Federal elections were held in Australia on 24 November 2007. All 150 seats in the House of Representatives and 40 of the seats in the 76-member Senate were up for election. The election featured a 39-day campaign, with 13.6 million Australians enrolled to vote.
The centre-left Australian Labor Party opposition, led by Kevin Rudd and deputy leader Julia Gillard, defeated 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, by a landslide. The Coalition had been in power since the 1996 election.
|Australian federal election, 2007|
All 150 seats in the House of Representatives
76 seats were required for a majority in the House
40 (of the 76) seats in the Senate
|Australian Labor Party||5,388,184||43.38||+5.74||83||+23|
|Liberal Party of Australia||4,546,600||36.60||–4.22||55||–20|
|National Party of Australia||682,424||5.49||–0.40||10||–2|
|Family First Party||246,798||1.99||–0.02||0||0|
|Australian Labor Party||6,545,814||52.70||+5.44||83||+23|
At 8.00 pm, the first personality to call the election was former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke on Sky News. At 10.29 pm AEST, approximately two hours after the last polls in Western Australia closed, Liberal deputy leader Peter Costello conceded that the Coalition had lost government. At 10.36 pm, John Howard delivered a speech at the Sofitel Wentworth Hotel in Sydney to concede defeat. At 11.05 pm, Kevin Rudd delivered his victory speech.
Labor won 83 of the 150 seats in the incoming House of Representatives. This represented a 23-seat swing to Labor. The Liberals won 55 while the Nationals won 10, with two seats retained by Independents. Labor finished with a 52.70 per cent two-party-preferred vote, a 5.44-point swing from 2004. On preferences, 79.7 per cent of Green votes flowed to Labor, 60.3 per cent of Family First votes flowed to the Coalition, with 62.5 per cent of Democrat votes flowing to Labor. Considering two-party estimates going back to the 1949 election, the swing to Labor in 2007 was the fourth-largest two-party-preferred swing, behind John Curtin and Labor in 1943 on 7.9 per cent, Malcolm Fraser and the Coalition in 1975 on 7.4 per cent, and Gough Whitlam and Labor in 1969 on 7.1 per cent. The swing was the largest since 1983, when full preference counting was introduced to create an exact two-party figure, and the largest swing to occur in the absence of a recession, political or military crisis.
Western Australia went against the national trend, with the Liberals suffering only a 2.14-point swing against them – lower than all except Tasmania and the ACT – but yet gaining one net seat. The weaker Labor performance was attributed to the strong economy and voters' unwillingness to do anything which might risk their present prosperity – a sentiment played to by Liberal campaigning strategies – and also the behaviour of union officials Kevin Reynolds and Joe McDonald who had made headlines during the campaign.
|Party||Votes||%||Swing||Seats Won||Total Seats||Change|
|Australian Labor Party||5,101,200||40.30||+5.28||18||32||+4|
|Family First Party||204,788||1.62||–0.14||0||1||0|
Independents: Nick Xenophon
Labor and the Coalition won 18 seats each in the half-Senate election. The Greens won three seats, with Independent Nick Xenophon being elected on primary votes alone. This took the 76-member Senate total to 37 Coalition, 32 Labor, 5 Green, 1 Family First, and 1 Independent. With a majority being 39 senators, when the new Senate met after 1 July 2008, the balance of power was shared between Xenophon, Family First's Steve Fielding and the five Greens. Xenophon, although reported as left-of-centre, indicated plans to work closely with the renegade National, Senator Barnaby Joyce. If sufficient Coalition senators voted for government legislation, support from the crossbench was not required.
Xenophon's election was at the expense of a Liberal candidate, without his presence the Coalition would have held enough Senate seats to block legislation.
Compared to the previous Senate, the Greens gained one (losing Kerry Nettle in NSW but gaining Sarah Hanson-Young in SA and Scott Ludlam in WA), a new Independent was elected (Xenophon), and Labor gained four seats. The Coalition lost two, and the Democrats lost all four of their seats.
The informal rate of 2.55 per cent ties with the 1993 election as the lowest informal rate in the Senate since federation. The introduction of the group voting ticket at the 1984 election saw the number of informal votes drop dramatically.
Prime Minister John Howard lost his own seat of Bennelong, in the Sydney area, to Labor candidate and former journalist Maxine McKew, becoming the second sitting prime minister, and the third party leader, since Federation to be defeated in his own electorate. Prime Minister Stanley Bruce and National Party leader Charles Blunt lost their seats in 1929 and 1990 respectively. Howard had held the seat since 1974, and it had been in Liberal hands ever since its creation in 1949.
However, successive redistributions, along with demographic change, had made the once safe Liberal seat much friendlier to Labor; much of the area was represented by Labor at the state level. Howard's two-party majority was four percent, putting it right on the edge of seats that Labor would likely take in the event it won.
Late on election night, when conceding Labor had won government, Howard also acknowledged the likelihood he had lost Bennelong to McKew, though he and McKew agreed the margin was "very tight". He had been ahead by thin margins for most of the night, never leading by more than 0.2 percentage points. Howard had been 206 votes ahead of McKew on the first count, and finished 2.8 percentage points behind McKew on the estimated two-party vote. McKew declined to claim victory at first, saying that the seat was on "a knife edge," while the Australian Broadcasting Corporation listed Bennelong as a Labor gain on election night, and ABC election analyst Antony Green said there was "no doubt" McKew had won.
On 29 November, Rudd named McKew as a parliamentary secretary (assistant minister) to be appointed on 3 December, and on 1 December, McKew claimed victory. Although counting was incomplete at the time, with several postal and absentee ballots outstanding, it was expected that Howard would not win enough of the votes to retain his seat. McKew finished with a primary vote of 45.33 per cent, and a two-party-preferred vote of 51.40 per cent, a 5.53-point swing from 2004. Howard lost on the 14th count due to a large flow of Green preferences to McKew. This swing was within the redistributed boundaries after the 2004 election.
The Labor caucus met on Thursday 29 November 2007 to confirm the First Rudd Ministry, which was sworn in on 3 December. In a departure from Labor tradition, the ministry was selected by Kevin Rudd as the prime minister, rather than by Caucus.
