Hughes, at the time a member of the ALP, had become prime minister when Andrew Fisher retired in 1915. The Australian Labor Party split of 1916 over the conscription issue had led Hughes and 24 other pro-conscription Labor MPs to split off as the National Labor Party, which was able to form a minority government supported by the Commonwealth Liberal Party under Joseph Cook. Later that year, National Labor and the Liberals merged to form the Nationalist Party, with Hughes as leader and Cook as deputy leader. The election was fought in the aftermath of the 1916 plebiscite on conscription, which had been narrowly defeated. The Nationalists won a decisive victory, securing the largest majority government since Federation. The ALP suffered a large electoral swing against it, losing almost seven percent of its vote from 1914. The swing was magnified by the large number of former Labor MPs who followed Hughes out of the party.
This article provides information on candidates who stood for the 1917 Australian federal election. The election was held on 5 May 1917.
Many Labor members had merged with the Commonwealth Liberal Party to form the Nationalist Party of Australia. Seats held by the Liberal Party are considered to be held by the Nationalist Party. The seats held by Labor defectors are considered to be held by Labor.
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