The Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, announced on Friday 5 October 2001 that an election for the House of Representatives and half the Senate will be held on Saturday 10 November 2001. This will be a general election for the 40th Parliament.
Senators for a State or Territory are chosen directly by the people of that State or Territory. Each State elects twelve Senators while the two Territories elect two Senators each.
Senators for each State are elected for six year terms on a rotating basis with a half Senate election held every three years. State Senators elected in 1996 face election at this poll. Territory Senators face election at every House of Representatives general election.
The number of Members elected to the House of Representatives from each State and Territory is proportional to the number of people, except that at least five Members must be chosen in each original State.
The political party or coalition of parties that has a majority in the House of Representatives forms the Government.
Each Member of the House of Representatives is elected to represent an electoral division. Within each State and Territory, each Division contains a similar number of electors. For the 2001 federal election, Australia is divided into 150 electoral divisions.
The maximum term of the House of Representatives is three years taken from the date on which the newly elected House first meets.
The issue of the writ triggers the election process. It is a document commanding an electoral officer to hold an election and contains dates for the close of rolls, the close of nominations, the polling day and the return of the writ.
Electors have until 8pm, seven days after the writ is issued to enrol or to update their details on the Commonwealth electoral roll.
It is not possible to nominate as a candidate until the writ has been issued. Candidates must nominate by 12 noon on the date specified in the writ as close of nominations.
Twenty four hours after the close of nominations are publicly declared, draws for positions on the ballot papers are conducted.
The day on which the majority of electors cast their vote at a polling place. It must be a Saturday and at least 33 days after the issue of the writ.
After the Senate polls are declared, the Australian Electoral Officer for each State and Territory returns the writ endorsed with the names of the successful candidates to the State Governor (or Governor-General in the case of the Territories).
For the House of Representatives, the Electoral Commissioner endorses on the writ the name of each candidate elected for each Division and returns the writ to the Governor-General.
|House of Representatives||1998 Election||Current*|
|Senate||Elected 1998||Full Senate|
*Following by-elections in:
Holt (Vic), Isaacs (Vic), Ryan (Qld), Aston (Vic)
|House of Representatives:||150|
TO WIN MAJORITY GOVERNMENT a party needs 76 seats in the House of Representatives.
1999/2000 REDISTRIBUTIONS. Since the 1998 election there have been redistributions in NSW, WA, SA, TAS and NT. A new seat was created in WA, Hasluck, and the NT was divided into two seats, Solomon and Lingiari.
ESTIMATED ELECTION COST $68 million (without public funding)
ESTIMATED ENROLMENT 12 500 000
TURNOUT 1998 FEDERAL ELECTION 95.34%
NUMBER OF REGISTERED PARTIES 64
Voting in a federal election is compulsory for all people listed on the Commonwealth electoral roll at the close of rolls for the election. The roll for this election will close at 8pm Monday, 15 October 2001.
To be eligible to enrol a person must be an Australian citizen, aged 18 years or over. British subjects who were on the Commonwealth electoral roll immediately before 26 January 1984 maintain their enrolment and voting entitlements. People who are 17 may provisionally enrol and will be able to vote if their 18th birthday falls on or before polling day.
Special enrolment is available for certain electors. People with a physical disability, illness, or their carers, are able to apply to become general postal voters; people going overseas may register as overseas electors; people with no fixed address may enrol as itinerant electors; people working in Antarctica may register as Antarctic voters; and people may apply for silent enrolment if they believe that publication of their address on the roll would put them at risk.
|NSW||4 076 081||3 955 782|
|VIC||3 081 632||2 972 635|
|QLD||2 188 024||2 091 384|
|WA||1 149 619||1 088 487|
|SA||1 013 989||1 001 006|
|TAS||330 121||329 304|
|ACT||209 536||203 170|
|NT||105 048||98 800|
|TOTAL||12 154 050||11 740 568|
|These are the close of rolls figures with subsequent adjustments such as the removal of the names of electors who died after the close of rolls, the reinstatement of eligible electors who had been previously removed and the inclusion of provisional enrollees who turned 18 by polling day.|
Candidates must be nominated before they can be elected to the Senate or the House of Representatives. The qualifications for the Senate and the House of Representatives are the same.
To be nominated as a candidate for the Senate or the House of Representatives, a person must be:
It is not possible to nominate until the writ for an election has been issued. People wishing to nominate may obtain a nomination form from any AEC office or from the website www.aec.gov.au. Nominations cannot be withdrawn after the closing date.