Given John Howard's personal defeat, the Liberal Party began the process of choosing a new leader. The morning after the election, Peter Costello, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party, and long regarded as Howard's natural successor, stated that he would not run for Liberal leadership. The day before the ballot, former Health Minister Tony Abbott withdrew from the leadership after initially indicating he would stand. The leadership ballot was held on Thursday 29 November. The previous Defence Minister Brendan Nelson and former Environmental Minister Malcolm Turnbull both stood for the leadership. Former Education Minister Julie Bishop contested the deputy leadership position, as did Andrew Robb and Christopher Pyne.
Brendan Nelson was elected leader by 45 votes to 42, and Julie Bishop was elected deputy leader. A Newspoll survey taken after the Liberal leadership change revealed a preferred-prime-minister rating of Rudd 61 per cent to Nelson 14 per cent, with Turnbull twice as popular as Nelson. Newspoll's subsequent polling saw new Newspoll records set, at 70 per cent for the best rating for preferred prime minister, to 9 per cent for the worst rating for preferred prime minister, with the next poll results revealing another record of 73 to 7 per cent. A new two party preferred record was also set, at 63 to 37 per cent Labor's way.
Post-election, ALP secretary Tim Gartrell commented on pre-election campaign billboard ads featuring a picture of John Howard stating "Working families in Australia have never been better off", which looked like Liberal Party advertisements, were actually paid for by the Labor Party. Liberal leader Brendan Nelson declared that the Liberal Party had listened and learned from the Australian public and declared WorkChoices "dead".
In 2008, former ministers Peter McGauran, Alexander Downer, and Mark Vaile resigned from parliament, sparking Gippsland, Mayo, and Lyne by-elections. The Lyne by-election resulted in independent Rob Oakeshott being elected, reducing the total number of Coalition seats to 64. Bradfield and Higgins by-elections were held in December 2009.
In September 2008, Malcolm Turnbull replaced Brendan Nelson in a leadership spill, and Barnaby Joyce replaced CLP Senator and Nationals deputy leader Nigel Scullion as leader of the Nationals in the Senate, and moved the party to the crossbenches. Joyce stated that his party would no longer necessarily vote with their Liberal counterparts in the upper house.
The following table indicates seats that changed hands from one party to another at this election. It compares the election results with the previous margins, taking into account the redistribution in New South Wales and Queensland. As a result, it includes the newly created electorate of Flynn, and the existing Parramatta, which was retained by Labor despite becoming a notional Liberal seat due to boundary changes. The table does not include Gwydir, which was abolished in the redistribution; Macquarie, which was reclassified from safe Liberal to marginal Labor and was subsequently won by Labor; or Calare, the seat of Independent MP Peter Andren, which was reclassified as a National seat by the redistribution and was won by the National Party.
|Bass, Tas||Liberal||Michael Ferguson||2.63||3.63||1.00||Jodie Campbell||Labor|
|Bennelong, NSW||Liberal||John Howard||4.13||5.53||1.40||Maxine McKew||Labor|
|Blair, Qld||Liberal||Cameron Thompson||5.69||10.17||4.48||Shayne Neumann||Labor|
|Bonner, Qld||Liberal||Ross Vasta||0.51||5.04||4.53||Kerry Rea||Labor|
|Braddon, Tas||Liberal||Mark Baker||1.13||2.57||1.44||Sid Sidebottom||Labor|
|Corangamite, Vic||Liberal||Stewart McArthur||5.32||6.17||0.85||Darren Cheeseman||Labor|
|Cowan, WA||Labor||Graham Edwards||0.78||2.49||1.71||Luke Simpkins||Liberal|
|Dawson, Qld||National||De-Anne Kelly||9.99||13.20||3.21||James Bidgood||Labor|
|Deakin, Vic||Liberal||Phil Barresi||4.97||6.38||1.41||Mike Symon||Labor|
|Dobell, NSW||Liberal||Ken Ticehurst||4.84||8.74||3.90||Craig Thomson||Labor|
|Eden-Monaro, NSW||Liberal||Gary Nairn||3.27||6.67||3.40||Mike Kelly||Labor|
|Flynn, Qld||National||notional – new seat||7.72||7.88||0.16||Chris Trevor||Labor|
|Forde, Qld||Liberal||Kay Elson||11.52||14.43||2.91||Brett Raguse||Labor|
|Hasluck, WA||Liberal||Stuart Henry||1.82||3.08||1.26||Sharryn Jackson||Labor|
|Kingston, SA||Liberal||Kym Richardson||0.07||4.49||4.42||Amanda Rishworth||Labor|
|Leichhardt, Qld||Liberal||Warren Entsch||10.26||14.29||4.03||Jim Turnour||Labor|
|Lindsay, NSW||Liberal||Jackie Kelly||2.92||9.70||6.78||David Bradbury||Labor|
|Longman, Qld||Liberal||Mal Brough||6.75||10.32||3.57||Jon Sullivan||Labor|
|Makin, SA||Liberal||Trish Draper||0.93||8.63||7.70||Tony Zappia||Labor|
|Moreton, Qld||Liberal||Gary Hardgrave||2.83||7.58||4.75||Graham Perrett||Labor|
|Page, NSW||National||Ian Causley||5.47||7.83||2.36||Janelle Saffin||Labor|
|Parramatta, NSW||Liberal||notional – Julie Owens||0.83||7.71||6.88||Julie Owens||Labor|
|Petrie, Qld||Liberal||Teresa Gambaro||7.45||9.50||2.05||Yvette D'Ath||Labor|
|Robertson, NSW||Liberal||Jim Lloyd||6.87||6.98||0.11||Belinda Neal||Labor|
|Solomon, NT||Country Liberal||Dave Tollner||2.81||3.00||0.19||Damian Hale||Labor|
|Swan, WA||Labor||Kim Wilkie||0.08||0.19||0.11||Steve Irons||Liberal|
|Wakefield, SA||Liberal||David Fawcett||0.67||7.26||6.59||Nick Champion||Labor|
Under the provisions of the Constitution, the current House of Representatives may continue for a maximum of three years from the first meeting of the House after the previous federal election. The first meeting of the 41st Parliament after the 2004 election was on 16 November 2004, hence the parliament would have expired on 15 November 2007 had it not been dissolved earlier. There must be a minimum of 33 days and a maximum of 68 days between the dissolution of the House of Representatives and the day of the election. Prime Minister Howard opted for a 39-day campaign.
