2010: another hung parliament

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


On any assessment, the election on 21 August 2010 was a remarkable one. Two
and a half years earlier, on 24 November 2007, the Labor Party returned to office in a decisive victory, even ousting the former Liberal prime minister, John Howard, from his seat. When voters went to the polls in 2010, the party lost eleven seats, one of the largest ever losses for a first-term government. Much of the blame for the result has been laid on the controversial decision of the Labor Party to remove Kevin Rudd in favour of Julia Gillard two months earlier and the handling of the leadership change. The circumstances of Gillard’s ascension to the role of prime minister overshadowed Labor’s campaign. Nonetheless, these difficulties did not provide the coalition, led by Tony Abbott, with sufficient traction to defeat Labor. Instead, the election produced a hung parliament, the first since the 1940 wartime election, and Gillard was successful in forming a minority government with the backing of three Independents and the Greens. The election brought into sharp relief the hazards of the increasing ‘personalisation’ of election campaigns in recent decades and highlighted the crucial role that small parties and Independents play in contemporary politics. The election’s additional significance as the first to be contested by a female prime minister and subsequent debate about her mistreatment ensure that it will be remembered as a crucial juncture in Australian political history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElections matter
Subtitle of host publicationten federal elections that shaped Australia
EditorsBenjamin T. Jones, Frank Bongiorno, John Uhr
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherMonash University Publishing
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781925523171
ISBN (Print)9781925523157
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • elections
  • Australian politics
  • Julia Gillard
  • gender
  • election polls


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