Nominations for the Senate are made to the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for the State or Territory for which the candidate is nominating.
Nominations for the House of Representatives are made at the office of the Divisional Returning Officer (DRO) for the division in which the candidate is nominating.
Senate candidates are required to pay a $700 deposit on nomination and House of Representatives candidates pay $350. These deposits are returned if a candidate gains more than four percent of the formal first preference vote, or if they are in a group of Senate candidates which polls more than four percent.
No-one can nominate for more than one election held on the same day. This means that it is not possible to nominate for more than one division, for more than one State or Territory or both.
Further information on nominating is in the Candidate's Handbook available from any AEC office or on the AEC's website.
At the 2001 Federal Election, candidates will be nominating for 40 Senate vacancies and will contest 150 House of Representatives seats.
Two draws are conducted to determine the order of names on the ballot paper. The first draw provides the candidates or groups with a number. The second draw allocates a position to each number (i.e. candidate or group) on the ballot paper.
|Number of Senate candidates||Number of House of Representatives candidates|
|* Please note this Queensland figure includes candidates for the supplementary election in the Division of Dickson.
** Please note this New South Wales figure includes candidates for the supplementary election in the Division of Newcastle.
* OTHER represents candidates who are non-affiliated and have chosen not to have 'Independent' printed beside their name on the ballot paper.
A candidate is eligible for election funding if they receive at least four per cent of the formal first preference votes.
The amount paid is calculated by multiplying the number of formal first preference votes received by the rate of payment applicable at the time.
The rate set for the period 1 July to 31 December 2001 is 1.79 cents per formal first preference vote in either a House of Representatives or Senate election. This rate is indexed every six months to increases in the Consumer Price Index.
At least 95% of election funding is paid automatically as soon as possible after the 20th day following polling day. Any balance of entitlement is paid directly following the conclusion of the counting of votes.
Payments for candidates and groups endorsed by political parties are made directly to their parties, and payments for independent candidates are made to their agents.
All candidates, and Senate groups must disclose gifts received and electoral expenditure incurred. Other third parties who take part in an election campaign may also be required to disclose these details. Broadcasters and publishers are required to give details of electoral advertising placed with them. Election disclosure returns are made available for public inspection 24 weeks after polling day.
Every registered party and their State/Territory Branches and associated entities are required to furnish an annual return to the AEC detailing all amounts received during the financial year, all amounts paid by or on behalf of the party and all debts outstanding at 30 June. Donors to registered parties must also provide an annual return of their donations. Annual disclosure returns are made available for inspection from 1 February, (or the first working day thereafter) in the following year.
Australians can vote in federal elections by:
Electors making a postal, pre-poll, absent or provisional vote must complete a declaration giving their personal details. This is checked before the votes are counted.
|1984 Election & Referendum||94.55%|
|Voter turnout is the percentage of enrolled electors who voted.|
A ballot paper is considered informal if it is not filled out correctly as set out in Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. It is set aside and is not counted towards any candidate.
|House of Representatives||Senate|
|ALP: Australian Labor Party
CDP: Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
CLP: Northern Territory Country Liberal Party
DEM: Australian Democrats
GRN: Australian Greens
GWA: The Greens (WA) Inc
HAN: Pauline Hanson's One Nation
|HAR: Tasmanian Independent Senator Brian Harradine Group
NDP: Nuclear Disarmament Party
LP: Liberal Party
NP: National Party
VPG: Vallentine Peace Group
|Due to the death of a candidate in the Division of Newcastle prior to polling day, a supplementary election for this seat was held on 21 November 1998. This table shows the result of the 3 October 1998 poll including the supplementary election held in Newcastle.|
The register of Political Parties closed the day before the writ for the federal election was issued.
|Advance Australia Party
Australia First Party
Australian Democrats Australian Greens
Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch)
Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch)
Australian Labor Party (ALP)
Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch)
Australian Labor Party (Northern Territory) Branch
Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch)
Australian Labor Party (State of Queensland)
Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch)
Australian Labor Party (Western Australian Branch)
Australian Reform Party
Australians Against Further Immigration
Australian Shooters Party
Australian Women's Party
Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)
Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
City Country Alliance
Country Labor Party
Curtin Labor Alliance
Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia
Helen Caldicott's – Our Common Future Party
Help End Marijuana Prohibition
Hope Party Australia Liberal Party (WA Division) Inc.