The prime minister of the day chooses the election date and requests the governor-general to dissolve the House and issue the writs for the election. On 14 October, John Howard gained the agreement of the governor-general, Major-General Michael Jeffery, to dissolve the House of Representatives and hold a general election for the House and half the Senate on 24 November 2007.
During the last term of parliament before the 2007 election, the deadline for new voter enrolment was brought forward from 7 working days after the issue of the writ to the same day. When the election was announced, the writ was not issued the next day, but on the following Wednesday. This kept the roll open for three days, during which 77,000 enrolment additions were processed.
On 14 October, Howard announced a 24 November election. The Coalition had been trailing Labor in the polls since 2006, and most pundits predicted that Howard would not be re-elected. ABC Online election analyst Antony Green noted the Coalition's numbers were similar to what Labor had polled before losing power in 1996.
His theme concentrated on leadership, stating that the nation "does not need new leadership, it does not need old leadership. It needs the right leadership" He said his government would strive to achieve full employment, which he argued was less likely under Kevin Rudd. In response, Rudd also concentrated on leadership, outlining his case for "new leadership". He argued that the government had 'lost touch' with the electorate, and that the Labor Party was best suited to deal with challenges that lie ahead.
A Galaxy poll showed a Labor 53-47 per cent Coalition two-party-preferred result, with a 2 per cent gap on primaries, and ACNielsen polling reported a 2 per cent swing to the Coalition, reducing Labor's lead to 54–46. Rudd dropped 5 per cent as preferred prime minister. A Newspoll sampling 1,700 voters taken over the weekend prior to the leaders' debate reported a swing to Labor, increasing their two-party-preferred lead to 58 per cent, a rise of 2 points. Labor's primary vote increased 3 points to 51 per cent, and the Liberals decreased by 2 points to 34 per cent. Rudd extended his lead by 2 points to 50 per cent, with Howard down by 2 points to 37 per cent.
On the first full day of the campaign, Howard and Costello announced a 'major restructuring of the income tax system' with tax cuts worth $35 billion over three years and a tax cut "goal" for the next five years. A few days later, Rudd released his policy which supported the reform measures, however offered education and health tax rebates instead of immediate cuts to the top rate as proposed by the Liberal Party, with a slower progression for the top rate.
The Liberals slogan, "go for growth" was launched after announcing the largest tax cut in Australian history. Media and political commentators questioned the suitability of the slogan in the context of rising inflation and interest rates.
During the latter part of the week union influence over the ALP was questioned after the launch of the Liberal party's first campaign ads. Labor responded with commercials attacking the Liberals' campaign as 'smears', which was disputed by John Howard. One of the Liberal Party election commercials was corrected after it incorrectly said Wayne Swan and Craig Emerson had previously been union officials.
A debate between the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister, under the moderation of the National Press Club, was shown live on ABC TV, the Nine Network, and Sky News Australia at 7.30 pm on 21 October. Rudd had called for a minimum of three debates between himself and Howard, while Howard, who had been rated poorly by studio audiences at past leadership debates, pressed for a single debate. A total of 2.4 million Australians watched the event, with Nine averaging 1.42 million, the ABC averaging 907,000, and Sky News averaging 62,000. The last election debate in 2004 was watched by 1.77 million on Nine and the ABC, while in 2001, average audiences on Nine, Seven and the ABC totalled 2.44 million. David Speers, Sky News's political editor, moderated the debate which was held in the Great Hall of Parliament House. The debate audience was 400, with the Coalition and Labor each selecting 200.
Kevin Rudd argued that the Liberal Party was being influenced by the H. R. Nicholls Society to make further reforms to industrial relations, citing Nick Minchin's speech at the Society's 2008 conference where he told the audience that the Coalition "knew its reform to WorkChoices were not popular but the process of change must continue", and that "there is still a long way to go... awards, the IR commission, all the rest of it..." In response to the Liberal Party message that 70 per cent of Labor's front bench was made up of former union officials, Rudd said 70 per cent of Liberal Party ministers were either lawyers or former Liberal Party staffers. On the same day, Peter Costello admitted when questioned that the 70 per cent figure was in reference to union members rather than union officials.
Rudd said that Howard had "no plan for the future" on tackling climate change. Howard said that a Coalition government would establish a climate change fund after 2011, which would be financed by carbon offsets.
The Nine Network, which broadcast the debate as an extended edition of 60 Minutes, used 'the Worm' in its broadcast despite prior objections from the Liberal Party and action from the National Press Club to cease its video feed. As a result, the Nine Network's feed was cut part way into the broadcast, which Nine then replaced with Sky News's coverage. The Nine television network's live audience, via the Worm's average, scored the debate 65 to 29 in Rudd's favour, with 6 per cent remaining undecided. Both sides, however, claimed victory. Nine had a separate group of 80 it said were 'swinging' voters (chosen by McNair Research) in its studio to control 'the Worm'. Steps were taken to ensure equal numbers so as not to taint the Worm. At one point, Peter Costello was asked to cease interjecting.
Figures released on the Tuesday, showed a stronger than expected underlying rate of inflation of 3 per cent. Treasurer Peter Costello argued against an increase in interest rates, saying the Reserve Bank should concentrate on the headline consumer price index (CPI) inflation rate which rose of 1.9 per cent for the period.
Controversy arose over the Coalition's climate change policy, with The Financial Review citing "government sources" who claimed Turnbull told Cabinet six weeks ago it should sign the Kyoto Protocol. Neither Howard nor Turnbull denied the story. The story said that "internal critics" are claiming Turnbull is "selfishly positioning himself for a Coalition defeat" and a "possible post-poll leadership battle with Treasurer Peter Costello". The story led to claims of major splits in Cabinet.
