The Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, announced on Sunday 29 August 2004 that an election for the House of Representatives and half the Senate will be held on Saturday 9 October 2004. This will be a general election for the 41st Parliament.
Candidates for the House of Representatives stand for election in a particular electoral division and are elected for a maximum three-year term.
Members of the House of Representatives are elected using the preferential voting system, with the electors in each division electing one Member to represent them. To be elected, a candidate must win the absolute majority of votes, that is, more than half the formal votes cast for that division.
All positions in the House of Representative become vacant at a federal election.
Candidates for the Senate stand for election in a particular State or Territory. It is a Constitutional requirement that each State is equally represented in the Senate regardless of population. There are a total of 76 positions in the Senate consisting of 12 Senators for each State who are elected for a six-year term. The two Territories are each represented by two Senators who are elected for a maximun three-year term equivalent to the duration of the House of Representatives.
When a double dissolution is declared, all 76 Senate positions are made vacant. 40 Senate vacancies are contested at a half-Senate election when it is held simultaneously with a House election – six from each State and the four from the Territories. The 2001 federal election was a half-Senate election. The forthcoming election is also a half-Senate election.
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 election 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.
Candidates names are declared and draws for positions on the ballot papers are conducted twenty-four hours after the close of nominations.
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 with the results attached 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 attaches a certificate to the writ with the name of each candidate elected for each division and returns the writ to the Governor-General.
|Current State of the Parties|
|House of Representatives|
|Elected 2001||Full Senate|
|* Following a by-election in the NSW Division of Cunningham.
(Note this is not notional status)
Full list of parties.
|Number of Vacancies|
|House of Representatives:||150|
A party or coalition needs 76 seats in the House of Representatives.
Since the 2001 election there have been redistributions in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. The Division of Burke in Victoria was abolished to create a new outer metropolitan division (Gorton) west of Melbourne. Queensland gained a division called Bonner. The Division of Bonython was abolished in South Australia. The Northern Territory will retain two divisions at the next federal election.
Expected $75 million (GST exclusive without public funding)
12 952 415
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 Tuesday, 7 September 2004.
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 enrol and will be able to vote if their 18th birthday falls on or before election day. Enrolment is compulsory for those who are eligible.
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 electors; and people who believe that publication of their address on the roll would put them at risk may apply for silent enrolment.
To enrol or change your name and address details on the electoral roll you need to fill in an enrolment form. These are available from post offices, AEC offices and the AEC website (www.aec.gov.au).
|NSW||4 227 937||4 076 081|
|VIC||3 234 874||3 081 632|
|QLD||2 336 698||2 188 024|
|WA||1 206 422||1 149 619|
|SA||1 039 025||1 013 989|
|TAS||331 675||330 121|
|ACT||221 184||209 536|
|NT||111 022||105 048|
|TOTAL||12 708 837||12 154 050|
|These figures comprise enrolment at the close of rolls with subsequent adjustments such as the removal of names of electors who died after the close of rolls, the reinstatement of eligible electors previously removed from the roll and the inclusion of those who turned 18 by election day.|
Candidates must be nominated before they can be elected to the Senate or the House of Representatives. Nominations for this election will close at 12 noon on Thursday, 16 September 2004.
At the 2004 federal election, candidates will be nominating for 40 Senate vacancies and will contest 150 House of Representatives seats.
Qualifications for the Senate and House of Representatives are the same. To nominate as a candidate for either, 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 AEC 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.
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.
The registered officer of a registered political party may make a bulk nomination of all their endorsed House of Representative candidates for a particular State or Territory at the one time. Bulk nominations must be received by the AEO 48 hours before close of nominations.
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 at least four per cent of the formal first preference vote, or if they are in a group of Senate candidates which polls at least four per cent.
Further information about nominating is in the Candidates' Handbook available from any AEC office or the AEC's website.
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 (that is, 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.|
|House of Representatives nominations 2001|
|* Includes Country Labor Party in NSW.|
|** OTHER represents candidates who are from minor parties, non-affiliated candidates and Independent candidates.|
A candidate or Senate Group that receives at least four percent of the formal first preference votes in the division or State/Territory contested, is eligible for election funding.
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 current funding rate is approximately $1.95 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 percent of election funding is paid as soon as possible after the 20th day following election day. Any balance of entitlement is paid directly following the conclusion of the counting of votes.
Payments for candidates and groups endorsed by registered political parties are made directly to their parties, and payments for independent candidates are made to their agents.
Following the election, the agent of each candidate and the agent of an unendorsed Senate group must disclose to the AEC any election donations they received, both in cash and in kind, and their electoral expenditure. This information must be provided in an approved form which is to be lodged with the AEC within 15 weeks after election day.
