Electoral Pocketbook 2011 - 3 The electoral process

Updated: 15 June 2011

3.2 The election timetable

Statutory timetables for state and territory elections
New South Wales Rolls close No Close of Rolls
Nominations Date specified in writ
Polling day Date specified in writ
Victoria Rolls close 7 days after date of issue of writ
Nominations 10–28 days after date of issue of writ
Polling day 15–30 days after date of nominations
Queensland Rolls close 5–7 days after date of issue of writ
Nominations 8–18 days after date of issue of writ
Polling day 26–56 days after date of issue of writ
Western Australia Rolls close 8 days after date of issue of writ
Nominations 7–45 days after date of issue of writ
Polling day 21–45 days after date of nominations
South Australia Rolls close 10 days after date of issue of writ
Nominations 3–14 days after date of close of rolls
Polling day 14–30 days after date of nominations
Tasmania Rolls close 6pm date of issue of writ
Nominations 7–21 days after date of issue of writ
Polling day 15–30 days after date of nominations
Australian Capital Territory Rolls close 29 days before polling day
Nominations 24 days before polling day
Polling day Fixed date
Northern Territory Rolls close 8pm two days after issue of writ
Nominations 6 days after the issue of the writ
Polling day 19 days after the issue of the writ

Note: Nominations refer to the number of days to the close of nominations

Possible dates for the next federal election

House of Representatives

Section 28 of the Constitution defines the maximum term of the House of Representatives. In order to calculate the latest possible date for the next election the maximum number of days must be applied as follows:

  • Three years from the first sitting day of the current Parliament (Constitution s.28) (27 September 2013)
  • +10 days maximum to the issue of writs (Constitution s.32) (7 October 2013)
  • +27 days maximum to the close of nominations (CEAs.156(1)) (3 November 2013))
  • +31 days maximum to election day (CEA s.157) (4 December 2013). Election day must be on a Saturday, therefore 30 November 2013 is the last possible day.

Senate

The terms of senators elected in 2007 expire on 30 June 2014. Therefore, the next half-senate election must be held between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014. The earliest possible date for a half-Senate election is 3 August 2013. (1st Saturday after the 33 day minimum period from 1 July 2013).

Simultaneous elections

The elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate are usually held together. Given that a half-senate election cannot be held before 1 July 2013, the earliest possible date for a combined House of Representatives and half-senate election would be 3 August 2013 (1st Saturday after the 33 day minimum period from 1 July 2013).

While the latest possible date for a half-senate election is 24 May 2014, the latest possible date for a simultaneous election is the same date as is required for the House of Representatives. Therefore, 30 November 2013 is the latest possible date for the next simultaneous election.

Commonwealth election dates
Type Earliest Date Latest Date
Simultaneous House of Representatives and half-senate 3 August 2013 30 November 2013
House of Representatives   30 November 2013
Half-senate 3 August 2013 24 May 2014

Casual vacancies

Senators for each state are elected to serve for a fixed term of six years. If a vacancy occurs, for example by a senator resigning, the parliament of the state for which the senator was chosen chooses a person to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term. If possible, the person chosen must be from the same political party as his or her predecessor. If the state parliament is not in session when the vacancy is notified, the governor, acting on the advice of the state executive council, may appoint a person to hold that place. An appointment by the governor expires 14 days from the beginning of the state parliament's next session.

Senators for the ACT and the NT are elected to serve a term that commences on the day of election and expires on the day before the polling day for a general election. If the place of an ACT senator becomes vacant, the Legislative Assembly of the ACT chooses a person to hold that place until the expiration of the term.

If the Legislative Assembly is not in session when the vacancy is notified, the Chief Minister may appoint a person to hold that place. If the place of an NT senator becomes vacant, the Legislative Assembly of the NT chooses a person to hold that place until the expiration of the term. If the Legislative Assembly is not in session when the vacancy is notified, the Administrator may appoint a person to hold that place.

Appointments made by the Chief Minister or the Administrator expire 14 days from the beginning of the next session of the relevant Legislative Assembly.

Between 1908 and 1972 there were a number of elections specifically to fill casual vacancies within the Senate. However, following the 1977 referendum on Senate casual vacancies, section 15 of the Constitution was altered and there will not be another election to fill a Senate casual vacancy.