Labor also suffered from mixed messages. Kevin Rudd was compelled to clarify Labor policy on climate change after an interview in which Peter Garrett suggested Labor would sign up to the post-Kyoto agreement at 2012 even if carbon-emitting developing countries did not. Rudd's comments, which he described as having "always been [Labor's] position", saw Labor's policy move closer to Liberal policy, insofar as Labor would ratify the agreement only after persuading all major carbon emitters, developing and developed, to ratify. Rudd also committed Labor to a target of a 20 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020, a 5-point increase on the Liberal target, assisted by the use of renewable energy, but without the use of coal pollution mitigation, arguing that it would ultimately be a benefit, not a detriment to the economy.
John Howard said the Coalition would not match Labor's promise of 20 per cent renewable energy target. Howard claimed Labor's policy "imposes too many additional costs to industry". Peter Garrett replied that lack of government action has cost jobs. ABC Radio reported that Howard had rejected a 2005 recommendation for higher renewable energy targets by his Environment Minister, but Howard declined to confirm or deny the claim.
The Coalition announced a promise to open 50 new emergency medical centres on Australia if re-elected. Adding to the campaign trend of both major parties criticising their opponent for plagiarism and "me-tooism", Labor responded that the government had copied its policy.
Peter Garrett was criticised by the Coalition when radio announcer Steve Price revealed Garrett had said to TV presenter Richard Wilkins that, "once we get in we'll just change it all" in reference to copying Coalition policies. Garrett said the comment was made during a "short, jocular and casual" conversation and Wilkins supported Garrett's response, saying that it was a "light-hearted throwaway line".
Tim Costello, director of World Vision Australia and Peter Costello's brother, criticised Australia's ranking of 19th out of 22 OECD countries for provision of overseas aid, and for government unwillingness to increase its policy of 0.35 per cent of national GDP to match Labor's commitment of 0.5 per cent. Howard said his party planned to lift the rate to 3.5 per cent.
Commentators pronounced Peter Costello and Wayne Swan's debate on 30 October as ending in a draw. Costello focused mainly on the government's past record, advocating the need for Australia to build into the future, while Swan said Labor were interested in "investing in people". Howard said he believed Costello "creamed" his opponent, while Rudd said Swan did a "fantastic job".
Liberal Tony Abbott and Labor's Nicola Roxon debated health at the National Press Club on ABC television. Abbott's character and ministerial capacity were questioned by Roxon for his comments about terminally ill asbestos campaigner Bernie Banton and for arriving 35 minutes late to debate. At the end of the debate, Roxon suggested to Abbott that he "could have arrived on time" if he had "really wanted to", to which Abbott replied "bullshit". Former Liberal campaign strategist Sue Cato said "you just don't run late for things like that". Abbott apologised to Banton but not to Roxon.
On 10 November, the Australian Democrats held their campaign launch in Melbourne under the banner of Bring Back Balance, a reference to their central campaign theme of preventing the government from regaining absolute control of the Senate.
The Reserve Bank of Australia adjusted interest rates upwards by another 0.25 per cent, the sixth rise since the last election, to a 10-year high of 6.75 per cent, and the first time the Bank had been changed rates during an election campaign. The Coalition said that only the current government had the proper experienced team to manage the economy in future, less prosperous years. Costello argued that the inflationary reasons for the rate rise were "outside the control of a Government". In response, Labor accused the Coalition of having "hauled up the white flag in the fight against inflation", saying that they had backflipped from their past statements that they could keep interest rates low. Howard stated that he was sorry for the negative consequences for and burden on Australian borrowers, but subsequently denied that this constituted an apology for the rate rise itself.
On 7 November, Workplace Relations Minister Joe Hockey and Labor's Julia Gillard debated industrial relations including WorkChoices at the National Press Club in Canberra. Hockey argued that Labor's policy to drop Workchoices was Australia's biggest threat to inflation. On 8 November, Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition spokesman Peter Garrett debated environment issues at the National Press Club in Canberra. Garrett criticised the government's record on climate change to which Turnbull responded that Garrett's current claims betray his previous career as a political activist.
Both major parties had their official campaign launches in Brisbane, Queensland; the Liberal Party on Monday 12 November and Labor on Wednesday 14 November. At their launch, the Coalition pledged a rebate for education costs, including private school fees, of all Australian children, totalling $9.4 billion. Under the plan, primary school students would have been eligible for $400, while secondary-school students would have been eligible for $800. Tax cuts worth $1.6 billion over four years were proposed to encourage people to save for first homes, and extra funding of $652 million for child care and $158 million to support carers was promised.
The Labor Party promised to spend only a quarter of the $9.4 billion promised by the Coalition, saying it would have a smaller impact on inflation. It accused the Howard Government of being "irresponsible". In addition to previous education funding announcements, Rudd promised Labor would provide an additional 65,000 apprenticeships, migrate all schools to new high speed broadband, and provide all year 9–12 students with access to their own computer. A doubling of the number of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships available at a tertiary level was announced, and the party re-iterating its view on climate change and WorkChoices.
The Labor Party released footage on Thursday 15 November to Lateline, showing Tony Abbott addressing a room of people, stating "I accept that certain protections, in inverted commas, are not what they were" in reference to WorkChoices legislation. Referring to award structures, Abbott said in the same footage: "I accept that that has largely gone. I accept that." When questioned, Abbott said he stood by the comments that WorkChoices means "certain protections" are not what they used to be, but denied conceding workers had lost protections. He said the video released by Labor was a "cut-and-paste job".
A report by the National Audit Office found that the Coalition had been interfering in the $328 million regional grants program, with a bias toward their marginal seats, where projects under the Regional Partnerships Program were apparently approved without proper assessment, or none at all, and that there was an increase in approvals prior to the 2004 election.
Newspoll stated Labor's two-party-preferred level was down one point to 54 per cent. Former Liberal Party campaign director Lynton Crosby said that the Coalition was "closing in on Labor" in the final week and could "still win a tight election" on a campaign of defending marginal seats, declaring a win still possible on 48.5 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.
On 20 November, John Howard defended the government's advertising spending in the months prior to the campaign, paid for with public money. The advertising, which covered topics including the controversial "Workchoices", cost $360 million over approximately 18 months. An article in the 20 November issue of the Herald Sun suggested spending could have been up to $500 million, though this took a broader view of what was included in that sum. Howard was criticised for not revealing documents written by his department about further changes to industrial relations laws in addition to WorkChoices legislation. In response, the government said the proposals had been cancelled, and that WorkChoices would not be expanded upon. The Seven Network failed in attempt to access the documents under Freedom of Information.
Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce said that the possibility of his crossing the floor to support Labor's amendments to WorkChoices remained open, and that he would judge all legislation on its merits, for which he was criticised by Nationals leader Mark Vaile.
On 21 November, three days before the election, fake pamphlets were distributed in the electorate of Lindsay, which purported to be from an Islamic group. The group was non-existent and the pamphlets thanked the Labor Party for supporting the Bali bombers and encouraged people to vote Labor. Those involved included a member of the Liberals' state executive, Jeff Egan; Gary Clark, husband of retiring MP Jackie Kelly; and Greg Chijoff, the husband of Lindsay candidate Karen Chijoff. Kelly said the incident was a "Chaser-style prank." John Howard condemned the statement. Egan and Greg Chijoff were immediately expelled from the Liberal Party a day before John Howard's address to the Australian Press Club; although, Egan denied any wrongdoing. Court cases are progressing.
Citing a clause of the Constitution that states parliamentarians are not permitted to hold an "office of profit under the crown", government frontbencher Andrew Robb said that up to 13 Labor candidates standing in the election may be ineligible for nomination. According to Robb, a "search of public records" indicated that the 13 candidates may have still been employed by government agencies, boards or offices, and that the Liberal Party may consider legal challenges to their election. According to Labor Senator Penny Wong, all Labor's candidates were eligible to stand, and that the Liberals had obtained the information from outdated websites.
Election day was Saturday 24 November.
Election night was covered extensively by three of the Australian free-to-air networks, from the National Tally Room: ABC Television, the Nine Network and the Seven Network. Network Ten and SBS Television included brief updates and news bulletins through the night, but not to the other networks' extent. Sky News offered extensive coverage on Pay TV.
Roy Morgan polling in June 2007 reported WorkChoices was a reason for Labor party support, and a fear of union dominance and support for Coalition economic management policy as the biggest reasons behind the Coalition vote. Several big business organisations, including the Australian Industry Group, declined a request from the Prime Minister to run advertisements to counter the union-funded campaign. The share of voters concerned about industrial relations grew from 31 per cent to 53 per cent in the two years to June 2006, with around three-fifths of voters backing Labor's ability to handle the issue over the Liberal Party.
A Newspoll released in June 2006 reported health and Medicare were the most important issue for voters; 83 per cent of respondents rated it "very important". Other key issues included education (79 per cent), the economy (67 per cent), the environment (60 per cent) and national security (60 per cent). Taxation and interest rates, key issues in previous campaigns, were rated very important by 54 per cent and 51 per cent respectively. Immigration, a key issue in 2001, scored 43 per cent. The poll showed that voters considered Labor marginally better-placed to handle health and education, and gave the government strong backing on the economy and national security.
Kevin Rudd promised Labor would introduce a greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 60 per cent by 2050, ratify the Kyoto protocol and introduce a mandatory renewable energy target (MRET) of 20 per cent by 2020. The Howard government reiterated their position of not ratifying the Kyoto protocol, setting "voluntary aspirational emission reduction targets" and introducing a carbon emissions trading scheme by 2012.
On 7 June in a speech promoting the government's handling of the economy, Treasurer Peter Costello recalled the learner driver slogan of the 2004 election: "This [the economy] is like a highly engineered racing car and I tell you what, I wouldn't be putting an L-plate driver in the cockpit at the moment". August 2007 saw, for the first time during an election campaign, a 0.25-point interest-rate rise to 6.5 per cent by the Reserve Bank, the sixth rise since the last election in 2004. Labor used the news to argue that the Coalition could not be trusted to keep interest rates low, while Costello argued that interest rates would be higher under Labor. In November 2007 interest rates were raised for the sixth time since the 2004 election, to a 10-year high of 6.75 per cent. In response to Labor criticism of the government on the rate rises, Howard stated in August 2007 "[Rudd] can scour every transcript, and I will make them available, of every interview that I gave during that election campaign and he will find no such commitment. During October 2007 Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews's decision to cut Australia's refugee intake and expressing public concern about Sudanese migrants was branded as racist.
The Queensland Labor Premier, Anna Bligh, described Andrews' criticism of Sudanese as "disturbing". She said: "It has been a long time since I have heard such a pure form of racism out of the mouth of any Australian politician." Labor politician Tony Burke branded Andrews' decision as "incompetent". However, Andrew's actions were applauded by the former One Nation politician, Pauline Hanson. Andrews was accused of helping to fuel assaults of Sudanese. During the controversy one criticism was that Andrews justified his decision based on "concerns raised by the community", however no official report or inquest has been tendered, leading to the conclusion that any 'concerns' were both unofficial, undocumented and most probably belonging to a racially intolerant minority. The Howard government had before used the race card in an election year to distract the voters from its other failures. This was most significant in the 2001 election with the infamous Tampa affair, in which the government was badly trailing in the polls before vilifying middle-eastern "boat people". The strategy worked for the government by exploiting the underlying racist elements of Australian society. Andrews defended the system of having refugee quotas against the opinion expressed that intakes of refugees should be variated on the basis of global needs ." In October 2007, Howard "admitted breaking a promise to keep interest rates at record lows". During the 2004 campaign, Howard was also cited as giving the same promise, personally, on radio. Inflation figures released on 24 October indicated underlying inflation was higher than expected, which resulted in seven of eight financial companies believing there will be an interest rate rise when the reserve bank met in the middle of November, the first during an election campaign.
Rudd advocated four-year fixed terms for federal parliaments if elected. Howard supported four-year terms but opposed fixed election dates. Any change would require approval by referendum. In mid-October, Howard said that if re-elected, the government would hold a referendum on the inclusion a statement of reconciliation in the preamble of the constitution.
Roy Morgan, Newspoll, ACNeilsen and Galaxy timegraph polling showed Labor leading the Coalition in opinion polling from mid-2006 onward. On several key questions, Labor increased its lead after Rudd assumed the Labor leadership from Kim Beazley, at which point Rudd also assumed the lead as preferred prime minister. While Labor was ahead in opinion polling, Howard had led Beazley on this question by a wide margin.