Please Note: An appointment of agent form must be lodged by the close of nominations if a candidate wants to appoint an agent. A candidate is deemed to be their own agent if the candidate fails to appoint one before close of nominations. Further information is available from the Funding and Disclosure Handbook for Candidates at www.aec.gov.au.
Australians can vote in federal elections by:
- Ordinary vote: a vote cast in the elector's enrolled division on election day.
- Absent vote: a vote cast by an elector out of their enrolled division but still within their home State or Territory on election day.
- Prepoll and postal vote: a vote cast before election day at a prepoll voting centre or by post. These votes can be cast by electors who will not be within their home State or Territory on election day, are seriously ill, infirm, unable to leave work, or for religious reasons are unable to attend a polling place. (Postal votes cast before close of polling and received up to 13 days after election day must be included in the preliminary scrutiny).
- Interstate vote: a vote cast on election day at an interstate voting centre by an elector who is not within their home State or Territory (technically a pre-poll vote).
- Provisional vote: a vote cast when an elector's name cannot be found on the roll but the elector claims the right to vote, or if the name has already been marked off the roll but the elector claims they have not voted before in the election. The vote cannot be counted until a careful check of enrolment records and entitlements has been made.
- Mobile polling: this is carried out during the 12 days prior to and including election day. Mobile polling teams visit electors in hospitals, prisons and in remote areas so they can cast a vote.
Electors making a postal, prepoll, interstate, 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 the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918. It is set aside and is not counted towards any candidate.
|State/Territory||House of Representatives||Senate|
The scrutiny of ordinary votes commences immediately after the poll closes at 6pm on election 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 formal vote (not 51 percent).
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 candidate's first preference votes are transferred to the remaining candidates according to the second preferences shown by voters on their 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 party preferred figures.
The counting of the Senate ballot papers also begins on election night. Staff members and the Senate Scrutiny computerised system are used to count the Senate ballot papers.
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 '1' to the result.
If an elector chooses to vote above-the-line, the number '1' is written in one of the boxes above-the-line. All other boxes on the paper are left blank. If an elector votes in the top section, their preferences will be counted in the preference order registered by the group or party voted for. See group voting tickets below.
If an elector chooses to vote below-the-line, all the boxes in the bottom section of the ballot paper must be numbered sequentially in the order of the elector's choice. The number '1' is written in the box of the elector's first choice candidate and the numbering is continued until there is a number in every box below the line, with no duplication or omission of any number.
The Senate scrutiny treats ballot papers marked above-the-line separately from ballot papers marked below-the-line. The Senate ballot papers marked above-the-line are manually counted in the Divisional Office and the first preference figures for each party and group are tallied.
The ballot papers marked below the line are forwarded progressively to a central scrutiny centre in each capital city where the computerised scrutiny takes place.
The below-the-line preferences of each ballot paper are entered into a computer. The above the line totals for each party and group are then entered into the computer which has been programmed to distribute the preferences according to the group voting tickets lodged with the AEC.
The above-the-line and below-the-line votes are then combined by the computer which calculates the quota, distributes preferences and produces the result of the half-Senate election.
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.
Senate groups that have lodged a group voting ticket are given a box above the line on the Senate ballot paper and all candidates are listed below-the-line.
ALP: Australian Labor Party
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
|*Includes Country Labor Party in NSW|
|The register of Political Parties closed the day before the writ for the federal election was issued.|
|Advance Australia Party||Liberal Party of Australia, NSW Division|
|Australian Democrats||Lower Excise Fuel and Beer Party|
|Australian Greens||National Party of Australia|
|Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch)||National Party of Australia (Queensland)|
|Australian Labor Party (ALP)||National Party of Australia (SA) Inc|
|Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch)||National Party of Australia (WA) Inc|
|Australian Labor Party (Northern Territory Branch)||National Party of Australia - NSW|
|Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch)||National Party of Australia - Victoria|
|Australian Labor Party (State of Queensland)||New Country Party|
|Australian Labor Party (Tasmanian Branch)||No Goods and Services Tax Party|
|Australian Labor Party (Victorian Branch)||Non-Custodial Parents Party|
|Australian Labor Party (Western Australian Branch)||Northern Territory Country Liberal Party|
|Australian Progressive Alliance||Nuclear Disarmament Party of Australia|
|Australians Against Further Immigration||Outdoor Recreation Party|
|Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group)||Pauline Hanson’s One Nation|
|CitizensElectoralCouncilAustralia(NSWDivision)||Pauline Hanson's One Nation (NSW Division)|
|Citizens Electoral Council of Australia||Progressive Labour Party|
|Country Labor Party||Queensland Greens|
|Curtin Labor Alliance||Republican Party of Australia|
|Democratic Labor Party (DLP) of Australia||Save the ADI Site Party|
|Ex-Service, Service & Veterans Party||Socialist Alliance|
|Family First Party||Tasmania First Party|
|Help End Marijuana Prohibition||Tasmanian Independent Senator Brian|
|Hope Party Australia – ethics equality ecology||Harradine Group|
|Liberal Party (WA Division) Inc.||The Aged and Disability Pensioners Party|
|Liberal Party of Australia||The Australian Greens – Victoria|
|Liberal Party of Australia (SA Division)||The Fishing Party|
|Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division)||The Great Australians|
|Liberal Party of Australia – ACT Division||The Greens (WA) Inc|
|Liberal Party of Australia – Queensland Division||The Greens NSW|
|Liberal Party of Australia – Tasmanian Division||Young National Party of Australia|
|Liberals for forests|
The following seats are the twenty most marginal seats across Australia taking into account the 2001 federal election results and the 2002–03 redistributions. A seat is classified as marginal when the two party preferred figure is less than 56 percent.
