The Federal election on 5 September was called prior to the outbreak of war in August. All of the 75 seats in the House of Representatives and all 36 seats of the Senate were up for election due to Parliament’s first ever double dissolution. The double dissolution was triggered when the Labor-dominated Senate refused to pass the Government Preference Prohibition Bill, which sought to abolish preferential employment for trade union members in the public service. At the election, the Australian Labor Party, led by Andrew Fisher, was victorious over the incumbent Commonwealth Liberal Party, led by Joseph Cook. The ALP won the election comfortably, winning 42 (of 75) seats in the House of Representatives and 31 (of 36) seats in the Senate.
It was during the campaign, in July, that Fisher gave a speech containing his now famous pledge to support the British War effort ‘to the last man and last shilling’.
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