According to Australian political analyst Adam Carr, WorkChoices was one of five key reasons for "...a change of heart by the decisive sectors of the electorate". The new industrial relations program, Carr said, angered the "Howard battlers" – the traditional Labor voters who had supported Howard for most of the last 11 years – because they saw it as a direct attack on their livelihood.
ACNielsen polling in March 2007 had Rudd's personal approval rating at 67 per cent, which made him the most popular opposition leader in the poll's 35-year history, with Newspoll (News Limited) 2PP polling the highest in its history. The largest 2PP election result for the ALP in its history was at the 1943 election on an estimate of 58.2 per cent.
A weighted collaboration of all polling since Rudd assumed the ALP leadership shows an average Labor 2PP figure of 57 per cent compared with the Coalition's 43 per cent, and Rudd's consistent outpolling of Howard as preferred prime minister, something not achieved under previous leaders Mark Latham, Kim Beazley or Simon Crean.
By the time the writs were issued, the Coalition was well behind Labor in opinion polling, which election analyst Antony Green believed to show Labor winning government "in a canter". According to Green, this was a nearly exact reversal of the run-up to the 1996 election. The Coalition was running ahead of Labor in two-party opinion polling for much of 1995 and 1996, however the mantle of preferred prime minister regularly switched between Howard and Paul Keating.
Possums Pollytics, an anonymous weblog, stated that due to the uneven nature of the swings, where safe Liberal seats were swinging up to 14.6 per cent with safe Labor seats swinging around only 4.1 points, the Labor party stood to potentially end up with a maximum of 106 of the 150 lower house seats.
Polling consistently showed that the economy and national security were the Coalition's strong areas. In August 2007 an Ipsos poll showed 39 per cent of voters thought Labor was a better economic manager, compared to 36 per cent for the Coalition, with 25 per cent undecided.
The morning of the election announcement, a special Sun-Herald Taverner survey of 979 people across New South Wales and Victoria had been released, indicating a Labor 2PP of 59 per cent, with the 18- to 29-year-old category voting at 72 per cent. The fortnightly Newspoll was released the day after the election was called, showing the 2PP remaining steady at Labor 56–44 Liberal. Howard increased his Preferred PM rating up one per cent to 39 per cent, while Rudd increased his rating up one per cent to 48 per cent. On the day after the election was called, Centrebet had odds of 1.47 on Labor, with 2.70 on the Coalition. Halfway through the campaign, with no overall change in the polls, saw Centrebet odds for Labor shorten to 1.29, with the Liberals on 3.60. Centrebet odds two days out from the election were at 1.22 for Labor, with 4.35 for the Coalition.
Newspoll a week out from the election of 3,600 voters in 18 of the Coalition's most marginal seats revealed an ALP 54–46 Coalition 2PP, a swing to Labor of 6–9 per cent. A uniform swing would see 18–25 seats fall to Labor, The Australian said.
Former Labor number-cruncher Graham Richardson, who news.com.au (News Limited) claims to have correctly picked the winner of every election for the past three decades, tipped Kevin Rudd and Labor to win with a 6–7 per cent two-party-preferred, 20-seat swing.
Peter Day, a journalist (ex-The Australian), stated two days before the election that, if the Coalition were re-elected, it would be "the biggest polling embarrassment in any developed country since Truman beat Dewey in 1948".
The election-eve Newspoll and Galaxy poll reported the ALP on a 2PP of 52 per cent, Roy Morgan on 53.5 per cent, with ACNielsen on 57 per cent. Seven News reported that TAB had updated their odds for the election, with Labor having safe odds of $1.20 and the Coalition an outside chance on $4.60.
Sky News-Channel 7-Auspoll exit polls on election day of 2,787 voters in the 31 most marginal seats suggested a 53 per cent two-party preferred figure to Labor, 53 per cent to Labor in Bennelong, and 58 per cent to Labor in Eden-Monaro. Key issue questions swung Labor's way.
|The Age||No endorsement|
|The Australian Financial Review||Labor|
|The Canberra Times||Labor|
|The Daily Telegraph||Labor|
|The Herald Sun||Liberal|
|Northern Territory News||Labor|
|The Sydney Morning Herald||Labor|
The Mackerras federal election pendulum, 2006 (by Malcolm Mackerras) shows the state of the major political parties ahead of the 2007 Australian federal election. The table shows seats in the Australian House of Representatives arranged in the form of a Mackerras Pendulum based on their 2004 federal election two-party preferred result. Some seats in New South Wales and Queensland underwent a redistribution in 2006, their margins have been recalculated due to this.
MPs shown in italics are not contesting the 2007 election. Gwydir, held by John Anderson for the Nationals, was abolished in the last redistribution and is not shown. Notionally government-held seats are shown on the left, with other seats shown on the right.4Change
4Change, formerly known as the Climate Change Coalition (CCC), was an Australian political party, which was formed in 2007 with a view to accelerate action by politicians from all parties on global warming and climate change. Its position on working towards addressing climate change, stresses cooperation with big business in order to achieve significant progress on the issue. The party therefore advocates a close working relationship between environmentalists and the business community. The CCC was registered as a political party with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on 4 September 2007 and deregistered on 25 March 2010.Behind the Exclusive Brethren
Behind the Exclusive Brethren: Politics Persuasion and Persecution is a non-fiction book by journalist and author Michael Bachelard about the group Exclusive Brethren, focusing on the sect in Australia. It was published in 2008 by Scribe Publications Pty Ltd. Bachelard first became interested in the organisation while a journalist for The Age, after finding out that prior to the 2007 Australian federal election the Exclusive Brethren organisation in Australia had close access to John Howard. He spent two years researching the group, focusing on its history, influence in Australia, and ties to the Liberal Party of Australia and to Howard. The book gives a historical background of the group's origins 200 years ago in Ireland under John Nelson Darby. Since 2002, Bruce Hales served as the international leader and "Elect Vessel" of the organisation, which has 15,000 members in Australia and 43,000 total globally. The author describes the beliefs and practices and doctrine of the organisation, including some of its more controversial methodology including excommunication of former members from their family still within the group. Daniel Hales, brother of the organisation's worldwide leader Bruce Hales, described the book as part of a trend of what he said were lies told about his group by critics and disaffected former members.
