1972 Liberal Party of Australia leadership election

An election for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Australia took place on 20 December 1972, following former Prime Minister William McMahon's resignation after his defeat at the 1972 federal election. Billy Snedden was successful in winning the leadership, narrowly beating Nigel Bowen by 30 votes to 29 on the fifth ballot. The previous ballot was tied at 29 each, with one MP not voting. James Killen, John Gorton, and Malcolm Fraser had earlier been eliminated from contention, in that order.[1]

1972 Liberal Party of Australia
leadership election

← 1971 20 December 1972 1975 →
Candidate Billy Snedden Nigel Bowen Malcolm Fraser
First Ballot Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Second Ballot Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Third Ballot Uncertain Uncertain Uncertain
Fourth Ballot 29 (50.0%) 29 (50.0%) Eliminated
Fifth Ballot 30 (50.9%) 29 (49.1%) Eliminated
Seat Bruce (Vic.) Parramatta (NSW) Wannon (Vic.)

Candidate John Gorton James Killen
First Ballot Uncertain Uncertain
Second Ballot Uncertain Eliminated
Third Ballot Eliminated Eliminated
Fourth Ballot Eliminated Eliminated
Fifth Ballot Eliminated Eliminated
Seat Higgins (Vic.) Moreton (Qld.)

Leader before election

William McMahon

Elected Leader

Billy Snedden






Liberal Party of Australia
deputy leadership ballot, 1972
1977 →
Candidate Phillip Lynch Andrew Peacock
Fifth Ballot >30 <29
Seat Flinders (Vic.) Kooyong (Vic.)

Deputy Leader before election

Billy Snedden

Elected Deputy Leader

Phillip Lynch

The following table gives the ballot result:[2]

Leadership ballot

Name Final ballot Percentage
Billy Snedden 30 50.85
Nigel Bowen 29 49.15

Deputy leadership ballot

Name Final ballot Percentage
Phillip Lynch <30
Andrew Peacock >29

Other candidates in order of elimination:




  1. ^ Solomon, David (21 December 1972). "Snedden Faces His First Problems". The Canberra Times. p. 3.
  2. ^ "Snedden faces his first problems". Canberra Times. 21 December 1972.