Liberal Party of Australia
Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division)
Liberal Party of Australia (SA Division)
|Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division)
Liberal Party of Australia – ACT Division
Liberal Party of Australia – Queensland Division
Liberal Party of Australia – Tasmanian Division
liberals for forests
Lower Excise Fuel and Beer Party
National Party of Australia
National Party of Australia (Queensland)
National Party of Australia (SA) Inc.
National Party of Australia (WA) Inc
National Party of Australia – NSW
National Party of Australia – Tasmania
National Party of Australia – Victoria
No Goods and Services Tax Party
Non-Custodial Parents Party
Northern Territory Country Liberal Party
Nuclear Disarmament Party of Australia
Outdoor Recreation Party
Pauline Hanson's One Nation
Peter Breen – Reform The Legal System
Phil Cleary – Independent Australia
Progressive Labour Party
Republican Party of Australia
Save the ADI Site Party
Socialist Equality Party
Tasmania First Party
Tasmanian Independent Senator Brian Harradine Group
Taxi Operators Political Service (Oceania)
The Fishing Party
The Greens (WA) Inc
The Greens NSW
The Australian Greens – Victoria
Unity – Say No To Hanson
Young National Party of Australia
The following seats are the twenty most marginal seats across Australia taking into account the 1998 federal election results and the 1999/2000 redistributions. A seat is classified as marginal when the two party preferred figure is less than 56 per cent.
|Division||Status||Two Party Preferred||Sitting Member|
|Canning (WA)||LP||50.04%||Jane Gerick|
|Herbert (QLD)||LP||50.10%||Peter Lindsay|
|Dickson (QLD)||ALP||50.12%||Cheryl Kernot|
|Bass (TAS)||ALP||50.19%||Michelle O'Byrne|
|Hinkler (QLD)||NP||50.34%||Paul Neville|
|McMillan (VIC)||ALP||50.57%||Christian Zahra|
|Moreton (QLD)||LP||50.57%||Gary Hardgrave|
|Eden-Monaro (NSW)||LP||50.62%||Gary Nairn|
|Adelaide (SA)||LP||50.65%||Trish Worth|
|Petrie (QLD)||LP||50.75%||Teresa Gambaro|
|Makin (SA)||LP||50.78%||Trish Draper|
|Richmond (NSW)||NP||50.83%||Larry Anthony|
|Longman (QLD)||LP||50.92%||Mal Brough|
|La Trobe (VIC)||LP||50.99%||Bob Charles|
|McEwen (VIC)||LP||51.04%||Fran Bailey|
|Hindmarsh (SA)||LP||51.23%||Chris Gallus|
|Kingston (SA)||ALP||51.88%||David Cox|
|Paterson (NSW)||LP||51.26%||Bob Horne|
|Dobell (NSW)||ALP||51.53%||Michael Lee|
|Macarthur (NSW)||ALP||51.69%||John Fahey|
|Polling day||Government elected||Seats won||Total no. of seats|
|3 October 1998||LP/NP||80||148|
|2 March 1996||LP/NP/NCP Coalition||94||148|
|13 March 1993||ALP||80||147|
|24 March 1990||ALP||78||148|
|11 July 1987||ALP||86||148|
|1 December 1984||ALP||82||148|
|5 March 1983||ALP||75||125|
|18 October 1980||LP/NP/NCP||74||125|
|10 December 1977||LP/NP/NCP||86||124|
|13 December 1975||LP/NP/NCP||91||127|
Counting of ordinary votes commences immediately after the poll closes at 6pm on polling day. House of Representatives ballot papers are scrutinised before Senate ballot papers. The ballot papers are initially sorted into first preference votes by candidate and informal ballot papers.
A candidate is elected to the House of Representatives if they gain an absolute majority, that is 50 percent plus one of the formal votes (not 51%).
First, all the first preference votes are counted for each candidate and if a candidate gets more than half the total formal first preference votes, that candidate is elected.
If however, no candidate has more than half of the votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded. This excluded candidates' votes are transferred to the other candidates according to the second preferences shown by voters on the ballot papers.
This process of excluding candidates one by one, continues until one candidate has more than half the total votes and is declared elected.
The distribution of preferences takes place in every division, even when a candidate already has a majority of first preference votes. The result of the full distribution of preferences is used to calculate the final two candidate preferred figures.
The counting of the Senate ballot papers also begins on polling night. Using the Senate Scrutiny computerised system for the 1998 election took just over four weeks to count the Senate votes in all States and Territories, compared with the six weeks it has taken at previous elections.