The book was a best-seller in Australia, and in November 2008 it hit number 8 on a list of top ten best-selling books in the country in political and social science books according to data from Nielsen BookScan. The book received positive reception in books reviews and media coverage. The Sunday Age called it a "sober" and "well-argued" expose. The Sydney Morning Herald, called the book an "exhaustive study of the Exclusive Brethren in Australia". GayNZ.com characterised Behind the Exclusive Brethren as a "comprehensive reference work on the sect". Media/Culture Reviews noted, "The expose is written in a calm, clear style and the chapters relating to the broken families are deeply moving and respectful."Candidates of the 2007 Australian federal election
This article provides details on candidates who stood at the 2007 Australian federal election.
Nominations were formally declared open by the Australian Electoral Commission following the issue of the writ on Wednesday, 17 October 2007. Nominations closed at 12 noon Thursday, 1 November 2007. The received nominations were declared public after 12 noon Friday 2 November 2007.
The election itself was held on Saturday 24 November 2007.David Epstein (Australia)
David Andrew Newington Epstein (born 9 January 1963) is an Australian public affairs specialist and corporate adviser who is Chair of Communications Compliance Limited, an independent consumer compliance monitoring body for the telecommunications industry.
He was educated at The Geelong College, Australian National University, and The Wharton School (UPenn).
Epstein began his career as a political adviser, serving as Private Secretary to John Dawkins in the Employment, Education and Training portfolio, where he was involved in the campaign to introduce Australia's Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), then serving as Director of the Ministerial Media Group and National Media Liaison Service for Australian Labor Party politicians Bob Hawke and Paul Keating during their terms as Prime Minister of Australia. He was then Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Federal Opposition Kim Beazley.
In 1999, he left politics to head both the Australian Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association and Australian Telecommunications Industry Association. He was then recruited to Macquarie Corporate Telecommunications, to whom he remained an adviser after becoming a partner and Director of Government Relations Australia, a corporate advisory firm
In June 2007, he was appointed Chief of Staff and Principal Adviser to Australian Labor Party politician Kevin Rudd, first heading the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, then the Prime Minister's Office . US State Department officials reported on his "significant" role in the Australian Labor Party campaign during the 2007 Australian Federal Election. In 2008 he was ranked second in the Australian Financial Review's Covert Power list.
Epstein was appointed Group Executive for Government and Corporate Affairs at Qantas Airways Limited in 2008, and served on the Qantas Executive Committee. While at Qantas he managed the company's public response to the QF32 engine explosion incident, later attracting recognition from the pilot of the aircraft. Reportedly, he was also involved in negotiating the release of Jetstar executives in Vietnam in the wake of Jetstar Pacific losing $US31 million on disputed fuel-hedging contracts in 2008.Epstein was recruited to BHP Billiton in late 2010 by CEO Marius Kloppers, to a new role as company's Head of Group Public Affairs This was speculated to be part of a response to the failure of $US40 billion bid for Potash Corp following a backlash over foreign ownership from Canadian politicians.During Epstein's tenure, BHP Billiton overtook Microsoft in size, by market capitalization, and reported a $22 billion annual profit. He left this role in September 2011, but remains a strategy and public affairs adviser to companies and was most recently Vice President of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for Singtel Optus.David Epstein is a company director of Opera Australia, the European Australian Business Council, Communications Compliance Limited and The Asia Society Australia Centre, and sat on boards of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO Limited) and the Committee for Sydney until 2018.
He is also a member of advisory boards for IoTStream Limited, The Advisory Board Centre and the Headon Photofestival Foundation.Digital Education Revolution
The Digital Education Revolution (DER) was an Australian Government funded educational reform program, promised by then Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd during the launch of his 2007 Australian federal election campaign in Brisbane. It was officially launched in late 2008, with the first deployments announced by then Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard and then New South Wales counterpart, Verity Firth. The first deployment took place at Fairvale High School in August that year.Dympna Beard
Dympna Anne Beard (born 27 February 1949) was an Australian politician. She was a Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 2002 to 2006.
Beard was born in Colac, Victoria. She won the seat of Kilsyth as one of a number of Labor gains at the 2002 Victorian state election. She narrowly lost the seat at the 2006 Victorian state election and stood unsuccessfully as the Labor candidate for the seat of Casey at the 2007 Australian federal election.Frank Luntz
Frank Ian Luntz (born February 23, 1962) is an American political consultant, pollster, and "public opinion guru" best known for developing talking points and other messaging for various Republican causes. His work has included assistance with messaging for Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, and public relations support for pro-Israel policies in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. He advocated use of vocabulary crafted to produce a desired effect; including use of the term death tax instead of estate tax, and climate change instead of global warming.
Luntz's most recent work has been with Fox News as a frequent commentator and analyst, as well as running focus groups during and after presidential debates on CBSN. Luntz describes his specialty as "testing language and finding words that will help his clients sell their product or turn public opinion on an issue or a candidate." He is also an author of business books dealing with communication strategies and public opinion. Luntz's current company, Luntz Global, LLC, specializes in message creation and image management for commercial and political clients.George Newhouse
George Newhouse is an Australian human rights lawyer and a former local councillor. He is the principal solicitor of the National Justice Project, a human rights and social justice legal service, and currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Macquarie University.
He was the Mayor of Waverley in the eastern suburbs of Sydney from 2006 to 2007, and the Labor candidate for the seat of Wentworth at the 2007 Australian federal election.Graham Perrett
Graham Douglas Perrett (born 5 January 1966) is an Australian Labor politician, and a member of the Australian House of Representatives in the seat of Moreton. Perrett has a diploma of teaching, and a Bachelor of Laws, and has previously worked in the Queensland Government under Peter Beattie.
Perrett was born in St George in Queensland in 1966 (seventh child in a family of ten children), and received a diploma of teaching in 1985. He taught for three years in schools on the Darling Downs and Far North Queensland, then another eight years in Brisbane.
