On 15 January 1968, the speaker stated that there was conclusive evidence that Holt had died, and that a writ would be issued for the by-election. Senator John Gorton, who had been elected party leader and Prime Minister by his party colleagues on 9 January, was preselected unopposed to run for the Liberal Party on 31 January. The Australian Labor Party nominated David Bennett, a research officer with the Australian Council for Educational Research, whilst the Democratic Labor Party, who had received 11.56% of the vote at the November 1966 election in the seat, opted not to contest the election. The other two candidates were Dr Leonard Webber for the Australia Reform Movement, and a Sydney journalist, Frank Courtis.
Gorton won the by-election for the Liberals with an increased primary vote.