To be elected to the Senate, a candidate needs to gain a quota or proportion of the formal votes. The quota is calculated by dividing the total number of formal ballot papers by one more than the number of Senators to be elected and adding 'one' to the result.
The ballot papers are first sorted according to the first preference votes and candidates who receive a quota are elected immediately.
Any surplus votes that elected candidates receive are transferred at a reduced value to the candidates who were the second choice of voters. As it is not possible to determine which votes actually elected the candidate and which are surplus, all the elected candidate's ballot papers are transferred at the reduced value. As a result of transferring surplus votes, other candidates may be elected.
If, however, all surplus votes are transferred and there are still unfilled positions, an exclusion of unsuccessful candidates is undertaken. Starting with the lowest scoring candidate, unelected candidates are excluded from the count and the ballot papers are distributed to the remaining candidates to whom the voters have given their preferences. When a candidate gains a quota following this distribution they are elected. The above process continues until all Senate positions are filled.
Senate groups and parties can lodge a group voting ticket with the AEC within 24 hours after the declaration of nominations. A group voting ticket is a written statement setting out a preference ordering of all candidates in the election.
The group voting tickets lodged with the AEC are displayed at every polling place.
All Senate groups are given a box above the line on the Senate ballot paper and all candidates are listed below the line.
The Senate scrutiny is now conducted by a computerised process (the Senate Scrutiny system) which calculates the quota and distributes the preferences and produces the result of the election.
|Year||Cost per voter ($)|
|The estimated cost for the 2001 Federal Election is $68 million.|
Australia is divided into 150 voting areas which are know as divisions. One member is elected from each division to the House of Representatives.
The Divisional Returning Officer (DRO) is the AEC officer responsible for conducting the election in each division and maintaining the roll.
A redistribution is the redrawing of the boundaries of electoral divisions to ensure that there are, as near as practical, the same number of electors in each division for a State or Territory.
The list of electors eligible to vote at an election.
People appointed by candidates to observe the voting and the counting of votes. Candidates can appoint scrutineers for each polling place. Scrutineers have the right to be present when the ballot boxes are sealed and opened and when the votes are sorted and counted so that they may check any possible irregularities, but they may not touch any ballot papers.
The difference between the performance of a candidate or party at this election in comparison with the previous election.
These figures show where preferences have been distributed to the final two candidates in an election. In most, but not all cases, these will be from the two major sides of politics – the ALP and the Liberal and National Party Coalition.
These figures indicate results where preferences have been distributed to the two major sides of politics – the ALP and the Coalition. In most cases TCP and TPP are the same because the final two candidates are ALP and Coalition. However in an independently held seat the TCP differs from the TPP.
The percentage of enrolled electors who vote in an election or referendum.
|Ordinary polling places|
|No. of ordinary polling places:||7775|
|Mobile polling teams|
|No. of mobile polling teams visiting special hospitals:||475|
|No. of mobile polling teams visiting remote locations:||48|
|No. of mobile polling teams visiting prisons:||13|
|No. of pre-poll voting centres:||421|
|Overseas polling places|
|No. of overseas polling places:||99|
|Estimated number of casual staff employed to assist in the conduct of the 1998 federal election:||67 600|
|Polling equipment required|
|No. of large ballot boxes:||18 000|
|No. of small ballot boxes:||18 600|
|No. of large voting screens:||120 000|
|No. of tabletop voting screens:||16 000|
|No. of litter bins:||11 700|
|No. of tables:||4 830|
|Most cardboard equipment is made from recycled materials and is recycled after the election.|
Members of the media are asked to use the Media Liaison and Head Office contact numbers listed rather than the general enquiry number 13 23 26 which appears on AEC advertising.
Information and Research
Brien Hallett (acting) (02) 6271 4477
Anthea Wilson (acting) (02) 6271 4415
Assistant Directors, Information
Margaret Meneghel (acting) (02) 6271 4548
Roger Wills (acting) (02) 6271 4431
Susie Smith (02) 6271 4529 Editor, Newsfile
Shirley Weber (02) 6271 4720
The AEC produces a range of information materials for candidates, journalists and other people interested in the electoral process. Some of the information materials available are:
These and other information materials are available from all AEC offices.
The administration of the 2001 Federal Election in each State and Territory is under the control of the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for that State or Territory. An AEO for the ACT is temporarily appointed for each election.
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory