The only detailed account of the progress and results of the 1996 federal election.

In 1993 Labor won the unwinnable election, during ‘the recession we had to have’ and after a debilitating leadership struggle. So why not in 1996?

By January 1996, the Liberals had experienced three different leaders in less than three years. The Nationals had also undergone a substantial changing of the guard. So what delivered the most crushing defeat to Labor since 1975?

In The politics of retribution political scientists, campaign strategists and journalists scrutinise the forces at play during the 1996 federal election. They analyse the factors which determined who would win or lose, describe the state of each party on the eve of the election and demonstrate the magnitude of the coalition victory.

By examining what went on in the electorates they reveal why, how and where voters exacted retribution on the Keating regime. They describe the extent of Labor’s failure to retain the loyalty of its grass roots supporters. They show how the coalition campaign ensured that the support of the interest groups Labor had spent a decade and many millions to secure proved a double-edged sword.

The politics of retribution tells how the battle for the vote was waged–publicly on television, radio and in print and, beyond the public gaze, through the use of the increasingly sophisticated medium of polling. In dissecting the process which made John Howard Prime Minister, The politics of retribution reveals how politics is practiced at the end of Australia’s first century as a democratic nation.