1996 Australian federal election

The 1996 Australian federal election was held to determine the members of the 38th Parliament of Australia. It was held on 2 March 1996. All 148 seats of the House of Representatives and 40 seats of the 76-seat Senate were up for election. The centre-right Liberal/National Coalition led by Opposition Leader John Howard of the Liberal Party and coalition partner Tim Fischer of the National Party defeated the incumbent centre-left Australian Labor Party government led by Prime Minister Paul Keating in a landslide.

1996 Australian federal election

 1993 2 March 1996 (1996-03-02) 1998 

All 148 seats in the House of Representatives
75 seats were needed for a majority in the House
40 (of the 76) seats in the Senate
  First party Second party
Leader John Howard Paul Keating
Party Liberal/National coalition Labor
Leader since 30 January 1995 (1995-01-30) 19 December 1991 (1991-12-19)
Leader's seat Bennelong (NSW) Blaxland (NSW)
Last election 65 seats 80 seats
Seats won 94 seats 49 seats
Seat change 29 31
Popular vote 5,810,546 5,024,327
Percentage 53.63% 46.37%
Swing 5.07 5.07

Popular vote by state and territory with graphs indicating the number of seats won. As this is an IRV election, seat totals are not determined by popular vote by state or territory but instead via results in each electorate.

Prime Minister before election

Paul Keating

Subsequent Prime Minister

John Howard
Liberal/National coalition

The election marked the end of the 5-term, 13-year Hawke-Keating Government that began in 1983. Howard was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Australia on 11 March 1996, along with the First Howard Ministry. This election was the start of the 11-year Howard Government; the Labor party would spend this period in opposition and would not return to government until the 2007 election.

This was the first federal election that future Prime Minister Tony Abbott contested as a member of parliament, having entered parliament at the 1994 Warringah by-election. Future opposition leaders Brendan Nelson and Anthony Albanese also entered parliament at this election.

Howard became the first Liberal leader to win an election from opposition since Robert Menzies in 1949. (Malcolm Fraser was caretaker prime minister in the 1975 election.)