In 1993, he completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours through the University of Queensland. His honours thesis was a study of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Perrett later received a Bachelor of Laws from Queensland University of Technology in 1999. He worked as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland from 1999 to 2005 in Quinn & Scattini. After working with the Queensland Independent Education Union as an organiser he was given a role as Senior Policy Adviser for then Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie in 2005, and later for the Minister for Health, Stephen Robertson. Perrett previously ran unsuccessfully for the federal seat of Moreton in 2004.Perrett has represented the seat of Moreton, Queensland, since the 2007 Australian federal election where he ended Gary Hardgrave's 11-year term in office with a 7.6-point swing. Perrett described the victory as surprising, stating "In my wildest dreams I certainly didn't expect that the seat would be decided as early as it was". Perrett also claimed the victory, over a former multicultural affairs minister, could be put down to the fact that "people are ready for hope and aren't prepared to stick with the tired old fear factor of John Howard".A major issue in the 2007 Moreton campaign was the Australian Labor Party (on behalf of Perrett) branding Perrett's rival, Gary Hardgrave, a "racist", after the standing member said that Moreton was being "exhausted" by the influx of African refugees. Perrett campaigned primarily on issues relating to health and education in the lead up to the election, whilst Hardgrave focused primarily on roads, according to a radio interview.Graham Perrett published his first novel, The Twelfth Fish , in October 2008. The sex scenes in The Twelfth Fish drew attention from the political class and the media. In the lead-up to the 2010 federal election a Christian group put out a flyer calling Perrett the Member for Porn. Perrett won his seat in the 2010 election with a margin of 1.1 points and went on to publish a sequel in September 2013, The Big Fig.In his teaching days Perrett played in a band called Once I Killed a Gopher with a Stick and remains a keen fan of music and literature. He enjoys writing and bushwalking.Since the 2016 federal election, Perrett currently holds the position as Opposition Whip.Helen Dalley
Helen Dalley (born 1957) is an Australian journalist, who formerly worked for Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL) media stable.
Dalley is best known for her work on the Nine Network television programs Sunday, Today and A Current Affair. She has also been a news presenter on Sky News Australia.Jason Clare
Jason Dean Clare (born 22 March 1972) is the Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Blaxland in the western suburbs of Sydney. He first won the seat at the 2007 Australian federal election, and retained it with clear majorities at both the 2010 and 2013 elections. Clare filled various positions in the Second Gillard (2010–2013) and Second Rudd Ministries (2013), namely Minister for Defence Materiel, Minister for Justice, and Minister for Home Affairs.
Following Labor's loss at the 2013 election, he was named Shadow Minister for Communications in the Shadow Cabinet led first by Chris Bowen and then by the current Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten.
After the 2016 federal election Clare was named Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment and Shadow Minister for Resources and Northern Australia.Lindsay pamphlet scandal
The Lindsay pamphlet scandal was an Australian electoral scandal in which Liberal Party volunteers distributed fake election pamphlets, claiming to be from an Islamic organisation that was later found not to exist, that claimed the Labor Party candidate would support clemency for convicted terrorists and the construction of a mosque in the local area. The incident made national and even international headlines on 21 November 2007, three days before the 2007 Australian Federal election.The retiring Liberal member of parliament representing the federal Division of Lindsay, Jackie Kelly, was forced to explain why her husband, local orthodontist Gary Clark, was caught distributing the pamphlets with four other people. The pamphlets, claiming to be from "The Islamic Australia Federation", thanked the Australian Labor Party (ALP) for supporting terrorists involved with the 2002 Bali bombings.List of elections in 2007
The following elections occurred in the year 2007.
Electoral calendar 2007
Elections in 2007
United Nations Security Council election, 2007Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
The Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting) (originally known as the Non-Custodial Parents Party) is a minor political party in Australia. The party has members in all states and territories of Australia. It supports less government control of many aspects of daily family life. In particular, it puts forward a number of policies seeking changes in the areas of family law and child support.
The party is registered with the Australian Electoral Commission as a political party.Post-election pendulum for the 2007 Australian federal election
The following pendulum is known as the Mackerras Pendulum, invented by psephologist Malcolm Mackerras. Designed for the outcome of the 2007 federal election, the pendulum works by lining up all of the seats held in Parliament, 83 Labor, 55 Liberal, 10 National, and 2 independent, according to the percentage point margin on a two candidate preferred basis, as elected in 2007. The two candidate result is also known as the swing required for the seat to change hands. Given a uniform swing to the opposition or government parties in an election, the number of seats that change hands can be predicted. Swing is never uniform, but in practice variations of swing among the Australian states usually tend to cancel each other out. Seats are arranged in safeness categories according to the Australian Electoral Commission's classification of safeness. "Safe" seats require a swing of over 10 per cent to change, "fairly safe" seats require a swing of between 6 and 10 per cent, while "marginal" seats require a swing of less than 6 per cent.Results of the 2007 Australian federal election (House of Representatives)
The following tables show state-by-state results in the Australian House of Representatives at the 2007 federal election, 83 Labor, 65 coalition (55 Liberal, 10 National), 2 independent. Detailed results for all 150 seats are also available. The Nationals were reduced to nine seats and the coalition to 64 when independent Rob Oakeshott won the 2008 Lyne by-election.Results of the 2007 Australian federal election (Senate)
The following tables show state-by-state results in the Australian Senate at the 2007 federal election, 37 coalition (32 Liberal, four National, one CLP), 32 Labor, five Green, one Family First, and one independent, Nick Xenophon. Senator terms are six years (three for territories), and took their seats from 1 July 2008, except the territories who took their seats immediately.
See also: Members of the Australian Senate, 2008–2011 and Results of the Australian federal election, 2007 (House of Representatives)The Independent (2007 film)
The Independent is an Australian independent mockumentary film released in 2007, produced by Apocalypse Films. It chronicles the story of Marty Browning (Lee Mason), a man who runs for state parliament in a Victorian by-election to save his family farm, backed by a shady businessman (Tony Nikolakopoulos). He runs as an independent, but under the banner of "The Independent Party"; his plan is to form policies by asking members of the public for their opinions, thereby providing a direct public voice in parliament. (A similar purpose is held by the real-life Australian party Senator On-Line.)
The film was shot in 2006, and released to a small number of cinemas on 8 November 2007 in the lead up to the 2007 Australian federal election. A national cinema launch is planned for April/May 2008.