|Division||State||Two Party Preferred||TPP Status||Sitting Member|
|Bonner||QLD||51.88||ALP *new electorate from 2003 redistribution|
|Election day||Government elected||Seats won||Total no. of seats|
|10 November 2001||LP/NP||82||150|
|3 October 1998||LP/NP||80||148|
|2 March 1996||LP/NP||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|
The full time AEC officer responsible for maintaining the roll and conducting the election in each division.
Australia is divided into 150 voting districts or electorates, which are known as divisions. One member is elected from each division to the House of Representatives.
The redrawing of electoral boundaries for a division to ensure that there are, as near as possible, equal numbers of electors in each division for a State or Territory.
The list of electors maintained by the AEC.
People appointed by candidates to observe the voting and the counting of votes. Candidates can appoint scrutineers for each polling place and pre-poll voting centres. 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. Scrutineers may assist voters who are unable to vote without assistance if the elector requests.
The difference between the performance of a candidate or party at one election in comparison to another.
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 political parties – the ALP and the Coalition.
These figures indicate results where preferences have been distributed to the two major political parties – 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 voted in an election or referendum.
|Ordinary polling places|
|No. of ordinary polling places:||7 703|
|Mobile polling teams|
|No. of mobile polling teams who visited special hospitals:||437|
|No. of mobile polling teams who visited remote locations:||47|
|No. of mobile polling teams who visited prisons:||17|
|Pre-poll/interstate voting centres|
|No. of pre-poll / interstate voting centres:||306|
|Overseas polling places|
|No. of overseas polling places:||99|
|Estimated number of casual staff employed to assist in the conduct of the 2001 federal election:||67 580|
|No. of ballot boxes||35 634|
|No. of voting screens||119 911|
|No. of queuing signs||7 916|
|No. of litter bins||11 619|
|No. of tables||5 936|
|Most cardboard equipment used is made from recycled materials.|
|Year||Cost per elector ($)|
|The estimated total cost for the 2004 Federal Election is $75 million (GST exclusive).|
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.
|(02) 6271 4400|
Public Awareness, Media & Research
|(02) 6271 4477|
Media & Communication
|(02) 6271 4415|
Media & Communication
|(02) 6271 4721
(02) 6271 4431
(02) 6271 4529
|(02) 6271 4439|
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:
- 2001 Electoral Pocketbook: a concise handbook of electoral data and statistics
- 2001 Division Profiles: a publication that details the characteristics of each federal division
- Post Redistribution Profiles: an electronic web supplement to the Division Profiles
- Nominations Pamphlet: key facts for people considering standing for election
- Candidates' Handbook: information forcandidates in the election
- 2004 Federal Electoral Boundaries Map: a map of all electoral boundaries
- 2001 Federal Election Results Map: a map of all electoral divisions
- Electoral Backgrounders: publications that provide a basic introduction to electoral law, policy and procedures
These and other information materials are available from all AEC offices.
The administration of a 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|
|David Farrell||Ph. (02) 9375 6333 Fx. (02) 9281 9384|
|Daryl Wight||Ph. (03) 9285 7171 Fx. (03) 9285 7178|
|Anne Bright||Ph. (07) 3834 3400 Fx. (07) 3831 7223|
|Jennie Gzik||Ph. (08) 6363 8080 Fx. (08) 6363 8051|
|Chris Drury||Ph. (08) 8237 6555 Fx. (08) 8231 2664|
|Alex Stanelos||Ph. (03) 6235 0500 Fx. (03) 6234 4268|
|Bill Shepheard||Ph. (08) 8982 8000 Fx. (08) 8981 7964|
|Australian Capital Territory|
|Jeff Howarth||Ph. (02) 6249 7908 Fx. (02) 6248 7559|