Sunday, April 11, 2010

Top 10 Australian PMs by length of service.

Something a little different today. We're going to take a look at the top 10 Australian PMs by time spent in office.

10 - John Curtin - 3y 8m 29d
In 1943 Curtin led the ALP to a smashing victory over the joint ticket of the Country Party led by Arthur fadden and the United Australia Party led by Alfred Deakin. Labor secured 49.94% of the primary vote and 55.09% of the 2PP vote which represented a massive swings of 17.57%. Labor won 49 of  74 seats,  a gain of 17 seats and won all 19 Senate seats that were up for grabs. 
Curtin died in office at the age 0f 60


9. Paul Keating - 4y 2m 20d
Keating took over as PM when Bob Hawke retired in 1991. The 1993 election was seen by many as "unlosable" for the opposition led by John Hewson up until the now infamous "Birthday cake interview" At the 1993 election the ALP managed to pick up a 5.49% primary vote swing and a 1.54% 2PP swing but only gained 2 seats.
The ALP was defeated by the Coalition at the 1996 election


8. Ben Chifley - 4y 5m 7d
Ben Chifley became PM after defeating Forde in a party room ballot following the death of John Curtin. At the 1946 election the ALP suffered a small swing against them, losing 6 seats. They managed to hold on to 43 seats in the 74 seat House.
The ALP was defeated by the Coaliton at the 1949 election.


7. Stanley Bruce - 6y 18m 14d
Bruce was the first PM not be involved in 1901 federation movement and the first not to be a member of the original parliament. The Nationalist member of which Bruce was a member lost it's majority in the 1922 election and could only stay in power with the support of the Country Party. However the Country Party said it would not serve under incumbent Billy Hughes. 
The Nationalist/Country coalition lost the 1929 election which was called 2 years early due to government backbenchers crossing the floor.


6. Joseph Lyons - 7y 3m 2d
Lyons was at one stage treasurer in the the Scullin Labor government. He resigned from the ALP after Scullin reappointed Theodore to the Treasurer role. Lyons, 5 other ALP MPs and 3 conservative independents merged with the Nationalists to create the United Australia Party with Lyons as leader. At the same time 5 left-wing ALP MPs also resigned after saying that Lyons' policies as treasurer were not radical enough and also sat on the cross benches. With the ALP losing it's majority it lost a no-confidence motion which forced an election. Lyons' newly formed UAP won easily picking up 20 seats to add to the Nationalists already 14. The ALP lost 32 seats.
Lyons died in office in 1939. 


5. Billy Hughes - 7y 3m 14d
Hughes succeeded Andrew Fisher as Labor PM in 1915 after Fisher resigned due to ailing health. In 1916 Hughes was expelled from the Labor Party after Hughes and 24 others had already walked out. Hughes and the others called themselves the "National Labor Party." Hughes was forced to conclude a confidence and supply agreement with the opposition Commonwealth Liberal Party in order to stay in office. Hughes and the leader of the CLP Joseph Cook decided to turn their coalition into a new party and called themselves 'The Nationalist Party of Australia'
Hughes lost the Prime Ministership when the Country Party held the balance of power and said they wouldn't support him.

4. Malcolm Fraser - 7y 4m 0d
Fraser became PM after 'The Dismissal' which we all know enough about so no need for me to cover it here. The Coalition won a 2nd term easily in 1977. The coalition suffered a big swing in 1980 but managed to hold enough seats to stay in power. In 1982 Andrew Peacock resigned from cabinet and challenged Fraser for the leadership but lost. Fraser tried to get the jump on the ALP by calling an election before they replaced Hayden with Hawke but was unaware they had already done so the day he called the election.
The Coalition was defeated by the ALP in 1983 and Fraser immediately resigned.

3. Bob Hawke - 8y 9m 10d
Bob Hawke became PM when the ALP coasted to victory at the 1983 election picking up 24. Hawake stayed on as PM through another 3 elections despite small swings to the coalition all 3 times. Hawke was challenged by Keating in June but held on before losing to Keating in December 91

2. John Howard - 11y 8m 23d
John Howard became PM after a crushing victory over Paul Keating at the 1996 election with a 5.07% 2PP swing the Coaltion picked up 29 seats to take them to 94 in a parliament with 148 seats. The Coalition managed to hold on despite a 4,61% swing against them with Labor picking up 18 seats and holding more than the Liberal party. In 2001 the Coalition made a net gain of 2 seats, picking up another 5 in 2004.
The Coalition was defeated in 2007 by the ALP lead by Kevin Rudd with Howard become just the 2nd PM to lose his own seat.

1. Robert Menzies - 18y 3m 12d
Menzies was sworn in as UAP PM in 1939 and was PM for 2 and bit years before losing the confidence of his party and resigning. He came to power again in 1949 as leader of the Liberal Party and won 7 elections in a row. His 2nd term as PM saw him hold the job for 16 years, a record which will probably never be broken.
Menzies retired in 1966 and was succeeded by Harold Holt.

Triva: Frank Forde is Australia's shortest serving PM. Holding the job for just 8 days after the death of John Curtin.
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