Hung Parliament

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Hung Parliament

Posted 23/08/2010 by Cathy Madden

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The last hung Federal Parliament occurred after the election on 21 September 1940 when Labor and the Coalition of the United Australia Party and the Country Party emerged with 36 seats each in the House of Representatives. The balance of power resided with two independents, Alex Wilson and Arthur Coles, who supported the Coalition and thus enabled the Menzies Government to remain in office (it was sworn in on 28 October). The independents' support lasted until late 1941 when they voted against the budget of the now Fadden-led Coalition Government, leading to the resignation of Fadden and the commissioning of the Curtin Labor Government on 7 October 1941.

The UK election on 6 May 2010 resulted in a hung Parliament, the first since 1974. The Conservative Party won the most seats (305), the Labour Party had 258, while the Liberal Democrats had 57. Gordon Brown remained as 'caretaker' prime minister while negotiations took place between the parties, resulting in the coalition agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties on 12 May.

State and territory minority governments

There have been a number of state and territory minority governments during the last four decades. See NSW Parliamentary Library publication by Gareth Griffith, ‘Minority governments in Australia 1989–2009: accords, charters and agreements’.

This table summarises minority state and territory governments from 1968.

StateElectionGovernmentNon-major party MPs
SA 1968minority (LIB)Ind (1)
Tas 1969 coalition (LIB/Centre)Centre Party (1)
ACT 1989minority (ALP) Minor party and Ind (8)
SA 1989minority (ALP) Ind (2)
Tas 1989 minority (ALP)Green (5)
NSW 1991 minority (LIB/NP) Ind (4)
ACT 1992 minority (ALP)Ind (3)
ACT 1995 minority (LIB)Green (2), Ind (2)
Tas 1996 minority (LIB) Green (4), Ind (1),
[ALP 14, LP 16]
Qld 1996 minority (NP/LIB coalition)
The Goss Government lost control of the Legislative Assembly following the loss of Mundingburra in a by-election.
Ind (1)
ACT 1998 minority (LIB) Ind (3), Green (1)
Qld 1998 minority (ALP) PHON (11), Ind (2)
Vic 1999 minority (ALP) Ind (3)
[ALP 42; LP 36; NP 7]
ACT 20.10.2001 minority (ALP with Green’s support) Green (1); AD (1)
[ALP 8; LP 7]
SA 9.2.2002 minority (ALP with one Ind’s support) Ind (3) [ALP 23; LP 20; NAT 1]
WA 6.9.2008 minority (LIB with support from NATS) NATS (4); Ind (3)
[ALP 28; LIB 24]
ACT 18.10.2008 minority (ALP with Greens’ support)Green (4)
[ALP 7; LP 6]
Tas 20.3.2010 minority (ALP with Greens’ support) Green (5)[ALP 10, LP 10]


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