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The 2019 Federal election was held on Saturday 18 May. The election was being fought on new boundaries following an electoral distribution that increased the number of seats from 150 to 151.

State of the Parties

The electoral redistribution not only increased the number of seats but revised the boundaries of many electorates, notionally adjusting each parties’ parliamentary representation as follows:


These changes meant the Coalition needed a net gain of three seats to win government in its own right while Labor needed four seats.

Under either scenario, the side with the most seats would nominate one of its MPs to become Speaker, leaving it with 75 of the remaining 150 seats on the floor of the House. In the event of a tied vote, the Speaker’s vote would break the deadlock.

Marginal seats

There were 18 federal seats that could change hands with swings of less than 2% at the election.

The Coalition held eight of those seats - five in Queensland and three in NSW. It held a further 12 seats by margins of 2-5%.

Labor was defending nine seats with margins of less than 2%.

The 18th seat with a margin of less than 2% was Wentworth, which was held by independent MP Kerryn Phelps.

More details about marginal seats at the time of the May 2019 election can be found here.

Catholic Education's key election objectives

The key issues for Catholic Education at the 2019 federal election were:

  • increased capital funding
  • more resources for early childhood education
  • religious freedom in schools

In 2017, Catholic school communities funded almost 90 per cent of the capital works in their schools – nearly $1.3 billion – while the federal and state governments jointly provided $152.2 million across our 1,746 schools. To put this in perspective, the NSW government spent 10 times this amount - $1.5 billion each year - on capital works in its 2,200 schools.

With the rising cost of land, construction and classroom technology, Catholic schools cannot continue to rely on parents and the rest of the school community to shoulder the burden of increased capital costs to the same extent into the future.

The federal government must help to ease the burden on parents if Catholic schools are to meet the needs of future students.

Catholic Education is also increasing its focus on the delivery of early childhood education, a vital component of each child’s development. Catholic schools are well placed to meet this need, with many new preschools being built next to existing and new Catholic primary schools. This will make life easier for families with young children and puts our pre-schoolers at the heart of our school communities.

In the lead up to the federal election, Catholic Education sought a significant increase in dedicated capital and recurrent funding to deliver quality early learning centres for our families.

While school funding arrangements have now largely been settled for the next decade, Catholic Education sought to clarify details on key elements before polling day, particularly around maintaining the choice of low-fee Catholic schooling for Australian families.

Become informed

Catholic Education prepared the following materials for the 2019 federal election:

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