Electoral Pocketbook 2011 - 3 The electoral process

Updated: 15 June 2011

3.4 Candidates and nominations

Candidates must be nominated before they can be elected to the Senate or the House of Representatives. The qualifications for nomination to the Senate and the House of Representatives are the same.

A candidate must be at least 18 years old, an Australian citizen, and either an elector entitled to vote or a person qualified to become an elector.

Section 44 of the Constitution disqualifies certain people from being elected to the Parliament. This is a complex area that has been the subject of various legal challenges. The AEC can provide further information on this issue, but advises all prospective candidates to seek their own legal advice.

It is not possible to nominate until the writ for the election has been issued. Nominations must be made on the appropriate form and must be received by noon on the closing date for nominations (except for bulk nominations – see below). Nominations cannot be withdrawn after the closing date.

A candidate for the House of Representatives lodges their nomination with the Divisional Returning Officer (DRO) for the division in which they are standing. However, a registered political party may make a 'bulk nomination' of all endorsed House of Representatives candidates, within a particular state or territory. This must be lodged with the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for that state or territory at least 48 hours before the close of nominations.

Senate candidates lodge their nominations with the AEO for the state or territory in which they are standing.

Senate candidates are required to pay a $1 000 deposit on nomination and House of Representatives candidates pay $500.

The deposit will be refunded in a House of Representatives election if the candidate's total number of first preference votes is at least four per cent of the formal first preference votes for that division. The deposit will be refunded in a Senate election if the candidate's total number of first preference votes is at least four per cent of the formal first preference votes for that state or territory. The deposit is also refunded if the candidate is elected.

Where a candidate's name is included in a Senate group, their deposit will be refunded if they are elected, or the sum of the first preference votes received by all candidates in the group is at least four per cent of the formal first preference vote for that state/territory.

Nationally, 1 198 people nominated as candidates in the 2010 federal election.

The 2010 figure included 349 candidates for the Senate and 849 candidates for the House of Representatives. There were 845 male candidates and 353 female candidates.

Nominations for the 2010 federal election

Senate
State/Territory Vacancies Candidates Groups Ungrouped
candidates
NSW 6 84 32 5
Vic. 6 60 21 2
Qld 6 60 23 6
WA 6 55 22 1
SA 6 42 18 1
Tas. 6 24 10 1
ACT 2 9 4 1
NT 2 15 6 3
TOTAL 40 349 136 20
House of Representatives
State/Territory Seats Candidates
NSW 48 299
Vic. 37 194
Qld 30 158
WA 15 92
SA 11 68
Tas. 5 20
ACT 2 7
NT 2 11
TOTAL 150 849