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The 1896 Federal Election were held on the 13 November 1896 in all Australian states, thus making it the first to do so. It was called upon by Prime Minister George Reid on 29 March following the death of the extremely popular former prime minister, Henry Parkes.
With all the seats in the House of Representatives (which stood at 75 after renumbering the population per seat) and 18 (out of 35) seats in the Senate up for election, George Reid campaigned fiercely using his force of personality to win the election. The incumbent Free Trade Party won the election, defeating its main opposition, the Protectionist party.
The 1896 federal; election took place following the death of the previous prime minister, Henry Parkes. Due to his extreme popularity among Australians, he was well received, and following a surplus in the economy following his election, the Free Trade party was likely to win the next election.
However, on the night of 21 March 1896, Henry Parkes died from a stroke. This left a power gap in the party, which was replaced by the influential and charismata George Reid. Being able to back the party's achievements based on the work of Parkes, Reid was sure to win the upcoming election which he called for on 29 March.
The results of the 1896 re-enforced the popularity of George Reid and the Free Trade party. The parties that contested the 1894 election contested 1896 election, with 3 of the 4 major parties gaining seats in the House of Representatives, all began to gain popularity outside of their distinctive areas defined in the 1894 election. Philip Fysh contested the division of Bass in Tasmania for the (New Zealand state) Liberal party. With his election to the division of Bass, he became the first Australian Politician outside of New Zealand to gain a government position under the Liberal party banner.
The election also saw an increase of one seat for the various state Labor parties. The "Socialist Coalition" as the Hobart Mercury called it was an alliance between the state parties, and the precursor to the modern Labor party. The leader of this coalition was the future Prime Minister of Australia, Andrew Fisher.
|Free Trade Party||196,365||39.17||+1.09||38||+3|
|State Labor Parties||78,255||15.61||+1.33||11||+1|
|Free Trade Party||WIN||38|