With notably rare exceptions[1]

One of the arguments being pushed by those on the political right seeking to downplay the Victorian election outcome is that Australian state governments generally get a second term. A look over the period since 1990, however, brings up  several exceptions to that rule. Here’s my list:

Borbidge (Queensland), Baillieu-Napthine (Victoria), Newman (Queensland),Mills-Giles (NT)

For the “second-term” argument to work in downplaying the result, more is needed. It has to be the case that, having won a second term, governments mostly fail to get a third.  Here’s a list [1] of instances where two-term governments have been defeated.

Groom-Rundle (Tasmania), Greiner-Fahey (NSW), Kennett (Victoria), Carnell-Humphries (ACT), Court, Gallop-Carpenter, Barnett (WA), Martin-Henderson (NT)

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that all of the exceptions in the first list were conservatives, while only two of the confirming instances in the second list were Labor.

With a limited data set, it’s easy to support a wide range of conclusions. Still if conservative commentators want to use historical patterns to argue that, having easily won a second term, Daniel Andrews is on track to lose next time, I think they’re dreaming.


fn1.  This is a moderately famous Internet meme, coined by Alan Greenspan

fn2. One might arguably add the Goss government in Queensland, which won the 1995 election, but lost office after a by-election required by the Court of Disputed Returns.




6 thoughts on “With notably rare exceptions[1]

  1. Elections are like Tolstoy’s unhappy families. They’re all different in their own way.

    But if you want to hang your hat on precedent, Bracks won very big in 2002 after scraping over the line in 1999. He then won smaller in 2006 as natural Liberal seats returned home, and then Labor (led by John Brumby) lost in 2010.

    Though, really, no one can predict the future with these things. There’s too many things that can happen. Scandal, the economy, civil war in either party, who knows?

  2. Governments have to be really stupid not to win a second term.
    Borbidge won in a fluke. Everyone wanted to give Goss a black eye but still govern. When they realised what they had won they recanted at the next election. It helped Beattie was a superb politician.
    Newman lost because like Kennett his arrogance lost him votes.

    The NT was simply incompetence on steroids combined with s disunity.
    Victoria is the odd man out. It appears disunity d cost them a second term when the ALP were clearly not ready to govern.

  3. People keep comparing the past with the present; that is what has undone the conservatives. They can’t accept that this time it’s different and records are meant to be broken.

    Fires storms floods etc, resource management, will need to be acted on properly and silly boys posing as men are suddenly of no relevance.

    Conservatives just haven’t stepped up.

  4. I thought the big political lesson of the last 10 years is there are a few rusted on voters nowadays. Rudd got elected expecting two terms at least. What happened to him?

    The age of 3 second soundbites, voters are deeply unforgiving

  5. The people did not get rid of Rudd Jim, The factional hacks did that. An easy second term beckoned.

  6. The factional hacks backed by the mining bosses and mining unions got rid of Rudd. In essence, it was mining magnates’ money that removed Rudd. The neanderthal, lumpen-proletariat mining unions helped. Big men, driving big machines, who won’t stop to use their minds.

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