Australian voters swerved sharp right and resoundingly confirmed in Malcolm Fraser and their Prime Minister, when they voted in the general election of Saturday (13 December).
GV Whitlam shaking hands with Labour supporters. (4 shots)
SV INT. Mr. Whitlam having his name checked on electoral roll.
CU Whitlam voting in booth.
SV Other voters in both.
SV ZOOM INTO CU Whitlam casting his vote.
SV Mr. & Mrs. Fraser entering hotel lobby for press conference.
SV ZOOM OUT TO GV Mr. & Mrs. Fraser sit down for press conference.
Initials VS 00.05 00.20
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Australian voters swerved sharp right and resoundingly confirmed in Malcolm Fraser and their Prime Minister, when they voted in the general election of Saturday (13 December). The victory gave Mr. Fraser and his Liberal/National Country party coalition the largest parliamentary majority in Australia's history.
Mr.Fraser's forces were installed as a caretaker government after the hotly debated sacking of Labour Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, last month.
Within hours of the polls closing it was obvious that Labour had suffered a crushing defeat and Mr. Whitlam conceded defeat. Only three years before Labour had captured power following 23 years of rule by the coalition, and had embarked on a far ranging programme of social and foreign policy changes.
The extent of Mr. Fraser's victory staggered even the most optimistic supporters and was even greater than national opinion polls had forecast in the past week. Some political analysts estimated that the violent swing against Labour could give Mr.Fraser a 57 seat Majority in the Lower House when all votes have been counted.
From the results it was evident that the votes had powerfully supported the assertions made by Mr. Fraser during the bitter three-week election campaign, that Australia could no longer afford a Whitlam government, which, he alleged, had already driven the country into an economic crisis by mismanagement, financial incompetence and anti-business policies.
SYNOPSIS: Despite predictions by opinion polls that he would lose Saturday's general election, Australia's former Labour Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, was in a relaxed mood as he arrived to vote in his own constituency in Sydney on election day.
Mr. Whitlam's Government was sacked from office by the Australian Governor General, Sir John Kerr, last month after he refused to call a general election. Mr. Fraser's party held a narrow majority in the senate and had refused a supply bill unless Mr. Whitlam capitulated.
By within ninety minutes of the polls closing it became clear that Mr. Whitlam had lost the election - and lost badly. The Australian voters had reaffirmed Mr. Fraser's role as Prime Minister and the Liberal/National Country party coalition was back in power.
The resounding win gave Mr. Fraser and his coalition forces the largest parliamentary majority in Australia's history. The massive swerve right surprised even the Prime Minister and some political analysts predict a fifty-seven seat majority in the house of representatives.