] [cite news
title=So, is the party over?|last=Koutsoukis|first=Jason|publisher=The Age|date=23 September 2007|accessdate=2007-10-22

However, Greens' Leader Bob Brown (in Tasmania) and independent Nick Xenophon (in South Australia) each achieved more than the quota of 14.3 per cent of votes cast in their respective states, and were therefore elected as the third (and not sixth) successful candidate in those states, without relying on preferences from other candidates and groups.

While senators elected by the states do not actually take their seats until July 2008, the senators representing the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory take their seats almost immediately after the election results are confirmed. Liberal senator Gary Humphries representing the ACT, faced a significant challenge from Greens candidate, Kerrie Tucker and number 2 Labor candidate, Peter Conway. If he had lost his seat, this would have removed the coalition majority in the Senate immediately after the election. [cite news |url=,23599,22732576-5012863,00.html |title=IR reform 'not negotiable' |publisher=The Australian | first=Dennis |last=Shanahan |date=November 10, 2007 |accessdate=2007-11-11] Polling immediately prior to the election showed this was quite possible, with Labor on 48, Coalition 25, and Greens 20, cite news
title=Liberal Senate seat in danger: poll
date=14 November 2007
publisher=ABC News
] although in fact Humphries appears to have returned to the Senate.cite web
title=Provisional quota
publisher=Australian Electoral Commission

Coalition senators Paul Calvert, Rod Kemp, Sandy Macdonald and Kay Patterson; and Labor senator Robert Ray did not contest the 2007 election.

High-profile candidates

( Alphabetically by surname. )

* Pauline Hanson, former One Nation Party MP, announced that she would stand for the Senate in Queensland. [cite news |url=
title=Hanson Launches new political party
date= August 15, 2007
accessdate= 2007-08-15
] Polling before the election indicated her primary vote would be around 7.5%, but it was expected that she would struggle to get the preferences required to gain a seat. [cite news|url=|title=Hanson attracting 7.5% support in Qld|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=19 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-22] She achieved 4% of the vote and, including preferences, about 28% of a quota. [cite web
title=Senate: first preferences by group – QLD
accessdate= 2007-11-26
] [cite web
title=Provisional quota
accessdate= 2007-11-26

* Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, author and broadcaster, ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in New South Wales for the Climate Change Coalition, occupying second place on the party's ticket in that state behind Patrice Newell.

* Andrew Wilkie, former ONA intelligence officer to the Howard government, was pre-selected as second on the ticket for the Tasmanian Greens behind Senator Bob Brown. He resigned from the Office of National Assessments (ONA) over his concerns about government use of intelligence information in building a case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In the 2004 election he polled 16 per cent for the Greens in Prime Minister John Howard's electorate of Bennelong.

* Nick Xenophon, a former No Pokies MP in the state Parliament of South Australia, resigned to run for a federal Senate seat representing South Australia. He attracted a fifth of the state-wide upper house vote (20.5 per cent) at the 2006 state election. As widely predicted he won a Senate seat, but not two, as had been suggested [ cite news
title=SA could elect two Senate independents: poll
date=12 October 2007
publisher=ABC News
] and confirmed predictions that he would share the Senate balance of power. [ cite news
title=Labor hopes he will hold balance of power
date=12 October 2007
] His platform consists of anti-gambling, pro-consumer protection, attention to the water crisis, ratifying Kyoto, opposition against what he calls a decrease in state rights, and opposition to WorkChoices. [ cite news
title=No pokies campaigner aims at Senate
publisher=The Australian
date=11 October 2007
] [cite news|url=|title=Fearful of Xenophon in Senate|last=Debelle|first=Penelope|publsiher=The Age|date=12 October 2007|accessdate=2007-10-22] During the campaign, Xenophon came under attack by fellow No Pokies MP Ann Bressington.

ee also

* Candidates of the Australian general election, 2007
* Australian electoral system
* Mackerras federal election pendulum, 2006
* List of political parties in Australia
* List of Australian federal electorates


External links

* [ Parliament of Australia - Election Timetable]
* [ Australian Electoral Commission]
* [ Australian Senate 2007 ballot papers and preference flows]

* [ ABC Online: 2007 Federal Election]
* [ The Crikey Guide to the 2007 Election]

Unofficial Sites
* [ 2007 Federal Election]
* [ The Poll Bludger - Federal Election 2007]
* [ OzPolitics - Australian Federal Election 2007]
* [ Adam Carr's Guide to the 2007 Federal Election]
* [ Possums Pollytics]
* [ Simon Jackman's 2007 Election Analysis]
* [ TrendLines Research's International Seat Projection Charts] Daily tracking of a 9-model average (of seat projections) for the Australian Election. Includes post-Election pundit scoreboard.

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